Have you recently upped your protein intake and been gassier than usual? Or maybe you’ve heard that eating lots of protein can cause some flatulence issues. If you have no idea what we are talking about then this blog is not for you. But if your butt has been producing rank odours lately and you suspect your high protein diet may be to blame then read below. It’s time to get to the bottom of this issue.
Are ‘protein farts’ real?
Gym-goers and bodybuilders anecdotally talk about their protein induced flatulence but is a high protein intake really the cause? Stinky farts are usually the result of excessive fibre intake, high consumption of sulphurous foods or gut conditions like celiac disease. Protein may not be the culprit after all. Likely, it is the additives you are consuming alongside your protein that is causing you to cut the cheese. Rather than wrongfully accusing protein, figure out the true cause of your flatulence so you can effectively address the issue of heinous anus.
When people hear “consume more protein” they usually think of shakes. Protein actually encompasses a plethora of foods including chicken, tuna, whey, yoghurt, liver and many more. You can easily consume a high protein diet without using supplemental powders. Increasing your protein intake shouldn’t have any effect on the smell of your farts unless you are consuming the wrong kinds of protein sources.
One reason you might be noticing smellier farts after increasing your protein intake is because you are consuming significantly more artificial sugars. These are frequently found in protein bars and some supplements. Artificial sugars like polyols are not completely absorbed by the gut which can lead to increased flatulence. However the dose makes the poison. Artificial sugars are fine in moderation but too many can result in gut discomfort. Before you reconsider your high protein diet in a bid to stop the farts, see if you can swap out some protein bars for other food options like eggs or tuna.
Maybe your ability to clear a room with your farts is actually due to your high fibre intake. It is undisputed that fibre plays an important role in your nutrition. High fibre diets have even been shown to reduce your chances of developing colon cancer. But because fibre passes through the body undigested, it can cause you to drop your guts more than usual. This is especially true if your fibre intake increases rapidly. The recommended amount is 25-38 grams per day (more for men, less for women). Eating more than this amount could lead to abdominal discomfort and may make your fart more than usual. Before you blame protein for your smelly gas, take a look at your fibre intake. You might need to swap up your fibre sources (eg carrots instead of broccoli). Drinking more water can also help alleviate symptoms.
Have you ever been told you are lactose intolerant? Approximately 70% of people aged 10 and over are unable to absorb lactose efficiently. This is known as “lactose malabsorption” and is usually the result of your genetics. This matters for those who consume the majority of their protein through dairy products like cheese and whey. If you think protein is causing you to fart more often, make sure to rule out lactose first. Your stinky farts might be caused by excessive lactose consumption rather than high protein intake. If this is the case, there is an easy fix. Just switch up your protein sources and lay off the lactose.
If you do supplement protein then swapping up the type of powder you use would be a good step in the right direction. Whey isolate is filtered and therefore contains significantly less lactose than a basic whey powder. If you find you are especially sensitive to lactose then it would be best to avoid whey altogether. Plant proteins are just as beneficial for your health, muscle mass and body composition. NZProtein pea protein isolate contains all essential amino acids. Swapping to a plant protein doesn’t come at the expense of your gains. Making this change is worth it if it means you will be producing less putrid odours.
Alternatively you don’t even need to use powder at all. Hit your daily protein target with meats, eggs and fortified milks. Doing this will ensure you keep protein up high and the lactose down low. It likely isn’t the protein causing the farts, rather it is the type of protein you choose. Before you blame your high protein intake for your stinky farts, try these simple swaps first.
If you are looking for a supplement to reduce your stinky farts, proteolytic enzymes might be of assistance. Enzymes assist with the digestion and break down of food. If you are deficient in certain enzymes, your body will struggle to efficiently digest the food you eat. One study found that men who supplement protease improve their ability to absorb protein powder. Better absorption and digestion of nutrients means you are less likely to rip stinkers after a high protein meal. Although supplementation is not necessary for everyone, it can make a huge difference to those with gut issues or an enzyme deficiency.
It seems that protein farts might be just a mythical creation. The real culprit behind your odorous tooting could be excess consumption of lactose, fibre, artificial sugar or a combination of all three. Make sure to rule these guys out before deciding that more protein isn’t for you. Proteolytic enzymes could provide some relief for those who struggle with nutrient absorption. Either way it is important to dispel the myth that protein causes you to fart like a demon. There are many benefits to a high protein diet. Don’t let the fear of farting put you off.