Gas rumors don't just start at the pump. Most intestinal gas results from fiber additives (inulin, chicory root extract, sorbitol and maltitol) in many processed or manufactured food items bearing the "high fiber" claim on the label. Thought beans, cabbage and milk are the usual suspects, many additives can be the cause of the exponential amounts resulting in bloating, cramps, or diarrhea. Inulin, along with other more complex sugars known as oliosaccharides are sugars our digestive enzymes can not break down. It ferments in the large intestine; a process that produces gas. Beans also contain such sugars, but soaking dried beans, combined with the cooking process remove most of the culprits. Over-the-counter enzyme remedies help with digestion of the sugars to prevent the gas producing fermentation process.
Some sugar free candies, sodas, and gum contain the sugar alcohols mentioned. Some fiber enriched snack items contain as much as 9 grams of inulin, where a serving of beans only contains 3 grams of the oligosaccharides.
Instead of avoiding the whole foods that provide the best nutrition, check the label of your favorite granola bar, cereal, or yogurt. You may be avoiding the wrong food. Though intestinal gas is un-welcomed, it is not harmful.
~American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1998