Woman passes gas at a restaurant

Passing gas in front of others can be an embarrassing experience, even with friends. (© mirkoni - stock.adobe.com)

LONDON — If you’ve ever found yourself red in the face thanks to uncontrollable gas brewing in your belly, you’re not alone. A recent survey reveals some of the most embarrassing moments adults have experienced thanks to their gut issues. These include unintentionally passing gas in public, experiencing loud stomach noises during job interviews, and leaving unpleasant odors in public restrooms.

The poll of 2,000 British adults, conducted by OnePoll, finds that 79 percent have faced awkward stomach-related incidents. Furthermore, 73 percent of respondents reported suffering from symptoms like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea at least once a week, totaling about seven weeks per year.

Despite these common issues, 54 percent of respondents admit to finding gut health perplexing. For example, 39 percent say they’re unsure about which foods benefit digestion, and 43 percent were unaware of the crucial role fiber plays in gut health.

Highlighting this lack of knowledge, registered nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, collaborating with California Almonds, which sponsored the study, emphasized the importance of dietary choices in managing these symptoms.

“Knowing the right foods is an easy first step to treating these awkward symptoms, and research reveals that fiber-rich foods like almonds can support a healthy gut,” Lambert says in a statement.

The study further discovered that while many individuals suffer from digestive problems, over one-third (38%) do not realize that these issues could signify poor gut health. Only 20 percent believe these symptoms might lead to health concerns.

Man with stomach or gastrointestinal pain
Most people who regularly suffer from gut-related stomach symptoms don’t bother talking to their doctor or an expert for advice. (© Syda Productions – stock.adobe.com)

When facing an embarrassing gut-related incident, only three in 10 would consult a nutritionist, and merely 27 percent would seek a doctor’s advice. Common reasons for this reluctance include the perception that gut health is not a significant concern (51%), the belief that such symptoms are normal (35%), and the desire not to burden doctors (28%).

That said, 69 percent prefer self-treatment, with 56 percent modifying their diet, 50 percent increasing water intake, and 46 percent using over-the-counter medications. Many are even willing to try popular remedies from TikTok, such as charcoal supplements, ginger shots, and lemon water, according to OnePoll report.

Lambert further adds that gut health should not be overlooked, as it affects not just digestion but overall well-being and can prevent serious diseases like colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She advises that a varied and balanced diet supporting gut microbiota is key to good gut health.

Lambert highlights recent scientific findings showing that consuming whole and ground almonds can boost the production of the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, which is linked to various health benefits including improved sleep, reduced inflammation, and a lower risk of colon cancer.

Rhiannon Lambert busts 4 common food myths surrounding gut health:

MYTH: You should go to the toilet every day – you may be constipated if you notice that you haven’t passed a stool for longer than you would normally. Consuming almonds may support increased bowel movements.

MYTH: Lemon water is great for your gut – adding a slice of lemon to your water, while tasty, is unlikely to do anything for your gut microbiome or provide any sort of “detox effect.” Drinking plenty of water is enough to keep your gut functioning normally, as dehydration can result in constipation.

MYTH: You get enough of your fiber from cereals – most don’t reach the recommended 30 grams of fiber per day, so if you enjoy cereals for breakfast, look for varieties that contain whole foods sources such as almonds, oats, and complex carbs.

MYTH: Giving up gluten is good for the gut – cutting out food groups has no benefit to the gut and can limit a variety of healthy foods in the diet so unless you have Celiac disease or a confirmed intolerance, consuming gluten will likely have no negative effects. Wholemeal breads can be a great source of fiber, which is a key nutrient for supporting a healthy gut.

72Point writer Mustafa Mirreh contributed to this report.

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