Protein shakes don’t fill me up.

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

Most protein shakes don’t fill me up, which is why I created drink wholesome. Unlike 99% of protein supplements, it is made with real foods, not protein isolates. Order samples to feel the difference. 


“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”


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If protein shakes don’t fill you up, try drink wholesome

Why don’t protein shakes fill me up?

How to make your protein shake more filling.

Why drink wholesome?

Why don’t protein shakes fill me up?

One of the reasons why protein shakes do not fill you up is that liquid foods are, generally speaking, less satiating than solid foods. One study found that older adults who ingested liquid meal replacements experienced a smaller postprandial decline in hunger than older adults who consumed solid meal replacements. Another study published a few months later came to the same conclusion: liquid foods have a weaker effect on satiety (fullness) than solid foods with equal caloric content. For reasons that are not yet fully understood, liquids fail to trigger the same physiological satiety mechanisms as solids. One possible explanation is that the body does not perceive them as food. This suggests that protein shakes may not be the best way to curb your appetite. 

Although liquids may not fill you up as much as solids, protein shakes still have one thing going for them that many foods do not: they contain lots of protein. Protein is the most satiating nutrient, meaning it keeps you feeling full for longer than nutrients like fats and carbohydrates. Acutely, carbohydrates and fats are very satiating, meaning they fill you up right away, but a few hours later, you will be hungry again. Protein, on the other hand, has a greater prolonged satiating effect. A protein shake, when added to your diet, can therefore increase fullness and decrease hunger over the course of the day. This is why it is often recommended to drink a protein shake in the morning with breakfast. 

Different types of dietary protein may be more satiating than others. There is some research that suggests animal protein fills you up more than plant protein. That said, other studies have found there to be no difference at all. If your plant-based protein supplement is not filling you up, you may want to consider trying an animal protein-based supplement instead. Do not expect to feel a big difference, however.

How to make your protein shake more filling.

Here are 5 easy ways to make your protein shake more filling.

1. Add ice. Ice will increase the volume of your protein shake. This is a quick fix, but can help hold you over until your next meal.

2. Add fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are high in fiber, which is known to increase satiation. This is just another way to increase the volume of your shake.

3. Add nut butter. Nut butter is full of healthy fats and protein, which will help you feel full for longer.

4. Add Greek yogurt. Yogurt, like nut butter, is full of healthy fats and protein.

5. Turn it into a smoothie bowl. Smoothie bowls are more nutrient-dense smoothies, thick enough to eat with a spoon and often topped with fruits, nuts, seeds, and granola.

Why drink wholesome

First of all, there are two types of protein supplements: 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, prioritizing convenience, prefer to buy ready-to-drink protein shakes, but if they knew what they were drinking, they would probably vomit. Ready-to-drink protein shakes are full of emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors. Ingredients like these improve characteristics like taste, texture, and shelf stability, but can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage. This is why I recommend that you make your own filling protein shakes with protein powder. 

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

The reason why my protein powder makes filling protein shakes whereas other protein supplements do not is that it is made with real foods. Most protein shakes and powders 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 powder. What ultimately makes its way into your protein shake therefore 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 not know what to do with it. This is a huge potential downside to protein concentrates and isolates. 

Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, I make protein powder  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 a filling alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

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.



“I like drink wholesome because of how filling it is. 1 serving is enough to keep me full until lunch. If you’re trying to cut back on snacking, I recommend adding some protein to your breakfast. It has made a huge difference for me.” -Monica

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Most protein shakes don’t fill me up, so I created drink wholesome

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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.