Protein Powder Before Or After A Workout?

Should I take protein powder before or after a workout?

Should I take protein powder before or after a workout? As long as your protein powder does not upset your stomach, you can take protein powder whenever you want.  Looking for a new protein powder? Try Drink Wholesome. It is made by hand in the USA with 100% real foods. 

Take our protein powder pre- or post-workout. 

What is nutrient timing?

Nutrient timing refers to eating specific nutrients – namely carbohydrates and protein – in specific amounts at specific times ie. before, during, or after exercise. Some people believe that nutrient timing has a significant impact on performance, recovery, etc. 

The post-exercise “window” is widely considered the most important aspect of nutrient timing. It is thought that consuming the right nutrients in the right amounts after a workout can maximize post-exercise muscular adaptations. In other words, if you eat enough carbohydrates and protein after a workout, you will see the best results. This suggests that the best time to drink a protein shake is after a workout. 

Upon reviewing existing literature, however, it seems that nutrient timing is not particularly important for most people. That is, pre- and post-workout protein consumption has similar effects on body composition changes. This means that when you drink a protein shake does not really matter if you are simply trying to look and/or feel better. 

When you drink a protein shake should depend on your preferences. Some people prefer to exercise on an empty stomach, others prefer to eat as they workout. Whatever makes you feel best is what you should do. That said, be mindful of how protein powder makes you feel. 

Unfortunately, many protein powders can cause side effects. This means that drinking a protein shake before working out could be a recipe for disaster. If you like to exercise without having to run to the bathroom, do the following – 

Avoid dairy.

Dairy-based protein powders like casein and whey can cause side effects, especially for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant cannot fully digest lactose, the sugar in milk. Because casein and whey protein are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, they contain lactose. The amount varies from product to product, but unless a product claims to be “lactose-free,” assume that there is some lactose. 

If casein or whey protein upsets your stomach at all, switch to a dairy-free protein powder. My recommendation is egg white protein powder. Unless you have an egg allergy, it will not cause stomach pain.

chocolate protein powder supplement
vegan chocolate protein powder supplement

“This egg white protein powder is anti-bloat, anti-blood sugar dips, anti-artificial tasting. Seriously the best protein powder I’ve EVER tried (I’ve tried literally every brand on the US market, all types of protein powder too). The product is amazing, period.” – Elizabeth 

Avoid food additives. 

The main reason why protein powders can cause stomach pain is that they are full of food additives. Food additives are added to protein powder to improve characteristics like taste and texture and although they are not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, they can add up quickly, especially if you drink a protein shake every day. At higher quantities, food additives can cause nasty side effects.

First of all, because food additives are heavily processed and look nothing like real foods, we can have trouble digesting them. As a result, they sit in our guts for longer and ferment. Fermentation produces gas, which can cause bloating, cramps, and stomach pain. Gas slows colonic transit and can lead to constipation too. Food additives can also disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine and cause the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.

What exactly are food additives?

As a rule of thumb, food additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Not sure what to look for? Here is a list of the most food common 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 *Natural flavors are NOT natural

You may have noticed that this list includes several artificial sweeteners. Some artificial sweeteners may be bad for the stomach because they alter the composition of our gut microbiota, the collection of microorganisms that help us digest food. This can lead to serious stomach pain and widespread inflammation. Some artificial sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, can also cause diarrhea because they draw water into the gut.

Avoid protein concentrates and isolates.

Finding an additive-free, dairy-free protein powder is hard. Finding an additive-free, dairy-free protein powder that actually tastes good is next to impossible. Why? Most protein powders, especially plant-based protein powders, are made with protein concentrates and isolates, foods chemically and/or mechanically stripped of everything but the protein. 

Protein concentrates and isolates are listed as “whey protein” and “soy protein” as opposed to “whey” and “soy.” Unlike real foods, they are missing the nutrients – healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, etc. – that make food taste good. If you have ever had a protein shake with a chalky aftertaste, you know exactly what I am talking about. 

Real foods taste better.

The main ingredients in our protein powders are egg whites and chickpeas. Egg whites are simply broken, pasteurized, and dried before becoming protein powder. Chickpeas are simply dried and ground. 

Unlike protein concentrates and isolates, both egg whites and chickpeas have a neutral flavor with little to no aftertaste. The egg whites that we use are particularly delicious because they were broken, pasteurized, and dried less than twenty four hours from when they were laid. The result is a flavor without the saltiness or sulfur “eggy” notes typical of eggs.

Again, protein powder should taste good. Remember, it is just food. If you find yourself choking down your protein shake, you are missing out. Life is too short for protein powders with a chalky aftertaste. Moreover, if consuming protein powder is a chore, it is not sustainable in the long term. A diet is not a six-week affair, it is for life. Think twice before spending your hard earned dollars on a supplement that tastes bad.

You can take our protein powder before or after a workout because it is made with 100% dairy-free real foods. Our vegan vanilla protein powder, for example, is made with chickpeas, coconut, vanilla, and monk fruit. Ingredients like these are not only better for you, but also better tasting. Order samples to see for yourself.

Take our protein powder pre- or post-workout. 


You are reading a post by Drink Wholesome, a small business from New Hampshire. Drink Wholesome has taken a fundamentally better approach to protein powder by using 100% real food ingredients. Ingredients like these are not only better for you, but also better tasting. Sick of protein powders that upset your stomach? Sick of protein powders with a terrible aftertaste? Order samples to see if Drink Wholesome is right for you. 

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

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