It’s usual to keep an eye on your calorie, sugar, and sodium intake, but are you consuming the optimal amount of protein your body needs? Protein is a crucial nutrient required for the formation and maintenance of all cells in your body.
Protein isn’t only for athletes or bodybuilders, but it is necessary for a healthy immune system and proper functioning of organs like the heart, brain, and skin. It keeps you satiated and promotes muscle building.
Your workout habit, age, and health determine the amount of protein you require. A hot topic is whether protein powders are an optimal supplement. Protein powders have been around for years. Today, gluten-free protein powders are a great way to add some protein to your diet without worrying about any strain on the digestive system.
Protein Powders: An Introduction
Protein powder is a dietary supplement that can help you fulfil your daily protein requirements. It is best for people who struggle to meet daily protein and energy needs. It’s an excellent addition for vegans and vegetarians.
Bodybuilders and athletes have long used protein powder to ensure they get the protein required to grow muscle throughout their weightlifting and training period.
Research says that plant-based protein powders, including pea, hemp, and brown rice, have enough balanced amino acid profiles that combat obesity and diabetes.
Adding a spoonful of protein powder to your morning smoothie or coffee may be tempting, especially since protein powders sometimes come in delicious flavours like chocolate. However, it’s still better to obtain your protein in the form of food whenever feasible.
Most protein powders don’t fall into the gluten-free category. You need to pay attention to the ingredients, as many protein powders will contain additional ingredients, including flavourings that may contain gluten.
The HealthifyMe Note
Protein powder comes from rich protein sources, animal protein like meat, bone, dairy or plant protein such as soy, whey, pea, etc. These rich protein sources are powdered, and you can incorporate them into a liquid protein shake by mixing them with water, fruit juice, or milk. Protein powder can be sprinkled over cereal, combined into soups and stews, or mixed into baked foods.
Health Benefits of Protein Powder
Supports Muscle Growth
Protein is vital for muscle development. Therefore, many athletes and bodybuilders consume protein in the belief it will help individuals bulk up following their strength training.
According to a 2018 study, protein supplements boost muscle size and strength in healthy adults who engage in resistance training, such as lifting weights.
Body Weight Management
Protein powders allow you to gain muscle mass while losing fat. They also help you lose weight by keeping you satiated. Many gym-goers consider a protein shake before or after their workout since it energises them. However, protein shakes are most effective when combined with other weight-loss strategies such as a healthy diet and frequent exercise.
Reduces Blood Cholesterol Level
Study shows that replacing animal protein in the diet with soybean protein may be an effective way to lower blood cholesterol levels. It is one of the reasons why many physicians prescribe their patients with soy-based protein shakes.
Prevents Asthma Attacks
Patients with asthma should avoid certain meals that can cause shortness of breath and trigger an asthma attack. Protein supplements, on the other hand, can help you prevent asthma attacks by strengthening the immune system.
Research says more extended periods of supplementation, or more effective whey-based supplements, may be more effective for dealing with asthma. Some healthcare experts also suggest protein powder for children since the whey in it can control asthma and improves immune response.
Sluggish, tired, and overly lazy are all symptoms of stress. Protein powders contain creatine and milk proteins, which help to energise the body. It also strengthens the immune system, reducing stress. Protein supplements have a long-term advantage in this regard.
Helps with Prostate Cancer
Protein powders comprise creatine and other nutrients that keep the body strong from the inside out while combating cancer cells. A modest amount of protein powder ingested regularly can help the body and prostate cells fight prostate cancer, which causes small tumours around the bladder.
Protein powder aids in the reduction of tumour size, which benefits persons with prostate cancer. The study advises active prostate patients to consume diets rich in soy supplements, including soy-based protein powder and tomato food products.
Protein can repair injured muscles and tissues and aid in muscle growth. That is why most athletes utilise protein powder to expedite muscle repair post-exercise. Protein supplements like protein powder can minimise muscle damage and enhance muscular performance and muscle growth.
Gluten-Free Protein Powders
Gluten is a protein present in cereal grains, particularly wheat. It is responsible for giving dough its shape during the baking process. Sources of gluten include wheat, barley, rye and oats. While most protein powders marketed rely on milk-based proteins for most of their contents, some brands also promote gluten-containing proteins. Furthermore, because protein powders are heavily processed, they pose a considerable risk of gluten cross-contamination.
Many people around the globe have conditions that seek them to avoid gluten in plant products like wheat, rye, and barley. These conditions include gluten allergy, gluten intolerance, celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Gluten-free protein powders are the best way to get your protein supplement if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Gluten-free protein powder includes whey concentrate, whey isolate, or hydrolysed whey, which are safe for people avoiding gluten. For those excluding gluten from their diet, reading labels help confirm any possible gluten-containing ingredients. Opt for protein powders containing a ‘gluten-free’ stamp as these have been certified.
Essential Points to Consider Before Using Protein Powders
To make such supplements, protein is extracted from animal or plant-based sources, ranging from cow’s milk and eggs to peas, rice, and soy. The processing removes naturally occurring carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and fibre while adding supplementary nutrients, herbs, and even sweeteners.
Protein powder is a nutritional supplement. The regulatory measures are not like regular medicines or foods. The responsibility falls on manufacturers to ensure that their products are not hazardous, though many companies do not test for safety or efficacy before their offerings hit shelves.
Gluten-free Protein Shake Recipes
Almond Banana Protein Shake
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
- Whey protein powder (gluten-free): 1 scoop
- Bananas: 1 whole
- Almond butter: 2 tbsp
- Hemp seed: 1 tbsp
- Almonds: 5
- Greek yoghurt, plain: 1/2 cup
- Coconut water (optional)
- Combine a scoop of gluten-free protein powder and a banana in a blender.
- Blend them with the almonds and hemp seeds.
- Mix in the Greek Yoghurt and almond butter until thoroughly combined.
- Blend the ice and coconut water at the very end and enjoy.
Green Protein Shake
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
- Water/milk/yoghurt: 12 ounces/1.5 cups
- Gluten-free whey protein: 2 scoops
- Peeled apple: 1
- Spinach: 1 cup
- Almonds: 30 g
- Cinnamon for taste
- Blend the almonds first, then add the protein powder, followed by cinnamon
- Blend the apple and spinach in the blender.
- Mix in the milk/yoghurt/ water and the ice cubes.
- Your gluten-free green shake is now ready to drink.
Pumpkin Protein Shake
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
- Water/ milk/yoghurt: 12 ounces/1.5 cups
- Gluten-free protein powder: 2 scoops
- Pureed pumpkin: 3/4 cup
- Walnuts: 1 tbsp
- Ground flax seeds: 1 tbsp
- Combine the walnuts, pumpkin puree, and ground flax seeds in a blender.
- Combine them well.
- Mix in the whey protein powder thoroughly.
- Finally, combine the milk/ yoghurt/water.
- Serve the shake in a glass, and enjoy!
You can use protein powders to make healthy meals and snack replacements when you are in a hurry. There are numerous gluten-free options available in the market for most people excluding gluten from their diet. However, if you do have a severe condition like Coeliac disease, make sure to read the labels to check for any possible gluten-containing ingredients. Plus, cross-contamination is still a risk.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Are protein powders gluten-free?
A. Not all protein powders are gluten-free. Gluten is a protein in the cereals wheat, barley, and rye. Hence, plant-based protein powders have gluten as a byproduct of the protein source. On the other hand, most protein powders made from dairy and animal protein may not contain gluten. Anyway, there is always a significant chance of cross-contamination, even in the case of dairy-based protein powders. Therefore, purchasing the one that specifically says ‘gluten-free’ is best.
Q. Which whey is gluten-free?
A. Almost all whey is gluten-free. Whey is among milk’s two primary proteins. It’s the yellowish, cloudy liquid drained during the cheese-making process from cheese curds and the thickening liquid strained from fresh yoghurt. However, not all whey protein powders are gluten-free. Some have flavourings that can be derived from allergens, including gluten.
Q. Can celiacs take protein powder?
A. Celiacs or people with gluten intolerance can have their protein supplements. They can consume whey protein and gluten-free plant protein as well. These options are freely available in the market as well as online. You could also consult your physician, and they could guide you on which protein supplement would work the best for you.
Q. Does whey powder contain gluten?
A. No, whey does not contain gluten and is safe to eat for people who are looking to avoid gluten. That is why many gluten-free protein powders are whey- or dairy-based. But those with additional ingredients, including flavourings, may have gluten.
Q. Is PEScience protein gluten-free?
A. The PEScience Select Low Carb Protein Powder is a gluten-free protein powder. Additionally, there are other brand options that you can try. Some include Body Fortress, Body Logics, TGS Nutrition, Orgain, etc.
Q. Is Fairlife protein shake gluten-free?
A. No, the Fairlife protein shake is not gluten-free. The brand does not manufacture gluten-free protein powders or products. However, Fairlife ultra-filtered milk products are gluten-free.
Q. Is muscle milk protein powder gluten-free?
A. Yes, Muscle Milk is available in powder form and ready-to-drink shakes containing its gluten-free protein blend. Casein protein, whey protein isolate, soluble maize fibre, maltodextrin, and vitamins and minerals are among the ingredients.
Q. Does oatmeal have gluten?
A. Plain oats are gluten-free since they’re not composed of wheat, rye, or barley. On the other hand, oats are regularly farmed alongside wheat, putting them at risk of contamination. So it doesn’t necessarily imply they’re safe to eat.
Q. Are bananas gluten-free?
A. Bananas do not contain gluten. Gluten is a protein in the rye, wheat, and barley, among other grains. As bananas do not grow in the same climate and area, there is no risk of cross-contamination.
Q. Does soy protein have gluten?
A. Gluten is not present in pure soybeans. Only wheat, barley, and rye grains contain the gluten protein that irritates those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Products that have soy in them might have gluten exposure through cross-contamination.