Gas Pains from Greasy Foods

Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

So said Mark Twain once upon a time, and I tend to agree. After all, its just greasy food, its not like you are eating depleted uranium or something. Of course, everything in moderation; everybody knows what a steady diet of high cholesterol, greasy food will do for your health. But what is it about those greasy foods that makes our stomach bloat, rumble and blast us with gas pains?

The answer lies in the fat, which is why foods seem greasy. Foods high in fat like fried foods, chesses, and dishes prepared with lots of butter prompt your digestive system to produce higher levels of stomach acids and enzymes in order break them down.

In a sort of chain reaction, your small intestine releases bicarbonate to neutralize these acids and enzymes, in effect limiting their territory in the digestive system to the stomach, where they are most needed. The bicarbonate turns into carbon dioxide, some of which is released as gas.

Now What?

First of all, keep things in perspective. It might feel like youre being tortured from inside your stomach, and youre wondering if something dangerous is going on. Well, its probably not. The gas pains should subside in an hour or two. (Do call a doctor if you have prolonged, or recurrent severe pain in your abdomen, particularly if you also have nausea, vomiting, bleeding, weight loss or fever.)

For temporary relief, try drinking a warm cup of peppermint tea. Peppermint oil has menthol in it, which may act as an antispasmodic on your digestive tract smooth tissue, and peppermint is said to offer relief from gas and gas pain. If youre not the herbal type, try some symethicone-containing over the counter product, like Gas-X, Gelusil, Mylanta, Mylicon. Simethicone helps you to break up the bubbles in gas.

And lay off the greasy foods for a little while, at least a couple of weeks.

At Risk For GERD?

According to a study published in 2005 in the journal GUT, the more fatty food you eat, especially saturated fat, the more likely you are to have symptoms of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), which include heartburn and regurgitation of acid into the throat. Think about that the next time you look at a bacon cheeseburger.

In the study, wrosive esophagitis was found in 24% of those who had an upper endoscopy, which was associated with a high-fat, high-protein diet.

See Also: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

photo by Hajime NAKANO- CreativeCommons Attribution