What is the best protein powder for kidney stones?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for kidney stones. It is low in purines, 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 people prone to getting kidney stones, 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 kidney stones.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys. Poor diet, excess body weight, some medical conditions, and certain supplements and medications are among the many causes of kidney stones. They can affect any part of your urinary tract — from your kidneys to your bladder, and form when your urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Passing kidney stones can be really painful. Depending on the size of the stone, you may just need to drink lots of water to pass it. In other instances – if stones become lodged in the urinary tract, for example – surgery may be needed to remove the stone.
Your doctor may recommend preventive treatment if you are at risk of developing kidney stones again. One of the many preventative measures you can make is making changes to your diet.
Does protein powder cause kidney stones?
Diet is a fundamental tool for the management of kidney stone recurrence, and you may be able to prevent kidney stones by making changes to how much protein you eat. Research has shown that high protein diets, specifically diets high in animal protein, can raise the risk of kidney stones. Some animal proteins have been shown to increase urinary excretion of oxalate, a compound that combines with calcium and other compounds to form kidney stones. Some animal-based proteins are also high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid. High levels of uric acid can lead to the formation of kidney stones. It follows that a balanced vegetarian diet is the most protective diet for kidney stone patients.
Again, eating too much protein can increase the risk of developing kidney stones. This means that you should be mindful when using protein supplements. Protein supplements are a convenient way to ensure that you are eating enough protein, but you can overdo it. What constitutes enough/too much protein is different from everyone, but you should be eating about 0.36 grams per pound of body weight per day. This means that a 150 pound person should be eating roughly 54 grams of protein. Use our Daily Protein Intake Calculator to figure out how much protein you need.
What is the best protein powder for kidney stones?
Egg white protein powders provide a high quality, kidney-friendly source of protein. Unlike other animal proteins, eggs whites do not impact your uric acid levels because they are naturally low in purines. Research has also shown that the consumption of egg whites can help prevent the formation of kidney stones by causing a negative calcium balance, low urinary pH, and low urinary excretions of citrate, potassium, and magnesium.
We prefer egg white protein to plant proteins because it is less processed. Unlike plants, egg whites are naturally high in protein. A dried egg white is 80% protein, which gives it, pound for pound, the heaviest protein punch of any whole food. Plant protein sources (peas, hemp, etc.) have to be mechanically or chemically stripped of other nutrients (fats, carbs. etc.) before they can be used as protein powder. This means that what you are putting into your body looks and tastes nothing like real food.
Why drink wholesome?
Our egg white protein powders are a great option for people looking to prevent kidney stones. The real reason why you should choose drink wholesome, however, has nothing to do with the type of amount of protein. Unlike 99% of protein supplements, our kidney-friendly protein powders are additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates. Keep reading to learn more about why this makes a huge difference.
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder for kidney stones 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 kidney stones 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.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best protein powder for kidney stones 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 “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “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 your gut microbiome. This is worrisome because your gut does more than just help you to digest food; it protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of your physiologic functions. Disruptions to the gut microbiome have therefore been linked to the development of many chronic diseases. It follows that it is 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 kidney stones with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed, and ground. Whole foods like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates. This is in part because whole foods contain a variety of enzymes and other digestive aids that help to break down the food, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. Protein isolates and concentrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of these digestive aids, making them harder for the body to digest and absorb. Moreover, minimally-processed plant-based foods like almonds are rich in fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
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. 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 kidney stones.