What is the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs?


Finding a protein powder for sensitive stomachs can be a daunting task. Not all protein powders are created equal, and many can leave you bloated, gassy, and sick to your stomach. But fear not! With the right knowledge and approach, you can find a protein powder that offers both comfort and nutrition, making it the perfect addition to your wellness journey. This article was written by Jack Schrupp & Brittany Adelman, RDN.

How to pick a protein powder for sensitive stomachs

Key Takeaways


• Not all protein powders are suitable for sensitive stomachs.

• You need a protein powder that offers both comfort and nutrition.

• The ingredients are the most important factor to consider. 

• The best protein powders for sensitive stomachs are made with a short list of simple ingredients. 

• Consulting a healthcare professional may be necessary for those with unique dietary needs or preexisting health conditions.

What is a sensitive stomach? 


Do you deal with bloating, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, gas, nausea, or stomach pain on a regular basis? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might have a sensitive stomach. 

The term “sensitive stomach” is a non-medical phrase to describe a stomach that is easily upset. Roughly 1 in 5 people have one, meaning they regularly experience gastrointestinal (GI) distress.

Food allergies and chronic digestive diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are common causes of a sensitive stomach, but sometimes the cause is unknown. Typically, you can successfully manage the symptoms of a sensitive stomach by making dietary and lifestyle changes, and by learning which trigger foods to avoid.

Is protein powder safe for sensitive stomachs?


If you have a sensitive stomach, you might have trouble digesting many foods, which puts you at an increased risk for weight loss and malnutrition. Furthermore, if you have IBS or experience IBS-type symptoms, it might be challenging to find foods that do not trigger flare ups. This is where protein powder can help.

Adding a scoop of stomach-friendly protein powder to your diet is an easy way to ensure that you are getting the protein you need to stay strong and healthy. Protein is needed to build and maintain muscle mass. It is also used to make enzymes, hormones, and antibodies that protect your body against illness. Needless to say, eating enough protein is important, and if you cannot stomach common high protein foods, protein powder can be a lifesaver. Unfortunately, however, not all protein powders are safe for sensitive stomachs.

Picture this – you just finished a great workout and want to start the recovery process with a protein shake. You are feeling good, but then all of a sudden your stomach starts to gurgle. A few minutes later, you are terribly bloated and have to run to the bathroom. Maybe protein powder was a bad idea?  

The truth is, many protein powders are not designed with sensitive stomachs in mind. They are full of harmful additives, artificial sweeteners, and heavily-processed ingredients that can be harsh on your digestion.

This does not mean you have to avoid all protein supplements, however! Protein powder can still be a great way to boost your protein intake, as long as you choose wisely. 

Here are of few of the reasons protein powders can upset your stomach:

Dairy-based proteins: Many protein powders are made from whey and/or casein, which are milk derivatives. If you are lactose intolerant or have a dairy sensitivity, your will have a hard time digesting them. In fact, dairy-based proteins like whey and casein are hard to digest, even for people who are not lactose intolerant! Steer clear of whey and casein, especially if they cause you to experience gas, bloating, or changes to your bowel movements.

Sugar substitutes: Many sugar substitutes, particularly artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can cause GI symptoms like bloating and diarrhea. They can also irritate your stomach lining and promote the proliferation of pathogenic gut bacteria. The most common sugar substitutes used in protein powders are sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and erythritol. 

Food Additives: Most protein powders contain added emulsifiers, thickeners, and flavors. Ingredients like these can cause painful side effects and alter the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. If you need a protein that is easy on the stomach, start by avoiding food additives.

Protein concentrates/isolates: Most protein powders are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, which have been stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes that help you break them down. For someone with pre-existing gut issues, this can be a huge problem. Stick to protein powders made with minimally or unprocessed whole food protein sources, not protein concentrates and isolates.

Cross-Contamination: Some protein powders may be cross-contaminated with allergens like gluten. For those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it is crucial to find a gluten-free option.

If you have specific dietary concerns, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian. They can provide personalized advice and recommend protein powders suited for your individual needs. Additionally, they can help you identify the underlying digestive issues that may be contributing to your sensitivities.

What is the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs?


99.99% of protein powders contain ingredients that can upset your stomach, which is why I created drink wholesome. I was so sick of protein powers that upset my stomach, that I made one with a short list of simple ingredients. It is, as far as my stomach is concerned, the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs.

I know from experience that finding a protein powder for sensitive stomachs is hard. I also know that finding a protein powder that works for your particular stomach is crucial. Every stomach is different, and what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you. You need a product that meets your unique needs, making it easy to stick to your diet. 

Fortunately for you, I have created a variety of stomach-friendly protein powders, including egg white protein powders, vegan almond protein powders, and unflavored (single ingredient) protein powders. I even use different types of sweeteners like monk fruit and maple sugar to accommodate as many stomachs as possible.

What is the best vegan protein powder for sensitive stomachs?


If you are on a plant-based diet, using a vegan protein powder can be a great way to meet your protein needs. Many vegan protein powders are super processed, though, and not a great choice for people with sensitive stomachs. 

Because plants do not contain as much protein as animals by weight, they must have their non protein components (fats, carbs, etc.) removed before they can be used as a protein supplement. This processing often involves chemical solvents like hexane, turning your food into a science experiment.

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, I make the best plant-based protein powder for sensitive stomachs with whole almonds. Unlike protein concentrates or isolates, whole almonds contain healthy fats, fiber, and natural digestive aids in addition to protein. For this reason, they are prebiotic and promote regular and healthy bowel movements. Keep reading to learn more about why my protein powders are so easy to digest.

drink wholesome is the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs


drink wholesome is additive-free

One of the reasons why I make the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs is that I do not use any food additives whatsoever. This includes gums, lecithin, flavors, and artificial sweeteners. Even in small amounts, added ingredients like these can cause painful side effects, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. 

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

Food additives are hard to digest and feed your gut bacteria, which release gas as they eat. As you might imagine, too much intestinal gas can cause bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain.

Partially digested food additives also cause your colon to absorb too much water, which can lead to diarrhea. 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

Regularly eating food additives can cause long term gut health problems too. For example, certain food additives can disturb regulatory pathways in your intestines, triggering the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Some food additives, especially artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also alter the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. An altered gut microbiome is a leading driver of inflammation and linked to the onset and progression of chronic digestive diseases.

drink-wholesome-collagen-protein-powder
drink-wholesome-vegan-almond-protein-powder
drink-wholesome-egg-white-protein-powder

drink wholesome is dairy-free

Another reason why I make the best protein powder for a sensitive stomach is that I do not use dairy-based proteins like whey and casein. Whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, contain lactose, a sugar most adults cannot fully digest. As you just learned, foods that resist digestion tend to cause digestive issues.

drink wholesome is made with real foods

A final reason why I make the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs is that I do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other protein powders are made from one or both of these protein sources, which have been stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes, fiber, and other natural digestive aids that help you break them down. This not only makes them hard to digest, but may also alter the composition and function of your gut microbiome.

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, I make the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs with whole foods like collagen, egg whites, and almonds. Protein sources like these are easy to digest and absorb. They also each bring a unique set of digestive benefits to the table.

Collagen can reduce bloating and improve digestive symptoms. Almonds are rich in prebiotic fiber and improve the composition of your gut microbiome. Egg whites are alkaline, meaning they balance the pH levels in your gut, and promote the growth of good gut bacteria. Our customers experience fewer digestive issues with our protein powders than with any other type of protein supplement. Order samples to see for yourself. 

★★★★★

simple and delicious

“Hi! I recently stumbled across your products, and I was honestly a little hesitant. I’ve always had a sensitive stomach and hate venturing out on new products that might increase my IBS issues. I’m happy to say that your product is fantastic! I’m so glad I branched out and tried it because it’s incredible! I love your company and what it is providing to all the customers, especially all my fellow IBS people!” – Courtney

The top 7 protein powders for sensitive stomachs


Here are the top 7 protein powders made specifically for sensitive stomachs.

1. Drink Wholesome

Drink Wholesome Vanilla Protein Powder – Made with just 4 simple ingredients – egg whites, coconut, vanilla, and monk fruit – this is hands down the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs. 9 out of 10 people with gut issues can tolerate it without any side effects.

vanilla protein powder 28 servings nutrition facts

Drink Wholesome Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder – Also made with just 4 simple ingredients – almonds, coconut, vanilla, and monk fruit –  this is the best vegan protein powder for sensitive stomachs. If you are on a plant-based diet, give it a try.

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vegan-vanilla-protein-powder-nutrition-facts

2. Space Milk

Made with cell-based protein derived from yeast, this is a good option for sensitive stomachs. It contains an added thickener.

space milk ingredients

3. Casa de Sante

Made with a blend of pea protein and hemp protein, this is another good option for sensitive stomachs. It contains an added thickener.

casa de sante ingredients

4. Better Blends

Made with a blend of pea protein and bovine collagen, this is an ok option for sensitive stomachs. It contains added thickeners and flavorings.

better blends ingredients

5. CorePerform

Made with a blend of pea protein and brown rice protein, this is an ok option for sensitive stomachs. It contains added thickeners and flavorings.

coreperform ingredients

6. TumLove

Made with a blend of pea protein and brown rice protein, this is an ok option for sensitive stomachs. It contains added thickeners, anti-caking agents, and flavorings.

tumlove-ingredients

7. Stellar Labs

Made with a blend of pea protein, brown rice protein, quinoa protein, this is an ok option for sensitive stomachs. It contains added thickeners, anti-caking agents, and flavorings.

stellar-labs-ingredients

In summary, out of all the protein powders on this list, drink wholesome is the only one that is additive-free. It is also the only option made with whole food protein sources – not protein concentrates or isolates. If you drink a protein shake every day, this can make a huge difference in terms of your gut health.

When should you consult a healthcare professional?


Before adding a new protein powder to your diet, it is recommended to seek the advice of a healthcare professional, especially if you have unique dietary requirements or preexisting health conditions. A healthcare professional can help guide you in choosing the right protein powder based on your specific needs.

Keep in mind that some individuals may have specific allergies or sensitivities that should be taken into account when selecting a protein powder. A healthcare professional can assist in identifying potential allergens and suggest appropriate alternatives.


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.

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