How long does protein bloat last?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
How long does protein bloat last? Protein bloat is a common side effect that can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days. Learn more about why protein supplements make you bloat, and how to avoid protein bloating in the first place.
“If you have a sensitive gut, you need simple ingredients.”
-Brittany Carpenter, MS, RDN/LDN
Protein bloat can last for minutes to days.
What is protein bloat?
Bloating occurs when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with gas. People often describe bloating as feeling full, and it can be accompanied by stomach pain, a visibly distended (swollen) abdomen, excessive gas (flatulence), and frequent burping or belching. The most common cause of bloating is a food intolerance or digestive condition that causes gas to build up in the gut.
Protein bloat, to put it simply, is bloating caused by protein shakes and powders. If you regularly use protein supplements, chances are high that you have experienced protein bloat.
How long does protein bloat last?
Protein bloat is a common and temporary side effect. It occurs shortly after drinking a protein shake, and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days. The duration of your bloating will depend on several factors, including the type of food you consumed, your lifestyle, and the makeup of your gut microbiome.
For instance, bloating caused by foods high in sugar lasts for only a few hours, whereas bloating caused by foods high in fiber can last for days. Moreover, people who regularly exercise and drink lots of water tend to overcome bloating faster than people who do not. Finally, certain gut conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance, can prolong bloating.
How to reduce bloating from protein shakes?
Here are 3 tips that may help reduce bloating:
1. Exercise. Physical exercise can help you pass gas and reduce bloating.
2. Drinking peppermint tea. This easy home remedy also has a long history of reducing bloating and gas.
3. Drinking water. Although it might sound counterintuitive, drinking water can actually help reduce bloating as it flushes your gut of things that may be creating gas.
These tips can be helpful, but the best practice is always to prevent bloating from happening in the first place. Keep reading to learn more about what exactly causes protein bloat, and how to avoid it.
Does protein make you bloated?
Protein itself is unlikely to make you bloated. The other ingredients in your protein shake, however, are a different story.
There are two types of protein supplements: ready-to-drink (store-bought) protein shakes, and protein shakes made with protein powder. Both tend to contain a cocktail of emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors, all of which can cause uncomfortable side effects (like bloating) and long-term gut damage.
If you are sick of protein bloat, stick to protein supplements made with short lists of simple ingredients. The fewer the ingredients and the simpler ingredients, the easier the protein shake or powder will be to digest, and the less likely it will be to make you bloated. Continue reading to learn more
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why our protein powder does not cause protein bloat is that we do not use food additives. Most other protein powder companies add ingredients such as emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, and flavors into their recipes. These additives can trigger side effects like bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain.
Additives do not look like real food, and are therefore hard to digest. As a result, they linger in your gut, which can cause one of two outcomes. On the one hand, your gut can absorb extra water, leading to diarrhea, or the additives can feed your hungry gut bacteria, which release gas as the eat. Excessive abdominal gas can make you bloated, far, and even cause constipation.
Most other protein powder companies, on the contrary, add ingredients like emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, and flavors to their recipes, all of which can cause side effects like bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
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
Another reason to avoid food additives is their long-term implications. Frequently eating additives disrupts regulatory pathways in your intestines, increasing the likelihood of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory conditions. Certain additives, particularly artificial sweeteners, can also disturb the delicate balance of your gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food), affecting your ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why our protein powder does not cause protein bloat is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. In contrast, many other protein powders contain whey and/or casein protein, which are byproducts of the production of cheese and yogurt. These dairy-based proteins have a reputation for causing digestive problems, particularly for about one-third of adults with lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance lack the necessary enzymes to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you are now aware, partially digested food can lead to uncomfortable GI symptoms like bloating.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why our protein powder does not cause protein bloat is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other protein powders primarily rely on one or both of these protein sources, which are stripped of everything but the protein. Rather than being labeled as “peas” or “whey,” these processed protein sources appear as “pea protein” or “whey protein.”
To produce protein concentrates and isolates, manufacturers employ significant mechanical and chemical processing. In certain cases, chemical solvents like hexane are used to extract the protein. As a result, what you end up adding to your protein shake bears little resemblance to real, whole food.
Your digestive system is naturally designed to handle minimally-processed or unprocessed real foods, not heavily-processed or artificial substitutes. Consuming anything other than real food may lead to unpleasant side effects. While researchers continue to study the long-term effects of consuming processed ingredients like protein isolates, emerging evidence indicates their potential to disturb your gut microbiome.
The gut microbiome’s role in digestion, immune system education, and various physiological processes cannot be overstated. A dysbiotic gut microbiome is associated with the development of numerous chronic illnesses, which is why I strongly advise against using protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates. Opt for whole, natural foods to maintain your gut and overall health.
In place of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make our protein powders with egg whites and almonds. The egg whites are just pasteurized and dried, and the almonds are simply roasted, pressed (to reduce oil content), and ground. These minimally-processed ingredients ensure that our protein powders are gentle on your digestive system. Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, real foods retain their natural enzymes and digestive aids, making them easy to digest.
For individuals without egg allergies or sensitivities, egg white protein is the best option for promoting gut health. Low in fiber, low in FODMAPs, and naturally alkaline, egg whites are an easily and highly digestible source of complete protein. Our happy customers frequently report experiencing fewer digestive issues when using our egg white protein powder compared to other protein supplements.
For vegans or those unable to consume eggs, our vegan almond protein powder is a great alternative. Almonds offer prebiotic effects, meaning they foster the nourishment and diversity of your gut microbiome while supporting healthy and regular bowel movements.
In summary, we take immense pride in creating protein powders with minimal processing, ensuring you can reap the benefits of protein supplementation without any concerns for your gut health.
“I just wanted to let you know I tried your product (Vanilla) and I loved it!!! It’s the first protein powder that I’ve tried that didn’t leave me feeling bloated. Thanks for making a great product!” – Ovie
drink wholesome does not cause protein bloat.