Specific Health Concerns

Why Beans DON'T Cause Gas

One of the most frequent questions or rather I should say accusations that I receive is "I can't eat beans, they cause gas!" It is always said with vehemence as if there is no arguing the fact. Well, I argue it. Beans do not cause gas. The culprit is something else, and beans just show up at the scene of the crime and are erroneously blamed.

First, I would like to relate a true story that occurred with one of my clients. A young man from Canada called me for a consultation. His complaint: flatulence. He had no other health issues except the debilitating problem of gas. For most people gas is a social problem—causing embarrassment. For this young man, it was excruciating painful, causing bloating that was so intense that he would double over in pain. He would commonly miss work because he was unable to function as the problem was so bad. He had been to see many physicians for his problem, but to no avail.

I took a lengthy amount of time to explain to him how I believed he got to the point at which he was. I purposely left the answer to his problem until the end, as I knew the response I would have received if I told him at the beginning of the conversation what the solution was. But oftentimes the response at the end is the same as if I said it at the beginning. But I always hope for different. So I delivered the summary, "In order to take care of your gas problem, you will have to eat beans."


He exploded just as I expected. "Beans! Are you kidding? Beans cause gas. I haven't touched a bean in years!"

I calmly responded, "You haven't eaten a bean in years?"

"Yes, that is correct."

"Okay, then riddle me this Batman." I couldn't help but use this phrase from my growing up years in the sixties. Do you remember the Batman and Robin television series? Okay, okay, I'm dating myself. See if you can figure out how old I am! Alright, enough teasing. Now back to my story.

I said to the young man, "Okay, let's walk through this. If beans cause gas..."


"And you haven't had a bean in years..."


"Then what in the world, sir, is causing your gas? It can't be beans!"

"Uh, I never thought of it that way."

"Of course, you didn't. So now let me teach you. Remember how I just told you that..."

And so I re-summarized everything that I had just told him. Now I will tell you.


Beans are a bile magnet. Bile and beans have an incredible affinity or liking for one another. They make a sort of chemical bond that is almost impossible to break. Most of the other foods with which bile binds in the intestinal tract are foods with which the bile makes temporary bonds. But when the bean enters, the bile leaves all other foods behind and rushes to make a permanent bond with the bean.

Now you must know something else about bile. This digestive fluid that the liver makes is released into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). It travels to the last part of the small intestine, doing its digestive work, and when it reaches the terminal part of the ileum, bile is reabsorbed and returns to the liver! How much bile returns? Ninety to ninety-five percent!

Please understand that bile is the trash truck for the liver. The liver cleans the blood stream of fat soluble waste and deposits it in the bile. Hopefully the bile will make it past the terminal part of the ileum, get into the large intestine and make its way on out into the toilet. However, that is not what is happening in the normal American's digestive tract. The bile returns to the liver with its garbage in tow!

Unless the bile meets up with the mighty bean.

The soluble fiber in a bean binds tightly with the bile. Interestingly, soluble fiber has a very unique characteristic. It cannot cross the intestinal barrier anywhere. Period.

So if the bile is bound to the soluble fiber in a bond that cannot be broken, when the bile tries to reabsorb and return to the liver, it will find that it cannot, because the soluble fiber will not allow that passage. Therefore, the bile with all of its toxic liver trash will be tossed into the toilet in the form of a bowel movement.

What if the bile is not tossed into the toilet? What happens then? When it returns to the liver, full of trash, the liver is waiting with more trash. The liver is constantly filtering the blood stream. Just because the bile is running around in the gastro-intestinal tract doesn’t mean the liver stops filtering blood. So the returning bile is loaded down with more toxic waste as it passes through the liver again. So the cycle goes, until the recycling bile is so loaded down with garbage that it can no longer do an efficient job in digesting the foods in the intestinal tract. Instead of digesting the foods, the bile ferments the foods. Fermentation always causes gas. Now we have a problem with flatulence.

The answer is to get rid of the nasty bile. If we had new, fresh clean bile then the foods would not be fermented but digested properly, and no gas would form. How can we get rid of the nasty bile? Eat beans!

Remember that when the beans enter the intestinal tract that the foul bile will immediately rush to bind with the soluble fiber found in the bean. The bile is still saturated with toxic waste that causes fermentation. So the first thing to be fermented is the bean! So the bean gets the blame for causing the gas, when really it is the nasty bile that is causing the gas.

If we want to get rid of gas, we must eat beans so that we can throw the foul bile away into the toilet. New bile will then be made that is not noxious. New bile will digest foods and not ferment them. Therefore the flatulence problem will clear up.

I should finish the story of the young man from Canada. He dutifully ate his beans. I had him start at six servings a day. The frequency was the critical issue, not the amount, although I did ask him to eat one-half cup for each serving. I asked him to call me in a few weeks as he should be seeing results by then.

In one week he called. "I couldn’t wait any longer to call you. I just wanted you to know that I no longer have any gas. I am eating my beans faithfully and they're working! I even take them to Pizza Hut with me and I don't get gas there!"

I have many stories to tell you about beans and gas, but suffice it to say that the bean really is the answer to flatulence. No longer blame the bean, blame bile for your gas. Then begin to toss away your recycled bile by eating your soluble fiber.

A note for those who positively cannot stand eating beans: I do have some clients that just can't seem to choke them down. Psyllium husk powder is soluble fiber. You can substitute two teaspoons of psyllium husk powder for one-half cup of beans and it is just as effective. Remember it is the frequency of consumption that is important.

Enjoy a gas-free life. Eat your beans!

- A Note About the Plans for Healing -

You will notice that the Plans for Healing on my various articles as published on my web site include the use of supplements (in the majority of cases). I have included them at this time because most of the people that access my web site, I never have the opportunity to speak to personally. Therefore, I cannot address each person's particular situation as it warrants. The supplements will certainly help, however, be aware that food alone can cure, without the use of supplements.

In fact, it is my goal to be able to see healing with food alone. In my private practice, where I counsel clients individually, it is only occasionally that I might recommend the use of supplements. Food is powerful. As Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be food." That is also my philosophy.

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Contact Karen at Karen@KarenHurd.com or the office phone (715) 877-3510.

All material provided on the KarenHurd.com website is provided for informational and educational purposes only. The information given should not be regarded as a guaranteed cure or a statement that the recommendations can assuredly reverse a health condition. Consult a physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.

© 2014 - Karen R. Hurd, Last Updated: June 16, 2014

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