If you’re diet conscious, or maybe you have an allergy/intolerance, you might watch which of your foods contain gluten. If you’re into lifting and fitness, the next logical step is to wonder about protein powder. So, is protein powder gluten free?
Pure whey, pea, soy, rice, and casein protein powders do not contain gluten. However, some factories may use gluten as a secondary ingredient. It’s important to check with the individual protein powder maker to be certain.
While most protein powders are gluten free, below, I’ll dive into more of the specifics about each type, and which ones are best if you’re looking for a good gluten free choice.
My Favorite Gluten Free Protein Powder
To start off, this is my favorite protein powder regardless of its gluten content. However, I dug through every flavor and size of this whey protein powder, and each one features a “gluten free” label.
It’s called Gold Standard Whey Protein from Optimum Nutrition (link to their website). If you’ve ever looked at protein powder before, you’ve probably heard of this one.
I buy this one every time, and it just so happens to also be gluten free! If this one isn’t for you, I’ll have some more gluten free options down below.
Is Protein Powder Gluten Free?
First, to understand why most protein powders are gluten free you have to understand what protein and gluten are, and where they come from. Gluten only comes from grains, which contain little to no protein. This means that gluten almost never plays an active role in protein powder.
Most of the things that we get protein powder, like milk, soy, or nuts are not grains and therefore do not contain gluten. So naturally, when we make protein powder from these things, they should be gluten free.
This gets tricky when we start talking about what else goes on in the factory, but I’ll talk about that later.
It’s also a possibility for protein powder manufacturers to use a form of grains as a filler product. This is done to give the protein powder more volume, without increasing the amount of protein.
To my knowledge, this is not a standard procedure, and I don’t think it should be. There’s no reason to add a filler if all it’s doing is making it look like you’re buying more than you actually are.
Anyway, all you need to know is that while yes, protein powder is naturally gluten free, this doesn’t mean every single one is. Not knowing what else goes on in the factory where it’s made along with the potential of not knowing all the ingredients means that you should always check with the manufacturer if you want to be sure.
Why Aren’t All Protein Powders Gluten Free?
As I talked about before, it’s possible that some protein powder makers could use gluten as a filler agent in their supplements. Again, if you want to know for sure, ask the manufacturer. Since I covered this before, and It’s not a very common practice, I won’t bore you by talking more about it.
Now onto the important stuff. Many factories are used to produce more than one thing. After all, if you wanted to manufacture protein powder, would it be easier to make your own facility or use one that already exists?
For this reason, many manufacturers make their protein powder in facilities that also make another product. This means that the same instruments that make the protein could be used to process a gluten product. It doesn’t mean they are for sure, but it does mean that it’s possible.
To avoid this, you’d have to talk to the specific company that makes the protein you’re looking at. They all use different facilities, and the answers from each company will be different.
If this is the case, the amount of gluten present in your protein will be small, trace amounts. Unless you have a major gluten allergy, this shouldn’t even be a problem for you. However, it’s always best to know for sure.
What Types of Protein Powders Are Gluten Free?
As I said earlier, most types of protein powder are gluten free. However, if you want to see a whole list, here you go!
|Plant Based||Gluten Free|
Again, these all come with the caveats I mentioned before. This being said, as you can see, virtually every protein powder at its base is gluten free. I’m sure that somewhere out there there is a type of protein powder that is not naturally gluten free.
That’s why, just below, I’ll go over how you can always be sure.
How to Make Sure That Your Supplements Are Gluten Free
While most protein powders are gluten free, you always want to be sure. This is how you can figure it out and be certain that you’re not getting any gluten.
Read All Nutrition Labels and Information
Make sure that you read not just the nutrition label, but the whole label on your protein powder. There could be some hidden/small text somewhere that tells you about its gluten content.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always enough. Since protein powder is not regulated and tested by the FDA in the same way that other supplements are, so it might not be legally necessary for them to include this information on the labels.
I actually just wrote an article about protein powder and the FDA, so check that one out next!
Contact Companies and Manufacturers
Contacting the individual company is the best way to be sure if you couldn’t find any information on the label. Companies that lie to customers are sure to not be around very long, so you’re likely to get an accurate answer. All you have to do is ask!
|Protein Powder Essentials|
|Gold Standard Whey Protein|
|Blender Bottle Shaker Cup|
|BPI Sports Micronized Creatine|
Not All Protein Powders Are Equal
Even though most protein powders are gluten free, that doesn’t mean they all work the same. Some types are much more effective than others.
For example, whey and casein powder, both derived from milk, are the most potent and effective types of protein powder. They also contain complete protein, which means that your body can actually absorb them.
Some types of protein, like that of peanut butter, are not complete proteins. This means that it doesn’t have all of the amino acids necessary for your body to actually absorb and use properly.
You can combine peanut protein and other foods to achieve complete protein, but this is cumbersome and kind of defeats the purpose of protein powder.
Even better than whey and casein is animal protein itself. If you can satisfy all of your protein needs through your regular diet, without supplements, you can achieve the most efficient use of protein.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that most protein powders are gluten free. However, it’s important to check with the manufacturer to be sure.
If you’re looking at gluten free protein powder options, make sure you get one that’s very effective, like whey or casein.
On top of all this, make sure you’re still getting enough or even most of your protein intake from natural animal protein like meat and fish.