The avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree. This fruit has a creamy and smooth texture. In addition to a good mouthfeel, avocadoes are rich in heart-healthy fats. Avocados have a high monounsaturated fatty acid content than most fruits. They are also a good source of many nutrients. This includes high fibre, vitamin and mineral content. This makes avocados a nutritional powerhouse. However, some people may have problems with this fruit. According, to several studies avocados cause bloating. This problem is more common in people with irritable bowel syndrome. And also in people with other functional bowel problems.
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Do avocados cause bloating?
The answer is, yes! Avocadoes cause bloating to certain individuals. However, not everyone experiences bloating from eating an avocado. Most people may not feel any discomfort after eating avocados. This problem mainly affects people with functional bowel problems.
Why does eating avocados make you feel bloated then?
Avocados cause bloating because they contain compounds called FODMAPs. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that have low digestibility and absorbability. These carbohydrates can cause unpleasant digestive symptoms in the gut. Especially, in the guts of people with functional bowel problems.
The term FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. These short-chain carbohydrates cannot be easily absorbed or digested in the intestines. This means they remain inside the lumen of the intestines after ingestion. These compounds include:
- Excess fructose and fructans in the diet. Sources include high fructose corn syrup, honey, syrups and large fruit servings.
- Lactose. Sources of lactose are dairy foods. Lactose problems commonly affect those with lactose intolerance.
- Oligosaccharides are short-chain carbohydrates that cannot be digested and absorbed easily. Sources include broccoli, artichoke and legumes.
- Polyols. The sources include fruits like avocados, apples and nectarines. They also include foods with artificial sweeteners ending with -ol.
How do avocado FODMAPS (in this case Polyols and sugars) cause bloating?
According to Magge and Lembo, the main FODMAPs in avocadoes are polyols. An example is a polyol called perseitol. This may also include indigestible sugars with no nutritional value. These sugars are present in avocados. The main sugar in avocadoes is mannoheptulose. This sugar has nutraceutical properties. However, it can still play a part in bacterial fermentation.
Ingestion of these polyols and indigestible sugars irritates the bowels. Why?
This is because we are delivering readily fermentable substrate to the small intestine and colon bacteria. And when the bacteria ferment the substrate, they produce byproducts. This results in luminal bloating and swelling as well as gassing in the gut.
How, does this happen?
These avocado FODMAPs (polyols and indigestible sugars) are poorly absorbed in the intestine. They are also poorly digested. As a result, they remain in the intestinal lumen. In this area, they become a ready food source of gut bacteria. The intestinal bacteria then ferment these compounds to produce energy. But, besides energy, the fermentation process produces other by-products. These by-products include gas (hydrogen and methane) and other smaller compounds.
Now, this is the gas that causes bloating and gassing as well as the associated discomforts.
The smaller compounds on the other hand are osmotically active. This means that they can attract/draw water to the space they occupy. However, in this case, they are in the intestinal lumen. So, where do they draw the water from?
These compounds draw water from the surrounding tissues into the intestine. This causes an accumulation of excess fluids in the lumen. So, we now have excess gas and fluids accumulating in the gut. And this is worsened by conditions such as SIBO. In this case, a person has an abnormal bacterial load in their small intestines. This means the fermentation is quicker. And so is the gas and fluid accumulation. All this results in various intestinal discomforts. These translate to several symptoms which include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Distension (abdominal bloating and swelling)
How polyols and indigestible sugars in avocados can cause bloating: A summary.
- We have food with short-chain carbohydrates.
- These carbohydrates are indigestible and are not easily absorbable.
- They are ingested in their food sources (avocado).
- Bacteria in the small intestine and colon digest the compounds.
- They produce gas (methane and hydrogen) and small compounds as by-products.
- The small compounds are osmotically active. So, they cause the accumulation of fluid in the intestines.
- We now have accumulated gas and excess fluids.
- These cause bloating and associated symptoms.
So, yes avocados cause bloating but not to everyone. Whilst, they are a healthy nutrient source some people face problems when eating avocados. This can result in bowel discomforts like bloating, diarrhoea and distension. So, what do you think? Tell me in the comment section!