Can protein powder make you fat?

Can protein powder make you fat? Protein powder can be used to support both weight loss and gain.

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protein powder for beginners

Protein powder does not make you fat.

Protein and weight loss. 

Protein and weight gain. 

Can protein powder make you fat? 

Why drink wholesome? 

Protein and weight loss. 


Decades of research point to protein intake as one of the most important mechanisms in weight loss (1, 2, 3). Losing weight is all about burning more calories than you consume, and a diet with a higher proportion of protein offers a metabolic advantage – you burn more calories – compared to a diet consisting of the same number of calories, but with a lower proportion of protein. Another reason why protein can help you lose weight is that it is very satiating (filling) compared to fats and carbohydrates. This can help to keep you from snacking and overeating. 

Protein and weight gain. 


Although protein powder is often championed as a weight loss food, it can also help you gain weight. Gaining weight is all about maintaining a calorie surplus – consuming more calories than you burn. A protein shake is an effective way to add calories to your diet because it is easier to drink your food than it is to chew it. Plus, a single serving of protein powder can contain upwards of 200 calories. Add some milk, and you could be looking at over 300 calories. 

Many people use protein powder to build muscle. Muscle growth can occur only if muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown. This is called a positive muscle protein balance. Strength training improves muscle protein balance, but, in the absence of adequate protein intake, the balance remains negative. Protein powder can help tip the scales. 

Does protein powder make you fat? 


Protein powder itself does not inherently make you fat. In fact, protein powder is often used as a dietary supplement to support weight management. When consumed as part of a balanced diet and combined with regular exercise, protein powder can help promote lean muscle mass and contribute to a healthy body composition. That said, it is important to note that excessive protein consumption, whether from protein powder or other sources, can contribute to weight gain. Protein, like any other macronutrient, contains calories. If you consume more calories from protein, or any other source, than your body needs for its daily energy expenditure, it can lead to weight gain.

Protein powder is just food, do not expect it to do anything that normal food cannot. It alone will not make you lose or gain weight, but it can be used to help with weight loss/gain as part of a diet (the types and amounts of food you regularly eat). How protein powder affects your weight therefore depends on how you use it. If you use protein powder to achieve calorie deficit, it may help you lose weight. If you use protein powder to achieve a calorie surplus, it may help you gain weight. 

If you are looking to use protein powder to support weight loss or weight gain, keep in mind that not all protein powders are good for you. Many protein powders contain added sugars and unnecessary additives, which can contribute to weight gain or negatively impact overall health. Keep reading to learn more. 

Why drink wholesome


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 may 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).

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 like protein isolates 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 14 servings 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.

drink wholesome is the best protein powder.

CHOCOLATE PROTEIN POWDERS

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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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