We all want to eat beans. They are good for your heart. Unfortunately, they make you fart. Fortunately, soaking and cooking beans before you eat them, increasing your intake gradually, and using supplements that contain alpha-galactosidase can help minimize gas and bloating. I have no issues with farting. Serious eats partnered with Harvard’s Science of Cooking program to see if you can minimize your farting. Is there such a thing as a fart-free bean? It seems that if you rinse the liquid in canned beans it can reduce your farts by at least thirty percent.
It’s also not a frivolous one: Harold McGee, the foremost author on the science of food in the kitchen, ended up writing his seminal work, On Food and Cooking, because someone asked him why beans make you fart. If that’s not enough for you, also note that St. Augustine (who knew of people who could discharge their farts in odorless melodies), Montaigne, and Ben Franklin all expounded on gas (primarily to tell you not to worry about it, the advice we are ignoring). And it is said that philosopher-mathematician Pythagoras (who, PS, did not invent the Pythagorean theorem, but that’s a tale for another day) was allegedly afraid of both beans and their magical toots.
Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart
The more you eat them, the more you fart,
The more you fart the better you feel
So eat your beans with every meal.
Many, many people will tell you that the key to reducing bean gas is to eat more beans. Eating more beans, they argue, works because it allows our digestive systems, and the microbiome in them, to acclimate to the beans. Over time, they say, the gassiness will go down. This makes no sense to me. If these oligosaccharides are food for bacteria in our gut, common sense would say that feeding those bacteria more food would, if anything, do the opposite by supporting their population growth while giving them plenty of raw material to digest. It wasn’t within the scope of this project to test (and, I suspect, disprove) this theory, but count me as highly doubtful. If anything, I have to imagine that eating more beans more often just makes people more used to being gassy, and that, in turn, makes them notice it less. (Their significant others might have a very different take…)
Do Canned Beans Fart Less Than Those Cooked from Scratch?
Yes, marginally. We tested nine cans of Goya pinto beans from three different lots, and they consistently had about twenty percent less fartiness than the beans cooked from dry.
Does Rinsing Canned Beans Reduce Gas?
A resounding yes. Gram per gram, rinsed beans are over twenty percent less farty than unrinsed, and the liquid you throw away is thirty percent fartier than the beans are themselves.