Is whey protein powder making you bloated?

Is whey protein powder making you bloated?

Cow’s milk is one of the most common causes of food intolerances and allergic reactions. Though did you know that you can react to different parts of cow’s milk?

You can react to the milk sugar (lactose) or the milk proteins (casein and whey). When people react to dairy, they often think that the problem is the sugar and that their reaction is caused by lactose intolerance. However, whey protein can cause just as many issues and may be the cause of your bloating. Today we’re going to look at what whey protein is and what you can do if you have whey protein intolerance.

What is whey protein?

In our previous blog (LINK), we talked about how whey is the liquid that is drained from milk during the process of making cheese. When you hear about ‘curds and whey, the curds are the solid and sticky fat globules, and the whey is the fluid that the curds float in. The whey is separated from the fat (curd) and sugar (lactose) and dried. This is how you get whey protein powder.

Whey protein powder is a popular supplement used for health and fitness. It is used by bodybuilders and athletes to increase their strength and muscle mass. It is also a popular choice for people who want to lose weight because it is thought to reduce their appetite and give their metabolism a boost.


While it has health benefits, whey protein can be harmful to people with allergies. Whey protein is also not digested well by some people, and not everyone’s body agrees with it.

What’s the difference between a whey allergy and whey intolerance?

An allergic reaction to whey can happen within minutes or up to 48 hours after drinking milk or having whey protein powder. A whey allergy is an immune reaction that can have severe and even life-threatening effects. The symptoms include:

  • skin rashes (like hives)
  • swelling of your lips, face, or eyes
  • tummy pain
  • bloating and gas
  • nausea or vomiting
  • reflux
  • diarrhoea or constipation
  • swelling of your tongue or throat, which can lead to difficulty breathing
  • noisy breathing
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • watery or red eyes
  • a runny or congested nose
  • loss of consciousness

It is common for children to have a cow’s milk allergy. When a child reacts to the proteins in milk, it is called a cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA). This often happens around the age of one, though fortunately, most children grow out of it by the age of three to five years old.

A whey intolerance is not an immune reaction but an issue with how the protein is digested. Because it is a problem caused by poor digestion, it is common to get digestive symptoms when you have an intolerance to whey. You may experience:

  • an upset stomach
  • bloating
  • gas
  • tummy aches and cramps
  • diarrhoea or loose stools

Just like children can have an allergy to whey, it is also common for children under five years of age to otherwise have an intolerance to whey. Cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI) usually happens within the first week of a child having cow’s milk in their diet. It can cause them to have tummy pain, vomiting, mucous or blood in their stool, diarrhoea, and skin rashes (like eczema). If it goes on for too long, the intolerance can lead to poor growth (failure to thrive), irritability, and wheezing.

How do I know if it is the whey protein making me bloated?

The symptoms of lactose intolerance, whey intolerance, and whey allergy are quite similar. Each of them can cause bloating and digestive upset. So it’s important to find out for certain what the issue is. With our intolerance test, you can determine whether you are intolerant to lactose, whey, or both! 


Order the test HERE to find out what’s causing your bloating. Then it’s as easy as taking a small sample of your hair and sending it to our lab. After no more than 3 days, you will receive a comprehensive list of over 500 foods and items that you could be intolerant to.

In conclusion

Having an allergy or intolerance to dairy is very common in children and adults. Today we looked at the different parts of cow’s milk that you can react to and discovered an addition to lactose intolerance. That is whey protein intolerance. 

We learnt that whey protein intolerance occurs when you don’t digest the protein properly and that it can cause bloating and digestive upset. We compared this to whey allergies, which have slightly different symptoms and are caused by an immune reaction to whey. Then looked at how you can test for whey intolerance with our hair test that you can do from your home. The test results are quick and can easily tell you what part of dairy you’re reacting to! This is a fast and effective way of finding out what’s causing your bloating.

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