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FODMAPs and Protein Powders

Protein powder for your low FODMAP smoothie? Learn how to choose one.

Protein powder for your low FODMAP smoothie? Learn how to choose one.

Most people can easily meet their protein needs with food alone on a low-FODMAP diet,  but sometimes a protein powder is called for. Smoothies are popular and delicious breakfasts or snacks, but they can quickly become FODMAP bombs with the wrong protein powder in them. Athletes in training or underweight patients often ask about protein powders suitable for a low-FODMAP diet, too.

Protein supplements are not right for some people, so please seek advice from your health care provider if you have any medical conditions besides your IBS. These products are NOT meant to be sole sources of nutrition. They are used in addition to a wide variety of low FODMAP foods and beverages.

The following protein supplements appear to be suitable for a low-FODMAP diet based on the listed ingredients and the nutrition info provided by the manufactures' web sites, as of this writing. They have not been lab tested for FODMAPs. Note that other flavors by the same companies and in the same line of products may contain FODMAPs such as fructose or xylitol. Always double check the list of ingredients before you buy:

  • Nutribiotic Organic Rice Protein Powder: vanilla, plain, chocolate, mixed berry
  • Dr. Sears Zone Protein Powder
  • Jarrow Brown Rice Protein Concentrate: vanilla, berry, chocolate (contain several gums. Gums are not FODMAPs but are fermentable and can sometimes be poorly tolerated)
  • Solgar Whey to Go Whey Protein Powder (98% lactose free): vanilla
  • Biochem 100% Whey Protein Powder: vanilla, chocolate, natural
  • BiPro Whey Protein Isolate: unflavored, caffe latte, strawberry, chocolate, French vanilla
  • PreProtein Whey Protein Isolate 6 grams Powder
  • Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard: Vanilla Ice Cream (appears to contain 1 gram of lactose with lactase enzyme added to help digest it)
  • Unjury: unflavored, 
  • Jay Robb Egg White Protein: unflavored

There are hundreds of protein powders on the market, and they can include any and all types of FODMAPs. I can't review them all, but here are some questions to ask yourself as you try to evaluate them

What is the source of the protein?

  • Egg white is OK
  • Rice is OK
  • Whey protein isolate is OK
  • Whey protein concentrate is only OK if a lactose free claim is also made. 98% or better is probably fine for all but the most lactose-intolerant people.
  • Soy protein probably has FODMAPs
  • Soy protein isolate is an unknown. If truly an "isolate", then it would have been separated from the fiber in the soy, so might be OK.
  • Hemp protein is an unknown with respect to FODMAP status
  • Pea protein (Update 8/2017: Monash University recently added pea protein powder to their list of protein powders with a “green light” (i.e. low FODMAP). Since peas are a high-FODMAP food, and manufacturing methods might vary for these powders, I’m a little concerned that some pea protein products might be higher in FODMAPs than others. But until specific brands have been tested, this new information should give vegans confidence to start experimenting with pea proteins.)

What is the source of the sweetener?

  • Sugar is OK
  • Dextrose is OK
  • Maltodextrins are probably OK but a little difficult to say for sure because this term refers to a group of potential ingredients
  • Stevia is OK
  • Brown rice solids are probably OK
  • Fructose or "fruit sugar" is a FODMAP
  • Xylitol and other "-ol sweeteners" are FODMAPs
  • Other artificial sweeteners may not be FODMAPs but I generally don't go out of my way recommend them
  • Monk fruit sweetener is an unknown

Are any fruits or vegetables added to the product?

  • Depending which ones are added, they might contribute FODMAPs. In general I would avoid these products; there are plenty of more suitable alternatives.
  • Fruit "flavors" are OK

Please visit me at Pinterest for pictures of many of the above protein powders. With so many protein powders on the market, it makes shopping much easier to have a visual.

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