By: Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
If you’re out there dropping bombs, causing a backdoor breeze, or finding some barking spiders from your increased protein intake, you’re not alone. Protein farts are something many people suffer (yes, you too, ladies) from, and there are some causes and prevention methods you need to know about so you don’t cause everyone around you to get all glassy-eyed.
While it may seem a little weird, I’m going to talk about your butthole in this article. More specifically, the foul air that comes out of it and crop-dusts everyone in the surrounding area.
Note: While the inner child in me wants to throw out some fart jokes, I’ll refrain from showing my immaturity and lame dad jokes that would embarrass my kids.
What Are Protein Farts?
Most people are quick to blame their protein farts on their increased protein intake or poor-quality whey, but that’s not always the case.
Finding yourself letting one rip throughout the day is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, research has shown that you actually fart upwards of 15 times per day and can have around 1.5 liters of stored-up gas in your digestive tract at any given time.
That trapped gas in your system needs to escape from somewhere, so it continues to pass through the intestines until it escapes through your, well… anus.
What about the stench that can knock a buzzard off a poop wagon from miles away? That’s due to sulfur found in many of the animal protein and dairy sources we consume. When we let one rip, the sulfur gas that is excreted is what gives your protein farts their foul smell.
What Are Some Causes of Increased Gas?
Again, just because you have excessive gas does not necessarily mean it’s due to your protein intake or source. Some of the reasons you may be blowing your butt horn could be due to the following reasons.
- Changes in your gut bacteria and gut microbiome
- Eating too much food
- Swallowing air
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Suffering from constipation
- Being under stress
- Having a food intolerance
- Consuming food that is hard to digest
- Suffering from digestion issues
Can Your Protein Powder Cause Protein Farts?
Absolutely. But as stated above, you may need to diagnose another underlying issue that could be causing your increase in flatulence, and your protein powder may have nothing to do with it.
It’s easy to blame your protein intake and source when those around you catch you squeaking out a toot. While the protein itself isn’t the root cause of an increase in farts, you may suffer from protein farts that are brought on by other ingredients found in your protein powder.
If you are using a protein powder and finding you’re suffering from intense digestive discomfort and protein farts, the reason may be due to the inclusion of lactose in the protein powder as well as any additives found in the ingredients.
You could, however, have issues digesting protein due to a lack of enzymes, causing an increase in discomfort and protein farts, but many times it’s more along the lines of what’s found in the protein powder.
How to Help Prevent Protein Farts
There’s nothing more embarrassing than being in an elevator, feeling something happening in your abdomen, and then laying down an all-out nuclear attack from your anus — creating an invisible cloud of fumes that if anyone were to light a match, you’d all be dead. What? I can’t be the only person who had the protein farts in an elevator before (don’t act like you’re innocent).
Then you have places like the Arnold Classic Expo floor and bathroom, which is simply one gigantic protein fart you can’t escape. You leave the expo ready to burn the clothes on your back. I’ve contemplated rocking a hazmat suit whenever I go to the expo floor for meetings. I walk out of the convention center, amazed I survived.
Below are some of the things you can do to help prevent protein farts that I highly recommend you try if you suffer from this embarrassing condition.
Stop Consuming Sugar Alcohols
For starters, it’s safe to say that if you consume sugar alcohols, you should never trust a fart (believe me). If you feel a little something coming on, you better sprint to the bathroom or clench your cheeks as if your life depended on it. Sugar alcohols have been shown to cause severe gastrointestinal issues in many people and may lead to explosive diarrhea.
Unsure what a sugar alcohol is? Look for ingredients that end in “ol,” which will be a giveaway. Some examples include erythritol, maltitol, xylitol, and sorbitol.
Most people assume getting away from an excessive sugar intake is a good plan (it is), but replacing it with sugar alcohols is a prime way to experience protein farts or worse.
Start Using Probiotics
Poor digestion can lead you down the path of nose hair-burning protein farts. This is generally due to the lack of healthy bacteria in your gut and microbiome. In order to restore gut health, probiotics can be implemented into your supplement regimen.
While probiotics are good for reducing digestive issues, bloating, and more, they also play a key role in boosting your immune system, which is another reason you should be utilizing them on a daily basis.
You can either go the route of using probiotic supplements, or you can include foods that can improve gut health, like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and pickles.
To piggyback off of probiotics is the use of digestive enzymes with meals. If your system isn’t able to properly break down and digest the food you consume, such as a meal containing protein for example, it can lead to excessive bloating and horrid protein farts. In order to help facilitate the natural digestion process, you could use something like MuscleSport Enzyme Revolution.
MuscleSport Enzyme Revolution utilizes a complete profile of digestive enzymes like amylase, protease, pepsin, pancreatin, papain, lipase, and cellulase, as well as betaine HCl, bromelain, and gentian. With Enzyme Revolution, you can help stop protein farts in their tracks and enjoy cleaner, fresher-smelling air.
Eat and Drink Slower
Eating and drinking too quickly can increase the likelihood of protein farts. If you’re downing your meal or slamming your protein shake, you’re more likely to swallow excess air, which can increase the pressure “down there” and cause you to have gas.
When you eat and drink, slow down. Enjoy your food and beverages. It’s not a race to see who can finish their meal first unless you’re in a hot dog eating contest. Chew your food thoroughly and break it down to help take less strain off your digestive system.
Consume Smaller Meals
If you’re trying to reduce protein farts, start consuming smaller meals throughout the day versus large. Consuming large meals that contain a high amount of protein can not only cause you to bloat, but they can also put a strain on the digestive system to effectively break down and absorb the meal, leading to a build-up of flatulence.
To combat consuming large meals, try spreading out your meals more frequently and having smaller amounts of protein in each meal instead of one large protein-packed meal. This can help ensure you take in your recommended daily protein intake while minimizing the risk of protein farts throughout the day.
Use a Higher-Quality Protein Powder
Finding you have intense protein farts following your protein shake? A higher-quality protein source may be the simple solution. If you’re sensitive to lactose, your standard whey protein concentrate may not be ideal for your needs based on how your body responds to and digests whey protein.
A better protein source that could solve your problem could be through the use of a whey protein isolate, which removes almost all of the lactose you’d find in a protein powder that can lead to stomach issues, bloating, discomfort, and protein farts. We may be biased, but MuscleSport Lean Whey is not only our favorite and best-selling whey protein isolate but also an award-winning and fan favorite in the industry thanks to our delicious and unmatched flavors.