What is the cleanest protein powder?

drink wholesome makes the cleanest protein powder with a short list of simple ingredients. Now, you can boost your protein intake without extra processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our protein powder is right for you. 

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

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How to pick the cleanest protein powder

What is protein powder?

Protein powder is a concentrated form of dietary protein, in powder form. Common types include whey protein, pea protein, and egg white protein.

Protein powder can be used to make protein shakes or added to smoothies, oatmeal, and other recipes for an easy protein boost. Although different people use protein powder to achieve different wellness goals, they all use it for the same basic reason: to increase their protein intake. 

What does “clean” mean?

If a food or beverage is “clean,” it is as close to nature as possible, meaning little to no processing is required to eat it. A banana is a good example of clean food – you cannot get closer to nature than a banana. A Coke, on the other hand, is not a clean food. Coke cannot be found in nature, nor does it look like anything that can. 

If you are trying to “eat clean,” you should make your meals from scratch, and prioritize fresh ingredients. Packaged, processed foods should not be on the menu. 


Protein powder is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “clean eating,” as all protein powders are processed. For one thing, most protein powders are made from protein concentrates and isolates, which cannot be found in nature. Moreover, most protein powders contain a cocktail of additives like emulsifiers, thickeners, flavors, and sugar substitutes, none of which are remotely natural. Here are 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

If your protein powder contains any of the ingredients above, it is not clean. Note that ‘natural’ flavors are on the naughty list because flavor manufacturers can add solvents, preservatives, and carriers to a flavor that qualifies as “natural” under current regulations.

We put together a database that shows how much processing and added junk goes into most protein powders. If you are set on using a clean protein powder, I highly recommend that you start your search there.

What is the cleanest protein powder?

Clean protein powder must be made with a short list of simple ingredients. It cannot contain gums, lecithin, or any other food additives. The cleanest protein powder must also be made with whole food protein sources, not protein concentrates or isolates. Not only are ingredients like these unnatural, but they are often stripped of their non protein components using chemical agents like hexane. Trace amounts of these chemicals can make their way into your protein powder. 

By our standards, the only types of protein powder that qualify as clean are almond, collagen, egg white, and hemp. From there, you must find brands that steer clear of food additives. At the end of the day, you are left with only a handful of companies, one of which is drink wholesome.


drink wholesome is the cleanest protein powder

drink wholesome is additive-free

One of the reasons why we make the cleanest protein powder is that we do not use any food additives whatsoever. Even in small amounts, ingredients like these can cause painful side effects and long term gut health problems.

Food additives look nothing like real food and resist digestion. As a result, they linger in your gut, which gives your gut bacteria extra time to eat. As they eat, gut bacteria produce gas, causing bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain. Gas can also slow colonic transit – the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon – leading to constipation.

In some cases, partially digested food additives cause your colon to absorb extra water and/or prevent your colon from absorbing water. This is called osmotic diarrhea, and may be the reason why protein shakes make you run to the bathroom. 

Over time, regularly eating certain food additives can disturb regulatory pathways in your intestines, triggering inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other systemic inflammatory conditions. Some food additives, especially artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also disrupt your gut microbiome. An unhealthy gut microbiome is a leading cause of inflammation and linked to the onset and progression of several chronic diseases.

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 made with real foods

A final reason why we make the best cleanest protein powder s is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other protein powders are made from one or both of these protein sources.

Concentrates and isolates have been stripped of everything but the protein thanks to heavy mechanical and chemical processing. What you put into your body thus looks nothing like real food.

Your gut is designed to digest minimally or unprocessed or real foods, not protein concentrates or isolates. This is why more and more research is finding that regularly eating refined ingredients like these can alter the composition of your gut microbiome, which, again, is bad for your overall health.

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best cleanest protein powder with egg whites and almonds. Minimally-processed protein sources like these are a gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

For starters, both egg whites and almonds contain enzymes that help you break them down. Protein isolates and concentrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of these natural digestive aids.

Almonds are also prebiotic, meaning they improve the composition of your gut microbiome. Egg whites, on the other hand, are low FODMAP, alkaline (maintaining healthy pH levels in your gut), and bioactive (promoting the growth of good gut bacteria). Our customers have fewer digestive problems with our egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement.

In conclusion, we make the cleanest protein powders with a short list of simple ingredients so you can boost your protein intake without compromising your health.


easy to digest

“I worked with a dietitian and she turned me on to your product. I absolute favorite protein powder. The only brand I drink now. I so appreciate the clean simple trusted ingredients! Love that it’s a small business and that it was started by a normal person rather than a big corporation. Bonus that I feel comfortable sharing my smoothies with my little nieces and nephews!” – Katie

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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.