Can Protein Powder Make You Nauseous?

Can protein powder make you nauseous?

Can protein powder make you nauseous? Some protein powders can make you nauseous. drink wholesome is not one of them, however, because it is made with simple, easy to digest ingredients. Order samples to see for yourself.

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$34.99 or subscribe and save up to 15%

Our protein powder will not make you nauseous.

Why do protein shakes make me nauseous?

Protein powder can cause a number of gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, including nausea. Nausea is the feeling of discomfort that makes you feel as though you might vomit, but may or may not lead to vomiting. It is a feeling that everyone dreads, and you have almost certainly experienced it at some point – perhaps while reading in a moving vehicle, or after drinking too much coffee. There are several reasons why protein powder can make you nauseous. Keep reading to learn more. 

Food additives can cause nausea.

Most protein powders are full of food additives. Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a protein shake every day) and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects including nausea. This is because food additives are, generally speaking, hard to digest. They 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. Gas itself can cause nausea. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation and an overgrowth of gut bacteria. Both constipation and bacterial overgrowth can trigger feelings of nausea.

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, they are the ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to look out for when buying protein powder that will not cause nausea, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.

our ingredients: 

egg whites, coconut, cocoa, monk fruit

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.

Dairy can cause nausea.

Dairy-based proteins like whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, are known to cause digestive issues, especially 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. You may therefore be lactose intolerant or have IBS and not even know it. 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 that can cause nausea. 

Protein isolates can cause nausea. 

Finding an additive-free, dairy-free protein powder is hard. Finding an additive-free, dairy-free protein powder made with real foods is next to impossible. Why? Most protein powders are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They are listed on the ingredient list as “pea protein,” for example, as opposed to “peas.” We 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. 

The potential problem here is that your gut might not know what to do with ingredients like these. Your gut prefers the real thing, not some heavily-processed imitation, so protein concentrates and isolates might be hard to digest for people with sensitive stomachs. Moreover, unlike real foods, protein concentrates and isolates are missing the nutrients that make food taste good. They therefore have an unpleasant chalky aftertaste that can trigger the gag reflex (make you feel like you are going to vomit).

vegan chocolate protein powder
chocolate protein powder

Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we use egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed, and ground. Minimally-processed ingredients like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates. They also have a delicious, natural flavor. 

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, 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 than with any other type of protein. 

If you cannot eat eggs, try our almond protein powder. Unlike protein concentrates or isolates, almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients like calcium and vitamin E. We prefer almonds to other minimally-processed plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome. Research also suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties, meaning they stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.

Stevia can cause nausea. 

Stevia is added to many protein powders to make them sweet and is popular because of its intense sweetness – a pinch of stevia can be used to achieve the same amount of sweetness as several tablespoons of sugar. This intense sweetness is also why stevia can make people feel sick. It is easy to overdo it, and stevia-sweetened protein powders are often sickly-sweet. Stevia also activates bitter taste receptors, which can give it a nauseating aftertaste. 

Instead of stevia, we use a natural sweetener called monk fruit. Monk fruit – also known as luo han guo – is a melon-like fruit native to Southeast Asia. Monk fruit sweetener is created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice, which is then dried into a concentrated powder. As far as low/zero calorie sweeteners go, monk fruit is the most natural and best tasting. It actually tastes like sugar.

★★★★★

“I just finished my first bag and ordered 2 more! I Iove this stuff! I have IBS and every protein powder hurts my stomach…except drink wholesome!”

-Julio

Why drink wholesome

Our protein powders are additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates. They are perfect for people with gut issues and sensitive stomachs, as well as for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk.

Again, drink wholesome will not make you nauseous because it is made with simple, easy to digest ingredients. Order samples to see for yourself.

Our protein powder will not make you nauseous.


Hi, my name is Jack. I created drink wholesome because I was sick of protein powders that upset my stomach. drink wholesome is handmade in Plymouth, MA. 

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.