Do protein shakes make you poop?

Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition

Do protein shakes make you poop? Protein shakes make me poop, which is why I created drink wholesome. It is additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates – 99% of supplements fail to meet at least one of these criteria. This makes it 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. Order samples to see if my protein supplements are right for you. 

“If you have a sensitive gut, you need simple ingredients.”

-Brittany Carpenter, MS, RDN/LDN


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My protein shakes will not make you poop.

Do protein shakes make you poop?

Why do protein shakes make me poop?

Why drink wholesome?

Do protein shakes make you poop?

Protein shakes make me poop, so if they make you run to the bathroom, you are not alone. The average protein supplement is not easy to digest, and can cause a number of gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, including diarrhea. Keep reading to learn why protein shakes make you poop, and how to boost your protein intake without side effects.

Why do protein shakes make you poop?

First of all, there are two types of protein shakes: ready-to-drink (store-bought) protein shakes, and protein shakes made with protein powder. In order to make a protein shake with protein powder, you have to mix the powder with milk or water. This requires a blender or a shaker bottle, and a little extra time and effort. Some people prefer ready-to-drink protein shakes because they are more convenient, but if they knew what they were drinking, they would stop immediately.

Ready-to-drink protein shakes are full of ingredients that can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage (more about this soon). This is why I recommend that you make your own protein shakes with protein powder. That said, not all protein powders are created equal, and many contain the same problematic ingredients found in ready-to-drink protein shakes! It is therefore important that you read the ingredient label closely.

Here are the top 5 reasons why protein shakes and powders can make you poop. Keep in mind that what triggers side effects for one person, may not trigger them for the next. That said, it is safe to say that if your protein supplement makes you go to the bathroom, one (or more) of these ingredients is likely to blame. 

1) Food additives can make you poop.

As you just learned, most protein shakes 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 like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. Now you finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!

2) Dairy-based protein can make you poop.

Dairy-based proteins can cause side effects like diarrhea, especially for people with lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Common dairy-based proteins include casein and whey, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production.

3) Sugar alcohols can make you poop.

Sugar alcohols (low-calorie sweeteners) are carbohydrates that are partially resistant to digestion. They can have a laxative effect because they draw water into the gut. They are also a FODMAP, and can cause diarrhea for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Common sugar alcohols include erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol. 

4) Insoluble fiber can make you poop.

Some plant-based protein supplements are naturally high in insoluble fiber. Other protein supplements, like those intended to help with weight loss, contain added fiber. Insoluble fiber is a natural laxative and adds bulk to the stool. If you eat a lot of it, it will make you poop.  

5) Protein isolates can make you poop.

Most protein supplements are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They are listed 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 supplement. 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 the gut microbiome. It is therefore in your best interest to avoid protein supplements made with protein concentrates and isolates. 

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Why drink wholesome

Protein shakes make me poop, which is why I created drink wholesome. It is additive-free, dairy-free, sugar alcohol-free, and low fiber. This means that it will not make you run to the bathroom like other protein powders. Moreover, instead of protein concentrates or isolates, my protein powders are made with 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.

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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. My customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein than with any other type of protein. If you cannot eat eggs, try my almond protein powder. Unlike protein concentrates or isolates, almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients like calcium and vitamin E. I prefer almonds to other minimally-processed plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties and 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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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.