What is the best protein powder for PCOS?

Looking for the best protein powder for PCOS? If you have PCOS, you know how important it is to manage your symptoms. PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, can affect your hormones, metabolism, and overall health. It often presents challenges such as insulin resistance, difficulty managing weight, and hormonal imbalances. That said, with the right diet and lifestyle modifications, you can alleviate these symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Eating enough protein is crucial in managing PCOS and finding PCOS-friendly protein powder can make a huge difference in your journey towards better health. The rest of this article explains why our protein powders are PCOS-friendly. In short, they are made with a short list of simple ingredients, so you can boost your protein intake without extra processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our PCOS protein powder is right for you.

Written by Jack Schrupp & Brittany Adelman, RDN

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How to pick a protein powder for PCOS

What is PCOS? 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common health problem that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by an imbalance in hormone levels and causes to various physical and emotional symptoms. This condition can have a significant impact on metabolism and overall health, often requiring specific strategies for management and support. It affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age.

One of the most common symptoms associated with PCOS is weight gain. The relationship between PCOS and weight gain is complicated, but for many women, insulin resistance is a key contributor.


PCOS and its impact on hormones

Women with PCOS experience imbalances of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormonal imbalances can cause irregular menstrual periods, ovarian cysts, and fertility issues. In addition, PCOS can lead to insulin resistance, making it harder for your body to regulate blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy metabolism.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. If you are insulin resistant, your cells are resistant to the effects of insulin, which causes your pancreas to produce extra insulin. Elevated insulin levels, in turn, can contribute to weight gain by increasing hunger, promoting fat storage, and preventing the breakdown of stored fat.

PCOS Symptoms PCOS Complications
Irregular menstrual periods Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Ovarian cysts Elevated cholesterol levels
Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) Cardiovascular disease
Thinning hair or hair loss Endometrial cancer

The effects of PCOS on overall health extend beyond hormonal and metabolic imbalances. Research has shown that individuals with PCOS are at an increased risk of developing conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer. It is crucial to understand the impact of PCOS on your hormone levels and metabolism to effectively manage and mitigate these risks.

“PCOS is a complex condition that requires a holistic approach to management. By addressing hormone levels, metabolism, and overall health, you can improve quality of life with PCOS and reduce the risk of associated health issues.” – Brittany Adelman, RDN

Understanding the connection between PCOS, hormone levels, metabolism, and overall health is crucial. By addressing it through lifestyle modifications, targeted nutrition, and medical interventions, it is possible to effectively manage PCOS and improve your well-being.


Protein and PCOS management

When managing PCOS, including an adequate amount of protein in your diet can have several benefits for your overall health and well-being. Protein plays a crucial role in supporting muscle health, promoting feelings of satiety and fullness, and aiding in weight management.

Muscle health: Protein is essential for the growth, repair, and maintenance of muscles. Regular consumption of protein can help preserve lean muscle mass, which is important for individuals with PCOS, as hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance can negatively affect muscle health. By including protein in your diet, you can support muscle strength and function.

Satiety: Protein-rich foods are known to increase feelings of fullness and satiety. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with PCOS, as they may experience difficulties with appetite regulation. By including protein in your meals and snacks, you can help curb cravings and reduce the likelihood of overeating, ultimately supporting weight management.

Weight Management: Adequate protein intake is crucial for weight management in individuals with PCOS. Protein has a higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fats, meaning that it requires more energy to digest and metabolize. This can help increase your metabolic rate and assist in burning more calories. Additionally, protein-rich foods can help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of insulin spikes and promoting better weight management.

Incorporating protein into your PCOS management plan can have significant advantages. It is important to choose the right sources of protein, however, to ensure you are meeting your specific dietary needs.


Is protein powder good for PCOS?

Research has shown diet can help manage the symptoms of PCOS. That said, there is no standard diet for PCOS.

Generally speaking, women with PCOS should prioritize whole foods with a low glycemic index – foods that have little effect on blood sugar levels. High protein foods like meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, and beans have the lowest glycemic index. Foods rich in simple carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, breakfast cereal have the highest glycemic index. 

Research shows that a diet with a higher ratio of protein to carbohydrates has metabolic advantages for women with PCOS. In other words, a low carb, high protein diet can help women with PCOS lose weight. This happens for several reasons. 

For starters, a high protein, low carb diet helps prevent rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar, which can lead to increased hunger and overeating. A high protein, low carb diet is also more filling, curbing cravings and reducing overall calorie intake. Finally, eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates can increase your sensitivity to insulin. Increased insulin sensitivity is linked to higher glucose use and reduced fat storage, making it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

You should aim to get most of your protein from high protein foods like eggs, fish, and meat. Getting enough protein this way can be challenging, however. Women with dietary restrictions, for example, may have a hard time eating common high protein foods. This is where protein powder can help. Adding a scoop of protein powder to your diet is an easy way to ensure that you are hitting your protein goals.


What is the best PCOS protein powder?

Not all protein powders are created equal. For instance, many protein powders contain ingredients like emulsifiers, thickeners, sugar substitutes, and flavorings, all of which can cause painful gastrointestinal (GI) side effects and long term gut problems. This is bad news for someone suffering from PCOS.

First of all, women with PCOS often report similar symptoms to those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) including bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Many of the additives used in protein powders can cause or aggravate these symptoms. Moreover, IBS is more common in PCOS than the general population because both conditions share a root cause: gut dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance in gut bacteria, meaning you have too much bad bacteria, not enough good bacteria, or a lack of bacterial diversity.

A large number of studies have shown that gut dysbiosis could be at least partially responsible for the pathogenesis of PCOS. This is because the microorganisms living in your gut, known as gut microbiota, may regulate the synthesis and secretion of insulin and affect androgen metabolism. Women with PCOS therefore need to pay close attention to what they eat, and to avoid protein powder ingredients known to alter the composition of the gut microbiome. Keep reading to learn more.

drink wholesome is the best protein powder for PCOS

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder for PCOS is that we do not use food additives. Even in small quantities, additives can trigger a range of painful gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, and stomach pain.

These symptoms occur because additives look nothing like real food, making them difficult to digest. When partially digested food sits in your gut, it can lead to one of two outcomes: either your intestines absorb excess water, resulting in diarrhea, or the additives feed your hungry gut bacteria, which generate gas. Excessive gas can lead to bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain. It can also slow the movement of food through the colon, causing constipation.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:

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

The real reason why it is recommended to avoid food additives, however, is their long-term effects. Regularly eating food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in your intestines, contributing to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory disorders. Food additives, particularly artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also disturb the balance of your gut microbiome. As you just learned, an imbalanced gut microbiome can also make PCOS worse.

the alternative:

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

drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best PCOS protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins like whey and casein. Whey and casein, which are byproducts of the production of cheese and yogurt, have a reputation for triggering gut issues. This is because dairy-based proteins contain lactose, the sugar in dairy, and because most adults suffer from some degree of lactose intolerance, meaning they lack the enzymes needed to digest lactose.

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best PCOS-friendly protein powder is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other protein powders contain one or both of these protein sources, which are foods stripped down to only the protein. The production of protein concentrates and isolates involves extensive mechanical and chemical processing, sometimes with solvents like hexane. As a result, what you scoop into your smoothie looks nothing like real food.

Your digestive system is designed to break down minimally or unprocessed real foods, not protein concentrates or isolates. This is why emerging research suggests that eating food like these can significantly alter the composition of your gut microbiota. Once again, an altered gut microbiome is the last thing you want if you have PCOS.

Instead of relying on protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best PCOS protein powder using real foods like egg whites and almonds. These simple ingredients are gut-friendly alternatives to protein concentrates and isolates.

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, egg whites and almonds contain enzymes and natural digestive aids that help you break them down. What is more, egg whites are low in fiber, low FODMAP, alkaline (maintain healthy pH levels in your gut), and bioactive (promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria). Our happy customers report fewer digestive issues with our egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement.

For those who cannot eat eggs, our vegan almond protein powder is the best plant-based protein powder for PCOS. Almonds are prebiotic, meaning they improve the diversity of the gut microbiome. They also promote regular and healthy bowel movements. In summary, our protein powders, because they are additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, are the best protein powders for PCOS.

5 easy recipes with PCOS-friendly protein powder

Meeting your daily protein goals while managing PCOS can be challenging. Try out these recipes below to incorporate more protein in your diet throughout the day:

Protein-packed berry smoothie


• 1 scoop of drink wholesome vanilla protein powder

• 1/2 cup mixed berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)

• 1/2 ripe banana

• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

• 1 tbsp chia seeds

• 1 handful of spinach (optional for added fiber)


Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Enjoy as a nutritious breakfast or post-workout snack.

Chocolate protein oatmeal


• 1/2 cup rolled oats

• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

• 1 scoop of drink wholesome chocolate protein powder

• 1 tbsp chia seeds

• 1/2 tsp cinnamon

• 1 tbsp almond butter


In a saucepan, combine the rolled oats and almond milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the oats are cooked and the mixture thickens. Stir in the protein powder, chia seeds, and cinnamon until well combined. Transfer the oatmeal to a bowl and top with almond butter. Serve warm and enjoy as a protein-packed breakfast or snack.

High-protein vegan chocolate peanut butter energy bites


• 1 cup rolled oats

• 1/2 cup drink wholesome vegan chocolate protein powder

• 1/4 cup natural peanut butter

• 1/4 cup maple syrup

• 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

• 1 tbsp chia seeds


In a mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, protein powder, peanut butter, maple syrup, dark chocolate chips, and chia seeds. Mix until well combined and a dough forms. Roll the dough into small balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy as a protein-rich snack to curb cravings and provide sustained energy throughout the day.

Vanilla protein pancakes


• 1 scoop of drink wholesome vanilla protein powder

• 1/2 cup oat flour (*Note: if you do not have pre-made oat flour, you can blend ½ cup of oats in a food processor until smooth)

• 1/2 tsp baking powder

• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

• 1 egg

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 1 tbsp chia seeds or ground flaxseeds for added fiber (optional)


In a mixing bowl, combine the protein powder, oat flour, and baking powder. Add the almond milk, egg, and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth. If desired, stir in chia seeds or ground flaxseeds. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly grease it with coconut oil or cooking spray. Pour the pancake batter onto the skillet to form pancakes. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with your favorite toppings such as fresh berries, Greek yogurt, or nut butter.

Protein-packed vegan green smoothie bowl


• 1 scoop of drink wholesome vegan vanilla protein powder

• 1 cup spinach or kale

• 1/2 frozen banana

• 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

• 1/4 avocado

• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

• sliced banana, berries, nuts, seeds, or granola (optional)


In a blender, combine the spinach or kale, frozen banana, mixed berries, avocado, protein powder, and almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the smoothie into a bowl. Top with sliced banana, berries, nuts, seeds, or granola for added texture and nutrients. Enjoy with a spoon as a refreshing and protein-rich breakfast or snack option.

Lifestyle changes PCOS management

Managing PCOS requires a holistic approach that addresses not just medical interventions, but also lifestyle factors that can impact symptoms and overall well-being. Incorporating certain lifestyle changes into your daily routine can complement PCOS management, improve quality of life, and enhance the effectiveness of protein supplementation. Here are some key lifestyle factors to consider for optimal PCOS management:

Regular exercise

Engaging in regular exercise is crucial for individuals with PCOS. Physical activity helps regulate your hormone levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and promote weight management. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling. Additionally, include strength training exercises to build muscle and enhance metabolism.

Stress management

Stress can exacerbate PCOS symptoms, so it is essential to adopt effective stress management techniques. Find activities that help you relax and reduce stress, such as practicing mindfulness or deep breathing exercises, engaging in hobbies, or seeking therapy or counseling if needed. By managing stress levels, you can support hormone balance and overall well-being.

Maintaining a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for PCOS management. Excess weight can worsen insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances, leading to more severe symptoms. Focus on a balanced diet that includes nutrient-rich foods, adequate protein intake, and controlled portions. Combine this with regular exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

As you incorporate these lifestyle factors into your routine, consider the role of PCOS-friendly protein powder supplementation. Protein plays a vital role in addressing PCOS symptoms, such as insulin resistance, weight management issues, and hormonal imbalances. Consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to determine the right protein powder and dosage that aligns with your dietary needs and overall PCOS management plan.


easy to digest

“I have PCOS and have a really hard time losing weight. I’m on a low-carb, high protein diet, but I don’t eat enough protein most days. I started using protein powder, but all the ones I tried upset my stomach, until I found this one. I add it to everything. It’s simple and easy to digest.” – Eva

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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.