Do you suffer from digestive issues – bloating, gas, cramps, constipation or diarrhoea? Food can be a major irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) trigger. It is usually the FODMAPs – small carbohydrates in certain foods – causing your stomach woes.
FODMAPs are a large group of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in all sorts of foods and drinks. These sugars may be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and fermented by bacteria to produce gas. For some people, a diet high in FODMAPs can cause a range of abdominal symptoms. Common symptoms are bloating, excess wind, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea (or a combination). Following a low FODMAP diet can help manage these symptoms – 75% of people with IBS experience relief with a low FODMAP diet.
When you initially cut FODMAPS out of your diet you will need to avoid a large range of foods. High FODMAP foods to avoid include wheat, onions, garlic, milk, yogurt, apples, pears, stone fruits and even cauliflower. The Monash Uni FODMAP app is a powerful tool to help you find low FODMAP food.
How do I choose a low FODMAP protein powder?
If you’re following a low FODMAP diet you might be wondering about which protein powder is suitable. Protein is essential for our bodies – it helps balance hormones and maintains muscles mass. It assists in weight loss, and helps support a healthy immune system. Protein is available from a wide range of foods such as fish, eggs, nuts, legumes and lean meats. However, protein powders can also be a handy addition to your diet. However you need to find one that won’t upset your stomach.
During the elimination phase and reintroduction phases of the low FODMAP diet it is important to read labels carefully and make sure that any protein powders that you choose do not contain high FODMAP or untested ingredients. It’s also important to avoid other gut irritants so look for a “clean” list of ingredients – choose a product that’s low in sugar and free from fillers, artificial flavours and thickeners.
Low FODMAP protein powders
Whey Protein Isolate contains little lactose and is also the purest form of whey protein and very low fat. It is a low FODMAP and also suitable if you are lactose intolerant.
Egg Protein Powder is low FODMAP. Eggs do not contain carbohydrates and therefore do not contain FODMAPs. VPA’s egg protein powder is 100% egg whites and therefore very low in fat.
High FODMAP protein powders
The following ingredients often found in protein powders are either high in FODMAPs or have not been tested by Monash. These should be avoided if you’re following a low FODMAP diet:
- inulin, chicory root.
- polyols: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol.
- lactose – Whey protein concentrate, whey protein hydrolysate, milk protein concentrate (in higher amounts), nonfat dry milk.
- Sweeteners: fructose, FOS, fructo-oligosaccharides, dried fruit, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose-glucose, crystalline fructose.
- Untested ingredients: herbals, roots or extracts.
The Monash University Low FODMAP App had previously shown pea protein as low FODMAP. However, further testing of multiple brands indicates that FODMAP levels may vary. This is a product I’d test your tolerance to once you once you have tested the main FODMAPs.
If you’re an athlete looking tomanage a sensitive gut during training, read this.