What are the best soy-free meal replacement shakes?

drink wholesome makes the best soy-free meal replacement shakes with a short list of simple ingredients. If you are looking for a protein boost without the extra processing and added junk, you have come to the right place. Order samples to see if our soy-free meal replacements are right for you. 

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drink wholesome makes the best soy-free meal replacement shakes.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

What is soy? 

Soy is undeniably one of the most controversial foods out there. On one hand, soybeans are an affordable, protein-rich legume that boasts a low cholesterol and saturated fat content. They are also packed with fiber, iron, calcium, and known for being one of only a few complete plant proteins, providing all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot synthesize. 

On the flip side, soy raises a complex set of concerns. It is a common allergen, linked to adverse side effects, and the poster child for genetically modified crops that raise environmental and health issues. Here is a summary of the top four reasons to be wary of soy:

  1. Soy ranks is one of the the “Big 8” allergens, responsible for a whopping 90 percent of all food allergies.
  2. Soy contains isoflavones, a type of plant estrogen resembling human estrogen. Isoflavones can bind to estrogen receptors in the body, potentially leading to weak estrogenic or anti-estrogenic effects. Some research suggests this can cause an increased risk of chronic diseases such as breast cancer.
  3. Soy, the largest source of protein for animal feed, is also second only to beef in causing global deforestation and soil erosion.
  4. Soy is indisputably one of the most heavily genetically modified (GM) crops. While there is nothing inherently wrong with GM crops, many of them are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicides and pesticides. This raises the likelihood of chemical usage in food production and, subsequently, chemical residues in your food. According to the US Department of Agriculture, over 90 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered to resist a herbicide called Roundup. As a result, most GM soybeans contain substantial residues of glyphosate, the primary Roundup ingredient classified as a probable human carcinogen.

What is soy protein? 

Soy protein is a protein supplement made from soybeans. Not only are soybeans affordable and high in protein, but they are also one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein. This, it would seem, makes soy protein a convenient source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case.

Soybeans are high in protein, but not so high in protein that they can be used as a protein supplement. This is why soy proteins are actually soy protein concentrates or isolates – soybeans stripped of everything but the protein. Making protein concentrates and isolates requires significant mechanical and chemical processing, often involving solvents like hexane. This means soy protein looks nothing like real food. 

Your gut is meant to break down minimally or unprocessed foods, not protein concentrates and isolates. It is for this reason that eating refined ingredients like these can disrupt the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut.

Your gut does more than help you to digest food. It also protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and influences most of your physiology. This is why an imbalanced gut microbiome is a leading cause of inflammation and linked to the development of several chronic diseases.

What are the best soy-free meal replacements?

Just because a protein powder does not contain soy protein does not guarantee that it is soy-free. Many meal replacements use soy lecithin, an emulsifier. At times, manufacturers might not specify the type of lecithin used. In this case, check to see if “soy” is listed as an allergen. If it is, your protein powder contains soy lecithin.

Soy lecithin is not the only food additive to avoid when shopping for meal replacements. Most protein powders contain a cocktail of emulsifiers, thickeners, flavors, and sweeteners, all of which have the potential to trigger side effects and long term health problems. This is why the best soy-free meal replacement is additive-free. Keep reading to learn more.

Why drink wholesome?

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best soy-free meal replacement shakes is that we do not use any food additives, period. This includes additives like gums, lecithin, artificial flavors, and sweeteners. Even in small quantities, additives can trigger uncomfortable side effects, particularly if you have a sensitive stomach.

Food additives undergo such extensive processing that they bear no resemblance to real food. This makes them challenging to digest, and gives your gut bacteria extra time to ferment them. Fermentation products gas, which can lead to symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain. It can also slow down colonic transit—the time it takes for food to pass through the colon—resulting in constipation.

In certain cases, partially digested food additives can cause your colon to either absorb excess water or prevent it from absorbing water, leading to a condition known as osmotic diarrhea. This explains why meal replacement shakes sometimes send people running to the bathroom.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in meal replacement shakes:

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

Furthermore, regularly eating food additives can disrupt the regulatory pathways in your intestines, which can contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other inflammatory disorders. Food additives, particularly artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, have also been shown to disrupt your gut microbiome. This is a major driver of inflammation and is associated with the onset and progression of numerous chronic diseases.

the alternative:


drink wholesome is dairy-free.

Another reason why we make the best meal replacement shakes without soy is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many other meal replacements feature whey and casein, which are derived from cheese and yogurt production. These ingredients are notorious for causing digestive problems.

Lactose, the sugar found in dairy, can be challenging for some individuals to digest. As you just discovered, foods that pose digestion challenges often lead to unpleasant side effects. It is thus undoubtedly in your best interest to avoid whey and casein if you can.

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drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best soy-free meal replacement shakes is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Most other meal replacement powders are made from one or both of these protein sources, which are, as mentioned earlier, bad news for your gut and overall health.

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Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best meal replacement shakes without soy with egg whites and almonds. Minimally-processed protein sources like these are a gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

In contrast to protein isolates and concentrates, whole foods such as egg whites and almonds contain enzymes and digestive aids that facilitate their breakdown. Egg whites, in particular, carry the added benefit of being low in fiber, low FODMAP, alkaline (supporting a healthy gut pH), and bioactive (nurturing the growth of beneficial gut bacteria).

Almonds, on the other hand, also shine as a gut-healthy option. They possess prebiotic qualities, meaning they contribute to enhancing the diversity and balance of your gut microbiome. They also promote regular and healthy bowel movements. Simple ingredients like this are our secret to making the best soy-free meal replacement shakes. 


no stomach issues

“The only meal replacement I could find that doesn’t have soy, dairy, or pea protein. I love how it tastes (not chalky at all) and most of all I love how it makes me feel. No bloating or gas for the first time!” – Kayla

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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.