What causes protein powder acid reflux? 

What causes protein powder acid reflux? Learn more about the relationship between protein powder and acid reflux.


vanilla protein powder

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Protein powder and acid reflux. 

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER), occurs when stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus. Severe acid reflux can lead to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. GERD is quite common, affecting about 20% of the population, and its most frequent symptom is heartburn.

Certain foods are known to trigger acid reflux because they slow down the digestive process, causing food to linger in the stomach. They also relax the esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus.

The foods you eat play a role in regulating the amount of acid your stomach produces, and making smart food choices is key to managing acid reflux. Eliminating trigger foods from your diet is an effective way to avoid acid reflux symptoms. You can also use an elimination diet to determine which foods cause symptoms. This is important because triggers can vary from person to person.

There is a lot of debate about which foods actually trigger acid reflux, but there is consensus on a few common triggers. These include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruits, tomatoes, garlic, mint, onions, spices, fatty foods, fried foods, and processed foods. The last one, processed foods, is important to keep in mind when buying protein powder. Keep reading to learn more.

Can protein powder cause acid reflux?

Protein powder acid reflux is a common side effect. Most protein powders are made with a cocktail of ingredients that can cause a number of different gastrointestinal (GI) issues, including acid reflux. Emulsifiers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors are some of the top offenders. Ingredients like these are almost always heavily-processed and a far cry from real food. It follows that the best protein powder for acid reflux is made with a short list of simple ingredients. The more your protein supplement looks like real food, the better. 


What is the best protein powder for acid reflux? 

One of the reasons why drink wholesome is the best protein powder for acid reflux is that we do not use any food additives whatsoever. Most food additives are artificial and/or heavily-processed, making them hard to digest. They consequently linger in your gut, which is a problem for two reasons.

First of all, poorly digested food additives trigger the overproduction of stomach acid. Having too much stomach acid is a common cause of acid reflux. Food additives also feed your gut bacteria, which produce gas as they eat. Excessive gas can put pressure on the small intestine and stomach, pushing stomach acid back into the esophagus.

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

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

Another reason why we drink wholesome is the best protein powder for acid reflux is that we do not use dairy-based proteins like whey and casein. Whey and casein protein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, contain lactose. Most adults have trouble fully digesting lactose, which can lead to excessive intestinal gas and acid reflux symptoms.

vanilla protein powder 28 servings lifestyle image 1
vegan vanilla protein powder lifestyle image 2

A final reason why drink wholesome is the best protein powder for acid reflux is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other protein powders are made with one or both of these protein sources. Concentrates and isolates are foods that have been stripped down to just the protein. They go through lots of mechanical and chemical processing, often involving solvents like hexane.

Your gut is designed to break down minimally or unprocessed foods, not heavily-processed protein concentrates or isolates. This is precisely why a growing body of research shows that regularly eating ingredients like these can alter the composition and function of your gut microbiome – the community of microorganisms living in your gut. An altered gut microbiome does not effectively digest food, which is a recipe for heartburn.

vegan vanilla protein powder lifestyle image 1
vanilla protein powder 28 servings lifestyle image 2

Instead of relying on protein concentrates or isolates, we have formulated the best protein powder for acid reflux with simple ingredients such as egg whites and almonds. Minimally-processed ingredients like these are a gut-healthy alternative to protein concentrates and isolates. 

Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, egg whites and almonds contain enzymes that help you break them down. What is more, egg whites and almonds are alkaline, meaning they help maintain healthy pH levels in your gut. Our happy customers have reported fewer digestive issues with our protein powders than with any other type of protein supplement. Switch to drink wholesome to avoid protein powder acid reflux once and for all. 

easy to digest

“This protein powder has taken my oatmeal to the next level. I can’t say enough good things about how it tastes!!! A good option for people with acid reflux.” – Kenzie

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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.