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Protein is an essential nutrient and part of our diet, stored in the body in the form of amino acids. Some of these amino acids are non-essential, because our body can synthesise these alone however, there are still many essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesise and are therefore, an integral part of our diet. The role of proteins in the body is to promote muscle regeneration and repair, to synthesise hormones and enzymes for our bodies to function correctly, and to act as the building blocks to our cells and their function.
There is little evidence behind protein powder supplementation for the normal population, as protein is found in a variety of the foods we consume daily. Some populations however, have higher protein requirements or are at nutritional risk for adequacy including elderly, vegetarians/vegans, athletes, pregnant/lactating women, and those who have undergone particular sugeries. There is no evidence to suggest that protein is insufficient following a low FODMAP diet or in someone with IBS, as protein-rich sources, like meats and fish, are naturally low FODMAP products.
It is difficult for manufacturers to make a low FODMAP protein powder, as extracting a pure protein without any high FODMAP containing ingredients has proven to be a challenge. There are some ways to get around this if you're looking to get more protein in your diet.
1. Ensuring your diet is high in a variety of protein-rich, low FODMAP foods is the first step. Foods rich in protein include: firm tofu, red meat, poultry, eggs, fish, lactose-free milk, firm cheese, mixed nuts, and canned lentils (50g).
2. The second step is to find a low FODMAP protein powder. Things to watch out for include polyols in high amounts, like xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol, used as an artificial, low-calorie sweetener. Another thing is plant-derived proteins, like soy, which can contain GOS and fructans, or whey protein concentrates, which contain lactose. Also avoid powders with prebiotics, as these are often high FODMAP and can cause symptoms.
There are a variety of low FODMAP protein powders available including Happy Way, Noisy Guts, Element Gold, and AdVital. Make sure when you're looking for a low FODMAP protein powder, you are aware of polyols, whey, plant-derived proteins, and prebiotics. Otherwise, receiving an abundance of protein in your diet from a variety of low FODMAP sources is a great way to meet your daily requirements.