Beans Increase Flatulence

posted: 04/11/12
Read more Read less
As seen in "MythBusters: Franklin's Kite."


Explanation:In the spirit of highbrow science, the MythBusters took on the premise of the well-known children's song "Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit." The popular rhyme claims that the more beans you eat, the more flatulence you produce, so Kari Byron, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage tallied their toots on an average day and compared it with a day of each gobbling down gas-causing chow to see whether beans win out as the ultimate fart food.

Since carbonation and red meat are also linked to gas buildup, Kari subsisted on soda, Jamie devoured nothing but meat, and Adam ate a hill of beans for a day. When comparing gas diaries, Adam came out the winner far and away. Kari's fizzy beverages doubled her average gas production, while Jamie's steaks chopped his gas in half. But those notorious beans upped Adam's flatulence by 100 percent; he recorded four times more flatulence than Kari with a whopping 20 toots.

This myth confirmation makes scientific sense, because beans are packed with a type of sugar called oligosaccharides. As bacteria in the large intestine work hard to break down these macromolecules, they release gas in the process. Unfortunately, that gas needs to go somewhere, and its escape route is often in the form of flatulence.

Much to the chagrin of any non-bean-eating dinner-mates.

More on