Does Protein Powder Constipate You?

whey protein isolate shake

Are you a fitness enthusiast? Do you want to shed some pounds? Then, you’ve probably heard of dietary supplements like protein powder that help gain more muscle mass while losing weight. 

Protein powder is one of the most popular dietary supplements nowadays among gym-goers who want to achieve goals faster. Anyone can consume protein powder, and it comes with convenience. This powder is a go-to option for anyone with a tight schedule and who cannot prepare meals.

However, whey protein is surrounded by some controversies. Some claim that consuming too much whey protein powder can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Others said that too much whey protein causes digestive issues, such as gas and constipation.

I have been a personal fitness coach for years. And in this post, I will help you get more familiar with protein powder and determine whether it can constipate you or not.

What is Protein Powder?

Protein powder is a famous dietary and fitness supplement. The powder helps get you in shape, healthy, and fit. You can consume it to boost your gym activity and get better workout results. It is a popular option among fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and people who want to lose weight or build muscle.

According to studies, consuming protein shakes can help you build muscle, recover from exercise, and lose weight by boosting your metabolism and reducing your appetite [1].

Besides being an excellent source of protein, protein powder is also loaded with essential amino acids. Since your body is not capable of making essential amino acids, making protein powder part of your diet is critical.

Whey Protein Powder: Convenient and Safe Way to Boost Protein Intake 

One of the best things about protein powder is that you can simply mix it with a liquid of your choice to make protein shakes. This makes the powder a convenient and safe way to increase your protein intake.

Whey Protein Isolate

Whey protein isolate is one of the most common protein powders to produce protein shakes. This cow milk extract includes a collection of globular proteins, isolated from the extract‚Äôs liquid component. The liquid material is a by-product generated from cheese production. 

Can Protein Powders Cause Constipation?

Constipation is not a common side effect of taking protein powder isolate. But some people with lactose intolerance can experience constipation due to slower gut movement [2].

On the other hand, constipation is often due to less consumption of fruits and veggies in favor of protein powders, specifically if you are on a low-carb diet. 

Remember that fruits and veggies are excellent sources of extra fiber, helping the stool while promoting regular bowel movements [3].

You can eat veggie-rich salad or consume dark leafy greens, such as Swiss chard, kale, and spinach. Green peppers, squash, tomatoes, broccoli, and zucchini also provide enough fiber.

Check whether you are eating sufficient fruits and veggies if you believe your body is lacking fiber, and protein powder makes you constipated. You can also take a soluble fiber supplement.

Beware that whey protein powders are not a great option for replacing whole foods because they can increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies and only contain very little fiber.

Fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals necessary to achieve optimal health. So, it is critical to keep a healthy balanced diet while taking whey protein concentrate.

Can Protein Powder Damage the Kidneys?

High-protein meals are known to raise the pressure in the kidneys, causing them to filter more blood than normal [4]. On the other hand, it does not necessarily mean that high-protein diets can damage your kidneys.

According to studies, no evidence eating too much protein can harm people with healthy kidneys.

However, high-protein intake in those with kidney conditions can further damage their kidneys.

Can Protein Powder Damage the Liver?

Your liver requires protein to repair itself. The protein also helps this organ to convert fats to lipoproteins, molecules responsible for removing fats from the liver [5]. 

No evidence says that taking too much whey protein shakes can cause damage to the liver in healthy people. However, a high-protein diet may harm those with cirrhosis.

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Can Protein Powder Cause Osteoporosis?

Some people are concerned that too much protein shake intake can cause calcium to increase the risk of osteoporosis and leach from the bones.

This controversy came from some studies stating that taking higher proteins made urine more acidic. As a result, the body will release more calcium to serve as a buffer and counteract the acidic effects. 

On the other hand, recent studies show that the body can neutralize the calcium loss effects through increased calcium absorption from the gut.

Several studies even suggest that people who are prone to osteoporosis must consume more protein to maintain strong bones [6].


How Much Protein Powder Should You Take?

Taking 25-50 grams (1-2 scoops) of protein powder is recommended per day. However, you should always follow the package’s serving instructions. Protein powder is generally safe, and people can consume it without side effects.

Can Plant-Based Protein Powder Cause Constipation?

Beware that plant-based proteins can cause constipation only if they are sweetened with NAS (non-caloric artificial sweeteners). Plant-based protein powders comprise one or a combination of different protein sources, such as chia, soy, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, hemp protein, and peas.

How To Prevent Constipation With Protein Powder Supplement Consumption?

You should consume whole foods, specifically fruits and vegetables, as they are high in fiber to prevent constipation. If you are an athlete or fitness enthusiast, you are more likely to sweat more than average individuals. So, you should consume the recommended water intake while taking whey protein supplement.


Protein powder supplements are an excellent option for those who want to boost their daily protein intake. If you have no allergy, consuming protein powder should not constipate you.

The consumption of protein powders can cause constipation if your body lacks fiber or hydration. So, make sure to increase your water consumption and eat foods rich in fiber while taking protein shake to prevent constipation.

Avoid protein shake consumption if you experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as protein powder constipation, irregular bowel movement, or if you are lactose intolerant.

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My name is Michael Smith and I met both Sandra and Dave as clients. I’ve been working as a physiotherapist for the past 10 years now, which is a job I love doing.

See, I once had a promising football career which started with the Texas Longhorns, but unfortunately was cut short after just 1 semester when I suffered quite a serious knee injury.

I spent about 18 months going through 3 surgeries and endless hours of physiotherapy. Unfortunately, it was the end of my pro football career, but it opened my eyes to remaining involved in sports and helping athletes recover.

My main focus is sports injuries and I’m set up as a private practice. Maybe one day I’ll try and become involved in a college or pro football team, but at the moment I enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being my own boss.

In my spare time I still coach football, but unfortunately, I cannot play anymore. The nature of my injury was quite severe and has significantly weakened my knee, so I just can’t take such risks anymore.

But coaching kids and teenagers, and helping them prepare for college try-outs is something I absolutely love doing. And reaching a wider audience with some tips on preventing sports injuries is what I hope to achieve on this site.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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