Do Nuts Cause Gas and Bloating?


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Nuts are a nutrient-dense and versatile snack loaded with protein, healthy fats, fibers, and minerals. StudiesOpens in a new tab. showed that consuming nuts may help you achieve better health by decreasing your risk of getting heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and certain types of cancers, including breast and colorectal cancer. However, some people may experience gas and bloat after eating nuts.

Nuts generally do not cause gas. But they contain fiber, phytates, tannins, and galactooligosaccharides, all of which may cause gas and bloat when consumed in large amounts. The best way to reduce gas and digestive issues is to consume nuts in moderation and within the daily recommended serving.

Let’s take a look at how nuts give you gas and make you gassy and what you can do about it.  

What is gas and how nuts cause gas?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, gas is air found in your digestive tract.

Gas may exit your body either through your mouth, which makes you burp or belch, or via your anus when you fart. Passing wind through your anus is also known as flatulence.

The intestinal gas comprises various gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen.

Your flatus or fart may carry odor depending on the amount of sulfur it contains. Flatus with more sulfur will produce stronger odor. [01Opens in a new tab.]

Burping or passing gas a few times a day is generally considered normal and is a part of healthy digestion. In fact, your intestines usually generate between 500 and 2000 ml of gas on a regular basis. [02Opens in a new tab.]

Apart from burping and passing gas, you may also experience bloating, which is the feeling of swelling or fullness in your abdomen. This gas symptom usually happens when you’re eating a meal or after a meal

Normally, intestinal gas is caused by swallowed gas or digestion of food by bacteria in your large intestine. [03Opens in a new tab.]

Certain foods, including nuts, tend to give you more gas compared to other foods. 

This reaction, however, may vary from one person to another. Nuts that can cause gas in one person may not necessarily make another person gassy.

The University of Michigan Health System stated that while nuts are gas-producing foods, your body typically produces a normal amount of gas when eating nuts. Therefore, people with bowel incontinence, a condition where the body is not capable of controlling gas, are allowed to consume nuts. [04Opens in a new tab.]

However, some health authorities recommend limiting the intake of nuts and legumes to reduce the amount of flatus or gas produced. [05Opens in a new tab.]

Generally, nuts cause gas and bloat due to the following compound:

  • Fiber
  • Phytates and tannins
  • Galactooligosaccharides

Here’s how each of these substances give you gas and bloat.

Nuts and fiber: How fiber in nuts makes you gassy?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate compound found in plants, and fibers you can eat is called dietary fiber. [06Opens in a new tab.]

Normally, you would see a food label categorizing the fibers into two types: soluble and insoluble. Both types of fibers are essential for your digestive health.

Soluble fibers can dissolve in water and turn into a thick, gel-like substance while the insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water. [07Opens in a new tab.]

So what’s the relationship between fibers and gas-causing nuts anyway?

Let me explain.

Although dietary fiber is a kind of carb, your body cannot digest it readily.

So when you eat fiber, it will slide through your GI tract and reach your large intestines undigested.

Once in your colon, trillions of bacteria living in your gut will digest the fibers while generating gas as the byproduct. This process is a normal part of your bowel function.

But when you eat foods high in fiber, your gut bacteria need to work harder to digest a large amount of fiber and in the process, release more gas.

Since nuts are loaded with fiber, you may feel more gassy and bloated than usual when you eat too many nuts in one sitting.

According to USDA FoodData Central, 100 grams of oil-roasted mixed nuts like this oneOpens in a new tab. provides around 5.5 grams of fibers, which amount to 22% of the recommended daily intake for dietary fiber. [08Opens in a new tab.,09Opens in a new tab.]

Here’s a quick look at some popular high-fiber nuts.Opens in a new tab.

Name of Nuts

Fiber (g) per 100 g

%DV of Dietary Fiber

Almonds

12.5

50

Pine nuts

10.7

43

Pistachios

10.6

42

Hazelnuts

9.7

39

Pecans

9.6

38

Macadamia nuts

8.6

34

Brazil nuts

7.5

30

Other foods that are rich in fiber include beans and peas, fruits, seeds, vegetables, whole grain, and wheat bran.

Food/Nutrition tips: Foods that give you 20% DV or more of dietary fiber in one serving is considered high-fiber food, whereas foods that offer 5% DV or less of dietary fiber each serving is considered low-fiber food.

Another thing to keep in mind when you eat high-fiber foods like nuts is that you may become constipated if you consume them at large amounts within a short period, especially if you eat more than you normally did without drinking enough fluid.

Therefore, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests adding fiber in your diet gradually while drinking plenty of fluids. Introducing high-fiber diets into your body slowly will give your bowel enough time to adjust. [10Opens in a new tab.]

Phytates and tannins in nuts: How phytates and tannins give you gas?

Phytates or phytic acids and tannins are categorized as antinutrients. Antinutrients are natural or synthetic components that prevent your body from absorbing beneficial and vital organic nutrients and inorganic minerals. [11Opens in a new tab.]

They are also the compounds that make nuts hard to digest.

Let’s take a look at what each of these substances entails.

Phytic acids

If you’re an avid paleo dieter, you’ve probably heard about phytic acid since it is one of the substances you need to avoid when following a paleo diet.

Phytic acid is an essential source of plant phosphorus you can find in nuts, edible seeds, legumes, and grains. It becomes phytate salt when it combines with a mineral in the seed.

Phytates can hamper your body’s absorption of iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium. [12Opens in a new tab.]

However, they also have antioxidant properties and may help prevent kidney stones and certain cancer, such as colorectal cancer.  [13Opens in a new tab.,14Opens in a new tab.,15Opens in a new tab.]

One study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reported that commercially edible nuts contain around 0.15% to 0.35% of phytate. [16Opens in a new tab.]

Here’s a table showing the amount of phytate content found in each edible nut. [17Opens in a new tab.]

Edible Nuts

Phytic acid (g) per 100g

Macadamia nuts

0.15-2.62

Pecans

0.18-4.52

Cashew nuts

0.19-4.98

Walnuts

0.20-6.69

Pine nuts

0.20

Hazelnuts

0.23-0.92

Brazil nuts

0.29-6.34

Pistachios

0.29-2.83

Almonds

0.35-9.42

Tannins

Tannins, also known as tannic acid, are water-soluble chemical compounds found in many plant foods, including nuts, vegetables, fruits, and tea.

They have antioxidant effects and may benefit your health.  Some studies found that they promote heart health and showed anti-cancer properties. [18Opens in a new tab.,19Opens in a new tab.]

However, some studies suggest that tannin consumption may impede the absorption of various nutrients, including iron. [20Opens in a new tab.,21Opens in a new tab.]

According to the study released in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, edible nuts, which include almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts, contain about 0.01 to 0.88% of tannins. 

Here’s a table showing the amount of tannin contentOpens in a new tab. found in every 100 grams edible nuts using two extraction methods: absolute MeOH and acidified MeOH.

Nuts

Tannins (absolute MeOH) (g)

Tannins (acidified MeOH) (g)

Almond

0.07

0.27-0.31

Brazil nut

0.01

0.01

Cashew nut

0.03

0.04

Hazelnut

0.04

0.22-0.24

Macadamia nut

0.01

0.01

Pecan

0.81-0.87

0.88

Pine nut

0.01

0.01

Pistachio

0.02

0.22

Walnut

0.14-0.18

0.28-0.30

Gas and bloating caused by phytates and tannins

Since both phytic acid and tannic acid are present abundantly in nuts and impairs nutrient absorption, they may keep you from getting enough essential nutrients if you’re not eating them right.

Consuming too many antinutrients that make nuts hard to digest may also cause gas in some people.

A review on antinutrients published in the Open Biotechnology Journal stated that a large number of antinutrients in your body may cause symptoms of gas like bloating. Other common symptoms include headache, nausea, rashes, and nutritional deficiencies. [22Opens in a new tab.]

Nonetheless, the chances of you eating too many antinutrients are quite low since they are reduced or destroyed during the process of cooking, baking, sprouting, soaking, fermenting, and processing. [23Opens in a new tab.]

So as long as you don’t consume completely raw or unprocessed nuts, chances are, the antinutrients level in your body will be significantly low.

In fact, consuming up to 2000 mg of phytates may still be a safe limit for some.

One study found that participants who consume a Mediterranean-style diet containing around 1000 to 2000 mg of phytic acid each day remain unaffected by reduced mineral bioavailability. [24Opens in a new tab.]

Experts from Harvard’s School of Public Health stated that while some foods may have residual amounts of antinutrients after cooking and processing, the health benefits of consuming these foods still outweigh their potential adverse nutritional effects. [25Opens in a new tab.]

You just have to make sure that you consume various nutritious foods every day and stay away from eating a large amount of one single food in one meal. This measure helps to offset the small losses in nutrient absorption that you may have due to antinutrients.

Nuts and galactooligosaccharides: How galactooligosaccharides in nuts can cause gas?

Galactooligosaccharides or GOS are made of plant sugars connected in chains. Although oligosaccharides belong to the categories of fiber, currently, they are not counted as dietary fiber on food labels in the United States.

They are present naturally in nuts, legumes, seeds, dairy products, and some root vegetables.

Commercially, GOS is used as an ingredient of prebiotic functional food.  [26Opens in a new tab.]

Unlike probiotics which are made up of good bacteria that keep your digestive health, prebiotics comprises of nutrients that help you feed and strengthen your good gut bacteria, including Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. [27Opens in a new tab.,28Opens in a new tab.,29Opens in a new tab.]

Multiple clinical trials have also shown that GOS may help decrease the severity of mild constipation. GOS help softens the stools as well as facilitate and increase the bowel frequency of constipated people. [30Opens in a new tab.]

Since GOS is in the form of carbohydrate chains, you need to break it down into single sugar units first before your body can absorb it.

Sadly, humans’ bodies do not have the necessary enzymes to carry out this task.

So similar to fiber, GOS will slide through your GI tract and reach your colon intact where it meets your intestinal bacteria.

Your gut bacteria have the enzymes needed to break the GOS down and use them as a source of energy. This is how GOS feed your bacteria and make them grow.

Again, similar to fiber digestion in the colon, the bacteria will release gas when they digest GOS.

While passing a little gas during this process is considered normal in healthy people, if you eat too much GOS, your intestine may go through vigorous intestinal fermentation and you might experience mild abdominal discomfort, including gas or flatulence and bloat. [31Opens in a new tab.]

Additionally, people with a hypersensitive gut, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome, may experience excess gas, bloating, stomach pain, and possibly altered motility, including constipation or diarrhea. 

Nevertheless, studies showed that your body can still tolerate up to 12 grams of GOS per day.

On the other hand, WebMD Opens in a new tab.stated that is is probably safe to take up to 20 grams of GOS per day for up to 30 days. 

Examples of nuts loaded with galactooligosaccharides are cashews and pistachios.

How to reduce intestinal gas when eating nuts?

While nuts may cause gas and bloat, they are still considered a nutrient-dense food that gives you various health benefits. So you should not avoid them unless your condition doesn’t permit or your doctor advises otherwise.

A simple yet effective way of decreasing gas when consuming nuts is to ensure you eat them in moderation and within the recommended serving per day.

Controlling your nuts intake daily would help prevent you from overconsuming gas-causing substances like fiber, GOS, phytates, and tannins.

The American Heart Associations suggest consuming a small handful or about 1.5 oz of whole nuts or 2 tbsp of nut butter per day. [32Opens in a new tab.]

Food/Nutrition tips: According to the US Food and Drug Administration, consuming 1.5 oz of macadamia nuts every day may help lower the risk of coronary heart disease. [33]Opens in a new tab.

Also, you should opt for processed, heated, fermented, boiled, soaked, or sprouted nuts since they have a much lesser amount of antinutrients and are easier to digest.

In addition, gastroenterology and nutrition experts recommend eating a small portion of gas-causing food each day to help the bacteria grow and adapt, which results in lesser gas.

Over-the-counter anti-gas supplements like this oneOpens in a new tab. may also help reduce the symptoms. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any supplement or medication.

What happens if you eat too much nuts?

Apart from becoming gassy and bloated, you may also experience the following undesirable effects when consuming too many nuts:

  • Weight gain: Since nuts are calorie-dense, have a low amount of water, and rich in fat, eating a large number of nuts can easily add an extra few hundred calories to your diet per day, resulting in weight gain and increased levels of cholesterol. [34Opens in a new tab.]
  • Diarrhea: The author of Nutritional Medicine, Dr. Alan Gaby, stated that eating too many high-fat nuts may lead to diarrhea. [35Opens in a new tab.]
  • Selenium poisoning: In rare instances, consuming too much Brazil nuts, which are loaded with selenium, may lead to selenium poisoning. Limiting your consumption to around one to three Brazil nuts each day help prevent this condition. [36Opens in a new tab.,37Opens in a new tab.]

Other common foods that cause bloating and gas

Nuts are not the only foods that give you gas and abdominal discomfort.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases listed various gas-causing foods, drinks, and products. Here are some of them: [38Opens in a new tab.]

  • Vegetables: asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, and onions
  • Fruits: apples, pears, and peaches
  • Whole grains: whole wheat and bran
  • Milk products: yogurt and cheese
  • Packages foods with lactose: cereal and bread
  • Drinks: carbonated drinks and fructose corn syrup
  • Products: sugar-free goods with  mannitol, sorbitol, or xylitol

One thing to remember though is that the amount of gas you may produce from eating one type of food may differ from other people.

If you’re not sure which type of food you eat is responsible for making you gassy, you can try eliminating them one at a time. Try to avoid some of these foods to see if your condition gets better.

Foods that don’t cause gas and bloating

If you’re planning to attend a special event, you should probably eat foods that minimize gas production instead of those that produce more gas like nuts, which make you feel unpleasant throughout the event.

According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, foods that are less likely to make you gassy include: [39Opens in a new tab.]

  • Eggs
  • Fish, meat, and poultry
  • Vegetables like tomatoes, okra, and lettuce
  • Fruits like grapes and cherries
  • Carbs like rice and gluten-free bread

Conclusion

Fibers, fats, galactooligosaccharides, and antinutrients like phytates and tannins are the primary culprits that make you gassy when eating nuts. 

However, they generally do not give you excess gas as long as you eat them the right way and within the daily recommended serving.

To reduce the amount of gas when consuming nuts, here’s what you need to do:

  • Limit your nuts daily intake to about a small handful or around 1.5 ounces of wholes nutsOpens in a new tab. or two tablespoons of nut butterOpens in a new tab.
  • Consume only processed, cooked, boiled, fermented soaked, or sprouted nuts

Nonetheless, some digestive issues, such as IBS, may generate excessive gas or flatus. You should see your doctor if you experience abnormal gas, stomach pain, changes to bathroom habits, or other abdominal discomforts.

Also, consult with your doctor or qualified nutritionist before you make any big changes to your diet.

Do almonds cause gas?

Almonds normally do not cause gas when consumed in moderation. But since almonds are fiber-rich, people who overeat them may experience gassiness, bloating, and unpleasant tummy, at least temporarily. People with almonds intolerance may also experience abdominal discomfort,  such as gas and bloating.

Can nuts cause digestive problems?

Nuts generally do not cause digestive issues when consumed in moderation. However, people with nuts allergy or intolerance may experience nausea, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, bloating, and stomach pain, when eating nuts even in small quantities. 

Eina Aivoges

Eina Aivoges is a certified health and wellness coach and a licensed medical laboratory scientist. She's also a foodie, avid coffee drinker, cat-lover, blogger, and traveler.

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