What is the best paleo protein powder?
What is the paleo diet?
The paleo diet is all about eating like our ancestors ate 10,000 years ago – during the Paleolithic era. In a nutshell, it stresses eating whole foods over processed ones. Paleo-friendly foods include meat, fish, eggs, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Is protein powder paleo?
If you insist on avoiding processed foods altogether, then protein powder is not an option. If you are willing to compromise somewhat on what constitutes “processed food,” however, then protein powder can be a great addition to your diet.
Why drink wholesome?
Most protein powders are made with either whey (dairy), soy (legume), or pea (legume) protein, all of which are decidedly not paleo. Most protein powders also contain food additives, which were definitely not on the menu during the Paleolithic era. Our protein powders, on the other hand, are made with simple, paleo ingredients. Our vanilla flavor, for example, is made with egg whites, coconut, vanilla, and monk fruit. Egg whites are an excellent source of paleo protein. Coconut is a good source of paleo fats. Instead of flavoring our protein powders with flavorings or extracts like other brands, we use pure ground vanilla beans. Moreover, instead of using sugar or artificial sweeteners, we sweeten with monk fruit, a small, melon-like fruit native to Southeast Asia.
We feature our short list of paleo ingredients on the front of the package so you know exactly what you are putting into your body. Most protein powder companies, on the other hand, tuck their ingredients away in a remote corner of the packaging because they have something to hide. Keep reading to learn about the top ingredients to avoid when buying paleo protein powder.
Avoid food additives.
Again, most protein powders are full of food additives, which are not only NOT paleo, but are also bad for your gut health. 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, generally speaking, hard to digest. They 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. 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. Food additives are not the only thing to look out for when buying paleo protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
egg whites, coconut, cocoa, 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.
Avoid protein concentrates and isolates.
Finding an additive-free, dairy-free protein powder is hard. Finding an additive-free, dairy-free protein powder made with real foods is next to impossible. Why? Most protein powders are made with protein concentrates and isolates*, foods stripped of everything but the protein. 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. Ingredients like these are not paleo. They are also hard to digest. (Your gut always prefers the real thing, not some heavily-processed imitation.)
*Protein concentrates and isolates are listed on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.”
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we use 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. They are also close to paleo as protein powder can get.
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, 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 can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome. Research also suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties, meaning they stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
“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.