What is the best protein powder for IBS?
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that can be managed through diet. Most IBS sufferers simply avoid the foods that trigger symptoms, an approach that has given rise to a diet called the low FODMAP diet.
FODMAPs – fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyol – are carbohydrates common in the American diet. They are found in foods like wheat and milk, and are notorious for triggering digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, and stomach pain. A low FODMAP diet simply restricts high FODMAP foods.
If you are looking for a low FODMAP protein powder, casein and whey protein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, are out of the question. Casein and whey can cause side effects like bloating, constipation, cramps, diarrhea, gas, and nausea for people with IBS. Pea protein can also also upset your stomach if you have IBS. Most other types of protein powders are IBS-friendly, but only if they are additive-free.
Avoid food additives.
Most 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, especially for people with IBS.
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, low FODMAP protein powder is hard. Finding an additive-free, low FODMAP 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 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 IBS. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with our egg white protein powders than with any other type of protein powder. Egg whites are a low FODMAP, complete source protein. This means that they contain all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Of the whole food proteins, egg white protein also has the highest bioavailability, which is a measurement the ability of the body to absorb and use it. This means that you get the most bang for your buck!
If you are nervous about trying something new, I recommend that you play it safe with a single ingredient protein powder. Single ingredient protein powders are predictable, highly customizable, and a great addition to any smoothie or recipe.
“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
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.