Looking for a good source of protein can be difficult if you need it to be gluten free. While most of us simply want to know a few good sources of protein to help with our diet, some of us have dietary needs that make the search a bit harder. One of these is when you need a gluten free option for protein either because of being intolerant of gluten, not wanting it in your diet or being diagnosed as celiac. Luckily there are a few good sources of protein out there that are gluten free.

The basics – whey protein

Whey is by far the most recognisable source for a protein supplement and because of its properties you can be assured it is gluten free. Recent studies include DG Burke’s well received look at how whey protein supplements on muscle growth and Jorden Joy’s look at the effect of whey protein on body composition and exercise performance. They point to the high payoff when using whey protein as a protein supplement. But what is whey and why is it so effective as a good source of protein?

Whey is protein component of cow’s milk, and is derived through separation into what’s commonly known as curds and whey. At one time this was a side product of producing cheese and thought to have no value. Then it was discovered to be a great source of protein and began to be used in diet supplements. Because it comes from such a common and inexpensive source, whey protein is beneficial as it is accessible and cheap.

Studies have shown that whey protein effectively contributes to the development of lean muscle growth, as well as muscle strength. Due to certain production methods and additive choices, some whey protein supplements may contain a few trace elements that contain gluten so be sure to read the ingredients before buying. For this reason, we recommend that you look for 100% whey protein powder if you need it to be gluten free.

Of course, the added bonus is that with a 100% whey product you are getting the best quality whey protein. In addition, we recommend whey protein isolate as an option for those with lactose intolerances. Read the supplements’ ingredient label to be sure.

Brown rice: an exceptionally good source of protein

You may not expect to see brown rice protein as a supplement option. But if you’re looking to get a decent intake of protein per serving while avoiding potential adverse health effects as seen with other protein sources such as gastrointestinal upsets, it’s worth looking into. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you discover.

Although it isn’t as commonly talked about, research by Dr. Stuart Phillips has shown that under ideal conditions, brown rice protein can contain up to 24 grams of protein per serving. Another great aspect of rice protein is its low Glycemic Index (GI) content. This well recognized index measures the ranking of carbohydrates in foods to give a clear indication of how that food will affect the blood glucose levels.

Brown rice is known to have a low GI content, allowing the body to absorb it at a slower rate and metabolize it slowly and more thoroughly. Additionally, for anyone who requires a gluten free protein supplement, brown rice is one to consider. It is a great choice for those who need a good source of protein with dairy, egg and soy allergies or intolerances.

The super powers of chia protein

Chia seeds might be small, but they are mighty! Inside the seed lays a lot of protein and many health benefits. In fact, many health publications have been touting the value of Chia seeds in such articles as Jessica Currier’s The Real Scoop on Chia Seeds that appeared in the American Society of Nutrition’s main website Nutrition.org.

Commonly referred to as a ‘superfood’, chia’s nutritional profile certainly confirms this. Although it only contains 4 grams of protein per 24 grams of chia seed, taken at a per gram rate they contain more potassium than a banana and more antioxidants than blueberries.

This means that chia seeds are not only a great gluten free protein, or even a plant-based protein; but they carry a lot of health benefits as well. 28 grams of Chia seeds have been found to provide 30% of your daily manganese requirements, 27% of phosphorous requirements and 18% of a person’s requirement for calcium. Chia seeds can simply be purchased in the form of a protein powder, eaten as they are, or added to your favourite food to give an extra protein boost.

References

  1. Jason E. Tang, Daniel R. Moore, Gregory W. Kujbida, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Stuart M. Phillips, Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men, 2009, vol 3, no. 3 987-992
  2. Brzezinski A, Debi A.Phytoestrogens: the “natural” selective estrogen receptor modulators? Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1999; 85:47-51
  3. Adetayo O. Omoni, Rotimi E. Aluko, Soybean Foods and Their Benefits: Potential Mechanisms of Action, 2005, Volume 63, Issue 8, pages 272–283, August 2005
  4. Miroljub Barac,Profile and Functional Properties of Seed Proteins from Six Pea (Pisum sativum) Genotypes, 2010, 11(12), 4973-4990
  5. James D. House,Evaluating the Quality of Protein from Hemp Seed (Cannabis sativa L.) Products Through the use of the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score Method, 2010, 58 (22), pp 11801–11807

Last reviewed 06-Nov-2016