What is the best carnivore protein powder?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best carnivore 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.
“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”
What is the carnivore diet?
The carnivore diet is a restrictive diet that, in its extreme form, limits food to meat, fish, and eggs. It excludes all other food groups including vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. This diet claims to help with weight loss, sleep, mood, and blood sugar regulation, and was founded on the belief that diets high in carbohydrates are the leading cause of chronic disease. A recent survey from over 2,000 individuals who self-reported their experience with a carnivore diet produced overwhelmingly positive results, with 93% of participants improving or resolving obesity, 93% improving or resolving hypertension, 98% improving or resolving diabetes or insulin resistance, 97% improving or resolving gastrointestinal symptoms, and 96% improving or resolving psychiatric symptoms. Although the data quality are poor given the high risk for selection bias with self-reported outcomes, this study does suggest that the carnivore diet, in some form, leads to positive health outcomes. That said, there are several drawbacks to eating only animal products. For starters, cutting carbohydrates out of your diet completely can lead to micronutrient deficiencies and damage to your gut microbiome. Cutting fiber out your diet specifically can also cause constipation, which can have serious complications. The carnivore, at least in its most extreme form, is therefore likely not a long-term solution to health problems like those described above.
Is protein powder allowed on the carnivore diet? Are protein shakes allowed on the carnivore diet?
Some protein supplements are compatible with the carnivore diet, others are not. First of all, whether or not a protein supplement is allowed on the carnivore diet depends on how strictly you adhere to it. If you are truly limiting your food to meat, fish, and eggs, then you can use only protein powders and shakes made with these food groups. Protein supplements made with whey, casein, peas, and other plant proteins are strictly prohibited. Protein supplements that contain additives and sweeteners are also prohibited. That said, if you are taking a more balanced approach to the carnivore diet – simply increasing the proportion of your calories that come from animal products – then the number of protein supplements that you can use is greater. The main ingredient still needs to be meat, fish, or egg, however, and the number of added ingredients should be small.
Why egg white protein?
You can buy carnivore protein supplements made with beef, chicken, and fish, but they are all made with protein isolates, not whole foods. Egg white protein is the only carnivore protein that does not have to be isolated before becoming a protein supplement. A dried egg white is 80% protein, whereas dried beef (ex. beef jerky) is only 33% protein. Beef therefore has to be mechanically or chemically stripped of it non-protein nutrients (fats, carbs. etc.) before it can be used in a protein powder or shake. There are two reasons why this is bad. First of all, protein isolates are heavily-processed (sometimes manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to separate the protein), which means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food. This is bad because the less an ingredient looks like real food, the harder it is to digest; your gut always prefers the real thing, not some heavily-processed imitation. Another reason why protein isolates are bad is that they have a chalky aftertaste. Because they have been stripped of everything but the protein, protein isolates have no flavor or mouthfeel. Egg whites, on the other hand, taste like real food, which makes them a great addition to protein powders and shakes.
MuscleMed’s Carnivor Protein Powder review.
One of the most popular brands of carnivore protein powder is MuscleMed’s Carnivor Beef Protein Isolate Powder. The main ingredient in this supplement is hydrolyzed beef protein isolate, which despite being a heavily-processed, is a great source of carnivore protein. Unfortunately, however, MuscleMed’s protein powder is full of added ingredients like acesulfame potassium, xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, and sucralose. Not only are these ingredients not allowed on the carnivore diet, but many of them are known to cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects and permanent gut damage. Keep reading to learn more.
Ingredients to avoid.
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 carnivore 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 therefore 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, and thickeners. Ingredients like these improve characteristics like shelf stability, but can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage (more about this soon). This is why I recommend that you make your own carnivore diet protein shake with protein powder. That said, not all protein powders are created equal, and many contain the same additives found in ready-to-drink protein shakes!
Avoid food additives.
One of the reasons why we make the best carnivore 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 cause gastrointestinal side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. This is because food additives are hard to digest, and sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, which causes bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), and can lead to constipation. In the long term, food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
When buying carnivore 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. Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are also poorly absorbed by the gut (meaning they feed those hungry gut bacteria), and cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestine. Now you finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!
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.
MuscleMed’s Carnivor Protein Powder ingredients:
Carnivor BPI [hydrolyzed beef protein isolate, creatine monohydrate, BCAAs (l-leucine, l-valine, l-isoleucine), anabolic nitrogen retention technology™ intermediates: GKG (glutamine-alpha-ketoglutarate), OKG (ornithine-alpha-ketoglutarate), AKG (alpha-ketoglutarate) and KIC (alpha-ketoisocaproate)], maltodextrin, cocoa, natural and artificial flavors, salt, silica, acesulfame potassium, xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, sucralose, antifoam (propylene glycol mono – and diesters of fats and fatty acids, mono glyceride of fatty acid, polyglycerol oleate, RDB soybean oil, dimethylpolysiloxane, hydrophobic silica, polysorbate 60k, sorbitan monostearate, contains less than 2% of paraffin.)
Why drink wholesome?
We make the best protein powders for the carnivore diet. If you are strictly carnivore (only eating meat, fish and eggs), then our unflavored protein powder is the way to go. It is made with 1 ingredient: pasteurized egg whites. If you are taking a more balanced approach to the carnivore diet (allowing yourself to eat small amounts of plant-based foods), then our flavored egg white protein powders are also a great choice. They are additive-free, dairy-free, and perfect for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk. Order samples to see for yourself.
Hi! My name is Jack. I created drink wholesome because I was sick of protein powders that upset my stomach. It is handmade in Plymouth, MA.
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.