What Is Protein Powder?

What is protein powder? Everything you need to know.

Drink Wholesome makes protein powder with 100% real foods – no chalky protein isolates, no added junk.

Protein powder is just food. 

Protein powder is a concentrated form of protein, in powder form. 

Common types include whey protein – a byproduct of the dairy industry – and pea protein, which comes from yellow peas. It can be added to smoothies and baking. It is not just for bodybuilders. 

PROTEIN POWDER IS JUST FOOD. It will not make you stronger. It will not make you lose weight. Do not expect it to do anything for you that normal food cannot. It can certainly help you achieve your diet and fitness goals, but only when paired with thoughtful exercise and nutrition.  

Why use it? 

There are many reasons why people use protein powder. Here are a few of the most common ones: 

  1. Protein powder is a supplement. If you are struggling to get enough protein in your diet – this is often the case for vegans – protein powder can help you meet your protein goals. 
  2. Protein powder is convenient. It is a quick and easy way for anyone to boost their protein intake. 
  3. Protein powder is easy to digest. For people who cannot eat regular food, like bariatric patients, protein powder is a must have. 

Although there are many other reasons why someone would use protein powder, most people do not need it. That is, most people can get more than enough protein from normal food. 

The choice to use protein powder is yours. It can certainly help you achieve your fitness and nutrition goals, but it is not necessary. Remember, it is just food. 

Which one? 

There are an overwhelming number of protein powders out there and no one type is necessarily better than another. 

The best one for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Are you vegan? Are you lactose intolerant? It follows that the right choice for you is not necessarily the right choice for someone else. There are, however, some general guidelines that everyone should follow when choosing a protein supplement. We will get to those later. 

Amino acids? 

Some proteins are complete proteins, meaning that they contain all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Many people will tell you that you need a protein with a complete amino acid profile, but this is simply not true. As long as you eat a balanced diet, there is no need to worry about amino acid profiles. 


Some people will have you believe that one protein is better than another because it is more bioavailable. Although there may be some truth here, the bioavailability of a protein – the ability of the body to absorb and use it – should not be the deciding factor in choosing a protein powder. 

Considering the paucity of research examining various sources of protein in sport supplementation studies, it is unclear if the bioavailability of a protein makes it better or worse than any other protein. There are many other factors that are far more important when choosing a protein supplement. 

protein powder
protein powder


Most protein powders are loaded with added junk. 

If you take a look at a given ingredient label, chances are high that you will find one or more of the following: 

artificial sweeteners, artificial and “natural” flavors, colors, preservatives, anti-caking and gelling agents, emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners

Ingredients like these look nothing like real food. They add little to no nutritional value to your protein powder and are known to cause nasty side effects.

Here is list of common food additives used in protein powder : 

acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, erythritol, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol

If a protein powder contains any of these ingredients, think twice before using it. 

Although food additives are not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, they can add up quickly, especially if you eat a lot of processed foods, or a protein shake every day. This is why I recommend that you stay away from food additives whenever possible. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot pronounce it, or find it in your kitchen, it is a food additive. 


Finding an additive-free protein powder is hard. Finding an additive-free protein powder that actually tastes good is next to impossible. This is because most are made with protein isolates stripped of everything but the protein. 

Unlike real foods, protein isolates taste chalky because they are missing the healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and other nutrients that make food taste good. They are listed on the ingredients list as “whey protein,” “pea protein,” and “soy protein,” as opposed to “milk,” “peas,” and “soybeans.” If you want a protein supplement that ACTUALLY tastes good, reach for one made with real foods. 

My recommendation? 

There is only one protein powder made with 100% real foods that actually tastes good, and it is Drink Wholesome. By real foods I mean single ingredient, minimally processed foods. Protein isolates, xanthan gum, and sucralose are not real foods, not even close. 

Drink Wholesome chocolate protein powder is made with just four real foods: egg whites, coconut, cocoa, and monk fruit. They are listed right on the front of the package so you know exactly what you are putting in your body. 

Again, protein power is just food. It should therefore look like real food, taste good, and make you feel good. Order samples to see if Drink Wholesome is right for you. 

You are reading an article written by Drink Wholesome, a small, local company from New Hampshire. Drink Wholesome has taken a fundamentally different approach to protein powder. We use 100% real food ingredients. Research suggests that these ingredients are better for you than the highly processed additives and protein isolates found in most protein supplements. They are also far better tasting as they contain the complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and other nutrients that make food taste good. Order samples to see for yourself.

Choose a protein powder made with real foods.