Low FODMAP Protein Powders
Protein powders are an easy and convenient way to boost your protein intake, but finding a low FODMAP protein powder can be confusing and tricky. In this blog post we discuss who might benefit from protein powders, how to choose a low FODMAP protein powder and some of our favourite low FODMAP protein powder brands.
Who might benefit from supplementing their diet with protein powder?
Most people get more than enough protein from the food they eat and do not need to supplement with protein powders. We always recommend a food first approach for nutrition, and encourage getting protein from foods such as meat, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, legumes, tofu, low fat dairy products and nuts and seeds. Many of these foods are naturally low FODMAP and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet.
There are however, some people that have higher protein requirements or are not able to get enough protein from their diet. These people may benefit from supplementing their diet with protein powders. For example:
- Those medically prescribed a high protein diet e.g. for weight gain, wound healing or post-surgery
- Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet
- Pregnant and lactating women
What to look for when finding a low FODMAP Protein Powder
It’s important to note that we can only guarantee protein powders are low FODMAP if they have been tested and analysed in a laboratory. There is a lot of variability in ingredients between brands and ingredients lists may change, so it is important to check the ingredients list or consult a dietitian before choosing your protein powder.
Whey protein isolate
Whey protein isolate is derived from milk and is processed to contain over 90% protein by removing most fats and lactose. Whey protein isolate contains less than 1% lactose, generally making it a suitable option for people with lactose intolerance or those following the low FODMAP diet.
Rice is naturally low FODMAP and rice protein powder is considered low FODMAP. The Monash Low FODMAP app shows brown rice (sprouted, organic) protein powder is low FODMAP at a 40g serve.
Hemp protein powders are generally considered low FODMAP. Although Monash University have not yet tested hemp protein powder, they have tested hemp seeds which are low FODMAP at a 20g serve.
Egg protein is derived from egg whites which is a protein in itself and does not contain any carbohydrates or FODMAPs. Therefore, egg white protein is a great low FODMAP option.
Pea and Soy Protein
Pea and soy protein powder have previously been considered low FODMAP by Monash University, however with further testing, they have found that it can be challenging to isolate protein from these foods. This means FODMAP content can vary between brands. If you are sensitive to galacto-oligosaccharides or fructans, we recommend avoiding plant-derived protein powders if possible, unless stated low FODMAP.
Sneaky high FODMAP ingredients to watch out for:
Artificial sweeteners, such as polyols, can often be used to sweeten protein powders. Look out for ingredients such as sorbitol (E420), mannitol (E421) or any other sweeteners ending in ‘ol’ such as xylitol (E967).
Avoid protein powders that mention pre-biotics or dietary fibre. Chances are, these will be high FODMAP. Check for ingredients such as inulin, chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke.
Whey protein powders are often high in lactose. Hydrolyzed whey protein powders can vary in lactose content from 0.5% to 10% so we recommend avoiding them on the low FODMAP diet unless labelled lactose free. Whey protein isolate on the other hand, contains little to no lactose and is a suitable low FODMAP option.
Other ingredients to watch out for include:
- Fructose or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Fruit sugar or high FODMAP fruits
- Beet fibre
Low FODMAP Protein Powders:
- Noisy Guts Superflora Plant Based Gut Friendly Super Shakes – Monash University low FODMAP Certified
- NZ Protein Whey Isolate, beef protein, egg white protein, hemp protein and rice protein
- ROAM Vegan Protein powders
- Happy Way Protein Powders (“lower FODMAP”. If sensitive to coconut flour, we recommend avoiding).
Published: 6th November 2023
Author: Bianca Berton-Scarlet Monash FODMAP trained Dietitian