Can Oatmeal Cause Gas? Here’s Why You Feel Bloating

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If you’ve ever experienced discomfort after enjoying a bowl of oatmeal, you might wonder, “Can oatmeal cause gas?” Unfortunately, the short answer is yes, but it’s complicated.

Oatmeal in a white bowl on a blue tablecloth.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

In this post, I’ll uncover the potential reasons why oatmeal can cause gas and explore some strategies to help minimize this effect. So, let’s uncover the mysteries surrounding oatmeal and its impact on our digestive system.

Reasons Why You Feel Gassy After Eating Oatmeal

You sit down with a delicious bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, then get bloated and gassy not even a few hours later. If this scene sounds familiar, you might be asking “Can oatmeal cause gas?”

Some foods naturally cause a lot of gas and bloating, such as beans, dairy, and, unfortunately, oatmeal. This might not be a problem for some, but if oatmeal is a consistent part of your diet and you would rather not have to deal with the smelly consequences, you came to the right place. Let’s discover why oatmeal is causing bloating and gassiness, and what you can do to prevent it.

Possible Reasons Why Oatmeal is Making You Bloated and Gassy

Oatmeal is a fiber-rich food with a lot of potential health benefits, such as lowering blood sugar levels, decreasing the risk of heart disease, and supplementing your weight loss strategies. However, oatmeal can cause a lot of flatulence, bloating, and sometimes even abdominal pain in some people. If you’re one of them, here are the possible reasons why.

A woman holding her stomach with her hands.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

You Have Food Sensitivity to Oatmeal

Individuals with a sensitive digestive system may be more prone to experiencing gas after consuming oatmeal. For example, those who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other gastrointestinal issues might find that oatmeal causes discomfort, including excessive gas. Additionally, people who are not used to consuming high-fiber foods like oatmeal may experience temporary gas until their bodies adjust to the dietary change.

Oatmeal Might Be Contaminated with Gluten

Oats are gluten-free. However, they might be unintentionally contaminated with gluten-containing grains. During harvesting, transportation, and storage, oats sometimes get accidentally mixed with barley, wheat, and/or rye. When this happens, cross-contamination may occur. 

Oats contaminated with gluten may be the culprit of your gas issues if you have gluten intolerance. The same goes for people with a wheat allergy when oats come in contact with wheat.

Oatmeal is High in Fiber

Oatmeal is a high-fiber food, with 100 grams containing about 10 grams of fiber and a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is fermented by bacteria, while insoluble fiber acts as a bulking agent and remains unfermented. However, the soluble fiber in oatmeal is not always fully broken down during digestion, leading to the production of gas as it passes through the digestive tract.

Gas is formed when gut bacteria in the large intestine ferment undigested carbohydrates from oatmeal. This fermentation process produces gases such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane, which can lead to bloating and flatulence.

You Have Sensitivity to the Ingredients You Added

Oatmeal might not be the culprit for the discomfort you feel after finishing a bowl. Sometimes, it could be the ingredients you add to your oatmeal. For one, adding dairy products like milk or yogurt can cause gassiness (and even diarrhea), especially if you have lactose intolerance.

To identify the culprit, try to eat your oatmeal without added ingredients. This way, you can tell if it’s the oatmeal or the toppings that are causing you discomfort.

You Eat Too Fast

The way you eat may also make you feel gassy or bloated. If you eat too fast, you’re increasing the amount of air you swallow, which may lead to more gas buildup in your gastrointestinal tract. 

A woman holding her stomach with a red light on it.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Ways to Avoid Gassiness and Bloating

If you love oatmeal but it’s making you bloated and gassy, there are some ways you can keep discomfort at bay. Here are some of the ways you can prevent gassiness and bloating as you enjoy a bowl of oatmeal.

Soak and Ferment Oatmeal Before Cooking

Soaking and fermenting your oatmeal before cooking helps make the oats softer, easier to digest, and better for nutrient absorption. Here’s what you need for this method:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons acidic medium (it could be yogurt, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or buttermilk)
  • ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Mix 1 cup of oats, water, and your preferred acidic medium into a glass bowl and stir well.
  • Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight or at least for 7 to 8 hours.
  • When it’s ready to cook, add 1 cup of filtered water and ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt and stir.
  • Put the mixture on a low simmer and let it cook for five minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Try a Gluten-Free Diet

If you’re sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, ensure that your oatmeal is free of gluten. Look for a special seal or certification on food labels that indicates that it hasn’t been contaminated with gluten during the farming, transportation, and storing process.

Add Digestive-Enhancing Ingredients

Digestive spices like ginger or fennel seeds to oatmeal can aid digestion and minimize gas. Ginger is known for its ability to soothe the stomach and reduce gas, while fennel seeds are often used as a natural remedy for flatulence and bloating.

These spices not only enhance the flavor of your oatmeal but also work wonders in calming your stomach and reducing any discomfort caused by gas. They promote good gut health and help prevent excess gas production during the breakdown of food in your gastrointestinal tract.

Eat in Moderation

Make sure to eat a little slower. Take your time and enjoy every bite of your meal. Plus, significant discomfort might be a sign you shouldn’t eat too much oatmeal.

Consult With a Doctor or Registered Dietitian

Is oatmeal the only food causing your digestive issues? Or are you experiencing the same problems with other foods? In the case of the latter, I recommend seeing a physician or registered dietitian to see if you have an underlying medical condition causing intestinal gas and digestive discomfort. 

A woman is holding a bowl of oatmeal.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Replace Your Oatmeal with Other Breakfast Options

If you’re dealing with digestive issues related to oat consumption, experiment with different types of oats to find one that suits you best. For instance, if you experience significant bloating after consuming raw oats, you may find relief by switching to rolled or instant oats instead. 

This personalized approach allows you to identify the specific oat variety that aligns with their unique digestive needs. If it doesn’t work, then, you may want to try out other breakfast options.

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Conclusion

If you’re wondering, “Can oatmeal cause gas?” the short answer is yes, but, sometimes, it’s not the sole culprit. Despite the nutritional benefits of oatmeal, it might be better to try looking for another type of oats or switching to other fiber-rich foods instead.

Check out alternative breakfast options on our blog for delicious, healthy foods that may be better for your digestive system and overall health. Remember, oatmeal is great, but it’s not the only option for fiber.

2 thoughts on “Can Oatmeal Cause Gas? Here’s Why You Feel Bloating”

  1. I generally keep my carbs low and eat an animal-based diet, but for me a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast has a lot of nostalgic appeal because it’s what we always had on Sunday mornings growing up. I don’t have memories of post-oatmeal gas as a kid, but I definitely suffer from it as an adult. Next time I decide to have oatmeal for breakfast I’ll give soaking a try!

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