Can meal replacement shakes cause diarrhea?
Does your meal replacement cause diarrhea?
Here are few tips on how to choose that meal replacement that will not give you diarrhea.
Choose a meal replacement that is dairy-free. Dairy-based proteins like whey can casein are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production. They are known to cause digestive issues, especially for people with lactose sensitivity (intolerance) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. It follows that you may be lactose intolerant or have IBS and not even know it.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose sensitivity, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose sensitivity are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. This partially digested food passes through the colon more quickly than it should, which causes diarrhea.
Choose a meal replacement that is sugar alcohol-free. Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that are partially resistant to digestion and can have a laxative effect because they draw water into your gut. They are also a FODMAP and can trigger symptoms for people with IBS. Common sugar alcohols include erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol.
Choose a meal replacement that is low in fiber. Some plant-based meal replacements have lots of fiber. Fiber absorbs water, which softens stools and causes them to pass through the digestive tract more easily. Too much fiber, as you can imagine, can cause diarrhea. Note that certain protein powers, especially those intended to help with weight loss, have added fiber. 10 or more grams per serving might make you run to the bathroom, so read the Nutrition Facts.
Choose a meal replacement that is additive-free. Most dairy-free meal replacements are full of food additives. Although they are not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, food additives can add up quickly, especially if you drink a protein shake every day. At higher quantities, food additives, which are hard to digest, can cause diarrhea.
Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacements:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors*, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, they are the ingredients that you cannot pronounce.
egg whites, almonds, oats, coconut, cocoa, monk fruit
Avoid protein concentrates and isolates. Finding an additive-free, dairy-free meal replacement is hard. Finding an additive-free, dairy-free meal replacement made with real foods is next to impossible. Why? Most meal replacements are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They are listed on the ingredient list as “pea protein,” for example, as opposed to “peas.”
We will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming meal replacements. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to separate the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
The potential problem here is that your gut might not know what to do with ingredients like these. Your gut prefers the real thing, not some heavily-processed imitation, so protein concentrates and isolates might be hard to digest for people with sensitive stomachs.
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we use ingredients like egg whites, almonds, and oats. Most of the protein in our meal replacements comes from egg whites, which are simply broken, pasteurized, and dried. Minimally-processed ingredients like this are easy to digest, and a gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.
Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein source for people with sensitive stomachs. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein than with any other type of protein.
“I just finished my first bag and ordered 2 more! I Iove this stuff! I have a sensitive stomach and every meal replacement powder makes me bloated…except drink wholesome!”
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.