Whey sensitivity and intolerance: Here’s when whey protein just isn’t for you.

Whey protein is a popular protein supplement that has been used for decades to help build muscle. If you are sensitive or intolerant to whey, there are other options for protein supplementation.

Whey sensitivity and intolerance is a problem that can occur with whey protein. If you have an allergy or intolerance to lactose, it may not be the best option for you.

While it may come as a surprise, many people have allergies or intolerances to conventional protein supplements. You could be one of them without even realizing it!

I’m in Calgary this week working with some of Canada’s best bobsleigh and skeleton competitors. The athletes are now in the middle of a testing camp, which means they’re all here to compete for a spot on this year’s World Cup and Europa Cup teams.

I spend a lot of time with these athletes making sure everything is in place for success – food quantity, food kind, meal timing, and proper supplement consumption – since nutritional support for their rigorous training is a necessity.

Interestingly, since most of the athletes take a protein supplement to assist meet their high protein requirements, I’m reminded of how many people are hypersensitive to protein powders – particularly whey protein – every time I’m out here.

In fact, I’ve had to take five athletes off whey protein on this tour because of their bad reactions to it – even the so-called “high grade” whey isolates.

One athlete, for instance, had severe bloating and gas as a result of their whey protein supplement. A huge, stinky cloud would fill the room 30 minutes after they drank their shake, and their gut would inflate up to approximately 125 percent of its usual size.

Another athlete, who has been using whey protein throughout training sessions for the last year, believed he had a low-grade, persistent head cold for the whole time owing to the severe stuffiness he’d felt during every exercise.

Another athlete would develop a thick film of mucus in their throat after each dose of whey protein as a consequence of their protein supplement.

The list continues on…

These signs and symptoms are often linked to food allergies and intolerances. Unfortunately, many of them, and possibly many of you, have failed to identify, ignored, or just learned to live with these symptoms. These symptoms, however, are not typical and should not be dismissed, as I warned my athletes. They should be dealt with and eradicated instead.

4 inquiries

So, here are four questions for you to consider:

  • How often do you feel bloated and gassy?
  • How often do you have flatulence?
  • How often do you suffer from a stuffy nose?
  • How frequently do you notice a lot of mucus in your mouth and throat?

If you’re experiencing these symptoms on a regular basis, it’s important to investigate your food consumption to see what’s causing the issue or difficulties. The symptoms listed above are usually the consequence of one or both of the following protein-related issues:

Lactose Intolerance is a kind of lactose intolerance.

Undigested lactose travels past the stomach and into the intestines, where it must be fermented in certain people (those with insufficient lactase enzyme activity). Gas is produced as a result of this process, resulting in stomach cramps, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea.

Protein Intolerance/Allergy

In addition to the aforementioned, milk protein allergy/intolerance may cause symptoms. While casein protein has been linked to more instances of milk protein difficulties than whey protein, both milk proteins have the potential to create problems. This is owing to the fact that casein and whey may trigger an inflammatory immunological response in certain people. This results in the formation of mucus. High mucus levels result in clogged airways, stuffy noses, and thickened throats.

Now I understand. Your supplement company claims that the protein you’re buying is a “high grade” isolate. Yes, genuine high-quality isolates have a very low lactose content. However, it’s possible that the lactose isn’t the issue. It’s possible that the protein isolate is the source of the problem.

But think about this… Even if the company says it’s a high-quality isolate, every protein powder containing “whey protein concentrates” includes lactose. As a result, if it contains concentrates, it contains lactose.

Furthermore, many experts in the protein business think that certain firms are misrepresenting about product quality to boost profit margins. They say that since using lower-quality whey protein concentrate is less expensive than using high-quality whey protein isolate, some firms are adding concentrate without disclosing it on the label.

Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.

Of course, I’m not attempting to start a conspiracy theory; instead, I’m just attempting to assist you in looking and feeling better by avoiding possible dietary issues. And, as I previously said, you may have a protein allergy or intolerance even if you consume a high-quality lactose-free protein product. As a result, the protein type itself would have to be eliminated.

Suggestions for action

Now, without getting too technical, let’s get down to business with a few ideas for those of you who are experiencing issues with your protein supplements.

1) Alter Your Protein Brands

It may be time to switch products if you regularly feel gassy and bloated, or congested and mucousy after taking a supplementary milk protein product. Your product may contain too much lactose or a high quantity of certain protein compounds, both of which may be harmful.

Indeed, one of my athletes switched protein powders this week from whey protein isolate to a milk protein mix, and all of their problems vanished within a day. I’ve even seen athletes enhance their function and eliminate problems after switching from one type of whey isolate to another.

2) Change the Protein Types

If switching protein brands doesn’t help, you may have a genuine milk protein intolerance. If this is the case, you may want to consider switching to rice protein isolates. Rice protein isolates are hypoallergenic and may now be supplemented with a full amino acid profile.

3) Consider Your Dairy

One other thing to also consider if you’re suffering the symptoms above is your dairy intake. Maybe, instead of your protein being the problem, you’re having a problem with milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. Again, the lactose or protein fractions in dairy products may be the culprit, so don’t rule either out. If it turns out that dairy is the problem, you could switch to non-cow’s milk dairy (goat or sheep’s milk dairy), or you could switch to soy-based dairy like milk, yogurt, etc.

The goal of this essay isn’t to turn you become a dairy or protein aficionado. Don’t make up symptoms that aren’t there. However, I do urge you to examine your protein and dairy consumption, as well as whether or not your protein supplements and dairy are beneficial to you.

It’s lot simpler to start changing things up if you’re aware of the connection between what you eat and how you feel if you’re aware of the link between what you eat and how you feel.

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The whey protein upset stomach is a problem that can happen when you are sensitive to whey. There are many other reasons why you might not be able to tolerate whey, such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you develop an intolerance to whey protein?

It is not possible for a person to develop an intolerance to whey protein.

Can you be intolerant to whey but not milk?

Yes, I can be intolerant to whey but not milk.

Can you be allergic to whey but not casein?

Yes, you can be allergic to one but not the other.

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