This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.
5 Best Protein Powders for Sensitive Stomach & GI Issues 2022
All articles are produced independently. When you click our links for purchasing products, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more about how we earn revenue by reading our advertise disclaimer.
KOS Organic Plant Protein
- 60-day money-back guarantee.
- Seven delicious flavors.
- It is USDA-organic certified.
PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein
- Vegan protein powder.
- GMO, dairy, sugar free.
LYFE Fuel Daily Essentials Shake
- Good for weight loss.
- Two flavors
It is always uncomfortable if you have sensitive stomach or digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, or gas. Everything you put into your body must be carefully considered, including the ingredients, the amount of oil utilized, and even the condiments. Therefore, eating out or enjoying a happy meal at a party may be an impossibility.
The same problem arises when looking for a supplement that will not cause a persistent upset stomach. The good news is that you can get protein powders that are easy on your stomach. They include animal protein supplements such as whey protein, plant-based ones like pea protein, and even hemp protein supplements.
These protein supplements are designed to give you the same advantages as the others, such as increased muscle growth, more energy, improved cognition, and improved immunity- minus stomachaches! Let’s find the 5 best protein powders for sensitive stomachs in 2022!
5 Best Protein Powders for Sensitive Stomach & GI Issues in (November. 2022)
- KOS Organic Plant Protein – Best Tasting Protein Powder for Sensitive Stomach
- PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein – Editor’s Choice
- LYFE Fuel Daily Essentials Shake – Best Low-carb Protein Powder For Sensitive Stomachs
- Organic Protein & Superfoods Plant-Based Protein Powder – Best Plant-based Superfood For Sensitive Stomachs
- Vega Sport Premium Plant-Based Protein Powder – Best Protein Powder for Athletes With Sensitive Stomachs
Reasons Why Protein Powder May Harm Your Stomach
- Taking Protein Supplements In Excess
- Taking the Protein Supplement At The Wrong Time
- Drinking The Protein Shake Too Fast
- You Have A Sensitive Stomach
Why Does Protein Powder Upset Your Stomach?
Did you know that protein is the hardest micronutrient for the human body to digest?
For assimilation, proteins need to be broken down into amino acids by digestive enzymes. If this process is strained or hindered, one of the side effects is a stomachache.
So here are the potential reasons behind the upset stomach associated with taking protein supplements:
Taking Protein Supplements In Excess
Taking the best protein for sensitive stomach, either whey protein isolate powder, the concentrate or the hydrolysate version, in excess, causes an overload in your digestive tract. This is the same for plant-based protein powders. The reaction that the digestive tract exhibits is an upset stomach.
Increasing your protein intake beyond the limit does not give your digestive system ample time to digest it all.
Each day, women should consume 46 grams of protein and men, 56 grams. And this is when they are not involved in any training. If you work out, men need 84 grams to 119 grams, and women require 94 grams, as per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
If we can digest only around 1.3 to 10 grams per hour, going an extra scoop on most protein powders will upset your stomach.
Taking the Protein Supplement At The Wrong Time
The other reason you may get a protein powder-sensitive stomachache from using your best protein powder may be that you take the protein shake at the wrong time. For instance, taking an animal or plant-based protein powder immediately after a workout invites an upset tummy.
This is because all your energy while working out is focused on the working muscles, ligaments, lungs, and brain.
Your digestive system, at this juncture, slows down. And so, consuming your protein shake may stress the gastrointestinal (GI)tract, resulting in a tummy ache.
Give your body around 30 minutes to prepare. By then, your digestive system will have started working efficiently by digesting the protein.
Drinking the Protein Shake Too Fast
If you are drinking your protein shake too fast, you may have an upset stomach. Taking it too quickly may result in swallowing air, leading to bloating, abdominal discomfort, and a tummy ache.
To avoid this, use a pre-workout before starting your training to mitigate the hunger that comes after a strenuous workout.
You Have A Sensitive Stomach
Last but not least, having a sensitive stomach could explain why you may get a tummy ache after using a protein powder. And this could be for a few reasons.
One is that the ingredients inside the protein powder do not agree with you. For instance, having celiac disease and taking a supplement that is not gluten-free is a recipe for disaster.
A stomachache is almost guaranteed when the protein is a milk protein like whey or casein, but you are lactose intolerant. The solution here is to opt for lactose-free plant-based proteins like peas, hemp, or rice protein or to take a protein blend with the digestive enzyme lactase in it.
Certain artificial ingredients like flavors and sweeteners may also be problematic for someone with a sensitive stomach. Ingredients in excess like added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or ingredients in a higher concentration are also potential problems. The solution is to go for a high-quality protein powder with natural sweeteners, flavors, and ingredients in the right quantities.
And lastly, if you are allergic to any ingredient on the list, stay away from such protein blends to be safe.
How to Choose The Best Protein Powders for Sensitive Stomachs
Most protein supplements are advertised to do it all: muscle development, weight loss, appetite suppression, cognitive improvement, and much more. But how do you choose the best protein powders for sensitive stomachs?
Here is a list of pointers you may use to get the best powder for sensitive stomachs:
- The source of protein
- The additional ingredients
- The form of the protein supplement
The Line Up At A Glance
Best Tasting Protein Powder for Sensitive Stomach
- 60-day money-back guarantee.
- Seven delicious flavors.
- It is USDA-organic certified.
- Vegan protein powder.
- GMO, dairy, sugar free.
Best Low-carb Protein Powder For Sensitive Stomachs
- Good for weight loss.
- Two flavors
Best Plant-based Superfood For Sensitive Stomachs
- Allergen and GMO-free.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certified.
Best Protein Powder for Athletes With Sensitive Stomachs
- Designed for peak performance.
- National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) cetified for sports.
- Contains probiotics.
5 Best Protein Powders for Sensitive Stomachs in 2022
KOS Organic Plant Protein
If you love variety in tastes, this supplement offers you just that. The company purports that consuming this supplement will improve hunger control and weight management.
- It contains all organic ingredients.
- The brand has a 60-day money-back guarantee.
- It is a USA brand.
- It is dairy-, gluten-, and soy–free.
- It does not mix well.
- If you want a high-calorie protein shake, this is not for you.
- Lacks vitamin D
This protein powder for sensitive stomachs contains a long list of ingredients, including 20 grams of proteins sourced from pea, pumpkin seed protein, flax seed, chia seed, quinoa, digestive enzymes amylase, lipase, cellulase, protease, lactase.
- Coconut milk
- Coconut sugar
- Cocoa powder
- Chocolate flavor
- Sea salt
- Acacia fiber
- Fruit/vegetable blend
- Monk fruit extract
Amylase and protease, two digestive enzymes, should make it simpler for you to digest protein powder. This is a significant bonus if you’ve experienced digestive problems with other protein powders.
Blending several plant protein sources ensures a balanced essential amino acid profile. This protein powder is available in seven flavors; Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla, Salted Caramel Coffee, and unflavoured.
From this selection, if you enjoy your shakes creamily and chocolatey, this is the supplement that could meet all your taste preferences.
A 28-serving packaging will cost around $46 when you get it from the official website.
PlantFusion is a brand that prides itself in offering clients only high-quality protein powders. Their plant-based protein powders, such as this one, have plant proteins, gentle on your sensitive stomach.
- It’s a vegan complete protein supplement.
- The protein blend is free of GMO, gluten, and dairy-free.
- It is easy to digest since it has digestive enzymes.
- It contains two proprietary blends in one formula.
The 21g of plant-based proteins in this sugar-free protein powder include peas, algae, artichokes, and organic superfoods, which help to sustain energy. Additionally, this best protein powder on our list has traces of calcium, iron, salt, potassium, and 4g of branched-chain amino acids, BCAAs.
The manufacturer claims its protein blend with added amino acids balances muscle growth and repair. It also claims that the powder is simple to digest because it has been supplemented with digestive enzymes and is free of major allergens.
It contains a blend of natural flavors and sweeteners called Flavor Pure™, which is brand-exclusive. As a result, you may rank this protein supplement as having one of the greatest flavors of any vegan protein drink.
It costs about $34 for a tab of 15 servings. However, if you’re fortunate enough to find a coupon on the company website, you may acquire it for approximately $26.
LYFE Fuel Daily Essentials Shake is offered as a nutritious protein shake that has over 20 whole foods in its formula. By taking its supplement, your entire body systems benefit, and it works without causing a stomachache.
- It contains organic ingredients gentle on your tummy.
- It contains nutrients from the 25 whole foods present.
- It is a low-carb vegan protein powder.
- Third-party tested
- It is expensive.
According to the manufacturer, LYFE Fuel Daily Essentials Shake provides cellular vitality, overall body well-being, clarity, and focus. And they credit the clinically and scientifically supported organic components for these health advantages.
LYFE Fuel employs sustainable sourcing practices and a delicate drying method to remove moisture from actual, whole foods without removing any of the essential nutrients they provide.
This gives you nutrient-rich supplements that are simpler to digest and assimilate, improving your health while having a low environmental impact.
This supplement has 110 calories, eighteen grams of protein from peas and rice, and three grams of good fats and fiber to help you feel fuller longer. The same chemicals include antioxidants, antivirals, and antibiotics that support healthy hair, nails, and skin.
The complete list of ingredients, blends, and nutrients found in this superfood protein powder is as follows:
- Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and B vitamins
- Flax seeds
- Grape seed
It also offers a couple of blends: the Berry Blend, Prebiotic Blend 960 million Colony Forming Units (CFU), Organic Green Blend, Digestive Enzyme Blend, CoEnzyme Q10, and vitamin K2.
With such a massive list of organic, non-GMO, and allergen-free ingredients, it is no wonder that the product has little to no complaints about causing an upset stomach.
Orgain Organic Protein & Superfoods Plant-Based Protein Powder
The Organic Protein & Superfoods Plant-Based Protein Powder is best for sensitive stomachs since it contains organic ingredients. It is also tasty and includes a long list of ingredients and blends that optimize overall health.
- It has a USDA certification.
- It contains over 50 whole-nutrition foods.
- It lacks major allergens like soy, nuts, lactose, and gluten.
- It is an affordable protein powder.
- It may contain wheat.
- Contains the artificial sweetener, erythritol
Each dose of this plant-based protein powder has only one gram of sugar and 21 grams of organic plant-based protein from chia seeds, peas, and brown rice. It also has three grams of organic dietary fiber. Each scoop contains 50 organic superfoods in total.
The organic vegetables, herbs, grasses, greens, sprouts, and ancient grains that make up this superfood combination are all of the highest quality. Thiamin, Iron, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6 and C from food sources are also abundant.
The formula, however, contains the sugar alcohol erythritol, which may cause gastric upset, gut dysbiosis, and insulin resistance. Using a gut-friendly sweetener would be advantageous for those with sensitive stomachs.
This protein powder supplement is perfect for providing wholesome, on-the-go nourishment for men, women, and children who are not sensitive to sugar or alcohol. The producers claim their protein powder is ideal for pre- or post-workouts, weight control, nourishment beverages, morning shakes, and smoothies. It’s also great for creating lean muscle and speeding up muscle recovery.
This wholesome supplement may be the best protein powder for smoothies, and everyone in the family will love it.
Vega Sport Premium Plant-Based Protein Powder
If you love some variety, which is a luxury people with sensitive stomachs forfeit, this vegan protein powder may be just what you need.
- It contains probiotics that support gut health.
- It has no added sugars.
- It is a high-protein plant-based protein powder.
- Non-GMO, vegan certified, and gluten-free.
- It can be used for both pre and post-workout.
- It is expensive.
The 30 grams (g) of plant-based protein, 5 g of BCAAs, tart cherry, and probiotics in the Vega Sport Premium Plant-Based Protein Powder can help you recover, repair, and restore your body systems for optimum performance. The high protein content makes it exceptionally beneficial to athletes and dedicated gymgoers.
The sources of protein are alfalfa, sunflower seeds, and peas. It also includes two billion CFU of probiotics (Bacillus coagulans), black pepper, tart cherries, and turmeric to promote muscle growth and recovery.
You can use this supplement to lose weight since it only contains six grams of carbohydrates. Additionally, this protein powder for sensitive stomachs has 5 g of BCAAs, which promotes muscle building.
The company’s website is user-friendly and provides an intuitive imagery analysis of the components. Additionally, the website has a highly appealing user interface that provides customers with a wide variety of smoothie and other treat recipes. Due to the recipes available, this protein powder has to be one of the best protein powders for sensitive stomachs.
One large tab with 19 to 20 servings costs $64.99 when you get it from the brand’s official site.
Tips to Avoid an Upset Stomach from Protein Powders
These are the tips on how to get a protein powder that won’t upset your stomach:
- The first thing to do is get a physical exam from your physician to seek the best protein powder that will not irritate your tummy. If you have any gastrointestinal issues, dietary intolerances, or sensitivities, these tests will help you determine the best powder for sensitive stomachs fit for your case.
- Ensure that the powder is a clean protein powder with the recommended protein intake concentration.
- The protein quality and the ingredients must be high-quality and organic: nothing cheap with artificial flavors and sweeteners that may upset your tummy.
- After strenuous workouts, wait 30 minutes before drinking your shake, and please drink it slowly. This time frame allows your digestive tract to reset after a workout to digest the protein you consume.
- Lastly, eat protein-rich meals to avoid the temptation of using more protein powder in excess to build muscles.
Your search for the protein powder that won’t upset your stomach now has a head start with five of the top brands in the market. All these protein powders are plant-based, but that does not mean they are the only ones good for your tummy. You may also find whey protein powders or whey isolates from grass-fed cows good for a sensitive stomach.
Whey proteins, such as whey isolate and whey protein powder, are also easy to digest and mild on the stomach. Micellar casein is extremely difficult to digest, which causes stomach upset in people with sensitive stomachs.
One thing to note is that these and other protein powder supplements should be used as supplementation and never as a meal replacement. You also need to use natural protein sources from protein-rich foods like cow’s milk, almond milk, legumes, and fatty fish in addition to your protein supplements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whey and plant-based proteins are the easiest on the stomach. From our list, the PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein is the best for a sensitive stomach.
It may be hurting your tummy if you are taking too much, are using it immediately after working out, or if you are drinking the protein shake too fast.
Yes, it is.
Gastritis symptoms may worsen after taking a protein shake for some people but not for everyone.
+ 29 sources
Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here
- CDC (2022). Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/dotw/ibd/
- Eatright.org. (2020). Protein and the Athlete – How Much Do You Need? [online] Available at: https://www.eatright.org/fitness/sports-and-performance/fueling-your-workout/protein-and-the-athlete
- Bilsborough, S. and Mann, N. (2006). A Review of Issues of Dietary Protein Intake in Humans. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, [online] 16(2), pp.129–152. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.16.2.129.
- Celiac Disease Foundation. (2022). What is Celiac Disease? | Celiac Disease Foundation. [online] Available at: https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/#:~:text=Celiac%20disease%20is%20a%20serious,about%2030%25%20are%20properly%20diagnosed.
- Babault, N., Païzis, C., Deley, G., Guérin-Deremaux, L., Saniez, M.-H., Lefranc-Millot, C. and Allaert, F.A. (2015). Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, [online] 12(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5.
- Bleakley, S. and Hayes, M. (2017). Algal Proteins: Extraction, Application, and Challenges Concerning Production. Foods, [online] 6(5), p.33. doi:10.3390/foods6050033.
- Cieslik, E., Agnieszka Gębusia, Florkiewicz, A. and Mickowska, B. (2011). The content of protein and of amino acids in Jerusalem artichoke tubers (Helianthus tuberosus L.) of red… [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221734481_The_content_of_protein_and_of_amino_acids_in_Jerusalem_artichoke_tubers_Helianthus_tuberosus_L_of_red_variety_Rote_Zonenkugel.
- Wolfe, R.R. (2017). Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, [online] 14(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0184-9.
- Parikh, M., Maddaford, T.G., Austria, J.A., Aliani, M., Netticadan, T. and Pierce, G.N. (2019). Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients, [online] 11(5), p.1171. doi:10.3390/nu11051171.
- Gupta, M., Dey, S., Marbaniang, D., Pal, P., Ray, S. and Mazumder, B. (2019). Grape seed extract: having a potential health benefits. Journal of Food Science and Technology, [online] 57(4), pp.1205–1215. doi:10.1007/s13197-019-04113-w.
- Kandylis, P. and Kokkinomagoulos, E. (2020). Food Applications and Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranate and its Derivatives. Foods, [online] 9(2), p.122. doi:10.3390/foods9020122.
- Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2022). Spirulina Research Analysis. [online] Examine.com. Available at: https://examine.com/supplements/spirulina/research/
- The Nutrition Source. (2018). Chia Seeds. [online] Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chia-seeds/
- Ravichanthiran, K., Ma, Z., Zhang, H., Cao, Y., Wang, C., Muhammad, S., Aglago, E., Zhang, Y., Jin, Y. and Pan, B. (2018). Phytochemical Profile of Brown Rice and Its Nutrigenomic Implications. Antioxidants, [online] 7(6), p.71. doi:10.3390/antiox7060071.
- Pirozzi, A.V.A., Imbimbo, P., D’Agostino, A., Tirino, V., Finamore, R., Monti, D.M., Piccoli, R. and Schiraldi, C. (2020). Antioxidant and Hypolipidemic Activity of Açai Fruit Makes It a Valuable Functional Food. Antioxidants, [online] 10(1), p.40. doi:10.3390/antiox10010040.
- International Journal of Food Properties. (2018). Cranberry antioxidant power on oxidative stress, inflammation and mitochondrial damage. [online] Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2017.1409758
- ACS Publications. (2014). Strawberry and Human Health: Effects beyond Antioxidant Activity. [online] Available at: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jf405455n
- Svetislav Popović, Maja Stjepanovic, Grljusic, S. and Marijana Tucak (2001). Protein and fiber contents in alfalfa leaves and stems. [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237218048_Protein_and_fiber_contents_in_alfalfa_leaves_and_stems
- Faqir Muhammad Anjum, Nadeem, M., Muhammad Issa Khan and Hussain, S. (2012). Nutritional and therapeutic potential of sunflower seeds: A review. [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263340213_Nutritional_and_therapeutic_potential_of_sunflower_seeds_A_review
- Gupta, A.K. and Maity, C. (2021). Efficacy and safety of Bacillus coagulans LBSC in irritable bowel syndrome. Medicine, [online] 100(3), p.e23641. doi:10.1097/md.0000000000023641.
- Butt, M.S., Pasha, I., Sultan, M.T., Randhawa, M.A., Saeed, F. and Ahmed, W. (2013). Black Pepper and Health Claims: A Comprehensive Treatise. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, [online] 53(9), pp.875–886. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.571799.
- Kelley, D., Adkins, Y. and Laugero, K. (2018). A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Nutrients, [online] 10(3), p.368. doi:10.3390/nu10030368.
- Hewlings, S. and Kalman, D. (2017). Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods, [online] 6(10), p.92. doi:10.3390/foods6100092.
- VanDusseldorp, T., Escobar, K., Johnson, K., Stratton, M., Moriarty, T., Cole, N., McCormick, J., Kerksick, C., Vaughan, R., Dokladny, K., Kravitz, L. and Mermier, C. (2018). Effect of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Recovery Following Acute Eccentric Exercise. Nutrients, [online] 10(10), p.1389. doi:10.3390/nu10101389.
- Carpio, T.A., Carrillo, V.R., Carlos Luis Carpió and Carrillo, I. (2016). Analysis of protein isolate from quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd). [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299378617_Analysis_of_protein_isolate_from_quinoa_Chenopodium_quinoa_willd#:~:text=Results%3A%20A%20yield%20of%206.29,near%20130%20kDa%20was%20found.
- Yasaman Pirahanchi and Sharma, S. (2022). Biochemistry, Lipase. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537346/
- Malik, W.A. and Javed, S. (2021). Biochemical Characterization of Cellulase From Bacillus subtilis Strain and its Effect on Digestibility and Structural Modifications of Lignocellulose Rich Biomass. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, [online] 9. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2021.800265.
- Joshi N, Upadhyay, D. and Prasad Andhare (2021). A STUDY ON AMYLASE: REVIEW. [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/352055281_A_STUDY_ON_AMYLASE_REVIEW
- Bond, J.S. (2019). Proteases: History, discovery, and roles in health and disease. Journal of Biological Chemistry, [online] 294(5), pp.1643–1651. doi:10.1074/jbc.tm118.004156.