plant-based diets make us gassier… so what’s worse for the planet – cow or human farts?

Spanish scientists recently set out to examine the phenomenon that’s always been presumed: plant-based based diets cause people to fart more.

Researchers from the Liver and Digestive Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERehd) in Barcelona studied a group of 18 healthy men (for the sake of homogeneity, only men were recruited) aged between 18 and 38. Participants ate either a fibre-enriched Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes or a Western-type diet with fewer fruit and vegetables for two weeks. After a break, they then switched to the other diet for two weeks.

The researchers concluded that men who follow a plant-based diet fart more, and have larger stools than men following a standard Western diet. The results revealed that those following a plant-based diet farted seven times more per day​ and had stools twice the size as those following a Western diet on average.

Farting is a sign of a healthy diet and a healthy colon, say scientists. Another study recently reported by FoodNavigator concluded that consuming plant-based meat alternatives as part of a healthy balanced diet can elicit changes in the gut microbiota consistent with positive health outcomes​.

This study also revealed some graphic facts about plant-based diets and gas. Participants who replaced several meat-based meals per week with meat alternatives over a period of four weeks reported ‘better and more frequent bowel movements, with overall better consistency and a little more gas than usual’. 

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