Is Whey Protein Powder Bad For You?

Is whey protein powder bad for you?

Is whey protein powder bad for you? Whey protein is not a healthy choice for many people. Looking for an alternative to whey? Try drink wholesome. It is made with stomach-friendly real foods. Order samples to see for yourself.

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$29.99 or subscribe and save 10%

4 reasons why whey protein powder is bad for you.

1. Whey protein can upset your stomach. 

Dairy-based proteins like whey can casein are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production. They are known to cause digestive issues, especially for people with lactose sensitivity (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. It follows that you may 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 sensitivity, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose sensitivity are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As a result, it sits in your gut for longer than it should. This gives your gut bacteria more time to ferment (eat). As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, which causes bloating, cramps, and nausea. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation. 

2. Whey protein can cause acne.

Dairy-based proteins can also cause acne. Dairy indirectly stimulates insulin production, which regulates sebum production. Sebum, an oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands, can clog your pores and cause pimples. Dairy can also hinder your ability to process blood sugar efficiently, which can cause inflammation in your skin. This matters because acne is an inflammatory disease, that is, clinical evidence shows that inflammation occurs at all stages of acne development.

3. Whey protein is not sustainable. 

The dairy industry has an enormous environmental impact. Dairy cows contribute substantial amounts of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, which has a demonstrable effect on climate change. In some places, dairy operations are also significant contributors to water pollution and soil degradation because they convert natural habitat to agricultural land for feed crops. With these externalities in mind, it is hard for some people to justify buying whey protein powder and other dairy products. 

4. Whey protein has a chalky aftertaste. 

Most whey protein powders have a chalky aftertaste because they are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods chemically or mechanically stripped of everything but the protein. Unlike real foods, protein concentrates and isolates are missing the nutrients that make food taste good. They are listed on the ingredients list as “whey protein” as opposed to “whey.” 

As unpleasant as the aftertaste is, the real problem with protein concentrates and isolates is that they force protein powder companies to use food additives to mask the chalkiness. Food additives, although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, can add up quickly, especially if you drink a protein shake every day. At higher quantities, they can cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects.

Like lactose, many food additives are hard to digest and sit in your gut for longer than they should. They therefore feed your hungry gut bacteria, which produce gas. In the long term, food additives disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine and trigger the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.

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, 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.

Again, drink wholesome is the best alternative to whey protein powder. It is made with stomach-friendly real foods. Order samples to see for yourself.

Sick of whey protein powder? Switch to drink wholesome.


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.