What are the best meal replacement shakes for Crohn’s disease?

Looking for the best meal replacement shakes for Crohn’s disease? Discover how the right meal replacement shake can help you manage Crohn’s disease symptoms and safely meet your unique dietary needs.

Written by Jack Schrupp and Brittany Adelman, Registered Dietitian

Meal replacement shakes and Crohn’s

What is Crohn’s disease? 

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.

Living with Crohn’s disease is stressful and overwhelming because you have to pay close attention to what you eat.

Certain foods trigger symptoms, called flares, including diarrhea and stomach pain. Over time, these flares can lead to weight loss and malnutrition.

The cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but it is thought that an autoimmune reaction may be to blame.

Are meal replacements good for Crohn’s?

If you are living with Crohn’s disease, you know how important it is to maintain a healthy diet that supports your nutritional needs while being gentle on your digestive system.

Meal replacement shakes can be a convenient and effective way to ensure you are getting the necessary nutrients without putting strain on your gut.

You probably already knew that avoiding certain foods can help you manage Crohn’s disease, reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, and promote intestinal healing. You may have not known, however, that the inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease increases your body’s calorie and protein needs, and that a deficiency of either can impair your ability to heal.

The protein requirement for Crohn’s patients with active disease is 1.2 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day, which is considerably more than that of the general population (0.8 to 1.0 g/kg/day).

It is also recommended that Crohn’s patients eat 600 more calories per day than healthy adults.

Eating all this extra food can be challenging, especially for someone with a sensitive stomach. This is where a good meal replacement shake can help.

A meal replacement shake is a convenient and easy way to boost your calorie and protein intake largely because it is easier to drink your food than it is to chew it. Clinical research even suggests that liquid nutritional supplementation can have a positive impact on the onset and progression of IBD.

The benefits of meal replacement shakes for individuals with Crohn’s

– Convenience: Meal replacement shakes are quick and easy to prepare, making them a convenient option, especially during busy or flare-up periods.

– Reduced inflammation: Certain meal replacement shakes contain ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.

– Improved nutrient absorption: The liquid form of meal replacement shakes allows for better nutrient absorption, ensuring individuals with Crohn’s disease get the nutrition they need.

– Weight maintenance: Flare-ups and gastrointestinal symptoms can cause weight loss. Meal replacement shakes can provide the calories to prevent malnutrition and maintain a healthy weight.

It is important to note, however, that meal replacement shakes should not replace a balanced diet. They are intended only to supplement your nutritional needs. If you have further questions, be sure to consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian.

It is also worth noting that not all meal replacements are good for Crohn’s disease. In fact, most are not. Most meal replacements contain ingredients that can cause painful digestive issues and long term gut issues. Keep reading to learn more.

What are the best Crohn’s disease meal replacement shakes?

Every gut is different, and what causes side effects for one individual might not necessarily cause them for the next. Nevertheless, there are a few rules of thumb that anyone grappling with Crohn’s disease should follow when buying a meal replacement.

Firstly, the fewer the ingredients the better. Fewer ingredients generally translates to fewer symptoms. Second, the simpler the ingredients the better. The more an ingredient looks like real food, the easier it is to digest. Keep reading to learn more.

Avoid food additives

Regularly eating emulsifiers, thickeners, sugar substitutes, and other additives can not only upset your stomach, but also alter the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. This can lead to gut dysbiosis, which is linked to the development of Crohn’s disease

Research shows that a healthy gut microbiome modulates the production and secretion of mucins and stratification of the mucus layers that make up the intestinal mucosal barrier. An unhealthy, or dysbiotic, gut microbiome results in the weakening of this barrier, thereby causing inflammatory damage.

In case you were wondering, the intestinal mucosal barrier is a semipermeable membrane that allows you to absorb essential nutrients from food and prevents bacteria and other pathogens from entering your bloodstream.

Researchers have also found that a healthy gut microbiome contributes to inducing the expansion of regulatory T cells that reduce intestinal inflammation by mediating repair of the intestinal mucosal barrier. A dysbiotic gut microbiome thus makes you both more susceptible to inflammation, and less able to fight it.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacements:

  • 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
  • maltitol
  • maltodextrin
  • mono- and diglycerides
  • ‘natural’ flavors
  • rice bran extract
  • rice dextrin
  • rice hulls
  • rosemary extract
  • silica
  • silicon dioxide
  • sodium alginate
  • soluble corn fiber
  • sorbitol
  • soy lecithin
  • sucralose
  • sunflower lecithin
  • tocopherols
  • tricalcium phosphate
  • xanthan gum
  • xylitol
  • zinc oxide

Avoid dairy-based proteins

Dairy-based proteins like whey and casein, although not an issue for everyone, can cause side effects like bloating and diarrhea. This is in part because they contain lactose, a sugar most adults cannot fully digest.

Avoid protein concentrates and isolates

Most meal replacements are made with protein concentrates and isolates, which have been mechanically and or chemically stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes, fiber, and other natural digestive aids that help you break them down. As a result, they can cause digestive issues and possibly even disruptions to your gut microbiome

Finding a meal replacement free from food additives, dairy-based proteins, and protein concentrates and isolates is hard.

In fact, 99% of meal replacements contain one or more of these problematic ingredients. This is why we created drink wholesome. Keep reading to learn more about why we make the best meal replacement drinks for Crohn’s disease.

drink wholesome makes the best meal replacement shakes for Crohn’s disease

We make the best meal replacement shakes for Crohn’s because we use a short list of simple ingredients free from food additives, dairy-based proteins, and protein concentrates and isolates.

Our ingredients

egg whites

egg whites









NOT our ingredients

  • acacia gum

  • acesulfame potassium

  • artificial flavors

  • carrageenan

  • erythritol

  • guar gum

  • inulin

  • maltodextrin

  • 'natural' flavors

  • silica

  • soy lecithin

  • sucralose

  • xanthan gum

  • xylitol

Note that instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we use whole food protein sources like collagen, egg whites, and almonds, which are easier 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 Crohn’s meal replacement shakes than with any other type of protein supplement. Order samples to see for yourself. Or, learn more about the best meal replacement shakes for IBD.

Insights from a registered dietitian: managing Crohn’s disease

Living with Crohn’s disease is hard. Here are a few strategies and techniques from a registered dietitian that can help you alleviate symptoms and regain control over your health.

1.  Eat a Crohn’s-friendly diet

One of the key aspects of managing Crohn’s flare-ups and symptoms is following a Crohn’s-friendly diet. A Crohn’s-friendly diet typically includes low-residue, low-FODMAP foods. These types of foods are gentle on your digestive system and can help reduce inflammation and discomfort.

Low-residue foods

Low-residue foods are low in fiber and are easily broken down by your digestive system. They help reduce the frequency and severity of bowel movements, easing discomfort. Opting for cooked vegetables instead of raw ones, and white bread over whole wheat.

Low-FODMAP foods

FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the small intestine. They tend to cause symptoms in individuals with Crohn’s disease. Including low-FODMAP foods in your diet can help manage these symptoms. 

2. Drink meal replacement shakes

Meal replacement shakes can play a big role in managing your Crohn’s flare-ups and symptoms. They can help ensure you are getting the nutrients you need while giving your digestive system a break. 

3. Manage stress

Stress can exacerbate Crohn’s symptoms and trigger flare-ups. It is essential to find healthy ways to manage stress and incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. This can include activities like meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and engaging in hobbies that bring you joy.

“Following a Crohn’s-friendly diet is crucial for managing symptoms and promoting overall gut health. By making strategic dietary choices, individuals with Crohn’s disease can optimize their nutritional intake while minimizing digestive discomfort.” – Brittany Adelman, RDN

4. Stay hydrated

Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining digestive health. Make sure to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to support digestion and prevent dehydration. Avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, as they can potentially worsen symptoms.

By implementing these strategies and techniques, you can effectively manage your Crohn’s flare-ups and digestive symptoms. Remember, always remember to consult with your healthcare team to create a personalized plan that suits your specific needs and to adjust your management strategies as necessary.

5. Plan your meals and snacks

Plan your meals in advance to ensure you are getting a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of nutrients. Incorporate meal replacement shakes as a convenient and nutritious option for one or two meals a day.

6. Control your portions

Try to consume just enough food to meet your nutritional needs without overwhelming your digestive system. Make sure you listen to your body and adjust your consumption based on your symptoms and individual tolerances.

By following these tips and incorporating meal replacement shakes into your Crohn’s-friendly diet, you can ensure that you are receiving the necessary nutrients while managing your symptoms effectively.

Meal Replacement Powders

Meal Replacement Powder


Starting at $59.99

meal replacement powder samples

2 Meal Replacement Powder Samples

Starting at $14.99




2 weeks ago

Verified Purchase I tried some samples and absolutely love the drinks. I believe they should be this simple and that these ingredients make up a wonderful product that is a huge niche market! So many are full of crap and I mean that. I've scoured to find something with good ingredients and it's HARD to find!

For Meal Replacement Powder


3 weeks ago

Verified Purchase Drinkwholesome has really changed the game for not only for me, but for my family! My mom suffers from stomach adhesions and she has to be very careful with what she eats or else she ends up at the hospital..so stressful for us and life threatening for her! She is also getting older so her protein intake matters still, so when I came across Drinkwholesome, it sounded like they were speaking to my mom’s needs!! She has drank it on and off for almost two years and this is the only meal replacement that does not trigger her stomach😍 myself and my sister and dad have drank it, and the flavor is unmatched…no more gritty taste! I gotta say, I am a chocolate lover and that powder, just thank you😋! THANK YOU FOR YUMMY MEAL REPLACEMENT POWDER AND HEALTHY AS WELL! My mom especially will benefit from a year worth since it benefits her a lot..and thank you for less stressful hospital visits🙌

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2 months ago

Verified Purchase I was being treated for SIBO, and your shakes really helped me get through that phase with no tummy upset. During another time I had to take antibiotics, my tummy became upset again and the acid reflux started back. Again your shakes saved the day. My stomach calmed down, the acid reflux went away. I learned to have a shake each time I took the antibiotic and had no stomach upset. I love, love, love your shakes. I don't think I'll ever be without them. As an older person, I have come to realize my digestive system is more sensitive. Your shakes are wonderful at protecting my stomach.

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Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

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.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Yogurt Cup


15 min


0 min



  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or coconut yogurt)
  • ¼ cup drink wholesome chocolate meal replacement powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 tablespoon peanuts

Combine the yogurt and meal replacement powder. Spread the peanut butter on the top, and the melted chocolate on top of that. Sprinkle with peanuts. Freeze for at least 15 minutes.


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.