On the list of things that make you go to the bathroom first thing in the morning, Coffee still stays at the top place, due to its high caffeine amount.
But did you know that many people are convinced that their increased protein intake is causing them to poop more?
Of all the things you thought would make you poop, your favorite whey protein shake definitely wouldn’t have been on your list.
We’ve previously talked about whether a high protein diet can be the cause of constipation, but is the reverse also possible? Does protein make you want to go number 2?
The short answer is yes. Though there isn’t a direct link between pooping more and protein, what you ingest common sources of protein with can affect your bowel movements, which is what usually happens.
Though, having a healthy diet full of protein and other vital food elements isn’t just essential for your overall health, but good for your bowel movements as well.
This guide aims to bridge the gap between your understanding of the pooping mechanism, and how protein weighs into that conversation.
Make sure to read till the end to find out how it all works, how you can cure constipation with protein, and what types of protein you should be eating.
Some Background On Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient for our bodies to function properly. Not only does it help build and repair tissues, but it also plays a vital role in digestion.
You see, protein helps regulate the movement of food through the digestive tract, which is essential for healthy bowel movements.
Many studies suggest that lack of protein in your diet can result in constipation or irregular bowel movements, and aren't just important for gaining muscle mass and recovery for gym bros.
Though, we recommend skipping eating animal proteins, and moving to a plant-based protein or keto diet, since 'pure proteins' from these animal sources can slow down digestion and create irregular bowel movements.
How Does Protein Affect Your Gut Health?
Protein is an integral part of staying healthy, and we often think about its role in building strong muscles. But it's a game changer for our gut health too!
Our gastrointestinal tract (also known as the gut) plays such an important role - from digestion to immunity.
The complex system spans from your mouth right down to your large intestine, and protein helps repair and renew these tissues plus modulates bacteria levels so that you can reap maximum benefits when it comes to protecting against harmful pathogens.
Additionally, protein also helps the gut heal from the mechanical stress, inflammation, and oxidative stress that it goes through every day. When the gut cell lining or the tissue is damaged, it can cause problems like bloating, constipation, IBS, and more.
In a nutshell, an overabundance of protein can cause hardening of the stools that leads to problems like bloating and others, while not having enough can cause loose stools, and even diarrhea in extreme cases.
Having a moderate amount of protein help in this case, which is why we recommend following a balanced diet daily, consistently.
How Often Should You Eat Protein?
Protein, as we've mentioned before, has a lot of different benefits, and isn't just limited to giving muscle healing and regeneration to the gym junkies out there.
Though, in the context of healthy bowel movements, how much protein should you be eating every day? Should you be consuming your favorite protein powder daily?
The answer to the second question? Yes. Having a good quantity of proteins in your daily diet is an important aspect of a balanced, healthy diet.
Talking about the first question, however, it's important to consume protein in moderation, as excess protein consumption can have the opposite effect and cause constipation.
This is why we recommend consuming protein with every meal, but not in large quantities. Aim for lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes, and keep portion sizes in check. Don’t focus entirely on protein shakes, and make sure to go with natural sources that sit right with your tummy.
So, Does Protein Make You Poop?
If you're still wondering whether a protein will start magically making you poop, we'll break the answer down for you, so that you remember it forever.
Medically and technically speaking, high protein diets don’t have a direct effect on your bowel movements, if we’re talking specifically just about protein.
However, since most of us ingest protein in the form of protein supplements, mainly protein powders, it can cause irregularity in the bowels, causing diarrhea or constipation, or any gut-related problem in between.
The reason why that happens can be taken from verified statistics that state that a large number of people have untreated, undiagnosed lactose intolerance, and most protein supplements are full of dairy products. This, in turn, can trigger your intolerances, causing you to poop more.
Can Eating Protein Cure Constipation?
While protein consumption is beneficial to general health and can improve gut health, it is not a direct treatment for constipation.
Constipation is a complicated problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including a lack of fiber, a lack of fluid intake, a lack of physical exercise, certain drugs, and underlying medical disorders.
However, including high-protein foods in your diet can have various health advantages, including indirectly alleviating certain symptoms of persistent constipation.
We recommend having a good protein intake daily to help prevent problems like constipation, and for the better of your overall health.
Though, as mentioned before, moderation is the key here, and since pure proteins take longer to digest, you must take plant-based proteins if you're prone to get constipated, and make sure you don't take large quantities of protein at a single time.
How Much Protein Do You Need Daily?
When it comes to protein, there's a lot of conflicting information out there. Some people swear by a high-protein diet, while others claim that too much protein can be harmful. So how much protein do you need every day? Well, it depends.
The recommended daily intake of protein varies depending on your weight, age, and activity level. In general, though, most adults need around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Of course, a balanced diet is about more than just protein.
It's also important to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. But by focusing on getting moderate levels of protein, you'll be fueling your body with the building blocks it needs to stay healthy and strong.
What Happens If I Eat Too Much Protein?
Proteins can be quite beneficial, and there are a lot of studies and research out there to back this claim. However, moderation is of the utmost importance in every single thing, whether in the medical world or any other. The same is the case with eating protein.
Your body can undergo a lot of negative stress if you’re stuffing protein in day and night. Though they’re quite beneficial for muscle and body recovery, protein alone isn’t a substitute for a balanced diet.
Here are a few things that can happen in your body if you start eating too much protein.
Protein sources, as we mentioned before, often come from dairy sources. If you're eating a lot of high-protein supplements, the lack of fiber, coupled with an increase in the number of dairy products, can go on to cause diarrhea.
This is why medical professionals often recommend increasing your water intake if you’re on a high protein diet, and make sure to introduce a staple amount of dietary fiber to add bulk to your stools, and prevent this problem.
When we eat more protein than our body needs, the excess protein is converted into glucose and stored as fat. This can add up quickly and contribute to an increase in body weight.
It's important to find a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats in our diet to maintain a healthy weight and keep our bodies functioning properly.
Excessive protein intake can cause kidney damage over time, especially when coupled with high body weight.
You see, the kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste products and excess urea from the blood, but a surplus of protein forces the kidneys to work much harder to eliminate the additional waste products. This is especially true in the case of animal proteins, which are way harder to digest.
In doing so, there's an extra strain on the kidneys which can eventually lead to chronic diseases such as kidney failure. Plant-based proteins work better in this regard, and are much lighter as they're 'impure'.
Increased Risk Of Heart Diseases
That's right, studies have shown that consuming excessive amounts of protein from animal sources like meat, cheese, and eggs can increase the risk of heart disease.
It's not just about the quantity either, but also the quality of the protein we consume. This specific study on women, which was taken back in 2010, shows an increase in the risk of heart disease in women who have had a higher protein intake than normal.
Protein sources, like red meat, have been largely associated with an increased risk of heart-related diseases, which is why we recommend adopting plant-based proteins in your diet.
Alternative Ways To Cure Constipation
Constipation can be a real bummer. No one likes the feeling of being bloated, uncomfortable, and unable to go for days on end.
It may start as mild discomfort but if it's left untreated could worsen into serious conditions like hemorrhoids or rectal prolapse.
There are a lot of ways to treat and make constipation go away for good, and it involves more than just playing around with protein supplements all day long.
But you don't need to go around looking for those ways. Here are a few key ways you can get rid of constipation at home.
Probiotic supplements have invaded the market and given hope to people with questionable gut health. Though they’re focused on a range of different symptoms, did you know that probiotic supplements can be a great solution for getting rid of constipation?
These tiny little capsules are chock-full of protein-rich microorganisms that can help regulate your digestive system and get things moving down there. They work their magic by improving the balance of gut bacteria in your body.
Both our products, IBSupport and Restore Probiotic, are filled with bacterial strains that target problems like constipation and bloating. They’re also pretty heart-healthy, so you won’t be adding extra calories to your diet.
By getting your body moving, you are helping to stimulate the muscles in your digestive system, which in turn helps move things along.
If you're feeling a bit backed up down there, we recommend skipping the laxatives and skipping a few ropes to get the juices flowing.
Though, exercising doesn’t have to be rigorous. Try some light cardio, like a brisk walk or jog, or even some yoga poses specifically designed to aid in digestion. Your gut will thank you later!
Increasing Water Intake
This is the oldest trick in the book, but it still works. When you're constipated, your bowels are slow, and the stool is dry and harder to pass.
Increasing water intake means that you're effectively lubricating your stools, softening them enough so that they're easier to pass when you're in the bathroom.
When To Seek Medical Help
We've gone over the various ways you can treat your constipation at home, whether it comes from having a high-protein diet or not.
However, seeking medical help is of the utmost importance, and if your protein-based diet isn't working well with your stomach, reaching out to a doctor and explaining the situation is the best thing to do.
In many cases, there are underlying conditions that cause chronic constipation that patients have been unaware of their entire life.
Some other sure signs to go to the doctor include:
Consistent abdominal pain
Blood in stool
Painful cramps while pooping
The feeling of not going fully even after frequent bathroom visits
There's a lot to say when it comes to protein and pooping, and this guide aimed to effectively bridge the gap between your understanding of protein, and how it can weigh in with nature's call.
Protein won’t directly be causing your constipation, nor will it be charging up those long diarrhea trips to the bathroom - Though what you ingest protein with, e.g dairy products, can aid in slowing digestion, and bringing about these problems in the gut.
We've got a lot of similar guides on our blog that talk about constipation, how you can get rid of it, and the various foods that can cure and cause constipation. Make sure to also subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated, and get a whopping 10% discount across all products!