Extreme stomach pain after protein shake?

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

Extreme stomach pain after protein shake? Switch to drink wholesome. It is additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates. 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 our protein powder is right for you. 

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

-Brittany Carpenter, MS, RDN/LDN


vanilla protein powder

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Sick of stomach pain? Make a protein shake with drink wholesome.

Can protein shakes cause stomach pain?

How to stop stomach pain from protein shakes?

Why drink wholesome?

Can protein shakes cause stomach pain?

If protein shakes upset your stomach, you are not alone. Protein shakes cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects for many people. Common side effects include bloating, constipation, cramps, diarrhea, gas, nausea, and stomach pain. The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person, and from mild to extreme. In some cases they only last for a few hours, but some people have reported feeling sick for days after a single protein shake.

making a protein shake with protein powder

How to stop stomach pain from protein shakes?

If you just drank a protein shake and are experiencing stomach pain, be sure to drink plenty water. Hydrating and drinking ginger or peppermint tea are basically the only thing you can do to reduce pain in the short term. The rest of this article is thus designed to help you prevent stomach pain in the first place.

Dairy, or lactose, is the one of the main reasons why protein shakes cause stomach aches. If your protein supplement contains whey or casein protein, and experience GI side effects, it is time to switch to a dairy-free supplement. That said, the reason why many protein supplements cause stomach pain has nothing to do with protein.

Most protein shakes and powders are full of emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors. Heavily-processed added ingredients can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage. If your protein supplement is upsetting your stomach, it is therefore in your best interest to find a new, additive-free protein powder. Keep reading to learn more.

woman drinking a protein shake

Why drink wholesome

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why our protein powder does not cause stomach pain is that we do not use food additives. Even in the tiniest amounts, additives can cause a range of unwanted side effects including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, and stomach pain.

These symptoms arise from the fact that additives look nothing like naturally occurring real foods. Your digestive system consequently struggles to fully break them down, which can lead to one of two scenarios: either water is drawn into your intestines, resulting in diarrhea, or the additives feed your gut bacteria, which generate gas. Excessive gas can cause bloating, flatulence, stomach pain, and can even hinder the passage of food through your colon, causing constipation.

The consequences of consuming food additives over an extended period are even more troubling. Additives gradually disrupt crucial regulatory pathways within the intestines, thereby contributing to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory disorders. Ongoing research suggests that food additives, especially artificial sweeteners, can also disturb the delicate balance of the gut microbiome — the community of microorganisms that help with food digestion. As you can imagine, this can significantly impact long-term gut health, and lead to even more stomach pain down the road.

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

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

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 our protein powder does not cause stomach pain is that we do not use dairy-based proteins like whey and casein.Whey and casein, both byproducts of the manufacturing of cheese and yogurt, are known for causing digestive distress. This is particularly evident in individuals with lactose intolerance, as they lack the enzymes needed to completely digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you just discovered, partially digested food can lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms.

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why our protein powder does not cause stomach pain is that we do not use protein isolates. The majority of protein powders, on the other hand, use these protein sources, which are basically foods stripped of everything but the protein. Concentrates and isolates are thus labeled as “pea protein” or “whey protein,” rather than as “peas” or “whey.”

The production of protein concentrates and isolates involves extensive mechanical and chemical processes. In certain cases, chemical solvents like hexane are utilized to extract the protein from its natural source. As a result, what you put in your protein shake bears no resemblance to real food.

Your digestive system is naturally adept at handling minimally or unprocessed real foods, not artificial imitations. Consuming anything other than real food can therefore lead to unfavorable effects. Although the long-term effects of consuming processed food products, such as protein isolates, are still being investigated, emerging studies suggest that they can significantly disrupt the balance of the gut microbiota, leading to enduring damage to the gut.

Beyond its primary role in food digestion, the gut serves as a protective barrier against harmful pathogens, plays a crucial role in educating the immune system, and influences numerous physiological processes. Consequently, disturbances to the delicate balance of the gut microbiome have been linked to the development of various chronic diseases. Considering this connection, I strongly advise you to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.

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

Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best stomach-friendly protein powder with egg whites and almonds. The egg whites undergo a simple process of pasteurization and gentle drying, while the almonds are roasted to enhance their flavor, pressed to reduce some oil content, and finely ground. These minimally-processed ingredients create a protein powder that is highly digestible and beneficial for gut health, and a gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

If you have no allergies or sensitivities to eggs, egg white protein stands out as an excellent option to support your gut. With low fiber content and minimal FODMAPs, egg whites are gentle on the digestive system. Moreover, they boast the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) among all whole foods. Our satisfied customers consistently provide highly positive feedback, reporting fewer digestive issues when consuming egg white protein powder compared to other protein sources.

For those unable to consume eggs, our vegan almond protein powder serves as a fantastic substitute. Almonds, unlike protein concentrates or isolates, are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin E. We prioritize almonds over other minimally-processed plant protein sources due to their exceptional gut-friendly properties. Research indicates that almonds possess prebiotic characteristics, supporting the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome and ultimately promoting improved gut health.

In summary, our protein powders, whether they are made with egg whites or almonds, undergo minimal processing to prioritize the well-being of your gut. Regardless of which type you choose, you can expect a top-quality product that places the utmost importance on your digestive health.


easy to digest

“Love this product. Getting over a severe flare up with diverticulitis and this was the only source of protein I could handle without having any pain afterwards.” – Gordo

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drink wholesome will not cause stomach pain.


vegan chocolate 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.