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

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

drink wholesome makes the best meal replacement shakes for Crohn’s disease. They are additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates – 99% of meal replacements fail to meet at least one of these criteria. This makes them perfect for people with gut issues and like Crohn’s disease, as well as for people just looking for nutrition without the processing and added junk. If you suffer from Crohn’s, IBS, or any other digestive disease, order samples to see if our meal replacements are right for you. 


easy to digest

“I have a sensitive stomach, so most meal replacement powders leave me with gas, bloating, constipation, and stomach pain, but not this one.” – Shon

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vanilla meal replacement powder

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

What is Crohn’s disease? 

Are meal replacements good for Crohn’s?

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

Why drink wholesome?

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?

You probably already knew that avoiding certain food triggers can help you manage your 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. It is therefore important that you get enough calories and protein (1-2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day), which is often easier said than done. This is where a good meal replacement comes in. 

A meal replacement is a convenient way to boost your calorie and protein intake largely because it is easier to drink your food than it is to chew it. For what it is worth, clinical research also suggests that supplementation can have an impact on the onset and progression of IBD. That said, not all meal replacements are good for Crohn’s disease. In fact, most are not. Most meal replacements contain ingredients that can cause uncomfortable symptoms in the short term, and permanent damage to your gut in the long term. Keep reading to learn more. 

making meal replacement shake

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

Every gut is different, and what causes side effects for one individual might not necessary 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.

drinking meal replacement shake

Why drink wholesome

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best Crohn’s meal replacement is that we do not use food additives. Many other meal replacements, on the contrary, are full of emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, and flavors. Even in small amounts, these additives can cause side effects, especially among individuals already dealing with digestive problems like Crohn’s disease. Some of the most common side effects are bloating, flatulence, and abdominal pain.

In short, food additives look nothing like real food, making them hard to digest. Consequently, they linger in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which can lead your colon to absorb extra water. This, in turn, can cause diarrhea. Partially digested food additives also feed the bacteria living in your gut, which release gas as they eat. Extra gas can result bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, and even constipation.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacement 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 main reason to avoid food additives is their lasting impact on the health of your GI system. Consuming additives on a regular basis can disrupt regulatory pathways in your intestines, consequently elevating the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and an array of other systemic inflammatory conditions. Food additives, particularly artificial sweeteners, can also disrupt your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food. Emerging reserach shows that a disturbed gut microbiome is a leading cause of inflammation in the body.

the alternative:


*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling meal replacements in the United States.

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best meal replacement for Crohn’s is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many other meal replacements use whey and/or casein protein, which are byproducts of making cheese and yogurt. These dairy-based protein sources can cause GI discomfort, especially among the millions of adults dealing with lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance lack the necessary enzymes to completely break down lactose, the sugar in dairy products. As you are now aware, incompletely digested food can give rise to painful side effects.

vanilla meal replacement powder lifestyle image 1
chocolate meal replacement powder lifestyle image 2
drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best meal replacement shakes for Crohn’s disease is that we do not use protein concentrates and isolates. Practically all other meal replacements use one or both of these protein sources, which are foods stripped of their non-protein components. You will find protein concentrates and isolates on the ingredients list as “pea protein” or “whey protein,” not as “peas” or “whey.”

The production of protein concentrates and isolates involves significant mechanical and chemical processing. On occasion, chemical solvents like hexane are used to extract the protein. As a result, the meal replacement shake you drink looks very little like real, whole foods.

Your digestive system is meant to process real foods that undergo minimal to no processing, not artificial or extensively processed ingredients. The consumption of anything other than real foods can lead to issues, especially for individuals with Crohn’s. Although the long-term consequences of consuming processed items such as protein isolates are still not fully understood, emerging evidence hints at their potential to disturb the delicate balance of the gut microbiome.

Beyond its role in digestion, the gut microbiome functions as a crucial defense against harmful pathogens, contributes to educating the immune system, and wields influence over a variety of physiological processes. Disrupting the equilibrium of the gut microbiome has therefore been linked to the emergence of numerous chronic diseases. Given this connection, I strongly recommend avoiding meal replacements containing protein concentrates and isolates.

chocolate meal replacement powder serving suggestion 1
vanilla meal replacement powder serving suggestion 2

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best meal replacement shakes for Crohn’s disease with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. The egg whites undergo a straightforward process of pasteurization and dehydration, while the almonds are only roasted, pressed to remove some oil, and ground. These minimally-processed ingredient are a stomach-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, real foods come with enzymes and digestive aids that facilitate the digestion process. Egg which are alkaline, low in fiber, and low FODMAP, are also particularly easy to digest. On the flip side, almonds have prebiotic attributes, nurturing the diversity of the gut microbiome, and play a pivotal role in promoting regular and healthful bowel movements.

To sum it up, we make gut-friendly meal replacements by using simple, real food ingredients.


no stomach issues

“Wow, battle Crohn’s so can’t eat much, and this is a game changer!” – Brandon

Read more reviews or take the quiz.

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


chocolate meal replacement powder

(39) $59.99 - or subscribe and save up to 15%


2 meal replacement 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.