Protein drinks are claimed to aid muscular growth, recovery, and performance. However, for some folks, drinking a protein shake after a workout is a recipe for disaster. That gurgly feeling in your stomach after the final sip might make you want to go to the restroom, which is not a nice way to unwind after a hard workout. If protein shake diarrhea is bothering you, figure out what’s causing it and then take measures to find a better solution.
Can Whey Protein Powder Cause Diarrhea?
Yes, diarrhea is a typical side effect of whey protein powder, especially for individuals who have lactose sensitivity. This is not unusual, as lactose intolerance affects more than 60% of the population.
If you have diarrhea after consuming whey protein powder, look at the nutritional information label for the first few of components. This is most likely the cause if the term “whey concentration” occurs. Whey concentrate is the least refined and cheapest type of whey protein, but it still has a lot of lactose in it. Instead, try switching to a whey protein that contains whey isolate. Whey isolate is a highly processed type of whey that should no longer include lactose. If you’re still having issues after using whey isolate, try switching to a non-dairy protein powder like egg protein powder or a plant-based protein powder.
What Is Lactose?
Lactose is a sugar that may be found in cow’s milk, dairy products, and breast milk. When the small intestine is overloaded with lactose, the Lactase enzyme is produced to help digest the sugar. If you’re lactose intolerant, your body won’t be able to produce enough lactase enzymes, and you won’t be able to digest lactose. This might result in stomach discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea. Lactose allergy is a common occurrence.
According to scientific research, up to 75% of the world’s population suffers from this disease, which can be severe or moderate. In essence, the enzyme lactase may be produced in great quantities by the human body from birth in order to digest or metabolize lactose during nursing. Lactase content, on the other hand, diminishes with time, resulting in lactose sensitivity (also known as lactose intolerance).
Why Protein Powder Is Giving You Diarrhoea?
Let’s start with a few reasons why your post-workout protein drink could be making you sick. Even if you’re using a high-quality, easily digested protein, the method you consume it might be creating digestive issues.
1. You Drink It Too Quickly
While it’s important to replenish quickly after an exercise, consuming your protein shake too soon might cause stomach problems. When you exercise, the majority of your body’s energy is directed into sustaining your muscles, limbs, and brain as they carry you through your workout. During strenuous activity, your digestive system grinds down to a halt. It takes a while for the digestive system to get back into gear after a workout. This implies that if you eat or drink too soon, your stomach may not be ready.
It’s a good rule of thumb to wait 30 minutes before taking your post-workout protein to give your body enough time to “calm down” and return to rest-and-digest mode.
2. You Consume An Excessive Amount Of Protein Powder
More isn’t necessarily better when it comes to post-workout protein. You might be tempted to add extra scoop of powder to your post-exercise smoothie if you had an especially challenging workout. Protein is a tough macronutrient for the body to digest, and consuming too much at once is nearly certain to induce digestive pain, particularly after vigorous activity.
Furthermore, your body can only digest a specific quantity of protein at a given moment (generally between 25-35 grams per meal). It’s crucial to understand your body’s protein absorption rate; otherwise, you’ll be spending money on a supplement that you drink but don’t digest correctly.
3. You Suffer From Lactose Intolerance
Because it tastes nice, mixes easily, and includes protein, milk is the most popular basis for a protein shake. However, milk includes a sugar called lactose, which some people are unable to digest properly. Lactose may be present in your protein powder. According to Lucas Duppler, MS, CISSN, whey protein concentrate powders can be rich in lactose and may not be the ideal protein for gastrointestinal issues. Because whey protein isolate is greater in protein and lower in carbs (including natural sugars), it is typically safe for lactose intolerant persons.
Nausea, vomiting, swelling, colic gas, and diarrhea are all symptoms of lactose intolerance. If you suspect lactose intolerance is to blame, search for whey protein isolate or an alternative protein source like egg, pea, rice, or hemp protein, which may be healthier for a sensitive stomach.
4. It’s The Sweeteners
Examine the list of ingredients on your protein powder of choice. Are there any words that finish with “-ol”? That’s a dead giveaway there’s a sugar replacement in there. According to the Joslin Diabetes Center, substances like xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol are derived from plants, but their carbs are changed through a chemical process. Artificial sweeteners look like a wonderful way to decrease calories when you’re trying to lose weight, but there’s a catch: they can have a laxative impact, causing bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
According to Harvard Medical School, even pure sugar can produce diarrhea. Sugar stimulates the colon to release water and electrolytes, causing bowel movement to loosen. Too much sugar in your protein shake, particularly fructose, which is found naturally in fruits like pears and apples, might upset your stomach.
The solution: Carefully read the label of the protein powder you’ve chosen. Look for one with little or no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners.
5. Drinking Too Soon After Exercise
Your stomach might not be ready for it if you’ve barely put down the weights before starting on your protein drink. Exercise has a variety of effects on your digestive system. Intestinal absorption may be impaired as a result of the delayed small bowel transit. Wait a few minutes after your workout to allow your system to regain equilibrium before asking it to process 20 ounces of protein.
What Is Lactose Allergy?
Lactose allergy is a digestive disease characterized by an inability to digest lactose, the primary carbohydrate found in dairy products. It can cause bloating, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort, among other symptoms. Lactose intolerance is a condition in which a person’s body is unable to generate enough of the enzyme lactase, which is required to digest lactose.
Lactose is a form of double sugar, which means it is made up of two different sugars. It is composed comprised of two simple sugars, glucose and galactose, in a single molecule. Lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose by the lactase enzyme, which may then be taken into the circulation and utilized for energy.
Lactose will pass through your stomach untreated if your lactase levels are insufficient, causing intestinal pain. Lactose is present in breast milk as well, and most people are born with the ability to digest it. Lactose intolerance in children under the age of five is uncommon.
What Are The Causes Of Lactose Allergy?
First, we must comprehend the many forms of lactose intolerance, including the two main categories and their respective causes. The Most Common Lactose Allergy This is the most prevalent symptom of an age-related reduction in lactase content. Lactose becomes more difficult to digest as a result. This form of lactose allergy can be caused by a gene because it is a frequent cause for many people when compared to other reasons.
Lactose allergy affects 5-17 percent of Europeans, 44 percent of Americans, and 60-80 percent of Africans and Asians, according to population surveys.
Lactose Intolerance (Secondary Lactose Allergy) Due to diseases such as stomach discomfort or a more serious condition such as celiac disease, this event is relatively unusual. This is due to the fact that intestinal inflammation can temporarily reduce lactase production.
How Do You Know If You Have A Lactose Allergy?
If you get stomach pains, bloating, or diarrhea after drinking milk or eating dairy products, your doctor will most likely order further tests to see if you are lactose intolerant. Among the things to look for are:
1. Take A Blood Test
This is a measurement of the body’s reaction to a solution with a lot of lactose in it.
2. Check For Hydrogen Breath
After consuming lactose-rich water, the hydrogen breath test detects the quantity of hydrogen gas in your breath. Lactose may be broken down by bacteria in your intestines if your body is unable to digest it. Fermentation is the process of bacteria breaking down carbohydrates like lactose and producing hydrogen and other gases. These gases are taken in and then expelled. The hydrogen breath test will reveal a higher than usual hydrogen gas level if lactose cannot be completely digested.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose allergy, if not managed correctly, can cause significant digestive issues. The following are some of the most prevalent signs and symptoms: stomach bloated stomach ache Distention Diarrhea Chills, vomiting, lower stomach discomfort, and constipation are also common in some persons. Diarrhea is caused by undigested lactose in the small intestine, which causes water to run down the digestive tract. Lactose is digested by microorganisms in the digestive system after it reaches the colon, resulting in short-chain fatty acids and gas. This results in bloating and discomfort in the abdomen. Depending on how much lactose your body can take and how much you eat by mouth, the intensity of your symptoms may vary.
What Foods Contain Lactose?
You’re probably wondering what lactose yeast is and what foods it may be found in. Lactose is commonly present in dairy products.
1. Dairy Foods Contain Lactose
- Dairy cows
- Goat milk
2. Foods That Are Low In Lactose
- Cookies and cookies
- Bread and baked goods
- Breakfast cereal
- Instant soup and sauce
- Processed meats
- French fries, dry seeds
3. Other Dairy Product Names
By glancing at the nutrition information table, you may see if a product includes milk. Some milk products, in instance, may include the following:
- Condensed milk
- Milk powder
- Whey Protein
- Casein Protein
- Sugar milk
If a product contains lactic acid, lactate, or casein, it should be obvious. Lactose is not present in these components.
4. Lactose Allergy Sufferers Can Consume Some Dairy Products
Lactose is present in all dairy meals, however this does not rule out the possibility of lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance affects the majority of individuals, however tiny quantities of lactose can be tolerated. Some people, for example, can take a modest quantity of milk in tea but cannot stomach the amount in a bowl of morning cereal.
Many people believe that a lactose allergy may take up to 18 grams of lactose per day. Many people with lactose allergies may take up to 12g of lactose at a time, which is around the amount in 250ml of milk, according to research. Whey Protein Isolate, for example, is a dairy product that has extremely little lactose by nature. Butter, for example, has only 0.1g of lactose per 20g. Each dosage of lactose in certain cheeses is less than 1 gram.
5. Calcium-Rich Foods That Don’t Include Milk
Dairy foods are high in calcium, although they are not required to be consumed. It is entirely feasible to incorporate highly nutritious diets into one’s lifestyle without needing to consume these items. You just need to supplement with calcium-rich meals. One gram of calcium each day is advised.
Non-dairy calcium-rich foods include the following:
- Calcium supplements: It may be found in a variety of foods, including fruit juice, bread, and non-lactose milk made from almonds, soy, or oats. Before using, give the bottle a good shake because calcium is generally concentrated at the bottom.
- Fish with bones: Canned fish with bones, such as sardines or tiny white fish, are high in calcium.
Plant foods high in calcium: Many plant foods contain large levels of calcium, however anti-nutritional elements like phytate and oxalate make it difficult to absorb this calcium into the body.
A list of lactose-free and high-bio-calcium foods is as follows:
- Lactose-free milk supplements
- Fruit and vegetable juices
- Almond butter
What Is The Best Way To Treat Lactose Intolerance?
If you don’t want to consume dairy products for the rest of your life, here are some natural alternatives.
1. The Enzyme Supplement Products
Purchasing enzyme pills is the most efficient approach to aid lactose digestion. These are tablets that may be swallowed or mixed into food and beverages.
The efficacy of these products, on the other hand, varies from person to person. Lactase enzyme supplements, on the other hand, appear to be highly beneficial for certain persons. One research looked at the efficacy of three different lactase supplements on patients with lactose allergies who took 20-50 grams per day.
As a consequence, while taking 20g of lactose per day, all three lactase supplements eased symptoms. When lactose intake is increased to 50 grams, however, the impact is minimal.
2. Learn To Become Familiar With Lactose
If you have a lactose allergy, including lactose in your diet on a regular basis might help your body acclimatize. The issue is that there aren’t many research on this topic yet, although the initial ones have shown some promising findings.
After 16 days of becoming accustomed to lactose, the body quadrupled lactase enzyme production, according to a small research involving nine patients with lactose allergies.
As a result, additional study is needed before making any suggestions, although training your stomach to accept lactose is perfectly doable.
3. Probiotics And Prebiotics
Probiotics are bacteria that, when consumed, assist to offer health advantages. Fibers that function as food for these bacteria are known as prebiotics. They feed the good bacteria in your gut, allowing them to grow stronger.
Although most studies are still too small, both probiotics and prebiotics have been scientifically proved to alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance. For those with lactose sensitivities, certain probiotics and prebiotics may be more helpful than many other enzymes. Bifidobacteria, which is often found in yogurts and probiotic supplements, is one of the most efficient probiotics.
Which Protein Powder Is Best For Lactose Intolerance?
When selecting a post-workout protein supplement, three factors should be considered: digestion, protein type, and other components. You’ll also want to pick a decent protein for a sensitive stomach if you’ve had a lot of digestive issues.
When it comes to digestibility, you want a protein that is easy to digest and absorb. A hydrolyzed protein supplement or one with high-quality digestive enzymes is your best bet.
The sort of protein you consume will be determined by your diet and lifestyle. Because collagen is particularly needed by the body to restore connective tissues including ligaments, skin, and muscles, a hydrolyzed collagen supplement is a perfect choice for most athletes. See why we prefer hydrolyzed collagen over whey protein for athletes in our post on collagen protein vs. whey protein.
It’s critical to read all of the components in your protein supplement to avoid sweets, fillers, and potentially dangerous additions. You should also look for a complete protein supplement, which means it includes all of the important amino acids. Most hydrolyzed collagen supplements, unlike Frog Fuel, are not fortified to be complete proteins, so make sure to check the label for all 22 amino acids.
Finding the correct protein supplement for you may require some trial and error. Don’t get discouraged if you have to try a few different brands before finding something that works for your digestive system.