Protein shakes can be a convenient meal replacement or post-workout snack during a busy day. They often contain high amounts of protein as well as a portion of the day’s essential vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, such shakes can also sometimes contain ingredients that can trigger digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and/or constipation, especially in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although these ingredients are not necessarily the cause of IBS, they can certainly trigger IBS symptoms. Therefore, read below for ingredients to avoid in your protein shake choice to reduce triggering of IBS symptoms.
Ingredients to avoid in protein shakes
When you are dealing with IBS, it is important to try and consume a low FODMAP diet. This is because research shows that this type of regimen has success in reducing IBS symptoms. Therefore, when choosing a protein shake, it will be important to avoid higher FODMAP ingredients that could trigger IBS symptoms. Some of these ingredients include the following:
- Whey protein concentrate or milk protein concentrate: These ingredients are typically added to provide protein, but they can also be high in lactose, and in turn are high FODMAP.
- Crystalline Fructose or fructose-based ingredients like high fructose corn syrup: Limit fructose-based sweeteners since they are high FODMAP in excess.
- Soy protein derived from whole soybeans: Soybeans are high FODMAP, therefore any protein powder derived from whole soybeans should be avoided. However, you should be ok if the soy protein has been processed to remove the fiber content since this is where most of the FODMAPs in soy are concentrated.
- Nonfat dry milk: Cow’s milk in any form is high in lactose, and therefore, high FODMAP.
- Agave syrup, molasses, or honey: These sweeteners may be more natural, but they are high in fructose, and therefore high FODMAP.
- Fructo- or galacto-oligosaccharides: These functional fibers are indigestible carbohydrates that are considered high FODMAP.
- Fruit or fruit concentrates such as mango, pear, peach, or apple: These fruits in any form are high in fructose, and therefore high FODMAP.
- Sugar alcohols and inulin: Sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol, and xylitol are high in polyols and inulin is high in fructans, which makes these sweeteners high FODMAP.
- Carob powder
Tips for choosing an IBS-friendly protein shake
When choosing an IBS-friendly protein shake, it will be important to look at the nutrition label and avoid high FODMAP ingredients such as those listed above. Follow the tips below for choosing a protein shake that is IBS-safe.
- Stick with lower sugar protein shake options that use natural, low FODMAP sweeteners such as cane sugar, stevia leaf, and monk fruit extract.
- Choose low FODMAP protein sources such as whey protein isolate, egg protein, pea protein, and rice-based protein. Those protein made with soy protein with fiber removed may also be low FODMAP. Also, hemp protein and collagen peptides are also suspected to be low FODMAP protein sources.
- Stick with natural flavors from low FODMAP ingredients like concentrates from low FODMAP fruits like strawberries or blueberries, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, or cinnamon, to name a few.
If you are looking for a low FODMAP protein shake that will be safe to add to your routine, there is a low FODMAP certified protein powder from Casa de Sante that provides a slew of amino acids like branched amino acids from whey protein isolate and is sweetened naturally with stevia and monk fruit extract. There is also a vegan version of this delicious shake made from pea protein isolate, organic hemp protein, and Sacha Inchi protein that also contains antioxidants, protein, and vitamin B12 from spirulina.
Take home message
Protein shakes can be a very convenient meal or snack option. And just because some protein shakes contain ingredients that may trigger IBS symptoms, there are some products out there that are IBS-friendly. The key to finding such products is to read the ingredient labels well, know what high FODMAP ingredients to look for and avoid, and to find a low FODMAP-supportive company like Casa de Sante so you have an IBS-safe resource to buy your food products.