those legendary oatmeal farts are real!

Estimated reading time is 5 minutes.

WHO FARTS MOST AND WHY? Talk to any group of women who live with men and you will hear a list of, ahem, observations on the general demeanor and behavior of those men. The most common observation is an obsessive attraction to spectator sports—especially if they are on television—accompanied by beer and chips.

When given a few days off from work, there is a tendency towards (among many other, er, habits):

  a propensity towards nose-picking,
  a disheveled appearance, and
  a taste for porn. 1

And farts.

Always with the farts!

As Gramma always told my brother, sister and me when we were children: “Where ere ye be, let your wind flow free.”

Fart, a once-crude word for flatulence, is now so commonly used that whatever crudeness once assigned to its use in decent company seems absurd in hindsight. Synonymous with flatulence—itself a rather funny word—it refers to the passing of gas from the intestines through the rectum.

Merriam-Webster Online is so cautious in defining flatulent that it’s almost a useless definition: “marked by or affected with gas generated in the intestine or stomach.”

Yeah yeah yeah!

But what about the noise?

What about the stink?

What about how damn funny they can be?

At least to men (and my sister).



I searched for a funny image of a man breaking wind but could’t resist this photo when I found it! And it calls to mind a bit of sage advice that I received from my Gramma: “Where ere ye be, let your wind flow free.”

Men out-fart women

How much gas each individual passes varies based on genes and diet, although other health issues may play a part in one’s gas build-up, including certain prescription drugs. Whatever the final make-up is, according to women, we men out-fart them by a considerable margin!

That said, I find that confessing to having spent a major portion of my life as a major farter has been relatively painless. At least, for me. As a lifelong lover of beer, I certainly know my way around the whole experience.

Now for the meat of the matter: for years, I had been hearing jokes about oatmeal farts. And I believed only that they were, in fact, jokes about oatmeal causing memorable farts.


JohnMcCanns OatMeal 300

John McCann and your behind

Needless to say, a staple of my diet for years has been a BIG bowl of McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal, which I generously add raisins (a fart-inducer itself) and bananas along with a healthy dollop of raw honey for breakfast. Just writing these words describing my breakfast makes my mouth water, even as I continue pecking away at the keyboard. 2

Each can of McCann’s bears a little banner that instills confidence in the product by noting that “Soluble fiber from oatmeal may reduce the risk of heart disease.” There is no similar banner warning the buyer that very soluble fiber from oatmeal may increase the risk of daily bursts of excessive flatus.

But last year things changed: I actually researched oatmeal farts, wanting to know the source of the joke. And, lo and behold, it is NOT a joke: due to the high fiber make-up of oats, bacteria in the digestive tract cannot break down that fiber and consequently gas builds up and, well, it comes out as flatulence, or farts.

So, I gave up my cherished oatmeal for a few days to see what would happen. And that is all it took to notice a BIG difference—a few days.


Within 72 hours (less than three days), my fartometer showed an almost 50% drop in hourly incidents! Honest Injun!!!

I had not told my wife what I was doing, but on the third day she remarked about the change in our place’s overall ambience. She said, “Babe, what’s wrong? You’re not farting like usual?”

So, the point of this post is this: guys, if you fart like the dickens (or merely like a guy), and oatmeal is a part of your diet, cut it out for a couple of weeks and see if there are any positive results. Like they’re cut in half! And gals, if your guy is into oatmeal, get him off the stuff and see your life change for the better!


DogFart 300

The ultimate farter

My sister, Mary Alice, had this amazing dog as her partner and roommate. His name was Munchkin and he was so intelligent, so curious, so damn near human, that his mere existence was an argument for reincarnation. He was also friendly, affectionate, and funny. He could also clear a room of all human habitation with a single, silent fart.

There would be MA and her then-boyfriend John, my brother Charles, and me sitting at the kitchen table at our parents’ house chit-chatting away. Munch would be flopped down on the floor in front of the back door. Suddenly, without a word, the four of us would be up and running—and I don’t mean walking quickly—I mean we ran to get out of that room.


Guess . . .

Fart cartoon

I found this cartoon by Sandy Huffaker which allows me to tie in farts with politics (and Mr. Beck may not be the #1 rightwing gasbag, but he runs with that pack). Please note that Mr. Huffaker is three-time Cartoonist of the Year nominee who has also been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. 3

On beer and farting

Finally, guys, I know it’s almost impossible—beer being an essential component to an American male’s balanced diet—but if you give it up (beer, that is), most of the rest of the remaining 50% of your flatulence will cease and you could end up farting LESS than your wife!!!

Think she can handle that?

Postscriptually, my daughter spent a week with us during August, the first time we have been together for several years. We were discussing how much of her was like me and diet came up. And I asked her about oatmeal, of which she is, needless to say, rather fond.

I told her all of the above and the next morning she and I had a big bowl of McCann’s with raisins and bananas and honey, my first bowl of oatmeal in a loooooong time. Guess which was the only day that I had the farts while she was here?

Soluble fiber from oatmeal may reduce the risk of heart disease, but cause farting—lots of farting. Click To Tweet

Fart photo 1000

HEADER IMAGE: The image at the top of this page accompanied a piece titled “Partners Who Fart in Front of Each Other Are More-Likely to Have a Long Relationship” on the Curious Mind Magazine site. Perhaps Berni and I, then, are eternal . . .





1   This article was originally posted on this site on November 7, 2103, with a similar title, “those legendary oatmeal farts are real (honest injun).” For this revision, I have edited the draft, added several images—something that I did not know how to do at the time—and a few words concerning the thunderous cartoon I used as the header above. So if you have already read this, there really isn’t anything earth-shaking or room-clearing in this update. 

2   While bananas and raisins are my fave, you can add any fruit that delights you: berries of any kind work well. And instead of honey, try light brown sugar.

3   To check out more cartoons by Sandy Huffaker, click here.



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