The simple answer is yes, whey protein powders can cause gas and constipation, although to what extent depends on the individuals drinking whey protein shakes.
Are you trying to find a whey protein supplement to supplement your workouts? Read on to learn about whey protein and be sure to go PRO for access to certified personal trainers, workout logs, nutrition tracking, and more!
What Are the Pros of a Whey Protein Shake?
Most weightlifters and athletes who use whey protein shakes drink them for several reasons.
First of all, the whey protein shakes taste a lot like a traditional milkshake, depending on the flavor.
Secondly, whey protein helps muscles heal and rebuild after a strenuous workout or athletic event, as it helps boost your daily intake of protein.
Whey protein shakes also help build muscle and reduce unwanted fat.
Are There Any Cons to Drinking Whey Protein Shakes?
Unfortunately, despite all the positives associated with drinking whey protein shakes, there are also some negatives. Despite being relatively minor, there are some side effects that can cause a lot of discomfort.
These problems are digestive, and they can wreak havoc on your stomach and insides.
However, it is important to determine the cause of digestive issues. The cause may be how you are preparing your shake or what types of ingredients you are using rather than the type or brand of whey protein shake.
What Role Does Lactose Play in Causing Gas or Constipation?
Since whey is considered a milk protein and is made from the liquid leftover as a byproduct of making cheese, it does contain lactose.
If you are lactose intolerant then you will most likely have some digestive issues when drinking a whey protein shake.
However, it is important to remember that there are two different types of whey protein, and the primary difference is how they are processed. The two types are isolate and concentrate.
Lactose intolerant people should consume a whey protein isolate, as it contains far less lactose.
If you find that the whey protein isolate is not as flavorful as another brand of concentrate, you can always take a lactase supplement prior to taking the shake.
This will help your body digest the lactose easily, and help prevent unwanted gas and constipation.
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What Role Does Fiber Play in Relieving Gas or Constipation?
You can still develop gas and constipation issues even if you don’t have any problems with lactose. In this case, it is important to try to implement fiber into your whey protein shake consumption.
Whey protein shakes that are high in fiber can help minimize or even completely prevent constipation. The only problem with high fiber protein shakes is that they will also contain large amounts of carbohydrates.
Most people who are taking whey protein shakes do not want to consume carbs because of the potential for weight gain. However, the relief in gas and constipation may offset any negatives from the fiber.
Again, it all depends on the individual and what he or she prefers.
The best course of action is to look at the nutritional labels before you purchase a product. There are some choices available that will have high fiber content but not a lot of calories. This is most likely the best option for someone who needs fiber but has added whey protein to their diet.
Does Milk Cause Any Digestive Issues When Combined With a Whey Protein Shake?
Many of the whey protein powders that are on the market today are made to be mixed with milk rather than water or juice. Having milk in a whey protein shake will cause digestive issues for someone who is lactose intolerant.
The difference with milk is that even if you are not lactose intolerant, you may still experience constipation. Too much protein and fat, a result of adding milk to whey protein powder, can cause problems because both are difficult to digest and take a long time to digest.
If you find you need milk to make the whey protein shake taste good but are hoping to decrease the chance of constipation, try using low-fat milk or soy, almond, or lactose-free milk.
All in all, there are many factors that come into play when mixing a whey protein shake. Although it may seem simple, many issues can arise and in turn, cause digestive problems such as gas and constipation.
By looking into the many different stages of mixing a shake, from the type of shake to the type of milk, you can perhaps find a combination that works best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I have to take supplements?
Unless your doctor has instructed you to take certain supplements, you do not have to take them.
Are supplements safe?
Whether or not dietary supplements are safe to take depends on a number of factors. Learn more about the safety of supplements here.
What supplements do I need to take?
No one can answer that aside from your doctor. To learn more about the various supplements that doctors commonly recommend, check out this article.
Of course, no supplement routine is complete unless it is paired with a regular exercise routine. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, workout logs, and more!