In a new study from Spain, researchers found that the increase in flatulence experienced by people switching to a plant-based diet is an indication of a healthier gut microbiome.
They described experiments they conducted with healthy, male volunteers regarding diet, fecal sample size and flatulence.
It is widely known that switching from a fat or carbohydrate-based diet to one that features more vegetable results in more flatulence—particularly if the switch is to cruciferous vegetables.
But as the researchers with this new effort have noted, little research has been done to learn more about the association between diet and flatulence.
To learn more about the impact of switching to a plant-based diet on digestion and the gut biome, the researchers enlisted the assistance of 18 healthy men.
Each was asked to eat a western-style diet and then to switch to the plant-based Mediterranean diet for two weeks.
Over the study period, the volunteers were asked to count the number of times they defecated each day and to capture and weigh each stool sample. Each of the volunteers was also asked to count the number of times they passed gas.
The volunteers were also asked to submit to randomized testing that involved measuring the amount of gas that was emitted during episodes of flatulence, using balloons.
The researchers found that the change in diet did not change the number of times the volunteers defecated each day—but it did change the amount of material discharged.
They found the plant-based diet doubled the stool size on average. The researchers note this was due to a huge increase in the mass of bacterial growth and excretion.
The data also showed that the number of flatulence episodes increased by seven times per day on the plant-based diet—and each discharge had approximately 50% more gas.
The researchers note this was due to fermenting of plant material in the gut.
The researchers suggest that a plant-based diet promotes more healthy types of gut bacteria which leads to better overall gut health.
If you care about gut health, please read studies about this high blood pressure drug may harm your gut health and findings of vitamin D level in the body may influence your gut health.
For more information about gut diseases, please see recent studies about gut health strongly linked to Parkinson’s disease and results showing that diets high in these foods may increase gut inflammation.
The study is published in the journal Nutrients. One author of the study is Claudia Barber.
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