Can Oats Cause Bloating?

Can Oats Cause Bloating?


A bowl of oats with bananas, nuts, dates, and honey is a tasty, nutritious start to your day. However, it's important to acknowledge that consuming oats can cause bloating or gas for some.

So, if you're one of those who've experienced this, how can you continue to enjoy the benefits of oats without the discomfort? Let’s explore this in our blog.

Oats, a versatile breakfast staple enjoyed by people worldwide, are not just delicious but also highly nutritious. They're packed with fiber and other essential nutrients, aiding digestion, weight loss, and heart health.

The best part? Oats can be prepared in various ways - from oatmeal to oatmeal cookies and bars, making them a popular choice for daily meals. However, it's crucial to remember that even healthy foods can have side effects if consumed excessively.

Oats are fiber-rich, but their increased levels can impede digestion, resulting in bloating. Though oats can cause bloating in a few people, there are ways to reduce its effects and enjoy a healthier meal.

So, buckle yourselves for a rollercoaster ride to understand the after-effects of eating oats and ways to prevent them.

Reasons why oats can cause bloating

Oats are considered healthy foods, but some might wonder how they can cause digestive discomfort.

Here are a few reasons why oats can cause bloating, which will help you better understand the connection between oatmeal and digestion.

High-fiber content

Oats have high fiber content, especially soluble fiber, which is good for digestive health. However, if you’re not used to consuming oats regularly, the sudden increase of fiber in your diet can disrupt your digestive function, causing bloating or gas.

Gluten sensitivity

Even though oats are gluten-free, they are processed in facilities that process other gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, and rye. This can lead to cross-contamination, causing bloating and gas in people who are intolerant or sensitive to gluten. 

Lactose intolerance

Having oatmeal with milk or other dairy products can cause digestive issues in lactose-intolerant people. Since their bodies cannot break down lactose properly, certain signs of bloating or gas may arise. 

Added sugar content

Some instant oats or pre-prepared oatmeal might have added sugars. This increased sugar content can lead to high blood sugar levels and cause digestive problems like bloating. 

Fast consumption

People swallow oats in a rush to go to the office, thinking the meal will be digested quickly. However, if you eat quickly, you may end up swallowing air, which can alter your digestion and cause bloating and gas. 

Have you got the reasons down? That's good because we've got some pro tips on waving goodbye to that bloat life next!

How to reduce bloating from oats?

Though digestive issues are not a specific aftereffect, it is clear that oats can cause bloating in some people. However, this does not mean that you have to avoid eating oats altogether. Here are some tips that will help you relish the goodness of oats while controlling your symptoms of bloating and gas.

  • Increase fluid intake: Drinking plenty of water is the secret to good digestive health. Having at least 8-10 glasses of water daily will help you overcome the risk of gas formation and bloating when eating fiber-rich foods like oats.


  • Start with smaller portions: Eating a large bowl of oatmeal might be the culprit for your digestive troubles, especially if you’re just starting out on a high-fiber diet. So, start with a small bowl and gradually increase the portion size. In this way, your body will adjust to the high fiber content, and eventually, your symptoms of bloating and gas will recede.


  • Soak your oats overnight: Soaking oats in water or milk overnight (lactose-intolerant people must stick to non-dairy products) will make them easier to digest, which will further help reduce gas formation and alleviate bloating.


  • Choose low-FODMAP oats: FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that are not adequately absorbed in the small intestine. So, choose low-FODMAP oats, as they contain low levels of fermentable carbohydrates, reducing the risk of bloating. Also, include low-FODMAP toppings and fresh fruits like bananas, blueberries, etc.


  • Avoid high-fat or high-sugar toppings: People like to add something extra to make their oatmeal appetising, like white/brown sugar, candied nuts, or sweetened fruits. Though they add flavour, they harm your digestive health. So, instead of adding artificial sweeteners or high-fat toppings, opt for nuts, seeds, cinnamon, yoghurt, or skim milk with low sugar and fat content.


  • Chew your oats thoroughly: Oats can be your go-to meal on busy days, but that doesn’t mean you can gulp them down in 2-3 spoons. Take time to thoroughly chew your oats to limit the gas produced during digestion.


  • Experiment with different types of oats: You can find different types of oats in the market, like rolled oats, steel-cut oats, or instant oats. Try eating them and check their reactions to your digestive health. Switch to the one that eases digestion and alleviates bloating or gas symptoms.


  • Opt for plain oatmeal: As oatmeal is fast becoming a staple, newer varieties and flavours fill the rack in minutes. Though flavoured varieties are appealing, they contain artificial food additives that can cause digestive discomfort. So, always opt for plain oats and use fresh fruits and nuts to make them flavourful.

If adjusting your oatmeal habits doesn't fully relieve your bloating, The Good Bug's range of prebiotics might give you that extra digestive support.

Our prebiotics can help ease the transition, especially for those first introducing high-fiber foods like oats into their diet.

Are you curious about managing those oats with specific dietary needs? Don't worry; the next section covers this.

Considerations for specific dietary needs

specific dietary food

We have already seen how oats can cause bloating in certain people, especially lactose-intolerant and gluten-sensitive people.

This section will address how individuals with such specific dietary needs can still enjoy the benefits of oats while minimising the risk of bloating.

Gluten-free options for individuals with celiac disease

Gluten-sensitive people can develop celiac disease that damages the lining of the intestines and prevents the absorption of nutrients.

While oats are naturally gluten-free, they can be contaminated with wheat during processing.

So, ensure to buy oats specifically labelled "gluten-free" and certified by a reputable third-party organisation like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).

In rare cases, even certified gluten-free oats might pose a risk to gluten-sensitive people. If so, consider alternative gluten-free breakfast options like chia pudding, quinoa porridge, or buckwheat pancakes.

Low-FODMAP diet adjustments for IBS sufferers

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a major digestive health concern for many. Choosing low-FODMAP oats can help control the symptoms of this condition to some extent.

Though oats are generally low in FODMAPs, some varieties, like rolled oats, are higher in fructans, a type of FODMAP. Opt for steel-cut oats, which are naturally lower in FODMAPs.

It’s also better to start with a small serving of oats and gradually increase the amount as tolerated.

Also, stay away from high-FODMAP options like apples, dried fruits, or dairy products, and instead include toppings like berries, chopped nuts, or a drizzle of low-FODMAP honey.

Are you feeling better but still have questions? Perfect timing—our next section aims to clear up those lingering doubts.

Common doubts regarding oats and digestive issues

digestive issue

Well, most of you might have got the answer to whether oats can cause bloating.

However, you might still have doubts and concerns regarding the right amount of oats or alternative options for a high-fiber diet. Let’s address some of the common concerns in this section.

What is the safe daily consumption amount of oatmeal?

While there’s no safe or right amount of eating oats, it’s best to assess your fiber tolerance levels and overall dietary needs. However, a good starting point is a ½ cup dry serving of oats.

You can gradually increase this amount to 1 cup as your body adjusts to the increased fiber intake. Listen to your body and adjust portion sizes accordingly if you experience bloating.

What are the alternatives to oats for a high-fiber diet?

While oats are a great source of fiber, there are plenty of other options if you experience digestive discomfort with them. Here are some high-fiber alternatives:

  • Fruits: Berries, pears, apples (with skin), and kiwis are all excellent sources of fiber.
  • Vegetables: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and sweet potatoes are all packed with fiber.
  • Legumes: Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are high in fiber and provide a good source of plant-based protein.
  • Chia seeds and flaxseeds: These tiny powerhouses contain fiber and healthy fats. Add them to smoothies, yoghurt, or oatmeal (if tolerated) for an extra fiber boost.

Does eating oats lead to constipation?

While oats are generally considered beneficial for gut health, they can sometimes contribute to constipation, especially if you're not drinking enough fluids.

Drinking a lot of water, opting for steel-cut oats, adding fruits, and gradually introducing oats into your diet are some measures to prevent constipation.

Is it possible to consume raw oats?

Raw oats are not ideal for consumption. They contain a compound called phytic acid, which can interfere with absorbing essential minerals like zinc and iron.

Soaking oats overnight or cooking them breaks down phytic acid, making them easier to digest and allowing your body to absorb the nutrients.

Assemble all you oat lovers! A bowl of creamy oatmeal topped with fresh fruit and nuts is a breakfast dream. But for some of us, that dream can turn into a nightmare.

The thought of whether oats can cause bloating will take away all the joys of having a perfect meal. But here’s the good news: you don't have to ditch oats entirely. By understanding why they might cause bloating and following simple tips, you can keep your gut happy and enjoy your oats without the discomfort.

The friendly folks at The Good Bug believe everyone deserves a happy gut. We've got a treasure trove of information on gut health, including prebiotics and probiotics that focus on overall health improvement.

Head to The Good Bug website to explore our resources and find ways to keep your gut feeling its best!


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