Why do protein shakes make me feel sick?

Why do protein shakes make me feel sick? In this article, you will learn how to supplement your protein intake without upsetting your stomach.

This article was written by Jack Schrupp.

Protein shakes and feeling sick

Can protein shakes make you feel sick?

Protein shakes are notorious for making people feel sick (nauseous). Nausea can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, and understanding why it occurs can be tricky. Sometimes, it is simply a question of eating too much or eating too fast, but it can also be related to the type of food you ate, and how it affects your digestion. 

Most protein supplements are not easy to digest. There are several reasons why this is so, and I will get into those shortly. All you really need to remember at this time is that foods that are hard to digest cause a number of unpleasant side effects, one of which is nausea. 

What to do if protein shakes make you feel sick

If you just drank a protein shake and feel sick, here are a few tips that may provide relief:

  1. Hydrate. Water plays an essential role in the digestion process, and being dehydrated can cause nausea and cramping.
  2. Eat ginger. Ginger tea, ginger ale, and even fresh ginger can help calm an unsettled stomach.
  3. Drink peppermint. Peppermint tea can help relax muscles and allow painful gas to pass.
  4. Use over-the-counter medication. Medications such as antacids, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen may help relieve digestive discomfort. Always follow the recommended dosage.
  5. Try heat therapy. Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to your abdomen can help relax muscles and relieve cramps.
  6. Rest. Stress and anxiety can aggravate stomach pain. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help calm your mind and body.
  7. Consult a healthcare professional. If your digestive issues are severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, or bloody stools, seek medical attention promptly. It could be a sign of a more serious condition that requires professional diagnosis and treatment.

Although the tips above can help relieve symptoms, the best course of action is to learn how to avoid feeling sick in the first place. Keep reading to learn more.

Why do protein shakes make me feel sick?

There are two types of protein shakes: ready-to-drink (store-bought) protein shakes and homemade protein shakes made with protein powder. Both are known to make people feel sick, and often for the same reason: they are hard to digest.

There are three types of ingredients in protein shakes that make them hard to digest: food additives, dairy-based proteins, and protein concentrates and isolates. 

Avoid food additives

Emulsifiers, thickeners, sugar substitutes, and other additives look nothing like real food, which makes them hard to break down. Foods that are hard to break down can pull extra water into your colon, causing diarrhea. They also feed your gut bacteria, which release gas as they eat. Too much intestinal gas can cause bloating, stomach pain, and even constipation.

Eating certain food additives can also alter the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. This can lead to gut dysbiosis, which is linked to a number of chronic digestive issuesHere is a list of the most common food additives 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

Avoid dairy-based proteins

Dairy-based proteins like whey and casein, although not an issue for everyone, can cause side effects like bloating and diarrhea. This is in part because they contain lactose, a sugar most adults cannot fully digest.

Avoid protein concentrates and isolates

Most protein powders are made from protein concentrates and isolates, which have been mechanically and or chemically stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes, fiber, and other natural digestive aids that help you break them down. As a result, they can cause digestive issues and possibly even disruptions to the gut microbiome

Finding a protein powder free from food additives, dairy-based proteins, and protein concentrates and isolates is hard. In fact, 99% of protein supplements contain one or more of these problematic ingredients. This is why we created drink wholesome.

Protein Powders

Collagen Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

Protein Powders

Egg White Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

Protein Powders

Vegan Almond Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97


drink wholesome will not make you feel sick

Our protein powder will not make you feel sick because we use a short list of simple ingredients free from food additives, dairy-based proteins, and protein concentrates and isolates.

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

Note that instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we use whole food protein sources like collagen, egg whites, and almonds, which are easier to digest and absorb. Whole food protein sources also have unique digestive benefits: collagen can reduce bloating and improve digestive symptoms, egg whites can help restore your mucosal intestinal barrier, and almonds can improve the composition of your gut microbiome.

It follows that our customers experience fewer digestive issues with our protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement. Order samples to see for yourself. 



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 powder, egg 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. 

My protein powders are made specifically for people with sensitive stomachs and gut issues. If you suffer from candidiasis, Crohn’s, diverticulitis, gastritis, gastroparesis, GERD (acid reflux), lactose intolerance, leaky gut, IBS, IBD, SIBO, ulcerative colitis, or any other digestive issues, or if you regularly experience bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, or stomach pain, order samples to see if drink wholesome is right for you.

My clean protein powders are also perfect for someone who needs a dietary supplement without extra processing and added junk. This includes toddlers, kids, teens, and seniors, menopausal and perimenopausal women, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. 

Using drink wholesome is an easy and safe way to meet your nutritional needs, whether that be increasing your protein intake, or simply adding extra calories and nutrients to your diet. Depending on how you use them, my protein powders can also help with weight management

My collagen protein powders, egg white protein powders, vegan almond protein powders are dairy-free. They are also free from artificial sweeteners like sucralose – I use a natural sweetener called monk fruit, not stevia. In fact, I do not use any food additives in my recipes whatsoever. This includes gums, lecithin, and natural flavors

You will be pleased to know I have options for almost every diet: alkaline, carnivore, keto, low cholesterol, low fodmap, low histamine, low sodium, low sugar, paleo, Whole30, and more. I also work with people with acne prone skin, bariatric patients, cancer and chemo patients, prediabetics and diabetics, gout sufferers, and women with PCOS, among others. Chances are high I make a protein powder that can meet your unique dietary needs. – Jack, founder

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.