Throughout your fitness journey, you might be tempted to include supplements like whey protein in your diet. And while whey protein has shown to be effective at promoting muscle growth, it can cause constipation and other side effects. So if you’re confused on weather or not to include whey protein in your diet, be sure to take the positives and negatives into account. It might also help to talk to your doctor or nutrition for further advise.
Reasons Why Whey Protein Can Cause Constipation & Ways To Prevent It?
It’s common to see athletes or people wanting to build muscle including whey protein in their diet. It helps muscle growth and may also contribute in loosing weight. But for some, whey protein can cause gas and constipation problems. Here’s why and ways to avoid this!
Lack Of Fiber
The most common cause of constipation among people taking whey protein supplements is that they don’t consume enough fiber. Or the whey protein that you are buying is low in fiber. Many people who focus primarily on high protein diets tend to forget about the fiber which can lead to constipation. Fibers absorbs water and adds bulk to your stool, making it easier to pass through which helps prevent constipation.
So how do you add fiber in your diet? Easy! Fruits, vegetable, grains and nuts all have a lot of fiber in them and you MUST include them in your diet. Also remember, the more fiber your whey protein has, the less likely it can cause constipation. So be sure to check!
Lactose intolerance occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough lactase, an enzyme that helps you digest lactose (a sugar found in dairy products). This can lead to bloating, diarrhea and gas after eating or drinking dairy products. Whey protein is made from whey, which is the liquid that’s left after the cheese-making process. Because of this it has lactose in it which can be difficult for people who are lactose intolerant to digest leading to excessive amounts of gas and bloating. This means more trips to bathroom!
Lets get some intuition about the types of whey protein to figure out which one doesn’t cause constipation for a person that is lactose intolerant. Consider the table below:
|Types of Whey Protein||Properties|
|Whey Protein Concentrate||Can have up to 80% protein. Has more lactose, carbohydrates and fats.|
|Whey Protein Isolate||Up to 90% protein but has less lactose, fats and carbohydrates.|
|Whey Protein Hydrolysate||It is in pre-digested state, making it easier for your body to absorb it.|
So with this, we can see that Whey Protein Isolate has less lactose, thus is the more suitable option for a person that is lactose intolerant and can help prevent constipation to cause. Also, you could go for a non-dairy protein powder if you wanted.
Not Enough Water
It might not be the whey protein you’re eating or the amount of fiber you’re including in your diet, it might simply be the lack of water. Water has a lot of benefits and one of them is it help move things along. It helps pass the food smoothly through the intestines. Aim to drink 2 liters of water or more especially if you are doing sports.
How Much Whey Protein Should You Take?
Whey protein is a great way to increase your protein intake, but how much should you have? Aim for 1-2 scoops per day. Also look at the serving instructions on the package for more information. And although eating regularly amounts of whey protein per day is safe, the problem starts when you take too much!
Other Then Constipation, There Are Other Side Effects That Whey Protein Can Cause!
As mentioned previously, eating whey protein is fine and in fact it’s a great way to build muscle. However, eating high doses can cause problems.
Some common Side effects
According to Medical News Today, eating too much whey protein can lead to stomach pain, cramps, reduced appetite, nausea, headache and fatigue. So if you want to increase your protein intake, consume whey protein but also eat foods like lean beef, chicken, eggs or cheese. Another side effect of whey protein is dehydration. Yes! Whey protein can cause dehydration so make sure you increase your water intake which help prevent this and also prevent constipation.
Whey protein obviously has a lot of protein. But what about the other essential nutrients? High doses of whey protein means that you’re increasing your protein intake however this can lead to deficiency in other nutrients. So always make sure you have a balanced diet. Eat your protein, but also focus on your fruits and vegetables!
Tip: Whey protein can cause constipation and other side effects. Avoid them by having a moderate doses and eating a balanced diet.
Quick Note: To be safe, it is best you talk to you doctor or nutritionist before you start taking whey protein!
Benefits of Whey Protein
Despite all of this, whey protein is actually very beneficial and has a lot of health benefits if you take moderate amounts.
As mentioned previous whey protein is a by product from the cheese making process. Whey protein is considered “complete” protein because it contains all the nine amino acids. It is very high in quality and is an outstanding protein supplement that many athletes and bodybuilders consume. So, you want to add some extra protein in your diet, definitely consider whey protein. As said previously, it might be beneficial to ask your doctor for professional advice.
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Want to make a weight loss diet? Consider including whey protein. Whey protein helps decreasing your appetite which results it less calorie intake. That’s right! It’s very filling and provides a lot of protein. It also help fasten your metabolism and helps maintain your muscle mass when trying to lose weight. So why not give it a go?
The last main benefit of whey protein is that it helps build muscle. After that long and sweaty gym session, your body NEEDS protein. Protein is there to help repair and rebuild your muscles and an easy way to do that is of course taking protein supplements like whey protein. Why whey protein though? The best protein supplements out there contain all amino acids and whey protein does. In fact it contains a specific amino acid called leucine, which is one of the three branched-chain amino acids and is known to be the best for building muscle.
There are so many more health benefits of whey protein! In fact, Healthline has wrote an article about it here.