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Do Onions Cause Gas?

Video Transcript:

Welcome back to our channel.

Today, I'm going to answer the question:

Do onions cause gas?

I see many people every day that struggle with a lot of gut issues and are always wondering what foods are causing some of these issues? And lo and behold, sometimes it is onions.

Now, of course, when I suggest maybe taking onions out of their diet because they're having gas, they're thinking, well, what is my food going to taste like?

Because we know onions add a lot of distinct flavor to our foods, and just because they kind of make our eyes tear up that that's not the only thing that happens.

And so today I'm going to discuss and answer the question, do onions cause gas?

And not only will I answer that question, but also give a little bit of science behind why we actually cry when we are cutting our onions, and give some practical tips on how to add onions if you can tolerate them into your foods.

And if you can't, what are some options?

And so we're going to jump right into our topic today. But first, my name is Marcie Vaske, and I'm a functional nutrition practitioner working with Oswald Digestive Clinic.

And as I said, I do see a lot of people who struggle with gut issues and some of 'em is gas.

And if that sounds like you or someone, I'm going to link our scheduling page here where you can easily make an initial appointment. Or if you want to just gather more information, I'm going to link our free guide, which is 5 Ways to Improve our Gut Health.

So to begin, let's answer the question of:

Why do onions make us cry?

In case you've ever wondered that, and maybe you've even looked it up, but what happens is that there's a compound that's released when you cut into the onion cells.

And when that compound is released, it mixes with the moisture in our eyes, creating sulfuric acid. This sulfuric acid actually irritates our eyes, and that's why we get that tearing and crying effect.

Now, you may have already noticed this, but there are different reactions to each onion, whereas if you're cutting into a yellow onion, that's going to create, that has more of that compound, and then of course, create more of that tiering versus a sweet onion that has less of the compound in it.

And in addition to that, it comes down to also the way you chop or cut up your onion.

And if you chop it into small bits, that reduces that sulfuric acid reducing crying as well as if you refrigerate it first and then cut into the onion.

So just a little bit of information to answer that fun question, which it happens to all of us. So it's kind of, well, now you have a little trivia point, right?

So just as we discussed the science behind crying after onions, let's dig into the science of onion induced gas.

Onion Gas - IBS and Onions

So the culprit behind onion induced gas is going to be the sulfur compounds that the onion contains.

Once you eat the onion, what happens is that the onion is then broken down by the bacteria in your digestive system, which will then create a type of hydrogen, which is called hydrogen sulfide.

So it's these gases that tend to give us that onion breath as well as onion gas.

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Now, of course, the amount of gas that is produced will vary from person to person, and that's due to the composition of your microbiome.

Some people have a better microbiome that can handle those sulfur versus others who just really can't tolerate it and struggle with more of that gas.

But onion induced gas is a natural biological thing that happens to all of us.

So it just really depends on the state of your microbiome.

And while there are things to help reduce this symptom, there are some myths that are out there that talk about how to reduce the onion induced gas, but really it doesn't.

And so a couple of those myths are if you've tried to rinse your onion or cut it under water as you were trying to reduce that symptom of maybe crying or reducing the gas production, that's really just a myth.

So it doesn't really work.

And as well as some people have maybe heard of soaking the core of the onion in milk, and that helps to reduce the gas producing compounds.

And again, just a bit of a myth. So let's get into some real things that are going to help support your gut breaking down the gas.

Onion Gas: How To Improve It

Now, one thing I always tell my clients that if they're really struggling with onions, you probably want to take 'em out for a little bit, but if you just kind of notice extra gas and you want to keep them in, one thing to help reduce gas is to always cook the onion, and you'll want to make sure that you cook it very thoroughly because then it will break down that sulfur and reduce that gas that may be produced later on.

So sauteing them, caramelizing them, even roasting onions is going to help reduce the gas production if you are really struggling with that.

Now, really cooking the onion is really the best way to reduce that sulfur compound in the onion. But if you don't have a lot of issues and you want to try some other ways, you can also try, as I mentioned earlier, just refrigerating the onion and that can also calm things down.

But outside of those two things, reducing gas from onions is going to be a little bit more tricky. If you love raw onions, and I know some people eat 'em like an apple, just know that you'll probably have some gas with that.

Now, for those of you who are pretty sensitive to the onion, like myself, even, I can use things like onion powder.

Now that's going to be much more broken down and not contain those sulfur, so therefore you can get the flavor and the taste, but typically not a symptom afterward, another option is going to be using chives.

So chopping up chives has none of that sulfur production, gas producing production compound. And therefore, again, you can get the flavor, but you're not going to get that gut irritating effect.

And the last one that's a good substitute is leeks.

Now, leeks don't have quite the punch that a onion does in flavor, but it can really support a recipe that is calling for onions, and you'll get a mild taste to add a little bit more spice to your meal.

Onion Intolerance - What You Can Try To Help

Now, if you want to keep the onions in, as I mentioned, cook them first, but there's also a few other foods that if you add that to your meal can reduce that sulfur compound.

And one of 'em is going to be parsley. If you chew parsley, that helps the digestive juices begin and break down that compound a bit more.

As well as what's really helpful is going to be ginger.

Ginger is an amazing aid for digestion and again, helps break down those compounds better and reduces the gas.

And the last one, kind of a food to add with a meal would be yogurt (just don't try this if you don't tolerate yogurt).

And so again, adding yogurt in, adding parsley or even ginger can help alleviate some of those gas producing compounds from getting you.

And in conclusion, onions are amazing. They taste great in our foods. They add a lot of flavor.

And so sometimes when you notice that you're getting more symptoms with onions, it's not the first thing you want to take out.

And plus onions are in a lot of things. And so by maybe using some of these practical tips can help alleviate some of that sulfur or hydrogen sulfide from producing in your digestive system, as well as just helping you feel a little bit better and still consuming your onions.

Thanks for watching.

functional nutrition dietitian, registered dietitian nutritionist, functional medicine clinic, gut health help, how to improve gut health, functional medicine taking insurance

If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic.  We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.

5 ways to improve your gut health free guide by Oswald Digestive clinic, how to improve gut health, functional nutrition, functional medicine, registered dietitian nutritionist, licensed nutritionist, functional nutrition dietitian

Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH  


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