What is the best protein powder for fruit smoothies?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for fruit smoothies. 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 smoothies, as well as for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our protein powder is right for you.
“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for fruit smoothies.
Why should you add protein to your fruit smoothie?
Fruit smoothies are a great way to get vitamins and nutrients like fiber in your diet. They are also easy to make, delicious, and highly customizable. The only thing that fruit smoothies do not have going for them is their nutrition profile. Most fruit smoothies are high in simple carbohydrates (sugar), and low in healthy fats and protein. This is too bad, because research shows that it is a good idea to eat nutritionally balanced meals whenever possible. A nutritionally balanced meal is one that contains healthy fats, complex carbs, and protein. One of the main reasons why eating each of these macronutrients with every meal is so important has to do with something called the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It measures how a food affects your blood sugar (glucose) levels. Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic foods and ranked on a scale of 0–100. The lower the GI of a specific food, the less it affects your blood sugar levels. Foods or meals that are high in simple carbohydrates, especially simple, sugary carbohydrates like fruits, have a high glycemic index. This means that they can spike your blood sugar, which research has shown can lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease.
Another reason to add protein to your fruit smoothie is to increase satiation. Protein is the most satiating (filling) macronutrient, meaning it keeps you feeling full for longer than other nutrients. This decreases cravings and helps prevent overeating, which is a key if you are watching your weight. Basically, increasing the percentage of your calories that come from high protein foods will help you lose weight.
If you drink a lot of fruit smoothies, it is therefore a great idea to add fats and protein to the mix. This is where protein powder, especially our protein powder, can help. A scoop of protein powder can lower the glycemic index of your smoothie and make it more satiating. Unlike most protein supplements, our protein powder is not only a great source of protein, but also a good source of healthy fats because it is made with coconut. Coconut is high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are fats celebrated for their health benefits. Other good sources of healthy fats to add to your fruit smoothie include avocado and nut butter.
How do I make a fruit smoothie with protein powder?
Making a fruit smoothie with protein powder is easy. All you have to do is blend 1 serving of protein powder with milk or water (I like using coconut water) and your favorite fruits, fresh or frozen. If you are using fresh fruit, I recommend adding a handful of ice cubes to the mix. This will help you achieve a thicker consistency. Keep in mind that protein powder may change the flavor or consistency of your fruit smoothie. If you like your smoothie as it is, I recommend using unflavored protein powder. It is also important to acknowledge that all protein powders are not created equal. Some can upset your stomach, and even cause permanent gut damage. Keep reading to learn more.
Why drink wholesome?
First of all, our protein powders are not chalky. I cannot tell you how many fruit smoothies I have ruined by adding protein powder that tastes like chalk. The reason why is that unlike 99% of protein supplement companies, we use real food ingredients, not protein isolates. Protein isolates, which appear on the ingredient list as “soy protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “soybeans” and “whey,” are foods stripped of everything but the protein. They have a chalky aftertaste because protein alone does not taste very good. Real foods like egg whites and almonds, on the other hand, have a delicious, natural flavor.
Another reason to choose drink wholesome is that it is sweetened with monk fruit, not artificial sweeteners or stevia. Monk fruit because it is sweet like sugar whereas artificial sweeteners and stevia have a bitter aftertaste because they activate bitter taste receptors. This bitterness can ruin your smoothie and linger in your mouth for hours.
Finally, drink wholesome is gut-friendly. The average protein powder, on the contrary, is not good for your gut. One look at the ingredient list should explain why. 99% of protein powders are full of ingredients that look nothing like real food. The top offenders include protein isolates, dairy-based proteins, and food additives. Keep reading to learn more.
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder for fruit smoothies is that we do not use food additives. Most 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 protein powder, one ingredient to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food 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 protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
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 fruit smoothies is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, and known to cause digestive issues, especially for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. It follows that you may be lactose intolerant or have IBS and not even know it. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you just learned, partially digested food feeds the bacteria in your gut, which produce gas and cause stomach pain.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best protein powder for fruit smoothies is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They are listed on the ingredient list as “collagen protein,” “pea protein, and” “whey protein” as opposed to “collagen,” “peas,” and “whey.” 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.
If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to the gut microbiome. It is therefore in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder for fruit smoothies with 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. 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, naturally alkaline, 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 possess prebiotic properties and can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.
“I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20+ years and it’s always been hard to find a protein powder my stomach can handle. I’ve had no problem digesting drink wholesome AND it tastes great. I highly recommend this protein powder if you have IBS or Crohn’s.” – Jesse
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for fruit smoothies.