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Men on a plant-based diet experience flatulence 7 times more than those on a standard western diet, study finds


According to scientists, more flatulence on a plant-based diet indicates healthier gut flora and better colon health.

A new study has found that men eating a plant-heavy diet pass more gas in comparison to those who eat a meat-based diet.

According to the researchers, plant-based foods do actually cause men to fart more and have larger stools. While y’all may want to hold your noses, however, this is an indication that plant-based eaters have healthier gut flora and better colon health.

Claudia Barber at the Liver and Digestive Diseases Networking Biomedical Research centre in Barcelona, Spain, led the study and compared effects of a low-fat, fiber-enriched Mediterranean-type diet (FMD) consisting mostly of plants, with a high-fat Western-type Diet (WD) containing fewer fruit and vegetables on the guts of 18 healthy men aged between 18 and 38.

Researchers followed the participants ,who were randomly assigned to one of the diets for four weeks. The men followed that diet for two weeks, took a two-week break, and then switched to the other diet for another two weeks.

While the FMD diet was primarily plant-based, participants did consume some animal products such as fish.

Study observations

The findings published in the journal Nutrients, showed that the Mediterranean-style diet caused more stool output, as well as softer stool consistency compared to the Western diet.  It also caused more flatulence – seven times more per day on average- News Scientist reported.

According to Rosemary Stanton at the University of NSW, eating plants promotes bacterial growth in the gut that thrive by fermenting plant fibre, which leads to more stool bulk, and gas production. Furthermore, the gas produced is odourless.

Stanton told the publication that more farts is a good thing.  “Our Western idea that farting is a sign of something being wrong is totally false,” she said.

 “Farting [in most cases] is a sign of a healthy diet and a healthy colon.”

Other studies

A separate study – recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Foods – assessing the impact of diet on intestinal microbes found that those eating vegan meat alternatives have increased butyrate-producing microbes in the gut.

Butyrate is a metabolite produced through microbial fermentation of dietary fibres in the lower intestinal tract.

 It is said to possess anti-inflammatory properties and helps enhance intestinal barrier function, intestinal homeostasis, mucosal immunity and energy metabolism.

Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that plant-based meat alternatives products ‘elicited changes’  that lead to a ‘healthy gut microbiome’. 

The study’s lead author, Miguel Toribio-Mateas, told The Beet in an exclusive email interview: “I wouldn’t recommend that people eat [PBMA products] at every meal every day, but I would hope that those who read the study understand that even food that’s seen by many as ultra-processed can be okay for your microbiome.”

Meanwhile several studies have linked meat consumption to stomach disorders including diverticulitis and colorectal cancer among other complications.

Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, said: “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a mostly plant-based diet to promote health — and that includes colon health.

“Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains, and vary your protein choices.”

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