Which protein powder is safe for kidneys?

Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition

Wondering which protein powder if safe for kidneys? In this article, I will cover the best types of protein for kidneys, and the top protein supplement ingredients to avoid if you have chronic renal disease or CKD.

“If you have a sensitive gut, you need simple ingredients.”

-Brittany Carpenter, MS, RDN/LDN

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drink wholesome is the best protein powder for kidneys.

Is protein powder bad for your kidneys?

Does protein powder cause kidney stones?

Which protein powder is safe for kidneys?

Why drink wholesome?

Are protein shakes bad for kidneys?


Protein is an important nutrient that plays a crucial role in the overall health of the human body. However, it is possible to consume too much protein. and doing so can lead to kidney damage for certain people. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood, and a high protein diet can put extra strain on these organs. When protein is digested, it is broken down into amino acids, which are then used by the body to build and repair muscle tissues. Excess amino acids (those that are not used by the body) are excreted by the kidneys. When you eat a diet high in protein, your kidneys have to work harder to filter out these excess amino acids, which can lead to kidney damage over time.

A high protein diet can also increase the levels of urea, a waste product produced when protein is broken down, in the blood. High levels of urea and other nitrogenous waste products can also damage the kidneys. That said, research only suggests that high dietary protein intake can cause kidney damage and increase the risk for chronic kidney disease in individuals with impaired kidney function. In other words, if you have healthy kidneys, you do not need to worry about eating too much protein. Protein supplements, in moderation, will therefore not cause kidney damage. 

Can protein shakes cause kidney stones?


Protein shakes and powders can cause kidney stones. Individuals with pre-existing kidney problems, such as chronic kidney disease or kidney stones, should therefore be careful about consuming too much protein. A diet that is high in protein can worsen your condition, and even lead to kidney failure. Additionally, consuming too much animal-based protein, particularly red meat, has been linked to an increased risk of kidney disease. This is because some animal-based proteins are high in purines, which are broken down into uric acid. High levels of uric acid in the blood can harm the kidneys. It can also lead to the formation of kidney stones. To avoid protein powder kidney stones, pick a protein low in purines.

Which protein powder is safe for kidneys?


Of all the proteins safe for kidneys, one stands head and shoulders above the rest: egg white protein. First of all, egg whites are naturally low in purines, making them a good protein source for people at risk for kidney stones. Research has even shown that the consumption of egg whites can help prevent the formation of kidney stones, causing a negative calcium balance, low urinary pH, and low urinary excretions of citrate, potassium, and magnesium. Moreover, researchers have found that egg white protein is an excellent choice for people undergoing dialysis treatment, who have high protein needs but need to limit phosphorus intake. Egg whites are both low in phosphorous (only 5mg per egg white), and can lower phosphorus levels in the blood.

Why drink wholesome


We make flavored and unflavored egg white-based protein powders. They can be used to make protein shakes, blended into smoothies, and added to oatmeal and other recipes for an easy protein boost. As you just learned, egg white protein is hands down the best dietary protein for your kidneys, especially if you have impaired kidney function. Keep reading to learn more about why our protein powders are not only good for your kidneys, but also good for your gut.

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder for kidneys 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 a protein shake every day) and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. This is because 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, which causes bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), and can lead to constipation. In the long term, food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.

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When buying protein powder for kidney disease, one ingredient to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food). This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome. Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are also poorly absorbed by the gut (meaning they feed those hungry gut bacteria), and cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestine. Now you finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!

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

When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, they are the ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to look out for when buying protein powder for kidneys, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.

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.

*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 we make the best protein powder for kidneys 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, especially 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. It follows that you may be lactose intolerant or have IBS and not even know it. 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. 

drink wholesome is made with real foods.

A final reason why we make the best protein powder for kidneys is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They are listed on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.” I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and 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 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 the gut microbiome. It is therefore in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates. 

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Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder for kidney disease with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed, and ground. Whole foods like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates. This is in part because 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. Moreover, minimally-processed plant-based foods like almonds are rich in fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.

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. If you cannot eat eggs, try our almond protein powder. We prefer almonds to other minimally-processed plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties and can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.

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“I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20+ years and it’s always been hard to find a protein powder my stomach can handle. I’ve had no problem digesting drink wholesome AND it tastes great. I highly recommend this protein powder if you have IBS or Crohn’s.” – Jesse

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drink wholesome is the best protein powder for kidneys.

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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.