Protein supplements are a great product to use as either a meal replacement, a post-workout recovery snack, or just a way to add some protein to your snack time smoothie. You may have heard of collagen as a dairy-free protein supplement. What you may not know is that the reason collagen is so effective as a protein supplement. This is because naturally, collagen makes up about one-fourth of your body’s protein make-up. Collagen helps strengthen bones, tendons, and ligaments, and assists in wound healing. Collagen is also known to be a great supplement to take to strengthen your hair, skin, and nails.
This collagen protein is not the same as what you will find in the collagen protein supplement though. Many collagen peptide products are made from bovine collagen or marine life collagen sources, so they are not vegetarian or vegan. Also, the protein supplement collagen consists of collagen peptides, or collagen fragments. These fragments have the same amino acid profile as the collagen protein, but they are lighter in molecular weight due to shorter amino acid chains. This property makes them soluble in cold liquids and more easily digestible. But for those on the low FODMAP diet, are they just as easily digestible?
Collagen peptides and FODMAPs
Collagen peptides have not been tested formally, but they are suspected to be low FODMAP. Therefore, if you decide to try collagen peptides, just be sure to test it out first before you consume regularly to make sure it doesn’t trigger any symptoms. Also, be sure that whatever collagen product you choose does not contain any of these common protein supplement ingredients that are high FODMAP.
- Sweeteners: Avoid added sweeteners like agave syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup, crystallized fructose, sugar alcohols like mannitol, sorbitol, erythritol, or xylitol. Also avoid fruit concentrates like mango, pear, peach, or apple concentrates as well as molasses, sorghum syrup, and golden syrup. Other high FODMAP sweeteners include inulin, chicory root, and fructo-oligosaccharides.
- Flavorings: Added flavors like ground cashews, pistachios, lentils, or beans should be avoided. Also, any milk powders, carob powder, malted chocolate powder, or coconut water should be avoided as they are high FODMAP.
- Other protein additives: Some protein powders will contain a mixture of different protein powders. In this case, be sure to avoid mixtures that contain protein powders such as whey protein concentrate or hydrolyzed whey protein (unless it is labeled lactose-free) as well as soy protein powders made from ground soybeans. If the soy protein has had the fiber from the beans removed, then it may be low in FODMAPs and therefore safe to consume for those on the low FODMAP regimen.
Other low FODMAP protein supplement options
Pea protein, egg protein, rice protein, and whey protein isolate are all safe in two tablespoon servings on the low FODMAP regimen. An example of a low FODMAP whey protein powder is Casa de Sante’s low FODMAP protein powder in vanilla and chocolate. They also offer a vegan variety for those avoiding dairy all together. This protein formula contains low FODMAP protein powders like pea protein isolate, organic hemp protein, Sacha Inchi protein, and milled chia seeds.
Take home message
Protein powders can be a great way to fill in your nutritional gap and create a portable and delicious meal replacement option. However, just like with any other foods or food products, it is important to read the label and check for any high FODMAP ingredients that may be lurking inside.
Collagen peptides are a great dairy-free source of protein for your smoothie or shake. However, since they have not yet been formally tested for FODMAPs, you should be sure to consume a small amount first to test your tolerance before you make collagen peptides a part of your everyday routine.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN, LighttrackNutrition.com