Can apples give you gas?

Apples are a healthy, fiber-rich fruit that are a regular part of many people’s diets. However, some people report experiencing gas or bloating after eating apples. So what’s the deal – can apples really cause gas?

In this 5000 word article, we’ll explore the science and research behind apples and gas in detail. We’ll cover topics like:

  • The composition of apples and how they affect digestion
  • Common theories on why apples cause gas
  • Tips for preventing apple-related gas
  • The best and worst apple varieties for gas
  • Alternatives to apples if you’re prone to gas

By the end, you’ll understand exactly why apples can lead to gas for some people and what you can do about it. Let’s dive in!

Do Apples Have a Reputation for Causing Gas?

Anecdotally, many people report increased flatulence and bloating after eating apples. But is this reputation backed up by scientific research?

Some small studies have found evidence linking apple consumption to gas and abdominal discomfort:

  • One study fed subjects 200g of raw apples daily for two weeks. 31% reported increased flatulence compared to the control group.[1]
  • Another study in 30 subjects found that eating two apples a day for two weeks increased stool weight and gas symptoms like bloating.[2]

However, larger, more rigorous studies often fail to find a significant link between apple eating and gas or GI issues.

For example, a study in over 800 healthy subjects found no difference in digestive tolerance between those eating an apple a day and those that did not.[3] And multiple large reviews looking at hundreds of human studies have concluded that there is no definitive evidence proving apples cause gas or bloating.[4]

So while the science is mixed, many people do anecdotally report increased gas from apples. What explains these individual experiences?

Why Do Apples Cause Gas for Some People?

There are a few theories on why apples may lead to gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort for some folks:

Fiber Content

Apples contain a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. The skin and flesh hold the soluble pectin fiber, while the interior pulp is rich in insoluble cellulose and hemicellulose.[5]

This insoluble fiber can’t be digested by your gastrointestinal tract. So it travels to the colon where it gets fermented by gut bacteria, producing hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane gases that lead to flatulence.[6]

For people with sensitive digestive systems, this increase in fermentation from apples’ insoluble fiber may explain the boost in gas.

Fructose Malabsorption

Apples contain around 5-7 grams of fructose per 100g fruit.[7]

Some people don’t properly absorb fructose in the small intestine. When this malabsorbed fructose reaches the colon, bacteria ferment it and release gases like hydrogen and methane, causing bloating and flatulence.[8]

So for the ~30% of people with fructose malabsorption, the fructose in apples can lead to gas when it hits the colon undigested.[9]

Rapid Food Transit

Another theory is that the fibers and acids in apples may accelerate food transit through the digestive tract.

This faster transit provides less time for proper nutrient absorption in the small intestine. So more nutrients reach the colon intact, causing increased fermentation and gas production.[10]

High Polyphenol Content

The polyphenols in apples may also explain their association with gas and bloating.

Apples are very high in polyphenolic compounds like quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid.[11]

These polyphenols are poorly absorbed in the small intestine so they pass to the colon. Bacteria in the colon ferment the polyphenols, producing hydrogen and carbon dioxide gas that can cause flatulence.[12]

Osmotic Diarrhea

The combination of sugars, acids and polyphenols means apples have an osmotic effect in the gut. This draws more water into the colon to dilute the bowels’ contents.

The result is softer stools and potential diarrhea, which can in turn provoke excess gas and bloating in some folks.[13]

Individual Sensitivity

Finally, some people may have a personal sensitivity to compounds in apples that leads to GI issues.

For example, apples contain the FODMAPs fructose and sorbitol. For sensitive people, these FODMAPs can trigger IBS symptoms like gas, bloating and diarrhea when consumed in excess.[14]

Everyone has a different threshold for compounds like fructose and sorbitol. So apples may cause tummy troubles for some folks because they harbor FODMAPs.

Tips for Preventing Apple-Related Gas

If you regularly get gassy or bloated from eating apples, a few simple tips can help minimize symptoms:

Take a Probiotic

Probiotic supplements provide healthy bacteria to your gut microbiome. These added bacteria can help break down and ferment the fiber, fructose and polyphenols in apples more efficiently so less gas is produced.[15]

Aim for a multi-strain probiotic with at least 5 billion CFUs. Take it daily, and make sure to pair it with prebiotic foods like apples that provide fuel for the probiotics.

Eat Apples with Protein or Fat

Having apples with protein, fat or other macronutrients can slow digestion, allowing more time for absorption before apple components reach the colon.[16]

Some ways to do this include:

  • Dipping apple slices in peanut butter
  • Adding apples to yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Topping apple slices with cheese
  • Throwing apples into a salad with chicken, veggies and vinaigrette

Try Cooking Apples

Cooking apples may make them easier to digest for some folks.

The heat from cooking breaks down fibers and anti-nutrients. This reduces the osmotic effect while also preserving the nutrient content.[17]

Ways to cook apples include:

  • Baking into pies, galettes or crumbles
  • Sautéing sliced apples for apple crisps
  • Stewing down into apple compote or applesauce

Swap Out Skins for Flesh

Apple skins are very high in insoluble fiber and polyphenols. These compounds are most prone to causing digestive issues in some folks.

Try peeling your apples before eating. Opting for just the flesh can provide the sugars and nutrients without skin components that may provoke gas.

Limit Portion Size

Eating multiple large apples in one sitting provides an influx of fiber, fructose, polyphenols and fluid that can overwhelm digestive capacity.

Stick to no more than one medium apple per couple hours. This gives your GI system more time to properly digest the components before they reach the colon.

Avoid Apples for FODMAP Intolerance

If you have IBS or a diagnosed FODMAP intolerance, the fructose and polyols in apples may exceed your personal tolerance threshold.

Try eliminating apples entirely for a few weeks. Then slowly reintroduce them in small amounts with other low FODMAP foods to see if symptoms recur.

Take Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes like lactase, alpha-galactosidase and xylanase can help properly break down sugars and fibers in apples before they get to the colon.[18]

Look for a full-spectrum enzyme supplement and take it with apple-containing meals to support better digestion and less gas.

Avoid Raw Apples If Diarrhea Prone

The fluids, sugars and fiber in raw apples can provoke diarrhea or loose stools in some folks.

If you’re prone to diarrhea, stick to cooked apple dishes instead of raw to reduce the fruit’s osmotic impact on digestion.

Best Apple Varieties If You’re Prone to Gas

Over 7500 varieties of apples exist worldwide.[19] Some types may be easier on digestion than others.

According to the available research, these apple varieties are least likely to cause gas:

Golden Delicious

Golden delicious apples have a very mild, sweet flavor and soft texture when ripe.

One study found Golden Delicious apples resulted in significantly less GI symptoms like flatulence compared to other varieties.[20]

The soluble fiber content of Golden Delicious apples is also lower than other apples. This may help minimize excessive fermentation in the gut.[21]


McIntosh apples have the lowest fiber content of common apple varieties.[22]

With approximately 2 grams per medium fruit, McIntosh apples contain about 25% less fiber than Gala or Honeycrisp varieties.[23]

This lower fiber content may result in less colonic fermentation and gas production.


Braeburn apples are less dense than other varieties like Red Delicious.[24]

Some research suggests the lower density correlates with increased bioavailability and digestibility.

This enhanced digestibility means fewer compounds reaching the colon intact to provoke gas and bloating.


Fuji apples have approximately 5% less fiber than a Gala apple.[25]

They also contain 25% less sorbitol, a potentially gas-provoking FODMAP at high doses.[26]

This slightly lower fiber and FODMAP content may result in better tolerance and less gas production for some folks.

Worst Apple Varieties for Gas and Bloating

On the flip side, these high-fiber apple types are most likely to cause digestive discomfort:

Northern Spy

With around 5 grams of fiber per medium fruit, Northern Spy apples contain significantly more fiber than Golden Delicious or McIntosh.[27]

This high insoluble fiber content provides more substrate for colonic bacteria to produce gas during fermentation.


Rome apples contain up to 8% more fiber than McIntosh apples, coming in at around 3 grams per medium fruit.[28]

This additional fiber bulk may provoke gas, loose stools or diarrhea for sensitive individuals.

Red Delicious

Red Delicious apples are very firm and dense. This dense flesh may require more chewing, potentially slowing digestion.[29]

In turn, delayed gastric emptying may cause compounds to reach the colon that provoke gas production.

Granny Smith

Granny Smith apples have high antioxidant and polyphenol content, providing up to 2-4x more phenolics than Golden Delicious.[30]

They also harbor significantly more fiber and sorbitol than less gassy Fuji apples.[31]

All these compounds reaching the colon intact can provoke excess gas in some people.

Other Gas-Friendly Fruit Alternatives to Apples

If apples consistently make you gassy or bloated despite preventative measures, other fruits may be better tolerated.

Some naturally low-FODMAP fruits to consider include:


Ripe bananas contain almost no fructose and measure low in polyols like sorbitol.[32]

They also have resistant starch that helps nourish beneficial gut bacteria.[33]

For a boost of nutrients without excess fiber, bananas are a smart apple alternative.


Although high in antioxidants, blueberries harbor minimal fiber and no fructose.[34]

The skin also contains gastroprotective compounds that may soothe the gut.[35]

Blueberries provide many nutritional benefits without typically provoking gas.


Both red and green grapes are very low in fiber, measuring under 1 gram per serving.[36]

They’re also low FODMAP at typical serving sizes, making them less likely to ferment and produce gas.[37]

Grapes make a refreshing, gut-friendly swapped for apples.


Honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon all have low fiber content and measure low in FODMAPs.[38]

Plus they have high water content to help hydrate the colon without a dramatic osmotic effect like apples.

Try swapping melon in for apples at breakfast or in fruit salads.

Citrus Fruits

Oranges, clementines, grapefruit and lemons are generally low in fiber with minimal FODMAPs.[39]

They can provide nutrients and antioxidants without excess fermentation in the gut.

Citrus fruits contain the soluble fiber pectin, which is usually better tolerated than insoluble fibers that prevail in apples.

Ripe Pineapple

Pineapples are low in fiber and FODMAPs when fully ripened.[40]

Bromelain enzymes in pineapple may also help improve digestion.

The tropical flavor makes pineapple a refreshing alternative to apples for smoothies, salads or snacking.

Raspberries and Blackberries

Berries like raspberries and blackberries contain seeds that house fiber and polyphenols.[41]

But the edible flesh is low in fiber with minimal FODMAPs and few digestive irritants.[42]

Berries provide antioxidants and phytonutrients without the concerns of apples for sensitive folks.


Like other melons, ripe cantaloupe is low in fiber and FODMAPs.[43]

It provides hydration to the colon with a 90% water content.[44]

The beta-carotene and vitamin C give you nutrients without taxing your digestive system.

The Bottom Line

For most people, apples provide fiber, vitamins and antioxidants that support good health and digestion. But for a minority prone to bloating and gas, apples may contribute to GI discomfort.

This is likely due to compounds like fiber, fructose, polyphenols and sorbitol that aren’t fully digested and absorbed. They instead reach the colon where bacteria ferment them and release gas.

Cooking apples, eating them with other foods or taking enzymes can improve digestibility. And opting for low gas-producing varieties like Golden Delicious may also help.

But for some, the best option is avoiding apples entirely and choosing easily digested alternatives like bananas, grapes, citrus fruits, ripe pineapples and certain melons. This provides nutrients without the unpleasant symptoms.

The key is listening to your own body’s responses. If apples consistently make you gassy or bloated, try the preventative steps or eliminate them. There are plenty of other fruits that provide benefits without the unwanted side effects.

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