Protein shakes can be a nutritious and convenient meal option if you are on the the go. However, if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), picking a protein powder can be a difficult process. This is because milk ingredients high in lactose, certain thickeners that contain gluten, as well as certain sweeteners and flavors can be high in FODMAPs that can cause digestive discomfort. Therefore, use the tips below to help you find a protein powder that will help you eat healthy on the go without causing your gut any harm.
Common protein powder ingredients to avoid
There are so many protein powders on the market shelves, that it can take a lot of time to read labels and figure out if they are low FODMAP friendly or not. To make it simpler, follow these steps to find a FODMAP-friendly protein powder.
- No whey concentrate: Avoid those protein powders that contain whey protein concentrate since this type of whey protein is fairly high in FODMAPs. Also, hydrolyzed whey protein should be avoided when choosing protein powder products. That is not to say that all whey protein should be avoided though since whey protein isolate is considered safe on the low FODMAP diet. This step should narrow your choices down quickly.
- Watch for high FODMAP sweeteners: Next, look at the ingredient label for sweeteners. Avoid any protein powder that contains fructose, agave syrup, honey, sorghum syrup, molasses, or sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols will include any ingredients like maltitol, xylitol, erythritol, or sorbitol. These ingredients are high FODMAP and may trigger digestive symptoms in those with IBS.
Look out for other high FODMAP additives: Here is a short list of some other protein powder ingredients that you should avoid:
- Carob powder (no more than 1 teaspoon)
- Malted chocolate-flavored beverage base (no more than 1.5 heaped teaspoons)
- Ground cashews or pistachios
- Buttermilk powder
- Kefir powder
- Milk powder
- Soy bean powder or any bean or lentil powder
- Apple, pear, peach, or mango fruit concentrates
This is just a short list that should get you started to choosing a safe protein powder. Now let’s look at what protein powder ingredients are good to go.
Safe protein powder choices
Here is a list of ingredients in protein powder products that are safe for you to consume and some low FODMAP choices to try.
- Pea protein: safe in a two tablespoon serving.
- Brown rice protein powder that is sprouted and organic: safe in a two tablespoon serving.
- Egg protein powder
- Whey protein isolate
Soy protein powder may be low FODMAP too, but it will all depend on how the soy bean is processed. If the soy protein powder contains fiber, then it likely contains oligosaccharides, which are high FODMAP. However, if you see soy lecithin on the label, you will be safe. This soy ingredient that is used to provide texture to protein powders is low FODMAP.
Bone broth and collagen peptide powders are other protein supplements that are suspected to be low FODMAP too. However, there has not been any formal testing yet on these products for FODMAPs. Therefore, be sure to try a small amount first before consuming daily to see if such products trigger symptoms.
Other common ingredients in protein powders that are low FODMAP friendly are:
- Xanthan gum
- Monk fruit
- Sunflower lecithin
- Cocoa powder
- Vanilla extract or other extracts
So, what protein powders do I choose?
To avoid triggering IBS symptoms after drinking your protein shake, it is safest to get powders with short ingredient lists that have all-natural ingredients. You will still have to read the ingredient labels to check for high FODMAP additives though. Check out low FODMAP protein powder products like Casa de Sante’s whey protein powder and their low FODMAP and vegan protein powder. Products that are certified low FODMAP make choosing an IBS-safe protein powder that much easier.