According to a new study published in the journal Nutrients, men fart an average of seven more times per day while observing a plant-based diet. On the surface, the report seems like a rare demerit for the voguish diet, which has received consistent praise from nutritionists and researchers.
“Going plant-based,” after all, has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, as well as trimmer waistlines, a boost in athletic performance, sharpened day-to-day focus, better sleep and even increased libido. Those who decry the lifestyle (usually men) have resorted to regurgitating an internet fallacy — that eating or drinking estrogen will lead to “man boobs.”
But an uptick in flatulence can’t be a good thing … right?
On the contrary, as the authors of the study explain, increased farting and heavier stool are tell-tale signs of a healthy gut. When we eat more plants (and thus more fiber), fiber-fermenting bacteria becomes more prevalent in the microbiome. It then releases short-chain fatty acids that do all sorts of magical work, like protecting the large intestine, warding off colon cancer and lowering cholesterol.
This isn’t extremely revelatory, but the study found a new way to confirm that farting is a natural byproduct of a healthier gastrointestinal system, by putting two groups of men on two different diets, as Men’s Health explained. Aged 18-38, one cohort ate a traditional Western diet (with few fruits or vegetables for two weeks), while the other ate a plant-forward Mediterranean diet for two weeks. Then they swapped.
In each case, the group on the plant-based diet registered more, gassier farts each day, plus double the waste size. The culprit? Fiber-fermenting bacteria — activated thanks to a routine of eating leafy greens. For the plant-based eaters out there, consider this another “W.” From a digestive standpoint, farts aren’t embarrassing. They’re the sign of a highly-effective tract. And in the long run, seven more farts a day seems well-worth at least seven more years kicking around on the planet.