What is the best anti-inflammatory protein powder?

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

drink wholesome is the best anti-inflammatory protein powder. 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 our protein powder is right for you. 

“If you have a sensitive gut, you need simple ingredients.”

-Brittany Carpenter, MS, RDN/LDN

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drink wholesome is the best anti-inflammatory protein powder.

What is inflammation? 

Does protein powder 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). 

not all protein powders are created equal

Do protein 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 protein supplement is one of them. Although protein itself is unlikely to cause inflammation, most protein shakes and powders contain added ingredients that are. Keep reading to learn more about these inflammatory ingredients, and why you should avoid them.

vegan chocolate protein powder serving suggestion
chocolate protein powder lifestyle image 1

Why drink wholesome


drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best anti-inflammatory protein powder is that we do not use food additives. Most protein powders, 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 protein 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. 

vegan vanilla protein powder serving suggestion
vanilla protein powder lifestyle image 1

When buying protein 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 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.

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.

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 protein powders include casein and whey protein powder, 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 protein powder is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, 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 protein 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 protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.

vegan chocolate protein powder lifestyle image 1
chocolate protein powder serving suggestion

Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best anti-inflammatory 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 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 protein powders 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.

★★★★★

easy to digest

“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

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drink wholesome is the best anti-inflammatory protein powder.

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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.