Gluten Free and Dairy Free Protein Powder 101-Sports Nutrition for Celiacs

I’ve heard this question several (OK, many) times in the past year.

What gluten and dairy free protein supplement do you recommend?

And quite honestly, I was flummoxed.

Although I have celiac disease, I have not had to contend with dairy sensitivity. I have always used whey or casein proteins, which are milk-based. Whey protein isolate has had the lactose removed, and so many with a lactose intolerance can tolerate a straight whey isolate. However, some with a dairy sensitivity cannot tolerate even a whey isolate.

"Just Say No" if you're dairy intolerant

"Just Say No" if you're dairy intolerant

I am the first to tell you when there is something I am unfamiliar with. In these cases, I usually run around in a fairly obsessive state of learning until I have found an answer. My friends, I am here to share my new found knowledge of the dairy and gluten free protein powder world.

There are 5 basic types of gluten and dairy free protein powders. (This is what I am aware of as being fairly common and easy to find. I believe there may be more (spirulina?), so if you know of some please share in the comments!

The five I will be addressing here are egg white protein, gemma (pea) protein, rice protein, soy protein, and hemp protein.

Egg White Protein

Egg white protein is created by seperating the yolk and converting the white to powder. It tends to be a bit high when it comes to creating sulfur with digestion. (The polite way of saying it can give you WAY smelly gas.) Upon mixing it is a thinner consistency. In my opinion best when mixed with other types of protein, for both the taste, texture, and certainly for the gas factor.

Gemma (Pea) Protein

This is fairly new to the scene, becoming more popular when whey protein prices went up a couple years back. It is, just as it sounds, derived from peas, making it a vegan-friendly option. Gemma mixes into a thick consistency and has a slightly nutty flavor. The Gemma that I have tested is also non-GMO. Gemma can be used on its own or mixed with another type of protein such as…..

Rice Protein

Also a vegan friendly option. The rice protein I tested is also non GMO and derived from brown rice. Rice protein mixes
to a thinner consistency and has a gritty texture, but a “cleaner” flavor.

Soy Protein

Soy protein is derived from defatted soybean flakes. There has been much media controversy and conflicting research about the use of soy supplements in the diet, as well as the GMO situation (GMO=genetically modified organism.) That discussion could fill several books, and is far too much for the scope of this article, but be aware that it exists. You can find research and articles to back up both sides of the story, from the “soy is evil!” camp to the “soy is the best food ever!” camp. Make an educated and independent decision, whatever your decision may be. It is a vegan friendly option.

Hemp Protein

Despite some individuals wishing otherwise, this hemp does not make you high. Sorry, folks, it would be a lot more expensive if it did. Hemp protein does have a couple of unique characteristics though. Hemp protein contains essential fatty acids and fiber! In a 30 gram serving you would get 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of fat along with your 15 grams of protein. The others contain a bit more protein per serving, averaging 24-25 grams, and little to no fat and fiber. I have not tasted hemp yet. (And I know some of you have, so pipe up in the comments!) Hemp is a vegan friendly option.

As always, check your labels and with the manufacturer if needed to verify gluten free status. I have used rice and gemma from True Protein, and I will be posting my review next week. Stay tuned!

Check out the Gluten Free and Fit 101 page if you’re looking for a place to start here in the gluten free and fit community.

If you are looking for free, sensible, information on setting up a healthy gluten free diet, click here.

If you’re looking for a step by step guide for living more healthfully gluten free, “7 Tips for Living a Healthy Gluten Free Life (without making yourself nuts in the process)” is finally ready.

Have you used a gluten free and dairy free protein powder? What did you use and what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

References:
True Protein Website
Jay Robb Website
Lyle McDonald’s Bodyrecomposition Website, and his Protein Book

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  1. Hortencia says:

    I’ve tried the Usana and Arbonne and both did weird stuff to my stomach. I think they still contain milk and wheat. I love both though the taste so so good but it didn’t agree with me. Its been two years since i’ve tried the Arbonne so maybe something changed.

  2. Glenn says:

    Trader Joe’s has a good hemp protein product. It’s a bit gritty, like a fiber supplement, so I usually add a half a scoop to a smoothie combined with another protein powder, like Alive! pea protein.

  3. Mary Lopez says:

    Ive been looking for a dairy free gluten free soy free whey free protine shake and i founf this: UNI KEY’s Fat Flush Body Protein. I have not tried yet. I was wondering if anyone else has tried it? What’s your input on it? I was taking Ultra Meal 360 but it contains soy so therefore It upsets my stomach. Any info would help thanks

  4. Erin says:

    Hi Mary,

    I’m not familiar with that brand specifically. I looked it up and the ingredients look good, they use brown rice and pea (gemma) protein. It’s a little pricey, but it sounds like it’s good quality. If you try it please let us know what you think!

    PlantFusion is another brand you may want to check in to that meets your requirements. Good luck!

  5. ankit says:

    wat about gaspari nutrition myofusion probiotic ?

  6. Carolyn says:

    I’ve tried UNI KEY’s Fat Flush Body Protein, but really hated the aftertaste and it didn’t blend up well.

    I use the Arbonne protein shake mix. It’s certified vegan, gluten free. It has 20 g of protein and 170 calories. It causes me absolutely no GI distress.

    Full disclosure: I became an Arbonne consultant to get the 35% discount on the nutrition products. They are great, but a bit pricey if you pay full retail.

  7. Erin says:

    Thanks Carolyn! There are so many types of protein it really helps to have everyone give their opinion. Thanks also about the info on the Arbonne shake. :)

  8. Meg says:

    I have hemp protein, Manitoba Harvest Certified Organic Hemp Protein. It is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and non-GMO. It is pretty gritty and you can see the green/brown flakes in the smoothie. I have only ever tried it in a smoothie, I’m too scared to just drink it with water haha. It has to be refrigerated =/.

    I have celiac and I am also slightly sensitive to dairy and soy. I have basically just avoided it, but I think I might try whey protein. (dont worry the worst that has happened is my face breaks out, and my doctor says this is fine)

  9. AmandaonMaui says:

    Meg, why not try something like Plant Fusion. It’s gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and has some organic ingredients (I don’t know the GMO status). It doesn’t need refrigeration and has had great reviews here on GFF. Don’t damage your body by using whey protein. The external symptom of acne may be a sign of something more devastating.

  10. Erin says:

    Hey Meg! As Amanda said, Plant Fusion is another good non-dairy option. It’s not gritty, so you may like it a bit better than what you have now. I drank the Plant Fusion mixed with just water and it was quite pleasant.

    Good luck!

  11. Yvonne Pulliza says:

    I was looking for a protein shake just to start the day or instead of one of my meals, but Lifetime Life’s Basics Pant Protein, (pe,Hemp,Rice with Chia Seed) a cimpleate protein rich in omega 3.6.9, Vanilla Flavor it ses it is NON GMO gluten free, does not contein yeast con soy gluten wheat milk edd whey or ant artifician ingredients or preservatives. No hydrolysis used. I am Allergic to Milk and milk/lactose products. Not intolerance but allergic (Chronic spactic cholitis)and gluten intolerance, not sure if Celiac but a possibility. Last night I had a shake and around 15 minutes after, had an allergic reaction, eyes itching, latter upper body itching, but must interesting the fever was almost immediate and I still today (12:40pm) fill feverish.
    Has anyone had this product and any allergic reaction to it? Called the company and they insist that no milk is in the product, I had not felt this bad since I had milk 30+ years ago and was diagnose with the cholities.
    If so or any ideas please let me know, thak you

  12. saretta says:

    Hi! I tried the Plant Fusion and got the worst stomache pains and horrible gas! It was the first protein powder I had ever tried, do they all give you gas? I would like to try hemp next, but am concerned that I will just end up throwing more money away…

  13. Erin says:

    Hi Saretta!
    So sorry that you had that experience! It is possible that increasing your protein intake MAY have caused that, but it seems unlikely. Could it possibly have been anything else you ingested? You definitely want to slowly increase your protein intake gradually, not jam an extra 50 grams in all at once. Before you try another type, I’d try a half scoop mixed with a good bit of water and see how that goes.
    Keep us posted!

  14. Erin says:

    Hi Yvonne,

    I’m sorry but I do not have an answer for you. There *should* not be anything in there for you to react to, but you never know. Have you had chia seed previously?

  15. rusulka says:

    For Yvonne,
    Based on my own reactions and sensitivities, I would vote that the hemp in that LIfetime product is what you reacted to, unless you have had hemp in other products and not reacted. I reacted so fast the first (and last) time I had hemp in a protein shake.

  16. rusulka says:

    Just to point out that hemp is one of the 24 cross reactors with gluten, meaning if you are gluten sensitive, your body MAY misinterpret these other substances as gluten and you will have a reaction. (Others can include tapioca, sorghum, milk chocolate, caffeine, and so on.)

  17. Erin says:

    Great points! There is still a bit of controversy regarding the cross reactive foods, but it is definitely something to consider. Here’s some more info for those who are interested:
    http://www.thedr.com/images/gs201crfoods.pdf

  18. Allison says:

    Hi Everyone!
    I am not “allergic” but sensitive to gluten and dairy and I’m also a bodybuilder and personal trainer. I’ve tried so many proteins and landed on VEGA. It is a natural plant based formula developed by a vegan Ironman Triathlete. It is a blend…so if the hemp bothered you there IS hemp in it. The other protein sources in the blend are: yellow pea, brown rice and flax seed. It also has digestive enzymes, Chlorella, Probiotics, Omega 3 and 6, 100% of every vitamin you can think of, 26g protein, 6g fat, 15g fiber, 22carb and 240 calories.it contains no animal products, dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, wheat, yeast artificial sweeteners, GMO’s or pesticides. http://www.myvega.com and is sold in Vitamin Shoppe. It is a bit costly but if you consider all of the things also included, well worth the price. The taste is good but a little gritty due to all of the…plants :)

  19. Erin says:

    Thanks Allison! Plant based proteins seem to do quite well with those with food sensitivities (excepting hemp, of course.) You can also “build your own” plant based protein powder at http://truenutrition.com/ (formerly known and reviewed here on the site as True Protein.) It’s a bit more cost effective. Thanks for sharing, and love your description of the grittiness ;)

  20. Sandi says:

    I make two protein supplements for myself, one with hemp pro 70 (Manitoba Harvest product) mixed with red star yeast, and ground flax. The second one I make (because I am going through menopause) contains a basic soy protein powder combined with red star yeast, ground chia and powdered beets. I alternate these every few days. I use them to make a smoothie with green tea and a variety of frozen berries every morning. My health has improved a lot in the 3 months I have been doing this.

  21. Erin says:

    Sandi,
    Those sound like a great mixes! Where in the world do you find powdered beets?

  22. AmandaonMaui says:

    Sandi, why do you put yeast in your powder mix?

  23. A.B. says:

    June 2012: Thanks Erin for your helpful wealth of information! As an added alternative for our gluten-free and fit community, I recommend my latest favorite which I’ve found to be safe, a great value, and convenient. It is free of soy, nut, egg, dairy, sugar, gluten, and also kosher and vegan. It is a protein powder by the name of Perfect Fit Protein, LLC. http://www.perfectfitprotein.com or http://www.toneitup.com. Cheers to our healthy and successful journeys ahead!

  24. Suzanne says:

    Have just been advised 3 wks ago to go gluten/dairy free. Started out with Manitoba Hemp 70, but switched to PlantFusion due to the very high amounts of arginine in the Hemp, whereas the PF has about 1000mg less. As I’m susceptible to cold sores, I seek to keep my Lysine count higher than the Arginine and the PF helps with that. The PF is also less gritty in my flax/blueberry/coconut milk smoothie. Feeling quite a bit better!

  25. Erin says:

    Hi Suzanne!
    Glad to hear you are feeling better! Also, that’s an excellent point about the Lysine. Something to keep in mind.

  26. Erin says:

    Hi there!
    I just looked over the Perfect Fit Protein, and it is a brown rice protein powder sweetened with stevia. Looks like a good option for sure.

  27. Beth deSousa says:

    I agree with the positive remarks about Arbonne’s shakes. I am a Consultant, but I mostly buy for myself. I have at least one shake a day which provided 20 grams of protein. The protein source is pea, cranberry and brown rice and I LOVE the chocolate flavor. Sometimes when I want a less intense chocolate I split with a scoop of vanilla. Very rich flavor. I also use the digestive enzymes daily.

    Beth

  28. Jamie says:

    Has anyone tried the Neocell whey isolate and collagen protein?

  29. Chris says:

    Hi, I’m looking for a protein powder and other supplements for my training etc..

    Basically I’m allergic to a numerous amount of foods and ingredients, the main ones being: Yeast, Moulds, Dairy(and everything else produced by a cow,beef etc.) Bananas, oranges, MSG’s, Caffeine, Cabbage, Chocolate. I also maybe intolerant to gluten and I have cut that out of my diet as well to be safe, basically I am Candida plus the other allergies I have named.

    It would be greatly appreciated if anyone knows of anything that I could possibly use that would suit my needs?

  30. Erin says:

    Hi Chris,

    You may be best suited to try one of the pea protein or vegetable protein blends, like Plant Fusion. Take a look at those, perhaps those will work for you.
    Good luck!

  31. Joanne Carlson says:

    I am lactose intolerant and I am losing weight.
    I am looking for a weight gain protein drink that I can make a milkshake with lactated milk.
    What Do you suggest?

    Thanks,
    Joanne

  32. Santo says:

    How about beef protein???

  33. Erin says:

    Santo, you are correct, beef protein powder is available. I’ve not tried it myself, nor is it widely available. If you’ve tried it please leave a quick review!

  34. Erin says:

    Hi Joanne,

    I would suggest reading through the protein powder reviews and choosing one that sounds good. Many people like Plant Fusion. You can add a scoop of peanut or almond butter for more calories. I do not think a “weight gainer” protein powder is the way to go, as they are often loaded with unnecessary sugar. Also try reading this: http://www.glutenfreefitness.com/weighty-matters-weight-management-and-celiac-disease-part4-gaining-weight/

  35. Jackie says:

    Hi there
    new to the protein shakes and powder. any suggestions for a brand that doesn’t produce gas? i tried a whey protein concentrate/isolate mix and the body does not agree with me! the same reaction as if i consume full dairy products (I’m ok with skim milk though?!)
    looking for one to consume as a snack. any recommendations appreciated.

  36. Erin says:

    Hey Jackie,

    You may want to try a pure whey isolate, or even a non dairy option like PlantFusion. Whey blends containing concentrate can definitely give you bubbly gut ;)

    Good luck!

  37. Simone says:

    Meg, The Manitoba Harvest Certified Organic Hemp Protein is awesome! I put it on everything but I don’t recommend mixing it with water to drink. It is meant to be a protein/fibre supplement added to your meals but I am not certain if it was intended as a protein powder replacement. Hope this helps. I love it and it tastes fabulous, even by itself!

  38. Meg says:

    Hi there, not sure if it was mentioned in previous posts, but I use a recovery performance protien by a company called Vega Sport. It is gluten, dairy, and soy free. It has a combo of pea, brown rice, hemp, alfalfa, and sacha inchi protein. I like the vanilla flavour. Have gluten, egg, dairy, and soy intolerances, and this one gives me no trouble.

  39. AJ says:

    I have a gluten allergy and the Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Protein is excellent and it has fiber. I usually throw in a heaping spoon into cold almond milk, blend, shake and go. If you want a boost of anti-oxidants add berries. You can start your day with this and good for post- workouts too. Cheers!

  40. hello, i am co-Founder and COO of Bluewave Marine Ingredients – we produce a hydrolyzed fish protein powder which has many nutritional benefits to your reader base:

    Gluten Free, Dairy Free,
    Hypoallergenic Properties due to low molecular weight
    Wild Catch fish so Free from the Hormones and Antiboitic Injections used in Dairy, Poultry, Swine and Salmon production.

    Our factory is in South America and has been producing for almost 2 years – we are now bring a product to the USA.

    just search Bluewave Fish Protein Mark Rottmann and you can reach me. We are looking for local distributors or retail customers.

    Kind Regards, mar

  41. Janice G. says:

    I am a 70 yr old woman who just wants to ensure that I am getting adequate protein in my diet so I don’t lose any more muscle strength. I am lactose intolerant, and a borderline diabetic. Is protein powder a viable solution for me? If so, what do you recommend?

  42. Olena says:

    Every time I try hemp protein powder I get a stomach ache. I have celiac disease. Whey protein powder doesn’t seem to bother me.

  43. Zach says:

    Just tried some hemp powder, once last night and once this morning, both times made me feel VERY sick.. lying down clutching my stomach, big nausea, diarrhea. I guess its nots the magical solution everyone wants it to be. I do have sensitivities to milk, oats, gluten, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

  44. consider a Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Fish Protein Powder.

    good research and nutritional info can be found on AminoMarine website.

    good luck to all

  45. Rusulka says:

    Hemp is one of the top cross-reactors for those with gluten reactivity. Not every one reacts, so listen to your body and don’t press the point if you have bad experience :)

  46. Katie Shoka says:

    Great article, but you missed out beef protein. Obviously rubbish for vegetarians but its lactose free which is great for anyone who is dairy free.
    There are a few on the market by my favourite is http://www.bulkpowders.co.uk/beef-protein-isolate-97-hydrobeef.html

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