Why Protein Makes Your Farts Stink:
The main reason why protein causes gas is because it contains amino acids which are known to produce hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide smells worse than normal stinkiness.
You may have heard that eating rotten eggs will make your stinky breath smell better. However, there is no evidence that eating rotten egg will cure your flatulence problem.
Hydrogen sulfide is a natural odorant that occurs naturally in the body. It’s produced when certain amino acids react with sulfur compounds found in our air.
These reactions occur when we eat foods containing these amino acids. When we digest food, these amino acid residues are broken down into smaller pieces called peptides (small chains). These small peptides then bond together to form larger molecules like proteins and other complex molecules such as fats and sugars. Some of these bonds are made stronger than others. For example, some amino acids bind strongly to one another while others don’t. If you eat a steak and then a piece of chicken, the beef peptides will combine with the chicken peptides to create a compound called myoglobin (which smells foul) but not the pork peptides (which won’t).
When we consume protein, our bodies break down the amino acids into smaller amounts so they can be used as energy throughout our bodies. When dealing with excess amounts of these amino acids, the body will convert them into urea and then expel through the kidneys or through the digestive system as part of a bowel movement.
The problem occurs when these amino acids are converted into hydrogen sulfide and other smelly sulfur compounds.
As we’ve already mentioned, some people are more prone to having foul-smelling farts than others. This is because some people naturally secrete more sulfur than others, especially after eating certain foods.
This can even be a genetic thing. If your family has a history of bad gas, you may have it too. However, this doesn’t make you immune to passing gas that smells like rotten eggs and other foul odors. It just means you might have to eat a little more broccoli than your friends.
What You Can Do:
While there isn’t too much you can do to stop hydrogen sulfide from being produced in your body, there are some things you can do to combat the effects of smelly farts.
Avoid eating gas-inducing foods: The number-one way to prevent foul-smelling gas is by avoiding foods that have a tendency to promote gas. These gas-inducing foods can be broken down into two main groups: insoluble fiber and certain types of sugars.
Insoluble fiber: While all fiber is good for you, some of it has a tendency to get fermented by bacteria in your gut and produce gas as a byproduct. Insoluble fiber is the main culprit here.
To improve your gas situation, you’ll want to avoid eating large amounts of insoluble fiber. Foods high in insoluble fiber include wheat bran, corn husks, and dehydrated turnip greens. If you eat a lot of these types of foods on a daily basis, it might be best to cut back.
Sugars: The second group of gas-inducing foods includes large amounts of sugars found in certain fruits and grains. The lactose in milk and the fructose in fruits are the main culprits here.
If you eat large amounts of foods that contain lactose or fructose, it might be best to cut back. You can still eat these foods, but it’s best to do so in moderation.
Eat more soluble fiber: While insoluble fiber can cause gas, soluble fiber can actually reduce gas. Foods high in soluble fiber include oats, barley, dried beans, and most types of fruit.
So if you’re looking for something to mitigate the effects of gas-inducing foods, eating more soluble fiber is a good idea.
Eat yogurt: While yogurt is high in lactose, the bacteria in yogurt actually breaks down the lactose. The result is a reduction in gas later on.
This is why many people with lactose intolerance can eat yogurt without incident. You can also buy live cultured yogurt that contains active cultures of bacteria. Instead of eating a large amount of yogurt, you can just add a little bit to your meal.
Eat peppermint or chew some gum: These two methods aren’t as reliable as the others, but they can help to control your gas in the moment. If you happen to have a peppermint candy or a piece of gum on you, you can pop it in your mouth and that may help to lessen the smell of your farts.
Eat more fiber: Eating more high-fiber foods can help to improve your gas situation in the long term. Foods like broccoli, cabbage, beans, and fruit are all high in fiber.
You don’t have to go crazy with it, but including a few extra servings of these types of foods in your diet every day can have a significant impact over time. Avoid eating too much fiber at once though. While eating a bucket of bran might help reduce gas in the short term, it can also cause some serious digestive issues.
Drink less soda: Sugary drinks have been linked to increased production of gas. If you’re guzzling down sodas every day, this could be a potential culprit for your run-away farting.
Beer and hard alcohol also fall under this category. While all alcoholic beverages can cause you to experience some bloating, these types of drinks have a tendency to cause the most flatulence due to their sugar content.
What Else Can You Do?
If the tips listed above aren’t doing it for you, remember that everyone farts and sometimes they can smell pretty bad. There’s no shame in it. You shouldn’t feel the need to hide in your home because some people at work might make fun of you.
So what if their co-worker has terrible gas? Who cares?
If you can, try to keep a sense of humor about the situation and know that it’ll probably get better with time. In some cases though, these steps may not be enough to solve your problem. If you’ve done everything you can to curb the amount of gas that’s coming out, but people are still making fun of you, you might have to consider more invasive measures.
Consider changing jobs: While this might seem a little extreme, it is an option if the cause of your situation is your employer or your coworkers in general. If they’re bullying you or otherwise making your work experience miserable, you should consider looking for a new job.
See a doctor: It’s possible that the problem isn’t your gas, but rather something else going on in your body. In the case of excessive farting, it could be something as simple as you not chewing your food and eating a lot of processed food.
If that’s the case, fixing your diet should solve the problem. On the other hand, you may have a more serious digestive disorder such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. While these are rare, it’s best to see a doctor if you’ve ruled out all of the simple solutions and still can’t figure out why you have excessive gas.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to control your farting. If all else fails, you can try being a janitor.
Janitors have it made; they can fart all day and no one cares. Just don’t do it around the wrong people or you might get fired, and then where will you be?
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Who Cut the Cheese?: A Cultural History of the Fart by M Hasan, J Ferdous, M Islam – Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 2016 – Elsevier
A Perspective Study on Oral-fecal Transmission of COVID-19, its Prevention and Management by J Dawson – 2011 – books.google.com
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