What is the best IBD protein powder?

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

drink wholesome is the best IBD 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 irritable bowel disease (IBD), 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


vanilla protein powder

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3 protein powder samples


drink wholesome is the best IBD protein powder.

What is IBD? 

Is protein powder good for IBD?

What is the best protein powder for IBD?

Why drink wholesome?

What is IBD?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe two conditions characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both conditions cause symptoms like diarrhea and stomach pain, and can lead to severe weight loss and malnutrition. For some people, IBD is only a mild illness. For others, it is a debilitating condition that can have serious complications. If left untreated, IBD can result in permanent damage to the GI tract. 

Although IBD is not caused by what you eat, doctors and dietitians agree that food plays an important role in managing symptoms, especially during flares and periods of remission. Certain foods can aggravate symptoms, while others can mitigate them and promote healing. Paying attention to what you eat and how your body responds to different foods is therefore an essential part of living with IBD. 

making a protein shake with protein powder

Is protein powder good for IBD?

Curating a diet specific to your condition, whether it is Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, is complicated. There is no one Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis diet, and the foods that trigger your symptoms may be different from the foods that trigger symptoms for someone else. Moreover, specialized IBD diets are controversial because they do not work in every case and can be restrictive, and can contribute to weight loss and malnutrition. The best diet is thus one that meets your individual nutritional needs and helps you manage your IBD symptoms. That said, there are several key ingredients to every IBD diet, and one of them is protein.

As mentioned above, getting enough protein is important because chronic inflammation can impair your ability to absorb nutrients from food, which can lead to serious problems like malnutrition and weight loss. It is therefore imperative that you get enough protein – 1-2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day – between flares. I recommend that you get as much protein as you can from normal food. Getting enough protein this way can be challenging for some people, however, which is where protein supplements can help. Adding a protein powder to your diet is an easy way to boost your protein intake and stay healthy. That said, not all protein powders are created equal. 

woman drinking a protein shake

What is the best protein powder for IBD?

There are several reasons why most protein powders are not good for IBD. Firstly, the average protein powder is chock full of emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors. Ingredients like these can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage, especially for individuals with IBD. For this reason, I recommend that you start your search by looking for a protein powder with a short list of simple ingredients. Keep reading to learn more. 

Why drink wholesome

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder for IBD is that we do not use food additives. Although small quantities of additives may not necessarily be detrimental to your health, they can add up quickly (especially if you drink a daily protein shake), and their cumulative effect can be significant. This can lead to various gastrointestinal (GI) side effects including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain.

These symptoms occur because food additives are hard to digest. Unlike real foods, additives are hard to break down and therefore tend to linger in your gut for longer than food though. This gives your gut bacteria extra time to eat and release gas. Excessive gas causes bloating and stomach pain. It also slows down colonic transit, which can result in constipation. Over time, food additives can disrupt crucial regulatory pathways in the intestines, leading to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory disorders.

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

If you have IDB, it is crucial that you steer clear of artificial sweeteners as they can disrupt the composition of your gut microbiota — the community of microorganisms that aid in food digestion. This can result in severe and persistent gastrointestinal issues, widespread inflammation, and irreparable damage to the delicate balance of the gut microbiome.

Certain sweeteners, particularly sugar alcohols like xylitol, pose additional challenges. They are particularly poorly absorbed by the gut, so they feed your hungry gut bacteria and draw water into the intestines, which can cause diarrhea. Now, you may 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

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.

Another reason why we make the best protein powder for IBD is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders, on the contrary, use whey and casein proteins, which are derived from cheese and yogurt production. We avoid these ingredients because they are known to cause digestive discomfort, particularly for individuals with lactose intolerance and IBD. Individuals with lactose intolerance and IBD lack the enzymes needed to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As a result, the dairy feeds the bacteria residing in your gut, leading to the production of excessive gas and associated side effects.

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best protein powder for IBD is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. In contrast, most protein powders rely on these protein sources, which are essentially foods stripped of their non protein components. They are labeled as “pea protein” and “whey protein” instead of as “peas” or “whey.”

The process by which protein concentrates and isolates are derived involves extensive mechanical and chemical processing. I will not delve into the specifics, but it is worth mentioning that solvents like hexane are often used to separate the protein from the food. As a result, what you end up eating looks very little like real food.

Consider this: your gut has evolved to efficiently digest naturally occurring foods, not imitations made in laboratories. When you feed it with anything other than real food, it may therefore react adversely. The long-term consequences of consuming processed foods like protein isolates are still not entirely comprehended, but accumulating research indicates that such foods have the potential to disrupt the composition of your gut microbiota, and cause lasting harm to the delicate balance of the gut microbiome. It is thus unquestionably in your best interest to avoid protein powders that rely on protein concentrates and isolates. 

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

In lieu of protein concentrates or isolates, we have crafted the finest IBD gut protein powder using the combination of egg whites and almonds. Our approach involves simple, minimal processing techniques. The egg whites, for instance, merely undergo pasteurization and drying, while the almonds are just roasted, pressed to remove some oil, and ground. By utilizing these minimally-processed ingredients, we offer an easily digestible and gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

When it comes to selecting the best protein for your gut, egg white protein comes out on top, unless you have an egg sensitivity or allergy. Egg whites possess several gut-friendly qualities: they are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and boast the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) among all whole foods. Our customers have reported experiencing fewer digestive issues with egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein.

For individuals unable to consume eggs, our vegan almond protein powder serves as an excellent alternative. Unlike protein concentrates or isolates, almonds offer an abundance of healthy fats, fiber, and various nutrients such as calcium and vitamin E. We favor almonds over other minimally-processed plant protein sources due to their superior gut-friendly properties. Research indicates that almonds possess prebiotic characteristics and can enhance the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome, promoting overall gut health.


easy to digest

“This protein powder saved my life. It’s one of the only things that I can eat these days, and I am so grateful. drink wholesome helped me gain some weight and recover from a what has been a serious and scary flare-up. I would recommend it to anyone with IBD.” – Anthony

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drink wholesome is the best protein powder for IBD.


vegan chocolate protein powder

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3 protein powder samples


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.