What is the lowest calorie protein powder?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
Our unflavored protein powder is the lowest calorie protein powder. It has 20 grams of protein and only 90 calories per serving. Plus, 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. Order samples to see if our unflavored protein powder is right for you.
“With literally just 1 ingredient and no additives and no dairy, I never have to worry about my stomach hurting after a protein shake.”
drink wholesome is the best low calorie protein powder.
What is a calorie?
Simply put, a calorie is the unit of energy in food. Your body uses calories to perform all physiological functions and stay alive. Some foods have more calories per gram than others. For instance, a 1kg watermelon has less than 400 calories, whereas 1kg of Swiss cheese has more than 4,000 calories. Understanding what calories are, and knowing how many are in the foods you eat is an important part of building a healthy diet and managing body weight.
What does low calorie mean?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order to be labeled as low-calorie, a food must have less than 40 calories per serving. Very few, if any, protein powders meet this criteria.
Protein has 4 calories per gram. This means that a protein powder with 20 grams of protein per serving, which is the standard serving size, must have at least 80 calories per serving. This is the lowest possible number of calories possible for that amount of protein. Our unflavored protein powder comes in at 90 calories per serving, or 4.5 calories per gram, which is only slightly higher than the bare minimum.
A few protein powders have 4.4 or even 4.3 calories per gram of protein, but only because they are made with protein isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. Isolates appear on the ingredient list as “whey protein” and “pea protein,” for example, as opposed to “whey” and “peas.”
Although protein isolates seem attractive from a nutritional standpoint, they are not something you want to put in your protein shake. Firstly, protein isolates have a chalky aftertaste that will ruin your smoothie and turn baked goods into hockey pucks. They are also heavily-processed and bad for your gut (more about that later).
Just to clarify, the lowest calorie protein powder is the calorie with the fewest calories per gram of protein, not necessarily the fewest calories per serving. If a protein powder has 10 calories per serving, but only 1 gram of protein, it is not going to help you reach your wellness goals.
Why use low calorie protein powder?
A low-calorie diet is an eating plan used to help people lose weight. Many people looking for a low calorie protein powder are on a low calorie diet. A low calorie protein powder can help with weight loss because it contains a lot of protein per calorie, and increasing the percentage of your calories that come from protein will help you lose weight.
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning it keeps you feeling full for longer, which helps prevent cravings and overeating. This, in turn, allows you to achieve a calorie deficit – eat fewer calories than you burn. You have to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat to lose a pound, and to lose weight at a safe rate – 0.5 pound per week – you will need to eat 1,750 fewer calories weekly, or 250 calories daily. Replacing a meal or part of a meal with a low calorie protein shake can help you eat less.
What is the highest protein lowest calorie protein powder?
Some people are looking for a protein boost without many fats, carbohydrates, and calories. This is where drink wholesome can help. With only 90 calories per serving, our unflavored egg white protein powder is a relatively low calorie protein powder. As you can see in the table below, our egg white protein has fewer calories and more protein per calorie than both whey and pea protein.
You can add unflavored egg white protein powder to smoothies, oatmeal, and your favorite recipes for an easy, low calorie protein boost. If you prefer to mix your protein powder with just milk or water, try our vanilla protein powder. 1 serving contains 20 grams of protein and only 140 calories. Keep reading to learn more about what makes drink wholesome the best low calorie protein powder.
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why you should use drink wholesome is that we do not use food additives. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives. Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink low calorie protein shakes every day), and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain.
Food additives are hard to digest, and sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, causing bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation. In the long term, food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine and trigger the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, artificial flavors, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to avoid when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
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 you should use drink wholesome is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, and known to cause digestive issues. This is especially true for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you just learned, partially digested food feeds the bacteria in your gut, which produce gas and cause side effects.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why you should use drink wholesome is that we do not use protein isolates. I will not go into the details, but protein isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods like protein isolates are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to your gut microbiome.
Your gut does more than just help you to digest food; it protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of your physiologic functions. Disruptions to the gut microbiome have therefore been linked to the development of many chronic diseases. It follows that it is in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein isolates.
Instead of using protein isolates, we make the best lowest calorie protein powder with whole egg whites. Whole foods contain a variety of enzymes and other digestive aids that help to break down the food, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. Protein isolates and concentrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of these digestive aids, making them harder for the body to digest and absorb.
Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein than with any other type of protein.
“I have ulcerative colitis and this is the only protein powder that doesn’t upset my stomach. The flavor is neutral and you can barely notice it in smoothies.” -Mia
drink wholesome is the lowest calorie protein powder.