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Monday, April 24, 2006

Sued for Farting on TV

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart.

Everyone knows what’s happens next, even though some people might not like to admit it—especially the Dry Beans Producers Organization (DBPO).

The DBPO in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently made a stink over the negative way beans were portrayed in a TV commercial for Wildeklawer sweet onions.

The DBPO complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the commercial, which showed a rugby player eating beans and fouling the air, portrayed beans in an unfavorable light, and disparaged the producers’ organization.

The ASA dismissed the DBPO’s case as a load of hot (and perhaps even smelly) air, saying it’s a factual reality that beans cause gas, and the commercial was only playing on a harmless parody.When the partially digested beans pass into the large intestine, the bacteria there finish breaking down them down—and create foul-smelling methane in the process.

Bottom line: No amount of legal wrangling can change the fact that beans cause gas. Beans are loaded with carbohydrates that are not completely broken down in the small intestine.

Other foods with large amounts of carbs produce the same malodorous effect. Sugars, starches, fibers; all are carb-loaded stink bombs.

Other offenders include vegetables, certain fruits, whole grains, milk and milk products, soft drinks and fruit drinks, and of course, any sugar-free food.

The easiest way to reduce your output of gas is to cut your intake of gassy foods. However, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk have health benefits, so don’t eliminate them from your diet entirely.

Compromise instead. Don’t munch out on gas bombs. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Limit your intake of high-fat foods to reduce bloating and discomfort. And eat slowly during meals to cut how much air you suck into your digestive tract.

Passing gas is a normal, healthy, necessary—and even fun! (ask any 7 year old)—part of a the digestive system’s operation. Indeed, most people fart 6 to 20 times a day.

Excessive or painful gas, on the other hand, might be a symptom of a more serious disorder, like IBS or Crohn’s Disease. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing such symptoms.

And no matter what, bend over with care after eating a hearty helping of bean soup.


  • ~ Anonymous Anonymous said …

    My kids love to pass gas. I have a 9 and 6 year old and believe me, they don't mind me cooking beans for dinner because they know their going to get into some fun and laughter at dinnertime. Although, the whole thought of passing gas is gross and not a topic everyone talks about, I do find it fun watching my kids eat beans and enjoying making noises. I'm just glad their eating the beans in the first place since they do need their serving of vegetables.


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