Protein shakes and bowel movements.
Do protein shakes disrupt your bowel movements?
What is a bowel movement?
Digestion begins in your mouth and ends in your bowels. A bowel movement (pooping) is the last stop in your digestive tract. Normal bowel movements occur anywhere from three times a day and three times a week, and involve poop that is brown, soft to firm in texture, and easy to pass.
Sometimes, bowel movements are not normal. The two most common types of abnormal bowel movements are constipation and diarrhea. Constipation occurs when poop passes through the large intestine too slowly. Diarrhea occurs when poop passes through the large intestine too quickly. If you experience either frequently, this may be a sign of a digestive problem.
Can protein supplements affect bowel movements?
First of all, there are two types of protein supplements, ready-to-drink protein shakes and protein powder. I recommend making your own protein shakes with protein powder, instead of buying ready-to-drink shakes, because liquid protein supplements always contain food additives. I will explain why this matters later on.
Your average protein powder is NOT easy to digest. Just look at the ingredient list. It probably contains over a dozen ingredients, most of which look nothing like real food. For this reason, most protein supplements can cause abnormal bowel moments. Both constipation and diarrhea, for example, are common side effects of drinking protein shakes. If you experience either, or if protein shakes just upset your stomach, you have come to the right place. Here are a few things to avoid when buying protein powder.
Dairy-based protein powders can cause side effects like bloating, constipation, cramps, diarrhea, gas, and nausea, especially for people with lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Common dairy-based protein powders include casein and whey, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production.
If your casein or whey protein powder messes with your bowel movements, it is time to look for a new protein powder. Fortunately, going dairy-free is easier than ever. Unfortunately, not all dairy-free protein powders are created equal.
“This egg white protein powder is anti-bloat, anti-blood sugar dips, anti-artificial tasting. Seriously the best protein powder I’ve EVER tried (I’ve tried literally every brand on the US market, all types of protein powder too). The product is amazing, period.” – Elizabeth
Avoid food additives.
Most dairy-free protein powders are full of food additives. Although food additives are not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, they can add up quickly, especially if you drink a protein shake every day. At higher quantities, food additives can cause nasty side effects.
First of all, because food additives are heavily processed and look nothing like real foods, we can have trouble digesting them. As a result, they sit in our guts for longer and ferment. Fermentation produces gas, which can cause bloating, cramps, and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit and can lead to constipation. In the long term, food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine and cause the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
What exactly are food additives?
As a rule of thumb, food additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Not sure what to look for? Here is a list of the most food common 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 *Natural flavors are NOT natural.
You may have noticed that this list includes several artificial sweeteners. Some artificial sweeteners may be bad for the stomach because they alter the composition of our gut microbiota, the collection of microorganisms that help us digest food. This can lead to serious stomach pain and widespread inflammation. Other artificial sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, can cause diarrhea because they draw water into the gut. Avoid artificial sweeteners whenever possible.
Avoid protein concentrates and isolates.
Finding an additive-free, dairy-free protein powder is hard. Finding an additive-free, dairy-free protein powder that actually tastes good is next to impossible. Why? Most protein powders, especially plant-based protein powders, are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods chemically and/or mechanically stripped of everything but the protein.
Protein concentrates and isolates are listed as “pea protein,” for example, as opposed to “peas.” Unlike real foods, they are missing the nutrients – healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, etc. – that make food taste good. This is why most protein powders have a chalky aftertaste.
Why real foods?
Real foods are foods close to nature. They consist of one ingredient, and have undergone little to no processing. The main real food ingredients in our protein powders are egg whites and chickpeas. Egg whites are simply broken, pasteurized, and dried before becoming protein powder. Chickpeas are just dried and ground.
Unlike protein concentrates and isolates, egg whites and chickpeas have a neutral flavor with little to no aftertaste. The egg whites that we use are particularly delicious because they were broken, pasteurized, and dried less than twenty four hours from when they were laid. The result is a flavor without the saltiness or sulfur “eggy” notes typical of eggs.
Protein powder should taste good. Remember, it is just food. If you find yourself choking down your protein shake, you are missing out. Life is too short for protein powders with a chalky aftertaste. Moreover, if consuming protein powder is a chore, it is not sustainable in the long term. A diet is not a six-week affair, it is for life. Think twice before spending your hard-earned dollars on a supplement that tastes bad.
Why egg whites?
Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein powder is the best protein powder for people with sensitive stomachs. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with our egg white protein powders than with any other type of protein powder. Egg whites are low FODMAP, easy to digest, and low in fiber. This last detail is important because fiber, especially in large doses, can have a laxative effect.
If you have a sensitive stomach, but cannot eat eggs, our vegan protein powders are a great option. Our vegan vanilla protein powder is made with chickpeas, coconut, vanilla, and monk fruit. You will not find better ingredients.
If your protein shake causes constipation or diarrhea, switch to Drink Wholesome. It will not disrupt your bowel movements because it is made with 100% real foods. Ingredients like these are not only better for you, but also better tasting.
You are reading a post by Drink Wholesome, a small business from New Hampshire. Drink Wholesome has taken a fundamentally better approach to protein powder by using 100% real food ingredients. Ingredients like these are not only better for you, but also better tasting. Sick of protein powders that upset your stomach? Sick of protein powders with a terrible aftertaste? Order samples to see if Drink Wholesome is right for you.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.