What is the best gut-friendly protein powder?


If you are looking for the best gut-friendly protein powder, you have come to the right place. Learn how to supplement your dietary protein intake without upsetting your stomach.

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Collagen Protein Powder

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Egg White Protein Powder

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Vegan Almond Protein Powder

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This article was written by Jack Schrupp and Brittany Adelman, RDN.

Gut-friendly protein powder

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 preventing chronic diseases and optimizing your overall well-being. As a result, more people are taking a closer look at what they eat, especially when it comes to processed foods. 

Finding a gut-friendly protein powder might be more important than you think. Not only do many protein shakes and powders cause digestive issues like gas, bloating, nausea, and stomach pain, but regularly using certain protein supplements can adversely impact your gut health.

This does not mean that you cannot use protein powder and still have a healthy gut, however. It simply means that you have to read ingredient lists and understand what you are putting into your body. Many protein powders contain a list of ingredients that look nothing like real food, and therefore do not align with your digestive well-being. If this information is news to you, it might be time to re-evaluate the protein supplements you use.

What is your gut? 


The “gut,” also known as the digestive tract, is made up of several organs including the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and colon. The term “gut microbiome” refers to the diverse range of microorganisms (bacteria) living in your intestines. 

This may come as a surprise, but the gut does much more than just help you digest food. It also protects against pathogens, educates the immune system, and affects many bodily functions through a bidirectional communication network called the gut-brain axis. Several recent studies have examined the role of the gut in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of disease, and have concluded that it plays an integral role in overall health.

What role does your gut play in your overall health? 


Digestion and Nutrient Absorption

Your gut plays an essential role in digestion and nutrient absorption. It is home to trillions of bacteria collectively known gut microbiota. This bustling community of microorganisms plays an important role in breaking down the food you eat into smaller, more absorbable units. Enzymes and acids secreted by your stomach and small intestine also play a role in this process.

As food is broken down, the nutrients are absorbed by your small intestine. Vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins are assimilated into the bloodstream, providing your body with the building blocks it needs to stay strong and healthy. 

An imbalance in your gut microbiota can disrupt the digestion process. When bad bacteria outnumber the good ones, or when there is an overall lack of bacterial diversity, your ability to digest food can be compromised. This imbalance may manifest itself as bloating, gas, and/or stomach pain. An imbalanced gut can also hinder the absorption of nutrients, leading to malnutrition and deficiencies over time.

Immune System

The lining of your gut is equipped with a network of immune cells, forming what is known as the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). This tissue is instrumental in regulating what passes through your gut, distinguishing between harmless nutrients and potential threats, such as pathogens and toxins.

Your gut microbiota educate your immune cells, teaching them to recognize and tolerate harmless substances and mount a robust defense against potential threats. It follows that proper communication between your gut and immune system is vital for your health. When the balance is disrupted, it can lead to immune system dysfunction, increasing the risk of infections, autoimmune disorders, and chronic inflammatory conditions.

Finally, your gut produces antibodies and antimicrobial peptides that contribute to your body’s natural defense mechanisms. These substances help neutralize harmful pathogens and maintain a healthy balance within your gut.

Mood and Mental Health

Your gut has emerged as a significant player in shaping your mood and mental well-being. The bidirectional communication between your gut and your brain is often referred to as the “gut-brain axis,” and involves a complex interplay of biochemical signals and neural pathways.

For example, your gut, or “second brain,” is responsible for 95% of serotonin production. Serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, is known for its influence on mood. Research also indicates that the composition of your gut microbiota is intricately linked to stress response and conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Hormones

The bidirectional communication of the gut-brain axis also influences hormone production. Peptides released by the gut communicate with the brain, impacting the regulation of stress hormones, mood hormones, and those involved in appetite control. This interconnectedness emphasizes how the activity of your gut can regulate hormonal responses throughout the body.

Your gut’s influence on hormones even extends to insulin regulation, blood sugar maintenance, and glycemic control, which is important for preventing conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Supporting your gut health through a nutrient-rich diet abundant in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates is thus a fundamental strategy for promoting optimal hormonal balance.

What does ‘gut-friendly’ mean?


If something is ‘gut-friendly,’ it promotes a healthy and balanced gut microbiome, facilitates digestion and nutrient absorption, and supports your overall GI well-being. Gut-friendly foods can also restore the natural balance of microorganisms 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 support your health and keep bad bacteria in check. Bad bacteria cause side effects like bloating and stomach pain. 

What is ‘gut-friendly’ protein powder?

Gut-friendly protein powders are specifically formulated to support gut health and promote optimal digestion. They are easy to digest and absorb, and gentle on your stomach. A truly gut-friendly protein powder is made with a high digestible protein source and free from food additives. 

What is ‘gut-friendly’ vegan protein powder?

Vegan protein powder is an excellent way to promote your gut health. Plants contain indigestible fibers that have prebiotic effects, meaning they foster the growth of good gut bacteria. That said, most vegan protein powders are made with plant protein concentrates or isolates, which have been stripped of these fibers. This is why it is important to prioritize vegan protein powders made with whole food protein sources. 

Do protein powders with added probiotics and digestive enzymes help?

In case you were wondering, there is little evidence that protein powders with added probiotics improve your gut health. The need for probiotics is highly individualized, so a one-size fits all approach is useless. In fact, for people with gut conditions Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), many probiotic strains can actually make your symptoms worse.

Depending on your individual needs, it can also be hard to predict the appropriate dose of probiotics or which strains would be beneficial for you without significant, in depth testing under the guidance of a trained healthcare practitioner. Even then, it can still be challenging. In other words, supplements with added probiotics are a gimmick. 

Moreover, although protein powders with added digestive enzymes may be easier to digest for people with certain digestive disorders such as lactose intolerance, their benefits are limited for healthy people. Unless you have pre-existing gut issues, you are best off avoiding products like these. A protein powder company should not have to add digestive enzymes or probiotics to its products in order for them to be easy to digest.

What is the best gut-friendly protein powder?


As you just learned, prioritizing your gut health can lead to a stronger immune system, improved mental health, and better nutrient absorption, all of which contribute to your overall well-being. Moreover, choosing a gut-friendly protein powder, especially if you use protein powder every day, can make or break your gut health journey. 

What makes a protein powder gut-friendly has little to do with the type of protein. What you really need to worry about are emulsifiers, thickeners, flavors, and sugar substitutes. Additives like these look nothing like real food, causing painful GI side effects and long-term gut health problems. So, the next time you buy protein powder, look for a short list of simple ingredients – the shorter and simpler the better. 

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Protein Powders

Collagen Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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Sale
Protein Powders

Egg White Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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Sale
Protein Powders

Vegan Almond Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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drink wholesome is the best gut-friendly protein powder


drink wholesome is additive-free

One of the reasons why we make the best gut-friendly protein powder is that I do not use any food additives whatsoever. This includes gums, lecithin, flavors, and artificial sweeteners. Even in small amounts, added ingredients like these can cause painful side effects, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. 

Our ingredients

egg whites

egg whites

coconut

coconut

vanilla

vanilla

monk fruit

monk fruit

NOT our ingredients

  • acacia gum

  • acesulfame potassium

  • artificial flavors

  • carrageenan

  • erythritol

  • guar gum

  • inulin

  • maltodextrin

  • 'natural' flavors

  • silica

  • soy lecithin

  • sucralose

  • xanthan gum

  • xylitol

Food additives are hard to digest and feed your gut bacteria, which release gas as they eat. As you might imagine, too much intestinal gas can cause bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain.

Partially digested food additives also cause your colon to absorb too much water, which can lead to diarrhea. Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:

acacia fiber, acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, ascorbic acid, aspartame, calcium carbonate, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dicalcium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, ‘natural’ flavors, rice bran extract, rice dextrin, rice hulls, rosemary extract, silica, silicon dioxide, sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate, soluble corn fiber, soy lecithin, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, tocopherols, tricalcium phosphate, xanthan gum, xylitol, zinc oxide

Regularly eating food additives can cause long term gut health problems too. For example, certain food additives can disturb regulatory pathways in your intestines, triggering the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Some food additives, especially artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also alter the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. An altered gut microbiome is a leading driver of inflammation and linked to the onset and progression of chronic digestive diseases.

drink wholesome is dairy-free

Another reason why we make the best gut-friendly protein powder is that I do not use dairy-based proteins like whey and casein. Whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, contain lactose, a sugar most adults cannot fully digest. As you just learned, foods that resist digestion tend to cause digestive issues.

drink wholesome is made with real foods

A final reason why we make the best gut-friendly protein powder is that I do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other protein powders are made from one or both of these protein sources, which have been stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes, fiber, and other natural digestive aids that help you break them down. This not only makes them hard to digest, but may also alter the composition and function of your gut microbiome.

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs with whole foods like collagen, egg whites, and almonds. Protein sources like these are easy to digest and absorb. Whole food protein sources also have unique digestive benefits: collagen can reduce bloating and improve digestive symptoms, egg whites can help restore your mucosal intestinal barrier, and almonds can improve the composition of your gut microbiome.

It follows that our customers experience fewer digestive issues with our gut-friendly protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement. Order samples to see for yourself. 

Reviews

Kelynn

1 week ago

Verified Purchase Hi! Your powder has been life-changing for me! I wear many hats as a military spouse, mom of a toddler, and yoga teacher. However, the hats I wear of being a human, living with endometriosis and IBS, are the ones these simple ingredients have most impacted! Thank you! Thank you for creating a product for stomachs that is sensitive, simple, AND still packs a punch protein wise!

For Egg White Protein Powder

Tom

2 weeks ago

Verified Purchase Your protein is seriously a game changer for me. I went from 135 to 170 in a few months due to the shakes I made with your protein powder. I've been drinking 1 each day for the last bit of time. Most protein kills my gut. You guys are seriously making a life support for me. Thank you for all that you do and create!

For Egg White Protein Powder

Mimi

3 weeks ago

Verified Purchase I've spent the past decade searching for the perfect protein powder, and I've finally found it!!!! Not only does it make me feel incredible, but it's also transformed my fitness recovery in ways I never thought possible. Thank you drinkwholesome for changing the game and helping me feel my best! <3

For Egg White Protein Powder

Frequently asked questions

Collagen vs egg white vs almond protein powder?

You may have noticed that we make three types of protein powder: collagen protein powderegg white protein powder, and vegan almond protein powder. As long as you are eating a balanced diet, any type of protein powder can help you boost your protein intake. Just pick the type that best suits your dietary needs and personal preferences.

Protein powder vs meal replacement powder?

You may have noticed that we make protein powders and meal replacement powders. The difference between protein powders and meal replacement powders is the nutrition content. Protein powders are high in protein and low in everything else, whereas meal replacement powders contain fats, carbs, and protein because they are intended to replace the nutritional value of a healthy meal.

Learn more

My name is Jack and I created drink wholesome because I was sick of protein powders that upset my stomach. Read my story, check out my short list of simple ingredients, and browse reviews from other customers to learn more.

TEST

TEST

Protein Rice Krispies Treats

PREP TIME

15 min

COOK TIME

0 min

SERVES

2+

Ingredients
Instructions

In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat, and incorporate the protein powder. Add the Rice Krispies, stirring until combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13 inch greased pan. Let your Protein Rice Krispie Treats sit for 30 minutes before eating.

Disclaimer

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.

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