In a report titled Perceptions of Flatulence From Bean Consumption Among Adults in 3 Feeding Studies, people’s concerns about excessive flatulence from eating beans may be exaggerated.

(Donna Winham, of Arizona State University, and Andrea Hutchins, of the University of Colorado, got volunteers to eat half a cup of beans a day for several weeks. In the first week, fewer than half of the beanies reported an increase in flatulence, and over 70% of the participants who had experienced flatulence initially felt that it dissipated by the second or third week of bean consumption.

This flies in the face of advice given by Geoffrey Wynne-Jones of Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand, In 1975 he published a treatise in The Lancet, with the alarming title, Flatus Retention is the Major Factor in Diverticular Disease.   Dr Wynne-Jones said: “Diverticular disease is confined to modern urban communities: flatus retention in a rural, primitive society would be pointless … [The disease] afflicts the cultured, the refined, the considerate … It should be recognised as originating in suppression of a normal bodily function.”

He declared that patients must “avoid ‘windy’ foods” and identified beans as a chief example of a “windy” food. So, this latest study suggests that beans owe their unhappy reputation to a psychological anticipation of flatulence.  Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.)