Can Meal Replacement Shakes Cause Gas? Reasons & Solutions

Can Meal Replacement Shakes Cause Gas? Reasons & Solutions

Last Updated on July, 2024

Meal replacement shakes have become increasingly popular because of how helpful they are. There are many benefits to them, and they’re especially good for those who lead a busy life. But, not everything about them is as perfect as it might seem.

You might have to face certain side effects after drinking meal replacement shakes. This can also include certain digestive issues, such as bloating and gas. These can be annoying to deal with, so some might avoid drinking meal replacements.

If you’re wondering whether or not can meal replacement shakes cause gas, we’re here to share all the most important details about these drinks. Take a look at the information below to find out more about how they might cause gas and how you could avoid this.

What are Meal Replacement Shakes?

Meal replacement shakes are a type of supplement. They’re usually meant for weight management, such as helping people lose weight or helping them gain weight and build muscle. This depends on the specific product in question, as they all have specific functions.

Regardless of this, the main purpose of these drinks is to replace real meals throughout your day. They’re loaded with different kinds of nutrients and are quite filling. This means that you can drink one of these shakes instead of preparing and eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

You’d get all the important nutrition while cutting down on the calories that those meals would give you. This helps with weight loss. Depending on the specific shake in question, it can also help with weight gain and/or muscle growth based on its nutrition profile.

Meal replacement shakes are a type of drink used to replace a meal or two in your day. On top of that, some of these shakes might have secondary purposes, such as weight management or help with digestive health

You can learn more about these by researching the specific product you’re planning to buy.

Will a Meal Replacement Shake Cause Stomach Issues?

Everything we’ve mentioned sounds great, but what’s the deal with side effects caused by meal replacements? They can indeed lead to nausea, tiredness, and more if you drink them too often.

Among the many issues, you might encounter stomach problems as well.

This includes things such as bloating and gas, which can be problematic when you’re going about your daily routine. It gets difficult to move around and do certain tasks without feeling quite awkward, and it can sometimes hurt as well.

Because of this, people might avoid meal replacement shakes altogether. However, there’s no need to be hasty. It’s possible to prevent the gas caused by meal replacements if you know more about it. That’s why we’ll be covering additional details about the topic, starting with just how the supplements might cause gas in the first place.

Related: Can Meal Replacement Shakes Cause Acne?

A Few Reasons Meal Replacements Might Cause Gas

a human touching his stomach

There’s not just one potential suspect regarding gas caused by meal replacement shakes. That’s why it’s so difficult to deal with this particular side effect, making some people shy away from these drinks.

There are multiple causes for this, and we’ll be covering a few of the main ones. Continue reading to find out more about what these are and how you might be able to avoid them:

Artificial Additives and Sweeteners

One of the main culprits for most side effects caused by these supplements is artificial ingredients. (1)

These include various sweeteners and other chemicals which might be used to give the meal replacement better nutrition or taste.

While these are useful and good at doing what they’re meant to do, artificial additives are also very harmful to our health. They can cause digestion problems, potential heart issues, mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, etc. (2)

Drinking them regularly can leave you open to all of these issues, which could be why you’re gassy. The best way to deal with this would be to stop buying the specific product you usually drink and focus on getting a meal replacement without artificial ingredients.

High Fiber-Diet

Fiber is a nutrient that helps with bodily functions such as digesting food. It’s very useful and necessary for properly digesting anything you eat and drink. But, too much of it can open your body up to several stomach problems. These problems mainly have to do with digestion, which includes causing gas. 

To keep you full and your gut healthy, meal replacement shakes are usually filled with dietary fiber. While this is a great thing, it can be harmful if you drink these supplements and eat other high-fiber foods too often.

When digesting fiber, the body produces gas in the colon. Eating too much of it will end up causing flatulence and possibly other issues. (3)

So, try to cut down on the fiber if you think that might be why you’re feeling gassy after drinking meal shakes.

Gulping Down on the Shake

Don’t be too hasty while you’re trying to drink a meal replacement shake, or anything else, for that matter. Gas in the stomach is usually a direct result of swallowing air and our food and drink. This is especially common among people that consume meals too fast.

If you tend to gulp down the shake too quickly, try to avoid doing so. It’s likely that you’re accidentally taking in some air along with the drink, causing gas in your body. Take things slow and drink a sip or two at a time before taking a moment until the next one.

It’s a small precaution and a little step, but one that can help a lot if you tend to get flatulence after drinking meal replacement shakes. 

Certain Ingredients

Even excluding the artificial additives and sweeteners we discussed previously, certain other ingredients inside meal replacement shakes might cause gas. These include various carbohydrates and protein sources usually found in meal shakes.

Allergens inside the shake are also possible reasons. If you’re lactose-intolerant, there could be milk or whey inside the shake, causing gas for you. We recommend consulting a dietitian for advice on which meal replacement to drink if you have digestive issues or allergies.

Speaking of all the ingredients in meal replacement shakes that might cause gas, this brings us to the next part of our article. Continue reading below to find out some specifics about the most common parts of these supplements known for causing issues such as flatulence.

Ingredients in Meal Shakes That Produce Gas

Here’s a run-through of some common ingredients in a meal replacement that might cause gas:

  • As mentioned first, the main culprit for this issue is usually an artificial additive or sweetener. Try to avoid meal shakes that have these as they can cause digestive issues and many other big problems for your health.
  • Meal replacements usually cause gas in those with lactose intolerance, making up for a large sum of the population. If you suffer from it, try to avoid any products with milk and other ingredients that feature lactose as they can cause gas.
  • There are many sources of carbs in meal replacement shakes. Check what these are and whether or not you have a complicated history with them. Many humans have issues digesting carbs, and they’re known to cause gas, which is another reason to cut down on them.
  • Another common culprit for gas after drinking meal replacement shakes might be soy. This is commonly used as an alternative to ingredients with lactose, but consuming too much of it can cause digestive issues due to some enzymes inside it.
  • Meal replacement shakes have lots of sodium to help with taste and nutrition purposes. But, consuming this regularly can cause trouble as our body might get more sodium than it needs, leading to gas.

How to Prevent Gas From Meal Replacement Shakes?

meal shake in a glass and tablet1

Now that you know more about the reasons and ingredients that might cause gas after drinking meal replacements, it’s equally important to know how to fight against them. If you want to prevent gas from these supplements, try to follow some of these tips:

  • Find another meal replacement shake if the current one is causing gas. Look for something that doesn’t feature gluten, GMOs, and other possibly harmful ingredients. That will almost definitely help make things better for you.
  • If you’re lactose intolerant, stop taking the shake you usually drink immediately. Look for alternatives that don’t have any milk, whey, or other lactose-based ingredients and try those instead. Your body should stop feeling gassy once there’s no lactose involved.
  • Don’t eat fiber too often. Avoid drinking too many meal replacement shakes in a single day or eating fruits with too much fiber. While the nutrient is important, too much of it can be harmful to you, which might be what’s causing the gas.
  • Try out herbal tea to help with the gas. It should calm down your digestive system and make things go through much smoother. Teas with ginger or turmeric can be especially helpful as both are known for being exceptional when it comes to dealing with flatulence.
  • Try to drink slower, as we’ve already discussed earlier. That should prevent air from entering the system and causing gas. If you’ve developed a habit of drinking too fast, consider trying to drink these shakes from a straw. That way, you can force yourself to drink slower.
  • Last but not least, consider consulting a registered dietitian for more information. They’ll be able to take a look at your medical history and recommend a meal replacement shake that will help you avoid flatulence from now on.


Meal replacement shakes can certainly cause gas, and now you know all the main reasons why they do so. But, we’ve also covered the main reasons you can avoid it.

As long as you keep everything we’ve discussed in your mind, you should be able to prevent flatulence and other digestive issues. Just keep trying out a few different options, and you’re sure to find a meal replacement to match your needs, thanks to all the variety of options out there.

If you’ve got any questions after reading through all this information, please ask us in the comments! We’ll try to give you answers and clear out any confusions you might still have about the topic.


Yes, there are potential side effects of consuming meal replacement shakes, including weight gain, digestive discomfort, and nutrient deficiencies if not consumed properly.

Meal replacement shakes can cause gas due to their artificial additives, sodium, soy, carbs, and lactose content.

Yes, meal replacement shakes can make you dizzy if you restrict calories and your diet is not balanced, as it can lead to low blood pressure which can cause nausea and shakiness.

Yes, drinking meal replacement shakes quickly without chewing can cause bloating. Chewing helps activate digestive enzymes, which is an important part of the digestive process.



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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband whom she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.

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