Amino acids vs protein powder?

Amino acids vs protein powder? Learn how to best boost your protein intake.

pre workout vs protein powder
protein powder for beginners

Use protein powder, not amino acids. 

What are amino acids? 

What is protein powder? 

Amino acids vs protein powder? 

Why drink wholesome?

What are amino acids? 


Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 amino acids, 9 of which are essential. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and must come from food. The body breaks down food (dietary protein) into amino acids, which it uses to perform functions like building and repairing muscle tissue.

It is also possible to get some amino acids from supplements. Many people refer to amino acid supplements as “amino acids” or “BCAAs.” Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements consist of 3 essential amino acids: valine, leucine, and isoleucine. The thought is that because leucine, isoleucine, and valine make up approximately 17% of human skeletal muscle, adding them to our diet can help boost muscle growth and enhance exercise performance. The research into the effectiveness of BCAA supplementation is inconclusive, however, and it is unlikely that supplementing BCAAs is helpful. 

What is protein powder? 


You can also get amino acids from protein supplements. Protein powder is a dietary supplement designed to help you increase your protein (amino acid) intake. It is made from high-protein foods like eggs, peas, and milk, and can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods for an easy protein boost. Millions of Americans use protein powder every day to reach their protein goals. 

Again, the human body cannot synthesize all the amino acids that it needs. These “essential” amino acids must come from food, or supplements. Most people can get all the amino acids they need from dietary proteins like eggs, fish, and legumes. Some people, however, may need to use supplements like BCAAs and protein powder to get enough amino acids. 

Amino acids vs protein powder? 


Unlike most protein powders, which contain all 9 essential amino acids, BCAAs only contain 3. It therefore does not make much sense to take BCAAs instead of protein powder. In other words, you can get all the amino acids that you need from protein powder, but you can only get one third of them from BCAAs. Many athletes use BCAAs to add extra amino acids to their diet, but, again, the advantages of doing so are negligible. I therefore do not recommend you waste your money on BCAA supplements. 

not all supplements are created equal

Why drink wholesome


All protein powders are not created equal. First of all, some protein powders do not contain a complete protein, meaning they do not contain the nine essential amino acids. If you are eating a balanced diet, however, you DO NOT need to worry about whether or not your proteins are complete. In other words, you do not need to mix and match incomplete proteins to create a complete protein every time you eat. If you are relying heavily on protein supplements, however, this may be something to keep in mind. 

Second, many protein powders contain ingredients that are not good for you. It is therefore important that you read the ingredient list before buying a protein powder. Keep reading to learn more. 

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use food additives. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives.

Food additives may improve characteristics like taste, texture, and shelf stability, but they can also cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage. Basically, because they look nothing like real food, food additives are hard to digest. They therefore sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat.

As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, causing bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation. Over time, food additives can add up (especially if you drink a protein shake every day), and disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine. Eventually, this can lead to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.

vegan vanilla protein powder serving suggestion
vanilla protein powder lifestyle image 1

When buying protein powder, one additive to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota. This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome. 

Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are poorly absorbed by the gut, meaning they feed your hungry gut bacteria. They can also cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestines. Now you finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!

Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:

acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol

When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to avoid when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.

the alternative:

Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate,  Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids,  Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.

*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, and known to cause digestive issues. This is especially true for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you just learned, partially digested food feeds the bacteria in your gut, which produce gas and cause side effects. 

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best protein powder is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They appear on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.”

I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.

If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to your gut microbiome.

Your gut does more than just help you to digest food; it protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of your physiologic functions. Disruptions to the gut microbiome have therefore been linked to the development of many chronic diseases. It follows that it is in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates. 

vegan chocolate protein powder lifestyle image 1
chocolate protein powder serving suggestion

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed to remove some of the oil, and ground. Whole foods like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

Whole foods contain a variety of enzymes and other digestive aids that help to break down the food, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. Protein isolates and concentrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of these digestive aids, making them harder for the body to digest and absorb. Moreover, minimally-processed plant-based foods like almonds are rich in fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.

Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein powder. If you cannot eat eggs, try our vegan almond protein powder. We prefer almonds to other plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties that can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.

★★★★★

easy to digest

“I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20+ years and it’s always been hard to find a protein powder my stomach can handle. I’ve had no problem digesting drink wholesome AND it tastes great. I highly recommend this protein powder if you have IBS or Crohn’s.” – Jesse

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drink wholesome is the best protein powder.

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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