Protein is an amino acid required by the body for basic functioning. It plays a vital role in cellular metabolism, organ function, brain development and muscle formation. Athletes require larger quantities of protein to maintain energy and build muscle. However, many high-protein foods can cause bloating and gas. Some protein shakes are especially problematic in this regard, undermining the positive health effects of protein consumption. However, there are several sources of protein that can help you avoid feeling bloated.
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Protein shakes are good sources of quick energy and high protein. However, some protein shakes can cause bloating, gas and intestinal discomfort. In his book "Conscious Health," Ron Garner points out that the most common reason for this is mild lactose intolerance. Most protein shakes contain large quantities of milk and lactose, both because milk is a common ingredient in shakes and because milk is an excellent source of protein. If you experience bloating after drinking a protein shake, switch to a lactose-free or milk-free protein shake.
Energy bars, protein shakes and some other high-protein foods frequently contain artificial sweeteners. According to the textbook "Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology," these sweeteners often cause bloating and a variety of other intestinal ailments. Ingredients such as aspertame, sucralose and high fructose corn syrup are often the source of the problem. Check the ingredients and choose protein sources made from cane sugar or stevia instead.
Meat is among the best sources of protein, according to "Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology." However, pork and eggs frequently are irritating to the stomach. Instead, try lean proteins such as tofu, soy, egg whites, nut butters and black beans. Fish also is an excellent source of animal protein that is unlikely to cause bloating in most people, according to the book "Real Food" by Nina Planck.
When switching to a new diet or exercise routine, many people are especially susceptible to bloating, according to "Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology." There are several additional steps you can take to minimize bloating. Avoid sugary and carbonated beverages and drink water instead. Avoid exercising immediately after eating. If you continue to experience bloating after several weeks, you may have a food sensitivity. Food sensitivities, unlike allergies, cause a delayed reaction 24 to 72 hours after eating the offending food. Keep a log of the food you eat and carefully monitor any correlations between food and bloating. Consult your physician for assistance.