What is the best anti-inflammatory meal replacement shake?

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

drink wholesome makes the best anti-inflammatory meal replacement shake. 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 supplement their diet without the processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our meal replacement powder is right for you. 


easy to digest

“I have a sensitive stomach, so most meal replacement powders leave me with gas, bloating, constipation, and stomach pain, but not this one.” – Shon

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vanilla meal replacement powder

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drink wholesome makes the best anti-inflammatory meal replacement shake.

What is inflammation? 

Does meal replacements cause inflammation?

Why drink wholesome?

What is inflammation? 

Inflammation is the response of the immune system to pathogens and tissue injury. There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation occurs when you get sick or injured. If you stub your toe, for example, your immune system will dispatch an army of white blood cells to protect the injured tissue, causing visible redness and swelling. This is a normal, healthy inflammatory response, and without it injuries would be more serious, or even fatal. 

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is not normal nor healthy. It occurs when the immune response lingers, and can cause white blood cells to attack healthy tissues and organs. Chronic inflammation is known to play a significant role in the pathophysiology of numerous chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cancer. 

Making changes to your diet is one of the best ways to reduce chronic inflammation and the risk of chronic disease. Some people adopt the anti-inflammatory diet, which favors fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. It also discourages or limits the consumption of processed foods, red meats, and alcohol. Some people also choose to eat a diet high in foods with anti-inflammatory properties (food shown to modify the inflammation response in the body). 

Do meal replacement shakes cause inflammation?

Like any area of the body, the gut can experience chronic inflammation. In other words, the same persistent activation of the immune system that can occur in your joints (causing inflammatory arthritis) can also take place in your gastrointestinal tract. The gut happens to contain the largest population of immune cells in the body, which are constantly challenged to respond to pathogens and maintain intestinal immune homeostasis. Certain foods can disrupt these regulatory mechanisms, and the average meal replacement is one of them. Most meal replacement shakes and powders contain added ingredients that can cause inflammation. Keep reading to learn more about these inflammatory ingredients, and why you should avoid them.

Why drink wholesome?

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best anti-inflammatory meal replacement shake is that we do not use food additives. Most meal replacements, on the other hand, are full of food additives. Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a meal replacement shake every day), and disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders. 

vanilla meal replacement powder lifestyle image 1
chocolate meal replacement powder lifestyle image 2

When buying meal replacement powder, one ingredient to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food). This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome. 

Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacement 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 meal replacement powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.

the alternative:


*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling meal replacements in the United States.

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Dairy can hinder your ability to process blood sugar efficiently, which can cause inflammation, especially in your skin. Common dairy-based proteins used in meal replacements include casein and whey, both of which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production.

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best anti-inflammatory meal replacement shakes is that we do not use protein isolates. Most meal replacements, on the contrary, 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 meal replacement powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body 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 get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to inflammatory diseases. It is therefore in your best interest to avoid meal replacements made with protein concentrates and isolates.

chocolate meal replacement powder serving suggestion 1
vanilla meal replacement powder serving suggestion 2

Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best anti-inflammatory meal replacement shake with egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming meal replacement powder powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed, and ground. Minimally-processed ingredients like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

Moreover, unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs or almonds, our meal replacements can even help reduce inflammation. Egg whites contain a variety of  anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds, and almonds reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a marker of inflammation associated with increased heart disease risk.


no stomach issues

“I’ve tried out so many protein powders and meal replacements, and they always gave me stomach issues…That’s why I got drink wholesome.” – Tommy

Read more reviews or take the quiz.

drink wholesome makes the best anti-inflammatory meal replacement shakes.


chocolate meal replacement powder

(25) $59.99 or subscribe and save 15%


meal replacement powder samples


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.