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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Protein Powders of 2024: Top 5 Picks

Protein powder is one of the most common supplements in the fitness industry used by fitness newbies and professionals. It can be a great addition to your diet, providing an easy and convenient way to boost your protein intake on the go, and may be particularly useful for those tracking their macros or trying to lose weight.

Although you may assume that protein powder contains pure protein, it often includes additives, such as ground grains, to make taste and texture better. For folks sensitive or intolerant to gluten, this can be detrimental as they might not be aware of what is causing the issue. They might struggle to find a gluten-free protein powder that would help them achieve their fitness and body composition goals without causing havoc on their digestive system.

Hence, we have compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best gluten-free protein powders to ease your search.

Best gluten-free protein powder: a shortlist

  1. Transparent Labs — whey isolate with most flavor options
  2. Future Kind — best organic gluten-free protein powder
  3. Kaged — whey protein isolate with digestive enzymes
  4. Cymbiotika — vegan protein and green powder blend
  5. Naked — pea protein with no artificial sweeteners or flavors

How we compiled our list of the best gluten-free protein powders

We looked at several criteria to pick the best gluten-free protein powders.

Protein contentAdditional ingredientsQuality certifications and manufacturingUser reviews and brand reputationPrice
Grams of proteins per servingVitamins, enzymes enriched in certain amino acids, sweeteners, or any other noteworthy ingredientsWidely recognized certificates on the quality of formulation and manufacturing of the ingredientsWhat do the users say about the products and the brand experiencePrice per serving and per package
  • Protein content. The amount of protein per serving varies among brands, and different amounts may be suitable for different goals. It can be influenced by the protein source used, the manufacturing process, and the general formulation of the product.
  • Additional ingredients. Some protein powders may include added vitamins to boost intake and performance, enzymes to improve digestion, and BCAAs to aid recovery.
  • Quality certifications and manufacturing standards. Transparency and certification regarding ingredients and manufacturing processes are crucial when looking for the best quality products. The formulation has a CoA (certificate of analysis), ensuring that what is written on the label is in the packaging. It also usually has information on contaminants.
  • User reviews and the reputation of the brand. User reviews can be very useful in evaluating the best flavors, how well the product blends, the convenience of the packaging, and the overall experience.
  • Price. Affordability and price per serving are important factors many of us consider when choosing products.Thus, we looked at the prices of a single dose as well as the price of the whole container.

Best gluten-free protein powder: an overview

Protein powders are an easy way to boost your protein intake. You can mix them into smoothies or oats or have them as a shake mixed with water. They are especially popular among fitness enthusiasts and people with busy lifestyles.

We know that following a gluten-free diet can be challenging and time-consuming. Thus, we have compiled a list of some of the best gluten-free protein powders on the market. Enjoy the benefits and convenience without spending hours reading labels or worrying if the product is truly gluten-free.

1. Transparent Labs — whey isolate with most flavor options

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate is derived from grass-fed cows, offers 28 grams of almost pure protein per scoop, and is entirely gluten-free. If you are trying to lose weight or are closely tracking your macros, this is an excellent option.

It contains 0.5 g of fat, 1 g of carbs, and only 130 calories per serving (unflavored), making it one of the purest proteins on the market. Derived from whey, the product also includes all nine essential amino acids that support protein synthesis and muscle building.

What makes this product truly stand out is the 14 available flavors, ensuring everyone can find something for their preference.

Whey Protein Isolate costs $59.99 with 30 servings per container ($2 per serving).

Customer reviews

The product has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon (although Amazon does not sell all the flavors), with customers praising the protein-to-calorie ratio, how filling it is, the flavor, and value for money. People are also saying that they have seen better recovery after exercise when compared to other protein powders they have used.

However, there are some reports about stomach issues, with some users experiencing stomach aches and nausea, whilst others reported that the protein powder was easy to digest. Remember, how well you can digest a specific protein powder is very individual.

Our verdict

We appreciated the brand's transparency and how it provides certificates for the quality of its ingredients and a detailed yet minimal ingredient list. This protein powder is scientifically formulated and third-party tested. It is also free of artificial sweeteners, food dyes, preservatives, and gluten.

As the whey comes from grass-fed cows, the product may have additional vitamins compared to conventional dairy proteins; however, it is hard to test. We also appreciated the wide flavor profile and the fact that it is whey protein powder containing all the essential amino acids.

2. Future Kind — best organic gluten-free protein powder

Future Kind Organic Vegan Protein Powder

Future Kind protein powder is vegan and gluten- and sugar-free, making it suitable for almost all diets.

The supplement is made from pea protein and is available in Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. It offers 20 grams of protein per serving for only 85 calories. It has 0 grams of fat and only 1 gram of carbs, which come from fiber.

One container contains 34 servings, and the one-time purchase price is $59.99 ($1.76 per serving).

Customer reviews

The product has a 4.1-star rating on Amazon, with customers praising the flavor. They especially like that the sweet flavor is not overpowering and does not have a chalky aftertaste, which is common for vegan protein powders. In fact, the product has even won a Bon Appetite award for how good it tastes.

However, some customers are disappointed about the limited range of flavors, as it is easy to get bored.

Our verdict

We liked the minimal ingredient list, the organic nature, and the product's lack of sugar and artificial sweeteners. We also appreciate that it is vegan, making it suitable for almost everyone. With only 85 calories per serving, Future Kind Vegan Protein powder is one of the lowest-calorie options on the market, making it great for those trying to lose weight or boost their protein intake without increasing their calories too much.

Moreover, considering the customer reviews, we call this product the best-tasting gluten-free protein powder on our list.

3. Kaged — whey protein isolate with digestive enzymes

KAGED Whey Protein Isolate

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate offers 25 grams of protein per serving for only 100 calories. The whey is ultra-filtered to ensure that the product is as close to pure protein as possible. In addition to being gluten-free, Kaged Protein Isolate is also low in lactose, has 0 grams of fat and sugar, and is almost carb-free, with only 1 gram of carbs per serving (Vanilla flavor).

What makes this product stand out from its competitors is the addition of digestive enzymes to minimize stomach issues and make it easier to digest the protein after a workout. It is available in Vanilla, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and S’mores flavors.

One container is 44 servings and costs $59.99 ($1.36 per serving).

Customer reviews

The protein powder has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon and iHerb, with newbies and gym rats alike praising how well it blends, ingredient quality, value for money, and how easy it is to digest.

The opinions are quite diverse when it comes to flavor. Some customers like the sweet taste, while others complain it is too sweet and has an artificial flavor. Some customers were also disappointed that the sweetener used was sucralose, which has mixed reports on its impact on health.

Our verdict

We think this protein powder is great for those who have issues digesting other protein powders, as the digestive enzymes may help. It is also very macro and diet-friendly, providing a lot of protein and few calories as it has no unnecessary additives contributing to caloric value. The sweet flavor may be a benefit for those with a huge sweet tooth and may satisfy sweet cravings. We also appreciate that it has one of the lowest prices per serving.

4. Cymbiotika — vegan protein and green powder blend

Cymbiotika Plant Protein

Cymbiotika Plant Protein powder is definitely one of a kind, as it combines the oh-so-trendy greens powders, superfoods, adaptogens, and an alkaline vegan protein blend into one product. The product is gluten- and soy-free, keto, and GMP-certified. It has 20 grams of protein and 130 calories per serving and is sugar-free.

The protein blend is made up of hemp, spirulina, and pea protein, which is further boosted by an athletic mushroom blend, alkaline greens complex, prebiotic and postbiotic ingredients, digestive enzymes, and L-Glutamine. Cymbiotika protein powder is high in minerals and vitamins, such as vitamins E and K, niacin, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. It is also diverse in plants and offers 5 grams of fiber per serving, making it easier to diversify your diet and care for your microbiome.

Although the brand claims that the blend is gluten-free, some plants in the formulation may have minor amounts of gluten; therefore, it is important to try this product cautiously first and see how your body responds to it. It is also worth keeping in mind that some of these ingredients still lack scientific research in the sports nutrition field.

Cymbiotika Plant Protein costs $88 for 24 servings ($3.66 per serving).

Customer reviews

It has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon, getting praise from health-conscious individuals, saying that they like the natural taste and ingredients, how satiating it is, how well it blends and is easy to mix with water or add to smoothies. The steady energy that is felt after consuming this protein powder was also a benefit to many.

The negative reviews are mostly due to how expensive it is; some say it tastes like grass or any other greens powder rather than a conventional protein powder. Some also complained about bad customer service and that it was hard to cancel the subscription.

Our verdict

We liked that this protein powder included a wide array of plant powders that offer additional health benefits and may help support the gut microbiome. We also appreciate the inclusion of digestive enzymes that make it easier to digest the supplement. Moreover, we see the higher fiber content and the added greens as a bonus, especially for those who travel a lot and cannot always eat a well-rounded diet.

5. Naked — pea protein with no artificial sweeteners or flavors

Naked Nutrition Protein Shake

Naked Vegan Protein Powder is gluten, soy, and GMO-free. It is sweetened with fruit juices and coconut sugar instead of artificial sweeteners and flavors. Thus, it has 7 grams of carbs and 3 grams of sugar, which may be beneficial for fueling you before, during, or after intense exercise

It contains 20 grams of protein and 130 calories per serving (Strawberry Banana flavor). The product also includes MCT oil, a popular compound with many potential health benefits. Whether you are craving a strawberry banana shake or a pumpkin spice latte, Naked has you covered with 10 delicious flavors to choose from.

Naked Shake costs $41.99 for 30 servings ($1.39 per serving).

Customer reviews

The Naked Shake has a 4.2-star rating on Amazon. Customers like the natural ingredients, the flavor variety, and the silky texture without any clumps, as the shake is easy to blend.

There were some complaints about the packaging, especially about it being hard or even impossible to open; no refund policy, and some felt like the shakes were too sweet and artificially tasting, mostly the Blueberry Cheesecake one.

Our verdict

We liked the minimal, natural ingredients in this certified gluten-free protein powder and the wide array of flavors available. This is a great pea protein for those who want to avoid artificial sweeteners and flavor or individuals who want a protein powder with a higher carb content.

Comparing the best gluten-free protein powders

ProductProtein sourceProtein per servingCarbs per servingAmazon ratingDietary compatibilityPrice per serving
Transparent LabsWhey28 g1 g4.4Keto$2
Future KindPea20 g1 g 4.2 Vegan, Keto$1.76
KagedWhey25 g1 g4.5Keto$1.36
CymbiotikaVegan blend20 g10 g4.4Vegan, Keto$3.66
NakedPea20 g7 g4.2Vegan, artificial sweetener-free$1.39

What makes protein powders gluten-free?

Gluten is a mixture of related yet distinct proteins of wheatgrass. Very similar proteins are also found in barley, rye, and some oats. People who are sensitive or allergic to gluten should avoid these grains, except for gluten-free certified oats.

While most protein powders are gluten-free, some may contain additives containing gluten, which improve flavor or texture, or become cross-contaminated with gluten during manufacturing.

To ensure that a protein powder is gluten-free, you should look out for the following ingredients and manufacturing processes:

  • Brewer's yeast
  • Graham flour
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Modified wheat starch
  • Malt
  • Spelt
  • Bulgur
  • Oats that are not gluten-free certified
  • Flavors: brown rice syrup, licorice, wheat or barley syrup, caramel, Triticum vulgare, Hordeum vulgare extract, Secale cereal, Svena sativa
  • Modified food scratch
  • Manufactured in a facility with other products that contain gluten

Generally, for something to be gluten-free, it has to have a certificate from a third-party facility after being tested for gluten. However, trace amounts of gluten are allowed; thus, if you are extremely sensitive or allergic to gluten, you should consult your doctor and a dietitian, who should be able to recommend safe products.

Types of gluten-free protein sources

There are several gluten-free protein powder types available, as long as they are not cross-contaminated and don’t include other ingredients with gluten:

Whey isolate

Whey isolate is made with ultra-processing whey powder to get an almost lactose-free whey isolate powder. Whey isolate is one of the purest forms of protein available, containing at least 90% of protein and almost no carbs and fats. Due to the low lactose content, this protein powder is easier to digest.

For those who can tolerate dairy, it is a great choice as whey is high in essential amino acids and is easily and quickly absorbed by the body. It also happens to be one of the most widely available forms of protein powders.

Pea

Whey isolate is made with ultra-processing whey powder to get an almost lactose-free whey isolate powder. Whey isolate is one of the purest forms of protein available, containing at least 90% of protein and almost no carbs and fats. Due to the low lactose content, this protein powder is easier to digest.

For those who can tolerate dairy, it is a great choice as whey is high in essential amino acids and is easily and quickly absorbed by the body. It also happens to be one of the most widely available forms of protein powders.

Rice

Rice is a gluten-free grain, as is the protein powders derived from rice. Due to their cost-effectiveness and availability, rice protein powders are often added to foods, such as cereals and bread, and meat alternatives.

Rice protein isolate powders are also available and have around 60% of protein and 8 essential amino acids, notably low in lysine. However, rice protein is not the best choice for shakes as it has low solubility in water and may be better used in cooking.

Hemp

Protein powders derived from hemp are another vegan alternative. Unlike other vegan protein powders, hemp protein naturally has all essential amino acids and is easily digestible. Hemp protein is also gluten, dairy, nut, and soy-free, making it suitable for almost all diets. Hemp protein is lower in protein content (around 39%) and higher in calories than other protein powders.

Hemp is high in healthy fats, providing additional health benefits. The higher fat content also makes the protein shakes silkier and smoother, which is often hard to achieve with vegan protein powders. However, this is only true if fat content has been left, which is not the case for pure protein isolated from hemp.

Overall, there are several gluten-free protein powder alternatives you can choose from depending on your personal preference and available products. Although whey isolate is one of the oldest in the market and is sometimes said to be superior to vegan alternatives, a study has shown that when combined with a resistance training routine and a balanced diet, both whey and vegan protein powders consumed after a workout resulted in similar results on body composition and performance.

Benefits of gluten-free protein powders

Protein powders are popular for a reason, so here are some of the main benefits that protein powders can provide:

Better muscle recovery after exercise

During resistance training, you essentially tear and fatigue your muscles, which rebuild during rest and become stronger. Protein intake rich in various amino acids is crucial for this process.

It is important to consume carbs and protein after exercise. Protein powders provide an easy and quick way to supply amino acids for the muscle cells after your workout and they also often have added vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium to further support recovery.

There are studies suggesting that consuming a protein shake before a workout has similar effects, however, high protein consumption before a workout may cause discomfort during the workout.

Weight loss

Muscle mass is harder to maintain than fat in our bodies; thus, during caloric deficit in weight loss, a lot of people lose muscle mass. Increasing your protein intake during weight loss has been shown to help maintain more muscle mass and promote fat loss in people suffering from obesity.

Protein powders offer an easy way to increase your protein intake while keeping your calories low. Protein is also very satiating, keeping you fuller for longer. Protein powders also tend to be sweet and may offer a diet-friendly option to curb your sweet tooth.

Muscle growth and maintenance

Protein is essential for muscle growth and maintenance. Increased protein intake combined with sufficient progressive overload has been shown to support muscle hypertrophy.

Protein powders offer a convenient and portable way to boost your protein intake without needing to invest a lot of time or effort. Elderly people can also benefit from incorporating protein powder into their diets to minimize age-associated muscle loss.

It is also important to note that intake of carbs, together with protein, may reduce protein use to fuel your body's energy needs as readily available carbohydrates for energy production are used instead. Thus, consuming protein powder with some sort of a carb source (oats, fruit, juices) may help reach the muscle building goals.

Easy to use

With busy lifestyles and long to-do lists, we are all looking for the easiest and most efficient way to boost our health and nutrition. Protein powders are one of the most convenient ways to boost your protein intake, as they can be mixed into oats, yogurts, smoothies, or plain water. They are also easy to take on the go if you are commuting or traveling or are having a hectic day where your dietary intake of protein is not looking good.

How to incorporate gluten-free protein powder into your diet

There are multiple ways to incorporate gluten-free protein powder into your diet. We came up with a few ideas for you below, but feel free to have some fun in the kitchen and experiment.

  • Mix into cold coffee. Pour a protein shake into your cold coffee to get a healthy and high-protein latte. Our favorite flavor is the salted caramel one.
  • Mix into yogurt. Instead of buying overpriced protein puddings, mix a scoop of protein powder into unsweetened yogurt to make it tastier and more filling.
  • Mix into gluten-free oats. Add a scoop of protein powder to your oats, or make overnight oats using protein powder.
  • Bake. You can replace part of the flour in a recipe with protein powder to increase the protein intake. However, this may make the recipe dryer, requiring you to add some yogurt or mashed banana to increase the moisture.

There is no best time to use protein powder; however, it is most common to use it after a workout. Having protein powder during breakfast or as an afternoon snack may help maintain satiety levels during the day and prevent overindulging in snacking or carb cravings.

Potential side effects and considerations of gluten-free protein powders

Like any supplement, protein powders offer a lot of benefits but also have some potential side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal issues. Digestive issues and stomach aches are quite common when starting to use protein powders. Overconsumption can also cause constipation or diarrhea, depending on the individual. Opting for protein isolates, using protein blends with digestive enzymes, limiting use to 1–2 servings a day, and ensuring the rest of your diet is balanced and mostly coming from whole foods may help with these side effects.
  • Allergic reactions. Some people may be allergic to whey or soy, which is commonly used in vegan protein blends.
  • Nutrient deficiencies. Over-reliance on protein supplements can lead to deficiencies of other important nutrients, such as fiber, in your diet. So, no matter how good the protein powder tastes, remember that it is a supplement, not a replacement for a well-rounded diet.
  • Phenylalanine. Protein powder products contain high amounts of amino acid phenylalanine and the consumption of these products should be avoided by people with Phenylketonuria (PKU).

To avoid side effects, it is important to not over-rely on protein supplements and prioritize whole food sources whenever possible. If you notice side effects from a specific product, you can either try incorporating it slower and in smaller doses or stop using it altogether. Whenever possible, you should consult with a healthcare professional before introducing a new supplement, especially if you have existing health conditions.

Best gluten-free protein powder — conclusion

There are multiple gluten-free protein powders available on the market, and we have reviewed some of the best, in our opinion. Whether you prefer whey or a vegan alternative, vanilla or banana-strawberry, your personal preference heavily influences your choice, and there is no single correct answer. We recommend looking out for gluten-free certificates and not being afraid to try different brands or flavors if something does not stick.


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