Most people get ample protein from their regular diets, but if you’re suffering from severe IBS symptoms or choose protein drinks and shakes to supplement your everyday diet, the protein you choose needs to be IBS-friendly. This leads us to ask the question, “Is pea protein low FODMAP?”. Let’s take a look.
Pea Protein and the Low FODMAP Diet
Pea protein is a powder made by extracting the protein from peas. Pea protein has become a popular supplement added to shakes, smoothies, and nutrition drinks to boost protein content. Pea protein is also popular among the whole-foods plant-based crowd because it contains zero animal-based ingredients, unlike whey protein which is the byproduct of cheese production.
Usually, with FODMAPS being carbohydrates, we tend to not worry too much about foods that are mostly protein when following a low FODMAP diet. The issue with pea protein is that the original pea that the powder is extracted from is considered a higher FODMAP food. This naturally causes a little confusion about whether pea protein is a safe choice for IBS.
While peas may be troublesome, the pea protein isolate that comes from them is not. By dry weight, pea protein powder is nearly 90% protein. As long as we’re talking about pure pea protein and not a protein shake containing a list of sugars and other higher FODMAP ingredients, this type of protein powder is acceptable on a low FODMAP diet.
Is Pea Protein Hard to Digest?
Some protein powders are difficult to digest, especially for people with IBS and other digestive issues. Plant-based protein powders also seem to present more of a problem than animal-based protein powders like whey or collagen. Pea protein powder seems to be an exception and more easily digested than other plant-based protein powder alternatives.
Still, even though pea protein is considered low FODMAP, some people might have a sensitivity to peas and the small number of carbohydrates in the powder. If this is the case, you should steer away from pea protein, no matter how easy to digest everyone says it is.
There two types of pea protein to look for. The first is pea protein concentrate, and the other is pea protein isolate. The difference is in how the pea protein is extracted. Of the two, pea protein isolate has a higher protein content and is typically easier to digest than pea protein concentrate.
Something else to consider if you’re having trouble digesting pea protein is whether there are any other ingredients in the powder that might be causing digestive issues. In premixed protein powders, it’s not at all uncommon to find high FODMAP ingredients on the label. The best option is to make your own shake or mixes, using pure pea protein powder and other FODMAP-friendly ingredients.
Low FODMAP Protein Powders
Pea protein powder is generally well tolerated by people with IBS and those following a low FODMAP diet. Monash University has not individually tested most pea protein powders. When considering low FODMAP protein powders, it’s best to stick to simple ingredients and pay attention to carbohydrate content.
If you’re considering adding pea protein powder to your diet, here are a handful of low FODMAP options to get you started.
Pea protein powder is a healthy, low FODMAP protein that’s easily added to drinks, shakes, and other recipes to boost nutrient and protein content. There are many protein powders out there, many of them disruptive to digestive health, especially for people with IBS. Pea protein is safe, healthy, and IBS-friendly.