Science & Tech

Expert explains exactly which foods make the worst smelling farts

Expert explains exactly which foods make the worst smelling farts
Greta Gerwig had to cut a 'fart opera' scene from Barbie
Cover Media / VideoElephant

It’s no secret that different foods have an impact on the pungency of farts, but which foods make them smell the worst?

Gas, scientifically known as flatus, is a normal part of everyday life for healthy human beings, but it is not all made equal.

According to Dr Ali Rezaie, a gastroenterologist at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, particularly stinky farts occur when carbohydrates, especially those that are insoluble, reach the stomach and upper intestinal tract before being absorbed.

This is because bacteria that live in our colon flourish on such unabsorbed sugars, with Rezaie describing them as “like high-octane fuel for them”. When these bacteria feast on and digest these carbs in the colon, they in turn produce gas that turns into farts.

Although we produce about 30 to 91 cubic inches (500 to 1,500 millilitres) of flatus per day, regardless of our diet, thankfully 99 per cent of these gases are odourless.

The sometimes potent smelling farts are down to gasses including hydrogen sulfide. But, one expert explained that simply eating foods with these compounds won’t necessarily determine how bad a person's wind is.

Carbohydrates act like “high-octane fuel"iStock

Dr. Eric Goldstein, a gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, said: “You can eat a ton of sulfur-containing compounds and have bacteria present that are making hydrogen sulfide... [but] your flatulence will not smell like hydrogen sulfide”.

This is because there may be other bacteria present that counterbalance the hydrogen sulfide-producing ones.

But, if consuming sulfur-rich foods such as lentils, beans and peas, and brassica vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, does make your gas stinky, it could actually be down to their insoluble carbs that bacteria are converting to smelling gas, rather than their sulfur content.

It's not the first time farting has made headlines this year. This summer, farting during a pivotal moment of the film Oppenheimer became somewhat of a bizarre internet trend.

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