What is the best low calorie protein powder?
Some people are looking for a protein boost without many fats, carbohydrates, and calories. This is where drink wholesome can help. With only 90 calories per serving, our unflavored protein powder is one of the lowest calorie protein powders on the market. Plus, as you can see in the table below, our egg white protein has fewer calories and more protein per calorie than both whey and pea protein.
You can add unflavored egg white protein powder to smoothies, oatmeal, and your favorite recipes for an easy, low calorie protein boost. If you prefer to mix your protein powder with just milk or water, try our vanilla protein powder. 1 serving contains 20 grams of protein and only 140 calories.
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 low calorie?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order to be labeled as low-calorie, a food must have less than 40 calories per serving. Very few, if any, protein powders meet this criteria. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), protein has 4 calories per gram. This means that a protein powder with 20 grams of protein per serving must have at least 80 calories per serving. This is the lowest possible number of calories for that amount of protein. Again, our unflavored protein powder comes in at 90 calories per serving, which is only slightly higher than the baseline. Not bad.
Why low calorie?
A low-calorie diet is an eating plan used to help people lose weight. Many people looking for a low calorie protein powder are on a low calorie diet. A low calorie protein powder can help with weight loss because it contains a lot of protein per calorie, and increasing the percentage of your calories that come from protein will help you lose weight. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning it keeps you feeling full for longer, which helps prevent cravings and overeating. This, in turn, allows you to achieve a calorie deficit – eat fewer calories than you burn. You have to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat to lose a pound, and to lose weight at a safe rate – 0.5 pound per week – you will need to eat 1,750 fewer calories weekly, or 250 calories daily. Replacing a meal or part of a meal with a low calorie protein shake can help you eat less.
Why use egg white protein?
First of all, egg whites are naturally high in protein. A dried egg white is 80% protein, which gives it, pound for pound, the most protein of any diearty protein. Most other dietary proteins (peas, whey, etc.) have to be stripped of their nutrients (fats, carbs. etc.) before they can be used as protein powder. What is left over is called a protein isolate. Protein isolates are used in almost every low calorie protein powder (except ours), and are listed on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.” I will not go too much into the details, but they 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. The problem with ingredients that look nothing like real food is that they are hard to digest (more about this later).
Egg white protein is complete. Protein is made up of 20 different types of amino acids, attached to one another in long chains. The human body can make 11 types of these amino acids on its own, the other 9 must come from food. These 9 amino acids are called essential amino acids, and if a dietary protein contains all of them, it is considered to be a “complete protein.” Examples of complete proteins include eggs, fish, and meat. If a dietary protein contains all 9 essential amino acids, it is considered an “incomplete protein.” Examples of incomplete proteins include whole grains and legumes. If you eat a variety of proteins on a daily basis, you should not have to worry about complete proteins, but it certainly does not hurt to add them to your diet.
Egg whites are easy to digest. Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the most gut-friendly dietary protein. It is dairy-free, low in fiber, low-FODMAP, and has 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. A word to the wise – if you have gut issues or a sensitive stomach, avoid dairy-based proteins like whey and casein. They are known to cause digestive issues, especially for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Egg whites taste good. Our unflavored protein powder, when added to a smoothie, is virtually undetectable. Most low calorie protein powders, on the other hand, have a chalky aftertaste because they are made with protein isolates, which have been stripped of the nutrients that make food taste good. If you have ever had a chalky protein shake, you know exactly what I am talking about. It is important to note that this last point is not just only about your taste buds, but also about your diet. If using protein powder is a chore, it is not sustainable in the long term, which defeats the purpose of using it in the first place. Remember, a diet is not a six-week affair, it is for life.
Why protein powder?
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 low calorie 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 are hard to digest and can cause uncomfortable side effects (more about this soon). This is why I recommend that you make your own low 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! Keep reading to learn more about why you should avoid ingredients like these.
Avoid food additives.
One of the reasons why we make the best low calorie protein powders is that we do not use food additives. Most low calorie 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 low calorie protein powder, one ingredient to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful 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
egg whites, coconut, vanilla, monk fruit
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.
“I just finished my first bag and ordered 2 more! I Iove this stuff! I have IBS and every protein powder hurts my stomach…except drink wholesome!”
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.