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Gluten Free Protein Powders
Around 20 years ago, the terms Gluten and Gluten free began to surface, with most people not having a clue what they actually meant.
Most people understood that those who could not tolerate gluten, had to refrain from eating bread and other similar products, however, often thought that it was not a valid condition, or just some kind of psychosomatic disorder.
Fast forward to today, and we see gluten free products lining the shelves of grocery stores, health food stores, bakeries, and highlighted as menu items in many restaurants.
A whole new industry was born.
Not just an industry, a multi-billion dollar industry.
In fact, according to Statista, the market for gluten free foods is expected to reach $7.59 billion by the year 2020 in the USA alone.
One of those many segments within the industry is gluten free protein powders.
The intent of this article is to provide an overview of the meaning of gluten and gluten free, some of the medical conditions associated with gluten, and a review the products we feel are the top 5 gluten free protein powders in the market today.
Article at a glance
- 1 Gluten Free Protein Powders
- 1.1 What is gluten?
- 1.2 Disorders Caused By Gluten
- 1.3 The 5 Best Gluten Free Protein Powders
- 1.3.1 #1 Vega Protein & Greens, Plant Protein Shake
- 1.3.2 #2 Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder
- 1.3.3 #3 Quest Nutrition Protein Powder
- 1.3.4 #4 Amazing Grass Green Superfood Organic Powder
- 1.3.5 #5 Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
- 1.4 Summing It Up
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most grains which is present in two different forms.
The first being the one which enhances the nourishment, growth, and health of the grain.
The second, and the one which we will be focussing on here, is found in Pooideae, a sub family of grass, and prevalent in wheat, barley, oats, rye and many grass species.
This group of glutens are the ones which create reactions found in those suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Many varieties of grains are cross bred specifically to increase the gluten levels as gluten gives dough its elasticity, and acts as a rising agent in bread.
For that reason, it is difficult to find a good gluten free bread or any gluten free baked goods.
For a food to be considered gluten free, it must be void of any wheat, oats, barley, or rye, and their bi-products.
Disorders Caused By Gluten
Individuals who react to gluten will suffer from one of two conditions, Celiac Disease, or Gluten Intolerance which is often referred to as Gluten Allergy.
Here we will discuss each.
Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune where the white blood cells mistakenly see gluten as an infection, and begin attacking the lining of the small intestine, causing damage which can lead to major complications.
If caught early enough, the damage can be reversed by adopting a gluten free diet.
Some of the symptoms of Celiac Disease include:
- Abdominal pain
- Gluten rash
Gluten Intolerance is not nearly as severe as celiac disease, however, much of the research to date has been inconclusive.
It is however, believed that Gluten Intolerance is simply an allergy with no long term damaging effects as in Celiac Disease.
Treatment most often entails the removal of gluten products from the diet.
When diagnosing either condition, the first course of action is to rule out Celiac Disease.
Some of the symptoms of Gluten Intolerance are:
- Belly pain
- Stomach pain
- Joint or muscle pain
The list of symptoms appears to be quite extensive, however, it is important to remember that Gluten Intolerance has not been studied to the same extent as Celiac disease.
The 5 Best Gluten Free Protein Powders
Each serving of this plant-based protein powder, delivers 20 grams of high quality protein, and contains less than 120 calories making it a great addition to a weight loss diet.
Additional Veggies and Greens
One scoop not only delivers a good portion of protein, but also a nice compliment of veggies and greens including organic alfalfa powder, spinach powder, broccoli powder, and organic kale powder.
Less Than 20 Parts Per Million Of Gluten
Vega has set extremely high quality standards and testing to ensure every bottle of Vega Protein & Greens contains less than 20 ppm of gluten, which is deemed by the supplement industry as being gluten free.
Additionally, it is Vegan Certified by vegan.org and non-GMO Verified by nongmoproject.org.
What Are Customers Saying?
Numerous customers using Vega Protein and Greens stated that they were impressed with the added nutrients in the form of veggies and greens, and very pleased that it did not cause stomach issues like diarrhea which is present with some other brands.
One downside many users expressed concern about the weak amino acid profile, and its inability to deliver the essential amino acids, which is the key to a well-rounded protein powder.
The label only lists 15 amino acids of the 20 required by the body.
- Contains 20 grams of 100% plant-based protein from a variety of sources
- Vegetable and powders from greens are added
- Low calories, carbs, and sugar
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, certified vegan, no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners
- Price point is high
- Contains only 15 of the necessary 20 amino acids
This high protein, high calorie protein powder, contains 32 grams of protein, 20 grams of carb, 3 grams of sugar, and 280 calories per serving.
Prolonged Protein Delivery
Muscle Milk is a complete protein meaning that it contains the 9 essential amino acids which allow the muscles to receive nutrients immediately before and after working out, as well as during down times between meals and while sleeping.
The result is round the clock muscle recovery and muscle building.
A Name You Can Trust
Muscle Milk is produced by CytoSport a keystone in the protein powder industry and trusted partner of University and College athletic programs, top professional athletes and some of the finest training facilities in the World.
Their quality standards are among he highest in the industry, as they consult with scientists, dietitians, coaches and athletes to ensure they are delivering highest quality products.
What Are Customers Saying?
Many customers said that the combination of high protein, high calories, and high carbohydrates delivered exceptional results in the gym.
One user mentioned that it increased his arm size to 20”, while another said that he gained 8 pounds of muscle and lost 6% body fat in a short period of time.
On the downside, some customers were not happy with the formula change in 2017, indicating that the sugar and carb content was reduced, and an artificial sweetener was added which leaves a terrible after taste.
- Contains 32 grams of protein, 3 grams of sugar, and 280 calories per serving
- Complete protein supporting muscle building and recovery
- Available in 10 flavors and 3 sizes
- Achieved the highest available Protein Digestibility Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)
- Formula change reduced sugar and carb count
- New artificial sweetener was recently added
In addition, this protein powder is soy free and great for weight loss diets as each serving contains only 110 calories, less that 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of sugar, and is packed with 20 grams of high quality protein.
Purest Protein Blend
This gluten free protein powder is extremely pure as it uses a unique combination of whey protein isolate, Micellar protein isolate, and milk protein isolate as opposed to their concentrate counterparts, resulting in the elimination of unnecessary fat and sugars.
Due to the extreme purity inherent in isolate based proteins, this gluten free protein powder has one of the highest protein to calorie ratios on the market.
Fabulous Flavors, Unbelievable Taste
The most common complaint about protein powders in general is unequivocally the taste.
Recognizing the concern, Quest Nutrition has devoted a great deal of time, effort, and financial resources to perfecting the taste of its products.
Customer complaints regarding taste and flavor are taken very seriously unlike many of its competitors.
Their powders contain very low levels of sugar and are created to resemble favorite deserts.
What Are Customers Saying?
Not surprising, the majority of customers raved about the tremendous taste, smooth texture, and variety of flavors.
No particular flavor stood out as being the best, however, one customer stated, “Best freaking tasting protein powder I’ve ever had”.
That seems to be the sentiment across the board.
Many others mentioned that Quest Nutrition Protein powder mixed very well with any liquid, and great as an ingredient in cookies, pancakes, and cakes.
Conversely, some consumers found information that this protein powder may contain some heavy metals while others felt the price was too high
- Gluten free, soy free, and perfect for those managing weight
- Made from whey and casein isolate
- Excellent taste and texture
- Complete protein with 9 essential amino acids
- May contain traces of heavy metals
- Some felt product was over priced
Specifically, Green Super food includes wheat grass, barley grass, alfalfa, spirulina, spinach, chlorella and broccoli, all grown on highly regulated organic farms in Kansas. T
he protein content is quite low at 2 grams per serving, however, the product is geared toward those who are looking for a high nutrient powder and with some protein.
Contains Antioxidant Blend
Unique to Green Superfood, is the inclusion of a natural antioxidant blend comprised of rose hip, carrot, pineapple, acerola cherry, green tea, acai, beet, raspberry, and Maca, to contribute to overall health by flushing out free radicals and toxins.
Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes
As an added bonus, Amazing Grass has included pre and pro-biotic live cultures to protect the stomach and promote gut health, as well as enzymes to support proper digestions.
What Are Customers Saying?
Many existing customers said that the high concentration of greens made them feel energized and revitalized, and found that a scoop in the morning was a convenient way to get the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.
One person stated that he was diagnosed with bone cancer, and after taking this protein powder for a month, saw his white blood cell count decrease to normal levels.
On the flipside, a number of users found the taste to be very earthy and grassy, while one customer in particular had an allergic reaction to the formula, breaking out in hives.
- Nutrient rich blend combining greens, fruits, and veggies
- Contains added probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes
- Nice profile of antioxidants
- Certified Organic by CCOF, gluten free, sugar free, Non GMO,
- Low in protein content
- Numerous complaints about taste being earthy
Price: Click here to check the price of the Amazing Grass Green Superfood Organic Powder with Wheat Grass and Greens on Amazon’s website
The primary ingredient is whey protein isolate, the purest protein source available, and whey protein concentrate.
Each serving contains 24 grams of combined protein as well as glutamine which supports the immune system and gut function, and glutamic acid which enhances the central nervous system.
Excellent Amino Acid Profile
In addition, each serving contains at least 5 grams of the 3 naturally occurring branched chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which are widely known as the building blocks of protein.
Quality You Can Trust
Optimum Nutrition boast that their products are the #1 selling supplements in the world, with here products being distributed in 70 different countries.
They have some of the highest quality assurance standards in the industry and deliver a product which is second to none.
What Are Customers Saying?
A number Optimum Nutrition users indicated that it was highly effective for weight loss, as it created a feeling of being full for long periods of time.
One customer mentioned that he lost 12 pounds in 5 weeks without changing anything else.
Many others stated that it was a good quality protein powder at a reasonable price.
Further, there were many positive about the taste of the protein powder with double rich chocolate being the clear winner.
On the contrary, a great number of people were upset with the recent formula change which now includes sucralose.
Some complained about upset stomachs and one mentioned that the new flavoring triggered her gag reflex.
- 4 Star rating based on 16,882 customer reviews speaks for itself
- Primary ingredient is whey protein isolate, the purest protein available
- Impressive amino acid profile with 5 grams of BCAA’s
- Excellent for muscle building and fat loss
- Formula change in 2017 with more artificial ingredients
- The addition of sucralose does not agree with some
Price: Click here to check the price of the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder on Amazon’s website
Summing It Up
There are a multitude of powders which qualify as gluten free protein powders, making our job to pick 5 best a challenge.
Not all gluten free products are marketed as gluten free, so it took some digging to identify them.
That being said, the winner of our top 5 gluten free protein powder is, Vega Protein & Greens, Plant Protein Shake.
What first stood out to us is that the product is marketed as a gluten free protein powder, a clue that Vega truly understands the needs of those who require gluten free foods in their diets.
In fact, it was the only product which stated the gluten content on its label.
Further, it is loaded with additional veggies and other greens which makes the nutrient profile second to none.
Congratulations Vega for developing a great product.