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Low FODMAP Protein Powders

Feature, Gut Health & IBS | June 10, 2019

A young girl feeding her father a nutritious homemade sandwich.
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When you start the low FODMAP diet, reading the ingredient lists of protein powders can feel tedious. Today, we tell you how you can pick a low FODMAP protein powder with ease plus share a few of our favourites. Note: This post contains affiliate links, which helps to keep our site running. You’re welcome to search the protein powder by name in Google should you choose to not want to use the link.

Low FODMAP Whey Protein Powder

When patients think about the low FODMAP diet they often think of it as a ‘no milk’ diet. Luckily, I’m here to tell you – it’s not a ‘no milk’ diet, it’s a LOW LACTOSE diet. Meaning, you can have foods made from dairy, you just need to choose low lactose ones. Whey protein isolate, the most common whey protein powder on the market is low lactose. However, if you choose a whey protein concentrate, it may be high FODMAP. Therefore, if choosing a whey protein, you’ll want to look for the word ‘isolate’.

One of our favourites is Kaizen whey protein isolate – it’s NSF certified meaning it only contains what it’s supposed to contain (no undeclared ingredients), and it’s easy to find at most grocery stores. I get mine at Co-op, Sobeys, or Save-on here in Calgary. It’s a very easy low FODMAP protein powder for IBS patients to find in our city!

One of our favourite smoothies to make with this whey protein isolate is our Low FODMAP Blueberry Chia smoothie!

Low FODMAP Brown Rice Protein

Sprouted brown rice protein has been tested as low FODMAP at 2 Tbsp or 40 grams. This confuses even me because most suggested serving sizes of brown rice proteins are 4 Tbsp which is often equal to 40 grams, or even less. I assume the weight, and not the measurement was tested. Not only that, but only sprouted brown rice protein was tested. Given rice has no detectable FODMAPs though, I include it in my patients diet, especially if they are vegan or have additional food allergies limiting their diet.

At Ignite, we’re ALL about making the low FODMAP diet practical. If brown rice protein is your protein of choice, we suggest you to continue with your typical serving while implementing the low FODMAP diet. Should you continue to have symptoms, we would revisit it at that point.

With brown rice protein, not all products are made equal! Try to find one that has around 20 grams of protein per serving. We like SunWarrior Classic protein.

Low FODMAP Pea Protein

Most vegan or vegetarian proteins are made from pea protein. 1 sachet (a serving) or 2 Tbsp (40 grams) of pea protein is low FODMAP. Again – the measures don’t entirely make sense so go with the same recommendations I made for rice protein – include your regular serving, and re-evaluate with your dietitian if you still have symptoms after 2-4 weeks of the elimination phase.

With most vegan proteins, additional things are added, including pea starch (not tested yet for FODMAP’s), soy protein (also not tested yet). Starches are LIKELY low FODMAP, as is soy protein – however during the elimination phase I do encourage patients to choose a different vegetarian protein, like rice protein.

I cannot find a pea protein only powder that does not have ‘avoid’ ingredients in it at my local Canadian grocery store. If you find one – let Ignite know and we will add it to our list! Virtually all we have found (Vega, Kaizen, Garden of Life) had added inulin and vegetable powders.

However, the Bio steel plant-based protein is a blend of pea, rice and hemp, with no high FODMAP ingredients added.

 

Other Protein Powders – Are they low FODMAP?

You can literally find a protein powder made of anything on the market nowadays. Pumpkin and beef to name a few! Check with your dietitian as to whether your favorite protein powder may be low FODMAP. They may make an educated guess based on what we know about FODMAP’s in food – because most protein powders have not been tested.

Need help choosing the right protein powder while on the Low FODMAP Diet? Work with one of our Registered Dietitians at Ignite Nutrition in Calgary, Alberta to guide you.

Hemp Seeds Are Low FODMAP!

While this isn’t a ‘powder’ – hemp seeds are one of our favorite protein boosters. At 3 Tbsp, they pack 10 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of anti-inflammatory, good for your microbiome omega-3’s, and are a source of antioxidants. They make a great boost to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal. Our favourite is the Manitoba Harvest Hemp that is local to Canada! We love supporting our Canadian farmers with this delicious and nutritious product.

What ingredients in protein powders are low FODMAP & what ingredients in protein powders are high FODMAP?

Ingredients Notes Verdict
Stevia Stevia is commonly used to sweeten protein powders and is low FODMAP Allow
Vegetable powders Have not been tested and could very likely contain a high amount of FODMAP’s. Avoid
FOS (fructo oligosaccharides), GOS (galacto-oligosaccarides) Is a fermentable carbohydrate Avoid
Inulin or Chicory Is a fermentable carbohydrate Avoid

Pro’s of using protein powders

  • I like them because they’re a simple way to add protein to my breakfast. They go great in so many smoothies, like our low FODMAP tropical smoothie bowl!
  • I prefer almond milk in my smoothie – it ‘foams’ less than regular dairy milk. However, almond milk is low in protein, so I like to get a protein boost!
  • They can be helpful for patients accidentally loosing weight on the low FODMAP diet as a protein and calorie booster

Con’s of using protein powders

  • Some protein powders have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals. If we consume a lot of protein powder, it may pose a risk to our health, which is why I always suggest getting a NSF certified protein – typically sport-tested proteins go through additional testing to improve safety
  • The whole is greater than the sum of its parts – meaning – when we JUST consume the protein powder, what are we missing out on that the whole food had to offer us? This could include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, and more
  • Many are high FODMAP always check the protein powder label for high FODMAP culprits found on our list
  • They can be pricey in comparison with choosing a whole food
  • They do NOT make a complete meal replacement. Protein powders are a source of protein, not carbohydrates or fat – all of which make up a balanced meal.

Bottom line when choosing a low FODMAP protein powder.

Most protein powders haven’t been tested. We recommend choosing a low FODMAP protein powder during the elimination phase.

After the elimination phase, you can play around with potentially higher FODMAP protein powders if you have one you prefer.  Your IBS trained dietitian can help guide you on this.

Need help choosing the right protein powder while on the Low FODMAP Diet? Work with one of our Registered Dietitians at Ignite Nutrition in Calgary, Alberta to guide you.

References

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