What is the best gut-friendly protein powder?

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

drink wholesome is the best gut-friendly 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. If you suffer from Candidiasis, Crohn’s, diverticulitis, gastritis, gastroparesis, GERD, leaky gut, IBS, IBD, SIBO, ulcerative colitis, or any other digestive disease, 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 gut-friendly protein powder.

Is protein powder good for your gut? 

What is your gut? 

What does ‘gut-friendly’ mean?

What is the best gut-friendly protein powder?

Why drink wholesome? 

Is protein powder good for your gut? 

Gut health is all the rage these days, and for good reason – more and more research is finding that a healthy gut plays an important role in overall well-being and chronic disease. People are therefore paying closer attention to what they eat, especially to processed foods like protein supplements. Processed foods like protein powders and protein shakes are, generally speaking, the worst for your gut. This does not mean that you cannot eat protein powder and have a healthy gut, however. It simply means that you have to read ingredients lists and do your research.

Most protein powders are bad for your gut. If this comes as a surprise, you probably have not read enough ingredient lists. Protein powders are full of ingredients that, to put it simply, look nothing like real food. Ingredients like these can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal (GI) side effects in the short term, and permanent damage to your gut microbiome in the long term. Basically, your gut can tell the difference between real food and heavily-processed junk.

making a protein shake with protein powder

What is your gut? 

The “gut,” also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) system, is made up of several organs including the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and colon. The term “gut microbiome” refers to the microorganisms (bacteria) living in your intestines, and the term “gut health” describes the function and balance of these organisms. The gut does much more than just help us to digest food. It also protects against pathogens, educates the immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of our physiologic functions. Several recent studies have examined the role of the gut in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of a variety of diseases, and have concluded that it plays an integral role in overall health. 

woman drinking a protein shake

What does ‘gut-friendly’ mean?

Gut-friendly foods feed the good bacteria in your gut. As you just learned, your gut is full of bacteria, some of which are good and some of which are bad. Good bacteria help you digest food. Bad bacteria cause bloating, gas, and stomach pain. The balance between these two types of microorganisms depends on a number of factors, one of which is diet.

Some of the foods you eat feed good bacteria, whereas other foods feed the bad. The former are considered to be gut-friendly. Given the tremendous role that your gut plays in your wellbeing, it is important to consider the ways in which the foods you eat affect your gut microbiome and gut health. The goal of this article is thus to help you identify the top protein powder ingredients to avoid to keep your gut healthy. 

What is the best gut-friendly protein powder?

Basically, what makes a protein powder gut-friendly has nothing to do with protein. Instead, added ingredients like emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, and flavors are what you need to worry about. Ingredients like these look nothing like real food, and can wreak havoc on your gut, especially if you have pre-existing gut issues. So, the next time you buy protein powder, look for a short list of simple ingredients – the shorter and simpler the better. 

Why drink wholesome

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best gut-friendly protein powder is that we do not use food additives. In stark contrast, the majority of other protein powders fill their formulas with additives. As you now know, this cocktail of added ingredients can unleash a wave of gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence, particularly for those already grappling with GI issues.

Additives look nothing like real food and are only partially digested. Consequently, they linger in the gut, setting the stage for two potential outcomes: either your intestines soak up excess water, causing diarrhea, or the additives feed your gut bacteria, causing a surge in gas production. Excessive gas accumulation in the GI tract can trigger unwelcome symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, stomach pain, and, in some instances, 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 is their long-term consequences. Consistently ingesting additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in your intestines, significantly increasing the likelihood of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory disorders. Additionally, food additives, especially artificial sweeteners, have the capacity to upset the fragile equilibrium of your gut microbiome. This, in turn, can affect digestion and the absorption of essential nutrients.

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

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best gut-friendly protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. On the flip side, many protein powders use whey and/or casein protein, which are byproducts of the production of cheese and yogurt. These dairy-based proteins have earned a notorious reputation for causing digestive issues, especially among the one-third of adults with lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance lack the enzymes required to fully break down lactose, the sugar in dairy products. As mentioned before, the inadequate digestion of food can lead to undesirable gastrointestinal symptoms.

vegan vanilla protein powder serving suggestion
vanilla protein powder lifestyle image 1
drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best gut-friendly protein powder is that we do not use protein isolates. Practically all other protein powders are made with one or both of these protein sources, which are essentially foods stripped of everything except the protein itself. Instead of being labeled as “peas” or “whey,” they are listed under names like “pea protein” or “whey protein.”

Manufacturing of protein concentrates and isolates involves extensive mechanical and chemical processing. In certain cases, chemical solvents, like hexane, are utilized to extract the protein from its natural source. As a result, what you add to your protein shake hardly resembles real, whole food.

Your digestive system is exquisitely crafted to handle minimally-processed or unprocessed whole foods, not artificial substitutes. Consuming anything other than genuine food can lead to undesired side effects. Although the long-term effects of consuming processed ingredients, such as protein isolates, are still subject to ongoing research, emerging evidence suggests their potential to disrupt the gut microbiome.

Beyond its crucial role in digestion, the gut acts as a vital barrier, shielding against harmful pathogens, contributing to the education of the immune system, and influencing various physiological processes. Disturbances in the gut microbiome have been strongly linked to the development of numerous chronic illnesses. Given this connection, I strongly advise against the consumption of protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates. Opt for whole, natural food sources instead, prioritizing the safeguarding of your gut health and overall well-being.

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

Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best gut-friendly protein powder with egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried and almonds are just roasted, pressed (to remove some oil), and ground. These ingredients, left in a minimally-processed state, result in protein powders that are incredibly easy to digest. Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, real foods contain natural enzymes and digestive aids, which contribute to efficient digestion.

For those who do not have allergies or sensitivities to eggs, egg white protein is an exceptional option for promoting gut health. With their low fiber and FODMAP content and alkalinity, egg whites are easy on the digestive system. Positive feedback from our satisfied customers consistently highlights fewer digestive issues when consuming our egg white protein powder in comparison to other protein supplements.

For individuals following a vegan lifestyle or unable to consume eggs, our vegan almond protein powder serves as an excellent substitute. Almonds boast prebiotic effects, nourishing the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome. Additionally, they help with healthy and regular bowel movements.

In conclusion, our protein powders are minimally-processed to support your digestive health.


easy to digest

“Having a lot of gut issues, I am extremely picky with my ingredients. However, since trying your product, I love it! A gut-friendly, clean protein powder is my dream.” – Maddie

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drink wholesome makes the best gut-friendly vegan 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.