If you’ve got a gluten allergy, then you probably realised pretty early on that it can be in quite a few unsuspecting foods. So, is it in your beloved protein shake?
The answer’s no, whey protein isn’t made with gluten containing ingredients. Although gluten is a protein, it’s quite different to the one found in your shake. Gluten is found in cereal grains, particularly wheat and is responsible for giving dough its shape during the baking process. Sources of gluten include wheat, barley, rye and oats.
However, you need to pay attention to the ingredients as a lot of different whey protein powders will contain additional ingredients, including flavourings that may contain gluten (e.g. wheat).
You also want to think about the risk of cross-contamination, as some products will be manufactured in a facility that handles other gluten-containing products.
What is whey protein?
Whey protein is one of the by-products in the cheese making process.1 It’s commonly used as a dietary supplement that can help with muscle growth and repair.2 It can be purchased in different forms including protein bars and shakes.
The majority of people who need to exclude gluten from their diet are individuals with an autoimmune condition called Coeliac disease. Gluten intolerance/sensitivity does exist but data suggests approximately 0.5-0.6% of the global population to have this.3
Gluten-free protein includes whey concentrate, whey isolate, or hydrolysed whey. All of these are gluten-free and safe for people avoiding gluten to consume. Nevertheless, not all whey protein powders are gluten-free. Some have additional ingredients including flavourings that can be derived from allergens including gluten.
Some products are also manufactured in a facility that also handles other gluten-containing products. And some are made with no gluten containing ingredients. If a product is naturally gluten-free, it’s still important to check if it has been tested to be below the (<20ppm) threshold, so it’s a certified gluten-free product as cross-contamination is still a risk.
Here are some examples of protein’s that are made without gluten containing ingredients:
This is our most popular shake and comes in plenty of flavours. It’s whey concentrate and packs in 21g of protein per serving.
Some flavours that are made without gluten ingredients: Apple Crumble & Custard Flavour, Banana, Blueberry, Blueberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Banana, Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Cereal, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Nut, Chocolate Orange, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Smooth, Cinnamon Danish, Cinnamon Roll.
If you’re looking for a slightly lower-calorie shake, then this is a great option. It also contains CLA and choline, as well as vitamins to support your goals.
All flavours are made with no gluten ingredients, this includes: Marshmallow, Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Natural Vanilla.
3. Total Protein Blend
Made from seven different sources of high-quality protein, you can boost your intake with a hefty 24g of protein per serving.
All flavours are made without gluten ingredients, this includes: Vanilla, Unflavoured, Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Smooth and Natural Banana.
4. Vegan Protein Blend
If you’re looking for a tasty plant-based blend, then this is a great option. Made from faba bean and pea protein, packing 22g of protein per serving.
All flavours are made with no gluten ingredients, this includes: Chocolate, Coffee & Walnut, Turmeric latte, Strawberry and Banana.
5. Pea-Nut Square
Need a tasty snack for on the go? This brand new nutty bar contains delicious cacao butter, roasted nuts, and chocolate chips, as well as pea and rice protein.
All flavours are made without gluten ingredients, this includes: Choc chip, Choc orange and Choc berry.
Protein powders containing gluten
Protein powders with gluten usually contain flavourings derived from barley and other gluten-containing proteins as described above. These are often labelled in bold in the ingredients list for a product.
It’s usually the powders that are flavoured that in most cases will contain gluten.
A few examples include:
- Impact Whey Protein — Banoffee, Chocolate Caramel, and Birthday cake.
- THE Whey – Cookies and Cream
Take home message
For the majority of people excluding gluten from their diet, reading labels will be of second nature to you. Making sure that you are able to read ingredients lists to confirm any possible gluten-containing ingredients is essential.
If you do have a serious condition like Coeliac disease, do opt for products only containing ‘gluten-free’ stamp as these have been certified.
Is whey protein gluten free?
Whey protein is gluten free.
What is whey protein?
Whey protein is a by-product of cheese production, commonly supplemented to increase daily protein intake.
What other products made without gluten are there?
What proteins contain gluten?
Often it is the flavourings of protein powder which cause it to contain gluten. In Myprotein products for example, the banoffee, chocolate caramel and birthday cake flavours contain gluten.