Digestive System > Large Intestine

Beans, Beans, the More We Eat ...

Yes, there is scientific documentation to back up the common observation that consumption of beans dramatically increases the amount of gas produced in the large intestine.

In one study (Ann NY Acad Sci 150:57, 1968) flatus production was compared in a group of subjects following consumption of one of two types of meals. The data pretty much speak for themselves.

Composition of mealFlatus produced (ml/hour)
Control diet
Diet containing 51% of its calories as pork and beans

What is the basis of this effect? Beans and other legumes contain a number of oligosaccharides (stachyose, raffinose) that are very poorly digested in the small intestine. These carbohydrates pass into the large bowel where they are fodder for bacterial fermentation.

Large Intestine: Introduction and Index

Send comments to Richard.Bowen@colostate.edu