Protein shakes make me feel weird.
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
Most protein shakes make me feel weird, so 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 powder is right for you.
“If you have a sensitive gut, you need simple ingredients.”
-Brittany Carpenter, MS, RDN/LDN
If protein shakes makes you feel weird, switch to drink wholesome.
Why do protein shakes make me feel weird?
Protein shakes make many people feel weird, “off,” or even sick. If your protein powder makes you ill, nauseous, or run to the bathroom, you are not alone. Feeling weird is a common side effect of protein shakes, and is usually linked to gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. That said, if you feel dizzy or lightheaded after drinking a protein shake, you could have a common condition called postprandial hypotension, which loosely translates to low blood pressure after eating.
Digestion reroutes a lot of blood to your stomach and small intestine, and to compensate for this change, the heart beats faster and harder and certain blood vessels contract. These two actions help maintain blood pressure and blood flow to the brain, extremities, and everywhere in between. In some people, however, the heart and blood vessels do not contract as they should, which causes their blood pressure to decrease everywhere but in the digestive system.
The sudden drop in blood pressure can cause dizziness or lightheadedness. In some cases, postprandial hypotension can also cause nausea. This condition generally only affects one third of older men and women, however, so it is more likely that protein shakes make you feel weird for other reasons.
There are two types of protein shakes: ready-to-drink (store-bought) protein shakes, and protein shakes made with protein powder. Nearly all ready-to-drink protein shakes and most protein powders contain ingredients known to cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, nausea, and stomach pain. When you say that protein shakes make you feel weird, this is probably what you are referring to.
One ingredient that can make you feel particularly weird is sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium, sugar alcohols, and stevia are added to many protein supplements to make them sweet, and are popular because of their intense sweetness – a pinch can be used to achieve the same amount of sweetness as several tablespoons of sugar. This intense sweetness is also why they can make people feel weird. It is easy to overdo it, and many protein shakes and powders are thus way too sweet, even sickly sweet.
What protein shake will not make me feel weird?
If you are sick of protein shakes that upset your stomach or make you feel weird, it is time to start reading ingredients lists. As a rule of thumb, look for a short list of simple ingredients, the shorter and simpler the better. Basically, the more your protein powder looks like real food, the easier it will be to digest, and the less likely it will be to make you feel weird. Keep reading to learn more.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why my protein powders will not make you feel weird is that I do not use food additives. Unlike the majority of other protein powders, our product is free from artificial sweeteners, flavors, emulsifiers, and thickeners. These additives, even when used in small quantities, can be responsible for triggering various gastrointestinal (GI) problems, including bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence. This is especially true for those with pre-existing digestive issues.
The problem with additives is their dissimilarity to natural foods, and the fact that they are only partially digestible. When you eat food additives, two bad things can happen: either the intestines absorb excessive water, leading to diarrhea, or the additives feed for gut bacteria, which produce gas. The accumulation of excessive gas in the gastrointestinal tract can give rise to unpleasant symptoms like bloating, flatulence, stomach discomfort, and even constipation.
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 real reason to avoid food additives, however, is the possible long-term repercussions. Even for individuals with health guts, regular intake of food additives can disturb natural regulatory pathways in your intestines. This significantly raises the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and various systemic inflammatory disorders. Moreover, food additives, especially artificial sweeteners, can disrupt the delicate balance of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms the help you digest food. This can significantly affect both your digestion and ability to absorb nutrients from your diet.
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
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why my protein powders will not make you feel weird is that I do not use dairy-based proteins. Unlike many protein powders, our recipes do not contain whey and casein protein, which are byproducts of the production of cheese and yogurt. Dairy-based proteins like these have a reputation for triggering digestive problems, particularly in the one-third of adults who experience lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance lack the necessary enzymes to fully break down lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you now know, the incomplete digestion of food can result in unwelcome GI symptoms.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why my protein powders will not make you feel weird is that I do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Virtually all other protein powders rely on these protein sources, which have been stripped of everything but the protein content. Instead of being labeled as peas” or “whey,” concentrate and isolates are listed as “pea protein” or “whey protein.”
The process of producing protein concentrates and isolates involves extensive mechanical and chemical treatments. In some instances, chemical solvents like hexane are utilized to extract the protein from its natural source. Consequently, what is added to your protein shake looks nothing like real food.
Your digestive system is naturally designed to handle minimally-processed or whole foods, not artificial substitutes. Introducing anything other than genuine food may lead to undesirable side effects. While the long-term implications of consuming processed ingredients, such as protein isolates, are still under scrutiny, emerging research indicates that they could potentially disrupt the delicate balance of the gut microbiome.
Beyond its digestive role, the gut acts as a vital shield against harmful pathogens, contributes to educating the immune system, and influences various physiological processes. Disturbances in the gut microbiome have been strongly associated with the development of several chronic diseases. Given this significant connection, I strongly discourage the consumption of protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates. Opt for whole foods instead to support your overall health and well-being.
Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, I make easy to digest protein powders with egg whites and almonds. Transforming egg whites into protein powder only involves pasteurization and drying. Almonds, on the other hand, are simply roasted, pressed to remove some oil, and ground. These minimally-processed protein sources make protein powders that boast exceptional digestibility. Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, real foods come equipped with enzymes and digestive aids that promote smooth and efficient digestion.
For individuals without egg allergies or sensitivities, egg white protein presents an exceptional choice for nurturing gut health. The low fiber and FODMAP content of egg whites, along with their inherent alkalinity, make them gentle on the digestive system. Our happy customers report a noticeable reduction in digestive issues when consuming our egg white protein powder compared to other protein supplements.
Should you follow a vegan lifestyle or have dietary restrictions concerning eggs, our vegan almond protein powder is a great alternative. Almonds have prebiotic effects, nourishing the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome. They also contribute to healthy and regular bowel movements.
In summary, our commitment to minimal processing ensures that our protein powders prioritize the well-being of your gut, making them a wise choice for your digestive health.
“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
If protein shakes makes you feel weird, switch to drink wholesome.