What is the best protein powder for ulcerative colitis?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for ulcerative colitis. 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 people with gut issues and sensitive stomachs, as well as for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk. If you suffer from ulcerative colitis, or any other digestive disease, order samples to see if our protein powder is right for you.
“If you have a sensitive gut, you need simple ingredients.”
-Brittany Carpenter, MS, RDN/LDN
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for ulcerative colitis.
What is ulcerative colitis?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe two conditions characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Both cause symptoms like diarrhea and stomach pain, and can lead to severe weight loss. Ulcerative colitis develops when your immune system attacks the cells that line your large intestine (colon). This causes inflammation and tiny open sores, or ulcers.
Although ulcerative colitis is not caused by what you eat, doctors and dietitians agree that food plays an important role in managing symptoms. Certain foods can aggravate symptoms, while others can mitigate them and promote healing. Paying attention to what you eat and how your body responds to different foods is therefore an essential part of living with ulcerative colitis.
Is protein powder good for ulcerative colitis?
Curating a diet specific to your condition, whether it’s Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, is complicated. There is no one Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis diet, and the foods that trigger symptoms for you may be different from those that trigger them for someone else. That said, there are several key ingredients to an IBD diet, and one of them is protein. Eating enough protein is important because chronic inflammation can impair your ability to absorb nutrients from food, which in turn can lead to malnutrition and weight loss. If you have ulcerative colitis, your protein needs might therefore be 25% higher than normal.
At a minimum, you should eat 1-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day between flares. You should also aim to get as much protein as you can from high protein foods like eggs, fish, and meat. Protein sources like these are, from a nutritional standpoint, superior to nutritional supplements. Getting enough protein this way can be challenging for some individuals, however. Individuals with dietary restrictions or sensitive stomachs, for instance, cannot eat certain types of protein. This is where protein powder can help.
Protein powder is versatile. It can be used to make protein shakes, added to smoothies, and incorporated into oatmeal, yogurt, and other recipes. Adding protein powder to your diet is thus an easy way to ensure that you are eating enough protein, which is not only needed to prevent weight loss and muscle wasting, but is also need to heal your gut. Unfortunately, however, not all protein powder are created equal.
What is the best protein powder for ulcerative colitis?
Most protein powders are not safe for someone with ulcerative colitis. Do not be fooled by clever marketing.
First and foremost, the majority of protein powders contain emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors, all of which have been associated with unpleasant side effects and long-term damage to the gut. This poses a significant concern for individuals already struggling with compromised gut health, so it is crucial that you find a protein powder without additives. Keep reading to learn more.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder for ulcerative colitis is that we do not use food additives. Even in minute quantities, additives can trigger an array of undesirable symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain.
The reason behind these symptoms stems from the fact that additives bear no resemblance to real, natural foods. Consequently, your digestive system cannot fully break them down. This can result in two scenarios: either water is drawn into your gut, causing diarrhea, or the additives feed your gut bacteria, which produce gas. Excessive gas can give rise to bloating, flatulence, stomach pain, and even impede the smooth passage of food through the colon, ultimately leading to constipation.
The implications of consuming food additives over an extended period become even more disconcerting. Additives gradually disrupt crucial regulatory pathways within the intestines, thereby contributing to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory disorders. Ongoing research suggests that food additives, particularly artificial sweeteners, also have the potential to disturb the delicate balance of the gut microbiome — the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food. As you might imagine, this can profoundly impact long-term gut health.
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
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 colitis is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Whey and casein, which are derived from the production of cheese and yogurt, have gained notoriety for their propensity to induce digestive discomfort. This holds especially true for individuals with lactose intolerance, as their bodies lack the necessary enzymes to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy products. As you have recently learned, partially digested food can give rise to a multitude of unpleasant side effects.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make protein powder for ulcerative colitis is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. The vast majority of protein powders, on the other hand, use one or both of these protein sources, which are essentially foods stripped down to their protein content. Concentrates and isolates are referred to as “pea protein” or “whey protein,” rather than as “peas” or “whey.”
The production of protein concentrates and isolates necessitates intensive mechanical and chemical processing. In some cases, chemical solvents like hexane are employed to extract the protein from its natural source. What remains unsurprisingly looks nothing like real food.
Your digestive system is naturally adept at handling minimally or unprocessed real foods, not synthetic imitations. Consuming anything other than real food can therefore lead to adverse side effects. While the long-term effects of consuming processed food products such as protein isolates are still under investigation, emerging studies indicate that these substances can significantly disrupt the composition of the gut microbiota, resulting in lasting damage to the gut.
Beyond its primary role in food digestion, the gut acts as a protective barrier against harmful pathogens, plays a pivotal role in educating the immune system, and exerts direct and indirect influence on numerous physiological processes. Consequently, disturbances to the delicate balance of the gut microbiome have been strongly associated with the development of various chronic diseases. Given this connection, I strongly urge you to steer clear of protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder for colitis with egg whites and almonds. The egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried, while the almonds are roasted, pressed to remove some oil, and finely ground. These minimally-processed ingredients make for a highly digestible and gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.
If you do not have allergies or sensitivities to eggs, egg white protein emerges as an exceptional choice for gut health. With low fiber content and minimal FODMAPs, egg whites are gentle on the digestive system. Moreover, they possess the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) among all whole foods. Our customers consistently share highly positive feedback, reporting fewer digestive issues when consuming egg white protein powder in comparison to other protein sources.
For individuals unable to consume eggs, our vegan almond protein powder serves as a great substitute. Almonds, in contrast to protein concentrates or isolates, are abundant in healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin E. We prioritize almonds over other minimally-processed plant protein sources due to their exceptional gut-friendly characteristics. Research indicates that almonds exhibit prebiotic properties, supporting the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome and ultimately promoting improved gut health.
In summary, our protein powders, whether derived from egg whites or almonds, undergo minimal processing to prioritize the well-being of your gut. Regardless of your choice, you can expect a high-quality product that prioritizes your digestive health.
“I am a recently diagnosed Ulcerative Colitis mom of 3, and these powders have literally saved my life. On the days I cannot actually eat anything, I drink these as my means and it helps me retain calories and nutrition, AND they taste phenomenal!” – Sara
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for colitis.