What is the best high calorie protein powder?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best high calorie 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 kids, 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.”
drink wholesome is the best high calorie protein powder.
What is a calorie?
Simply put, a calorie is the unit of energy in food. Your body uses calories to perform all physiological functions and stay alive. Some foods have more calories per gram than others. For instance, a 1kg watermelon has less than 400 calories, whereas 1kg of Swiss cheese has more than 4,000 calories. Understanding what calories are, and knowing how many are in the foods you eat is an important part of building a healthy diet and managing body weight.
What is high calorie?
The FDA does not define the term high calorie. That said, it does state that in order to be labeled as low-calorie, a food must have less than 40 calories per serving. It also recommends a 2,000-calorie diet. With that in mind, 200 calories or more per serving can be considered high for most foods.
Why use high calorie protein powder?
A high calorie diet is an eating plan used to help people gain weight. Many people looking for a high calorie protein powder are on a high calorie diet. Although protein supplements are often championed as a weight loss food, they can also help you gain weight. This is because protein supplements are a quick and easy way to add calories to your diet. Gaining weight is all about maintaining a calorie surplus (consuming more calories than you burn), and it takes an extra 3,500 calories to gain a pound. To gain weight at a safe rate – 0.5 pound per week – you need to consume an extra 1,750 calories each week, or an extra 250 calories every day. Adding a protein supplement to your diet can help you consume these extra calories.
Protein supplements also contain lots of protein. Eating enough protein is essential if you are not only trying to gain weight, but also trying to build muscle. This is because muscle growth can occur only if muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown, which is called a positive muscle protein balance. Strength training improves muscle protein balance, but, in the absence of adequate protein intake, the balance remains negative. You must therefore consume enough protein if you want to build or maintain muscle mass.
What is the best high calorie protein powder?
There are two types of protein shakes: ready-to-drink (store-bought) protein shakes, and protein shakes made with protein powder. In order to make high calorie protein shakes 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 prefer ready-to-drink protein shakes because they are more convenient, but if they knew what they were drinking, they would probably vomit.
Ready-to-drink protein shakes are full of emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors. Ingredients like these improve characteristics like taste, texture, and 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 high calorie protein shakes 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!
Why drink wholesome?
First of all, our egg white and almond-based protein powders are high calorie. Our peanut butter protein powder, for instance, has 20 grams of protein and 170 calories per serving. For reference, Orgain and Vega, the two of the most popular brands of protein powder on Amazon, have only 150 calories per serving. We also make meal replacement powders with 30 grams of protein and 250 calories per serving. Adding a meal replacement powder to your diet is another great way to consume more calories.
Our protein powders contain more calories than the average protein powder because we use real food ingredients, not protein isolates. Protein isolates are listed on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.” Unlike real foods, they have been stripped of the fats, carbohydrates, and therefore most of the calories. They are great if you want protein and nothing else, but not so great if you want lots of calories. Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we use ingredients like egg whites, almonds, and coconut.
What makes our protein powders the best high calorie protein powders is the fact that they are additive-free. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives. Additives are used to improve characteristics like solubility and shelf life. They are also used to mask the chalkiness of protein isolates, which, again, have been stripped of everything but the protein. Additives may make protein isolates more palatable, but they are bad news for your gut health.
drink wholesome is additive-free.
Again. one of the reasons why we make the best high calorie 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 (GI) 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 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. 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.
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.
Another reason why we make the best high calorie protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, and known to cause digestive issues, especially for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. It follows that you may be lactose intolerant or have IBS and not even know it. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you just learned, partially digested food feeds the bacteria in your gut, which produce gas and cause stomach pain.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
As you just learned, we make the best high calorie protein powder with real foods, not protein isolates. 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 permanent damage to the gut microbiome. It is therefore in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best high calorie 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. Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein than with any other type of protein. If you cannot eat eggs, try our almond protein powder. Unlike protein concentrates or isolates, almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients like calcium and vitamin E. We prefer almonds to other minimally-processed plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties and can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.
“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
drink wholesome is the best high vegan calorie protein powder.