What are the ingredients in protein powder?

If you are worried about the ingredients in protein powder, you have come to the right place. In this article, I review the ingredients in a typical protein powder to give you a better idea of what might be in your protein powder, and whether or not you should be concerned. 

This article was written by Jack Schrupp.

Protein powder ingredients

What are real ingredients?

Real ingredients are foods that can be found in nature. In other words, they have undergone little to no processing. Examples of real ingredients include fruits, meats, vegetables, etc. 

Real ingredients are good for you, and your diet should consist primarily, if not entirely, of real ingredients. When it comes to protein powder, the more real ingredients on the ingredient list, the better.

Real ingredients are nutritionally balanced, and allow nutrients to work together like they were meant to. Eating a diet composed primarily of real ingredients can lower your risk of chronic disease and lead to better life outcomes.


What are fake ingredients? 

Fake ingredients are foods that cannot be found in nature. They are either artificial, or derived from real foods by means of mechanical or chemical processing. Common examples of fake ingredients include colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Fake ingredients are not good for you, and you should avoid eating them at all costs. When it comes to protein powder, the fewer fake ingredients on the ingredient list, the better.

Here is a list of some of the most common fake ingredients 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

Because they look nothing like the foods that your body was built to digest, fake ingredients can cause painful side effects and long-term health problems. For example, regularly eating certain fake ingredients can alter the composition and function of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut.

This can lead to gut dysbiosis, or an imbalance in your gut microbiota. Gut dysbiosis is not only a leading driver of inflammation, but also contributes to wide range of chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity, type 1 diabetes, and colorectal cancer.

Typical protein powder ingredients

I will now review BSN SYNTHA-6, one of the most popular protein powders and a great example of a typical protein powder. I counted all the real ingredients and all the fake ones, and gave the protein powder a Wholesome Score, which is calculated on a scale from 1 (not wholesome) to 5 (wholesome). The more real ingredients and the fewer fake ingredients a protein powder has, the higher its Wholesome Score is. Now without further ado, here are the ingredients in BSN SYNTHA-6 Whey Protein Powder.

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.

Real ingredient count: 4

Egg Albumen, Cocoa, Nonfat Dry Milk, Salt*

*Notice that I did not include Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, or Milk Protein Isolate in this list. Although these ingredients may seem like real foods, they are not. Protein concentrates and isolates stripped of everything but the protein, so they look nothing like something you can find in nature.

Fake Food Count: 21

Glutamine Peptides, Polydextrose, Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide, Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain

Wholesome Score: 1

Of the 25 listed ingredients, 21 of them are fake, making BSN SYNTHA-6 Whey Protein Powder about as far from real food as you can get. It is for this reason that I gave it a Wholesome Score of 1 (out of 5). According to my criteria, BSN SYNTHA-6 Whey Protein Powder is not something you want to put in your body.; although it has protein, it is also full of added junk.

1 serving of BSN SYNTHA-6 Whey Protein Powder is not going to kill you, but regularly consuming so many fake ingredients is certainly not food for you. This is why I recommend choosing a protein powder made with a short list of simple ingredients. Continue reading to learn more.

Our protein powder ingredients

As you can clearly see below, our protein powders are made with 100% real ingredients.

Our ingredients

egg whites

egg whites





monk fruit

monk fruit

NOT our ingredients

  • acacia gum

  • acesulfame potassium

  • artificial flavors

  • carrageenan

  • erythritol

  • guar gum

  • inulin

  • maltodextrin

  • 'natural' flavors

  • silica

  • soy lecithin

  • sucralose

  • xanthan gum

  • xylitol

We not use any food additives, and we use whole food protein sources instead of protein concentrates and isolates. Order samples to experience the difference for yourself.

Protein Powders

Collagen Protein Powder


Starting at $59.99

Protein Powders

Egg White Protein Powder


Starting at $39.99

Protein Powders

Vegan Almond Protein Powder


Starting at $39.99




1 week ago

Verified Purchase Hi! Your powder has been life-changing for me! I wear many hats as a military spouse, mom of a toddler, and yoga teacher. However, the hats I wear of being a human, living with endometriosis and IBS, are the ones these simple ingredients have most impacted! Thank you! Thank you for creating a product for stomachs that is sensitive, simple, AND still packs a punch protein wise!

For Egg White Protein Powder


2 weeks ago

Verified Purchase Your protein is seriously a game changer for me. I went from 135 to 170 in a few months due to the shakes I made with your protein powder. I've been drinking 1 each day for the last bit of time. Most protein kills my gut. You guys are seriously making a life support for me. Thank you for all that you do and create!

For Egg White Protein Powder


3 weeks ago

Verified Purchase I've spent the past decade searching for the perfect protein powder, and I've finally found it!!!! Not only does it make me feel incredible, but it's also transformed my fitness recovery in ways I never thought possible. Thank you drinkwholesome for changing the game and helping me feel my best! <3

For Egg White Protein Powder

Frequently asked questions

Collagen vs egg white vs almond protein powder?

You may have noticed that we make three types of protein powder: collagen protein powderegg white protein powder, and vegan almond protein powder. As long as you are eating a balanced diet, any type of protein powder can help you boost your protein intake. Just pick the type that best suits your dietary needs and personal preferences.

Protein powder vs meal replacement powder?

You may have noticed that we make protein powders and meal replacement powders. The difference between protein powders and meal replacement powders is the nutrition content. Protein powders are high in protein and low in everything else, whereas meal replacement powders contain fats, carbs, and protein because they are intended to replace the nutritional value of a healthy meal.

Learn more

My name is Jack and I created drink wholesome because I was sick of protein powders that upset my stomach. Read my story, check out my short list of simple ingredients, and browse reviews from other customers to learn more.



Protein Rice Krispies Treats


15 min


0 min




In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat, and incorporate the protein powder. Add the Rice Krispies, stirring until combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13 inch greased pan. Let your Protein Rice Krispie Treats sit for 30 minutes before eating.


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.