If you’re a fitness freak, you must be familiar with whey protein. It’s a widely used supplement that pumps up your workout regime. But whey and wheat sound quite similar, which makes gluten intolerant people think whether whey protein is safe for them or not. Is whey protein gluten free?
Not all whey protein powders are gluten free. However, whey itself is gluten free because the protein source does not contain gluten grains. But the packaged whey powders contain other ingredients apart from whey that may have gluten.
I’ll share more details about whey protein, disclose its gluten content and let you know how to choose gluten free whey protein powder. So let’s move ahead and uncover the truth.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Whey Protein Gluten Free Or Not?
- 2 What Are The Ingredients In Whey Protein?
- 3 Types of protein powders and their gluten status
- 4 Is Whey Protein Dairy Free?
- 5 Easy Ways To Find If Your Whey Protein Powder Is Gluten-Free
- 6 Gluten-Free Whey Protein Powders Celiacs Can Have
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Conclusion
Is Whey Protein Gluten Free Or Not?
Whey protein may or may not be gluten free. Whey protein is made from cow’s milk, which naturally does not contain gluten. But other ingredients like flavorings, additives, and preservatives get added in whey protein that may contain gluten.
Pick whey protein that says- whey isolate, whey concentrate, or whey hydrolysate. Such labels mean the whey protein is gluten free and safe for celiacs or for anyone having trouble digesting gluten.
Checking the ingredient list is the best way to avoid gluten. Since dietary supplements like protein powder do not require government regulation, they may not test their products to find the exact gluten content.
Moreover, manufacturers often add ingredients to make their whey protein taste better. These added flavorings are what you must ignore to avoid gluten allergies. So, it’s best to get whey protein without any flavorings.
What Are The Ingredients In Whey Protein?
One of the recurrent questions I see on the internet is what ingredients are there in whey protein? People also want to know what ingredients make the best whey protein.
Well, here are some of the crucial ingredients a good whey protein should contain to help you in your fitness journey.
Soy lecithin is an emulsifier that makes protein shakes creamier. Soy lecithin also contains choline, a micronutrient that improves muscle functions, maintains good metabolism, and keeps liver and kidney functions healthy.
Sucralose is added to get the sweet taste. It’s a healthier sugar substitute and is free of calories. Sucralose is safe for everyone, including diabetic patients.
Most whey protein powder contains cocoa to enhance the flavors. Cocoa is good for your skin, heart, and brain health.
Types of protein powders and their gluten status
Let me take you through the whey protein types and their gluten status-
#1. Whey Isolate
Whey isolate has reduced lactose, fat, and carbs. It’s best for those who follow a low calorie diet and don’t want carbs in their diet. Moreover, if you are lactose intolerant, whey concentrate will be best for you because the micro-filtration procedure reduces lactose.
Whey isolate is gluten free but beware of the flavorings and other additives that producers use.
#2. Whey Concentrate
Whey concentrate contains more carbohydrates and fat than whey isolate. Whey concentrate does not go through an intense micro-filtration procedure like whey isolate, which is why it contains less protein than whey isolate.
For instance, whey isolate contains 90% to 95% protein, whereas whey concentrate contains 70% to 80% protein. Whey concentrate is also gluten free unless the makers add flavorings or additives with gluten.
#4. Whey Hydro Isolate
Whey hydro isolate is quite similar to whey isolate. But some main bonds are broken down by exposing the protein to heat, enzymes, or acids in whey hydro isolate. This process makes whey hydro isolate more rapidly absorbed in the gut than whey isolate.
Whey hydro isolate is also gluten free since the protein itself does not contain any gluten grains. As I have been saying, you need to be careful about the flavors and other ingredients added to it. If you have a sensitive stomach, whey hydro isolate would be best for you.
Is Whey Protein Dairy Free?
No, whey protein is not gluten free as it is made from milk. If you follow a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant, whey protein is not the right choice for you. But note that whey isolate contains a very insignificant amount of lactose, so it should not cause any allergic reactions.
Easy Ways To Find If Your Whey Protein Powder Is Gluten-Free
The easiest way to find out if your whey protein contains gluten is to check the ingredient label. If you see anything like- modified wheat starch, wheat flavorings, modified food starch, artificial/ natural flavors, and colors, you better not pick that product.
It’s very difficult to find the gluten status of artificial/ natural colors and flavors, so it’s best to go for the plain or original flavors. Moreover, a gluten free brand would usually contain the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO) tag in its packaging.
A brand can attach such a tag only when it tastes its product and finds out its protein powder contains less than 20ppm gluten.
Gluten-Free Whey Protein Powders Celiacs Can Have
The following are some of the best gluten free whey protein powders celiacs can safely have-
#1. Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate
Transparent Labs whey protein is completely safe for celiacs. It’s made from grass fed cow’s milk without adding gluten additives or flavorings. This is a certified gluten free brand, plus the product is Non-GMO and has no artificial flavors. It provides 28g of protein per serving.
#2. Levels Grass-Fed 100% Whey Protein
Here is another safe whey protein celiacs can consume. Levels Grass Fed whey protein has no added gluten, no soy, no sugar, no fillers, and artificial flavors, and it is non-GMO. Each serving of this protein gives 24g protein and 5.4g BCAA.
#3. Muscle Feast Grass Fed Whey Protein
Muscle Feast grass fed whey protein contains 21g protein and 4.5g BCAA per serving. It is low carb and low calories, made from all natural ingredients. Plus, it’s gluten free and keto-friendly, helping you in your fitness journey.
#4. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein
Celiacs can try the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey protein as well since it’s completely gluten free. Each serving of this whey protein powder provides 24 grams of blended protein and 5g of BCAA.
Q: Can Everyone Consume Whey Protein?
A: Yes, everyone can have whey protein without problems. It’s an excellent source of protein that helps you fulfill your daily protein intake. But if you are lactose intolerant, whey protein may not be the right choice for you.
Q: Will Whey Protein Make Me Gain Weight?
A: No, whey protein won’t make you gain weight. It contains very few carbs and fat, so consuming within the recommended level isn’t going to make you gain weight.
Q: How To Find Out Gluten In My Whey Protein?
A: Check the ingredient label and see if you find anything like- wheat flavorings, wheat starch, modified food starch, artificial color, or flavor. These ingredients indicate the presence of gluten.
Whey protein is naturally gluten free, but the risk is involved when manufacturers add other ingredients like fillers and flavors. I have mentioned the tricks of choosing a gluten free whey protein; make sure to follow them when you get your next whey protein powder.
The brands I mentioned are also safe on a no gluten diet, so you can also try them out. To know the gluten status of your regular food like Nutella to olive oil, keep following Nothing Gluten.