If you notice an increase in farting, chances are protein itself is not the culprit. Instead, protein powder additives and certain food components might be why you’re experiencing increased flatulence.
Flatulence is just one of the ways that your body passes intestinal gas. The other way is through belching. Intestinal gas is both a product of the foods you eat and the air you might swallow during the process.
While the average person farts between 5 and 15 times per day, some people can pass gas more often. This may be related to the foods you eat, as well as your gut microbiota.
Certain foods can increase flatulence due to their components. If you’re taking protein powder supplements, it’s possible that you’re experiencing more farting.
Protein supplements are often used by athletes, and they’re also a weight loss method for people looking to stay fuller on fewer calories. Protein is also an essential nutrient needed to build muscle mass, which is helpful for both considerations.
There is no evidence that a high protein diet causes increased flatulence. Theoretically, it may worsen the smell. There is some anecdotal evidence that protein powder supplements increase flatulence, but this effect is probably caused by nonprotein components added to protein powders, such as lactose.
While protein itself does not increase flatulence, protein supplements may contain other substances that make you gassy.
Supplements that are based on whey protein or casein may contain high amounts of lactose. A high intake of lactose can increase flatulence, even in people who usually consume dairy products without any problems.
Some protein powders contain additives that cause flatulence. These include certain thickeners and sweeteners, like sorbitol.
Plant-based protein sources can also contribute to flatulence. These include beans, grains, and legumes.
While certain protein powders may cause flatulence and smelly farts, this does not mean you’re stuck with this problem just because you eat more protein for your dietary needs. Below are some of the ways you can ease protein-induced flatulence.
Switch your protein powder
Whey protein is a key ingredient in many types of protein shakes, bars, and snacks. The problem is that not all whey protein is created equal. Some are made from concentrates, which are high in lactose.
Whey protein isolate has less lactose, which your body might digest more easily. Another option is to switch to nonmilk sources of protein powder, such as pea and soy.
Also consider avoiding protein supplements that contain sugar alcohols, like sorbitol or mannitol.
Add herbs to your diet
Certain herbs may potentially help gastrointestinal issues, thereby relieving symptoms such as excess gas and bloating. Consider drinking ginger or peppermint tea to soothe your gut, especially after meals.
Cut other gas-inducing carbs
Before you trade in protein for more carbs, you’ll want to make sure you avoid some of the more gas-inducing culprits. These include:
- cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
- cheese, milk, and other lactose-containing products
- beans and peas
It’s best to eat and drink slowly, and try not to overeat.
You may have heard people say not to inhale your food, and there’s a good reason for this: Not only can eating quickly give you a stomachache, but it can also make you swallow air.
Protein shakes are no exception here. The more air you swallow, the more you’ll have gas.
Consider eating your meals and snacks a bit slower. This can also help prevent you from overeating, which is considered another cause of gas.
Over-the-counter remedies may help ease flatulence. Look for ingredients such as activated charcoal or simethicone. Read the instructions carefully. Some remedies are intended for use before you eat, while others should be taken after your meals.
Protein farts are more of an inconvenience than a danger.
You may experience increased flatulence when you first start taking whey protein powders and snacks. It may also cause bloating and pain in some people, especially in those with irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance.
If you have lactose intolerance, you should avoid all dietary sources of lactose, including most dairy-based protein supplements.
If you continue to experience flatulence despite dietary changes, you may want to contact a doctor. They can rule out other digestive conditions, such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The additives used in protein powder may cause flatulence in some individuals. If excessive farting is becoming a problem, you can try correcting this issue by decreasing your intake of protein powder or trying a different type of supplement.
Contact a doctor if you continue to have issues with intestinal gas.