There are many dietary supplements that people take to gain more muscle mass and come one step closer to their goals. Protein powders & shakes are one of the most common dietary supplements that gym-goers who aspire to have a robust build and a muscular body consume.
While protein powders and protein shakes are a safe option for everyone and at the same time they are super convenient to consume. They prove to be amazing on the go options for anyone who has a tight schedule and can’t manage meal prepping. Just add some protein powder to some liquid of your choice and you’re good to go for te whole day!
What Are Protein Shakes?
A protein shake is a combination of protein powder and water or milk. It’s sold in the market as a prepackaged product and has become quite popular amongst fitness enthusiasts in recent years. It works as a great option for those who are looking to easily increase their protein intake, usually as a post-workout boost. Despite popular demand, there can be potential risks that may arise after continuous, long-term use of these products.
For example, whey protein isolate is a cow milk extract and is one of the most common proteins used to manufacture protein shakes. It comprises a collection of globular proteins which are isolated from the liquid component of the extract. The liquid material is generated from cheese production as a by-product. Other than whey, you can find protein shakes in a variety of different flavors are Vieve.
Other than that excessive consumption of these shakes can also cause unwanted weight gain to occur. Therefore every time you opt for a protein shakes or protein drink, you have to make sure that you keep the calorie count in check. This makes it important to add other natural and richer sources of protein to your diet as well.
As we discussed above that the consumption of protein shakes may cause gastrointestinal (GI) problems, such as diarrhea or constipation – what are the consequences that some protein shake consumers may face? Let’s find out!
Digestive Issues Due To Protein Shake Consumption
Many protein shake consumers often wonder if too much protein can result in constipation or diarrhea. Well, as a matter of fact, the occurrence of constipation is a far more common consequence as compared to diarrhea. However, the occurrence of diarrhea is also likely. So the simple answer is “Yes,” any of these stomach problems can occur, both of which stem from different root causes.
The ideal amount of protein you should have each day depends on your weight. The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 0.36 grams per pound. That makes up about 56 grams of protein per day for an average-sized man and approximately 46 grams per day for women. If you are active, you should consider increasing your protein intake to around 20g protein immediately after exercise or 1.2 to 1.7g per kg body weight. While we know the numerous benefits of having protein, is it possible to get too much of a good thing?
You should be consuming protein shakes to fulfill a certain part of the protein requirements of your diet. Therefore, ensuring that you consume protein from other sources is highly important to emphasise here.
One of the main organs affected by a diet that solely relies on protein shakes is the kidney. Anyone who suffers from kidney dysfunction should avoid consuming too many protein shakes. It goes without saying that an excess of anything does no good to our body. That’s the same case when it come to protein shakes.
When protein shakes are consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet, they don’t cause either diarrhea or constipation. So what is it that protein does that leads to the development of various GI problems?
· Decreased Fiber Intake
If you are making a protein shake at home for yourself, then you have the option of adding in lots of fresh produce to increase fiber quantity. Many manufactured ready-to-drink protein shakes are packed with little to no fiber. When your diet lacks adequate amounts of fiber, then the food tends to travel down your gut at a delayed pace. Your bowels wind up absorbing too much moisture out of the gut lumen that ends up making your stools dry and very hard and to pass.
Don’t be mistaken. It is not necessarily the protein part of the shake that causes constipation but there is a deeper reason. It is the lack of fiber in your high-protein diet that causes gut issues to rise.
Is There A Way To Combat Protein shake Associated Constipation?
Fiber is present in many fruits, vegetables, and grains. When you consume these food items, it adds bulk to your stool mass and helps to ensure that the foods you eat move can pass through and move more efficiently through your digestive tract.
That’s why you need to pay special attention to your fiber intake if you are looking to increase your protein intake. The recommended fiber intake for an average adult is 20 to 35 grams per day or approximately 10 to 13 grams for every 1,000 calories in your diet. Such a balanced diet can help you to overcome any constipation issues that you might be facing.
Dehydration is another risk that high-protein diets can put forward. It's one of the most common causes of chronic constipation that protein shake consumers suffer from. Your kidneys have to work extra hard to eliminate waste products from the body that accumulate as a result of protein digestion. These products rely on water consumption to be flushed out by the kidneys.
So if you think that protein shakes make up a huge part of your diet, then it’s a decent idea to have some freshly cut fruits, a veggie-rich salad, or any seeds or nuts of your choice daily alongside your protein shakes. The extra fiber from these food sources should provide you with immediate constipation relief.
There are some plant-based protein options that you can look at and these include Black beans, Kidney beans (high in insoluble fiber), Chickpeas, lentils (high in soluble fiber), and Edamame.
If want high protein foods that have a low quantity of carbs but come packed with high amounts of fiber, then you can go for Broccoli, Cucumbers, Green peppers, Zucchini, Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, and Swiss chard), Tomatoes, and Squash.
When it comes to taking fruits, a good rule to live by is to opt for a low-carb, high protein diet menu which comprises fruits with a higher ratio of skin-to-pulp. Such fruits have a greater quantity of fiber as compared to the carbs present. So as you add these fruits to your system, you won't only be adding fiber but also many macro and micronutrients that are essential for thriving.
· Too Much Protein
It's possible to get too much protein in your system if you consume a lot of protein shakes. This leads to two problems combined. Your kidneys work extra hard to filter everything out that makes you urinate more. Plus, you could become dehydrated as a result of peeing. As you become more dehydrated, your gut starts absorbing water from your stools which ultimately leaves you constipated.
So if you are starting a protein shake regime, then limit the quantity initially and understand how much you need relative to your daily macro needs. But even with measured quantities, make sure that you consume enough water and keep yourself hydrated at all times.
· Addressing Lactose Intolerance
Whey protein can cause uncomfortable GI symptoms in people suffering from lactose intolerance. If you experience uncomfortable symptoms at any point, you should start by switching to whey isolate powder or opt for any other non-dairy protein powder. You can try out the Vieve protein water which is dairy free and is manufactured using collagen peptides.
We all know that one of the typical key ingredients present in protein shakes is milk or milk solids, such as whey. Most people work just fine with these drinks. However, if your body doesn't produce the right amount of lactase, which is the enzyme required to digest lactose (milk sugars), then it can become a huge problem for your gut.
When the lactose reaches your gut, your body is clueless about what to do with it, which causes it to slow things down in certain cases. This state is called lactose intolerance. The condition is also often associated with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea shortly after consuming a protein shake that has been prepared with milk or milk solids.
If this is a growing cause of concern for you, then opt for a protein shake that is made by using dairy-free alternatives such as using soy or hemp protein. You can also use coconut, almond, rice, or soy milk or even opt for collagen proteins. Vieve Protein Water is made out of collagen peptides which are rapidly digested by your body, compeltey dairy free and gives you efficient results without any of the harm of dairy based drinks.
· Lack Of Gluten Digestion
For some people, the bowels just can’t tolerate gluten. It is the protein present in several grains. Gluten sensitivity sends your immune system into attack mode, which occurs in celiac disease. This results in diarrhea and the inability to thrive. Many people end up with digestion problems.
So if you know that you're sensitive to wheat, rye, or barley grains, be careful of the protein shakes you use. Failure to do so can result in constipation.
· Excess Calcium
Calcium is highly advantageous for keeping your bones strong and healthy. However, too much calcium can slow down your bowel movements. High calcium levels, known as hypercalcemia, reduce muscle contraction rates in your GI tract. This could one of the reasons why you experience constipation.
You should never consume more than 2,500 milligrams of calcium in any given day because anything more than that can harm your gut health.
Other Harmful Effects Of Consuming Protein Shakes In Excess
· Perpetrating Acne Growth
Gastrointestinal distress can result in inflammation. Protein powders such as whey protein consist of certain hormones and various other bioactive peptides which can enhance the levels of sebum produced in our skin. As protein shakes are rich in such compounds that increase levels of sebum, consuming these shakes can increase the growth of acne.
· Destabilization Of Gut Microbiota
Whey milk is a category of milk that contains several concentrated sources of biochemical compounds. Antibacterial components such as lactoferrin in whey milk can cause severe harm to the adult gut flora . Damaged gut flora can lead to an upset stomach and you might end up with chronic gastrointestinal problems.
· Regulated Insulin Levels
Protein powders with proportions of whey protein can rapidly impact the levels of postprandial insulin and basal insulin-like growth factor-I in our body. Insulin spikes put us at a risk of developing metabolic disorders after every protein shake that we consume.
Protein powders have been in the business for several years and many fitness enthusiasts have been consuming them quite regularly to supplement their body goals. Many of them end up with improved body compositions when they consume protein powders alongside a healthy workout routine.
Protein powders play a positive role in improving your exercise performance, especially if you indulge in weight training and resistance training on a regular basis. Where there are an array of advantages for adding protein powders to your daily diet, there are also certain risks that have to be dealt with seriously.
If you want a hassle- free alternative to protein shakes and protein powders, try Vieve's Protein Water Drink which is protein drink made using high-quality collagen protein. Our product is dairy free, and uses a hydrolysed peptide formula and avoids a lot of other side effects that many consumers who take typical protein shakes and powders experience.
Now also available in a plant-based Vegan Protein Water version with 10g pea-protein, zero sugar fat or dairy and only 50 calories. Two delicious flavours to choose from!
Also have you tried our new collagen powder? Simply add a tablespoon to get an instant 13g protein boost! Mix it into your favourite food and drinks without impacting the taste, while getting a pure hydrolysed collagen peptide boost. With zero fat, sugar or dairy its easiest way to get your protein boost without impacting your macros. Plus it comes in 100% recyclable packaging and is 100% sourced for EU, grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle.