As you or your loved one age or recover from a recent illness, protein powder is something you could consider boosting health and recovery. However, many ask if protein powders are good for people with diabetes? What are the best protein powders for diabetics? When are the protein powders not safe for diabetes? And so on.
This article will cover all those questions and more than a guide about protein powders and diabetes.
Let’s start rolling by finding out what protein powders really are…
What Are Protein Powders?
Protein powders are sources of proteins that are concentrated. They are usually from animal sources or plant foods, like dairy, eggs, rice or peas.
Protein powders have 3 common forms, which includes;
- Protein concentrates
- Protein isolates
- Protein hydrolysates
1. Protein concentrates
These are gotten from whole foods. The method involved is that using heat and acid or enzymes, the protein is extracted. The extracts from these supplies up to 60-80 protein, with the remaining 20- 40 being composed of fat.
2. Protein isolates
When there is an additional filtration process, it will remove more carbohydrates and fats. Protein isolate powders usually contain 90 -95 protein.
3. Protein hydrolysates
To get this, bonds between amino acids are broken by further heating with acids or enzymes. By this method, hydrosylates are absorbed more quickly by the body and muscles.
Amongst these 3 forms, hydrosylates raises insulin level more than other forms. The raised insulin level helps in muscle growth.
Athletes and regular weight lifters will benefit a lot from the protein powders because they help maximize muscle gain and fat loss.
Some powders are normally fortified with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.
However, it is important to note that for people who have high protein-rich food, there might be no added difference in the quality of life after adding protein powder. This means that not everybody benefits from protein powders.
Protein powders mostly benefit people who have problems meeting their protein needs with just-food. Those mostly encountered by people who sick, older adults and sometimes vegetarians.
Are Protein Powders Good For Diabetics?
One common issue with diabetics is that the body is unable to manage blood sugar levels. One of the ways in which they normally curb this problem is by making good dietary choices. Different foods have different effects on diabetics. Carbohydrates cause a quick spike in blood sugar level, whereas proteins cause a gradual and slow rise in the blood sugar level. This is because carbohydrates digest faster while proteins take a longer time to digest.
While considering if protein powder is good for diabetics, it is important to remember that everyone needs an adequate amount of survival for healthy living. This is because proteins have the following functions
- Proteins help the cells to function properly.
- Proteins help to rebuild, repair and maintain muscles.
- Proteins serve than a building block for skin, nails, bones, and blood.
- Protein also contributes to the formation of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.
Having looked at these benefits, we can conclude that everyone needs proteins, including people with diabetes.
What Research Say?
Over the years, research has been going on to find out if protein powders can help people with diabetes manage blood sugar levels. The results of the experiment have been all different.
A research carried out in 2003 suggested that high protein diets help manage blood sugar levels. This was conducted within 5 weeks. The people who followed high proteins diets discovered that their glucose levels reduce after meals.
Another research of 2010 conducted amongst 146 South Asian Indians, in the United States, suggested that those on high protein diets were at great risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The cause of this was not established.
Another research conducted with 22 persons showed that including a whey protein in the diet helped some people with type 2 diabetes. This research showed that whey powder stimulated insulin and triglyceride secretion in people with diabetes with normal body weight. However, for people with diabetes who are obese, whey protein triggers an increase in glucose levels.
One thing that stood out in these research is that the results are all different. This calls for more investigations so that a definite conclusion can be reached.
How Then Can People With Diabetes Benefit From Protein Powder?
- If you have diabetes, that should not keep you away from eating some of the things you love, especially snacks.
Most people usually go for snacks that are high in carbohydrates. This is where you may still have an issue because carbohydrates can cause a sugar spike. Rather, it is better for you as someone with diabetes to go for snacks that have a protein content. This is beneficial because proteins take longer to digest, so they will keep you full for a long time. And, its slow digestion will reduce your chances of getting a sugar spike.
However, you should be careful of packaged protein drinks as they contain high sugar levels leading to a blood sugar spike.
- Another way protein powders can benefit people with diabetes is to help in their weight loss.
Most diabetics often have excess weight, which leads to obesity most times. If you fall under this category, you can introduce protein drinks or protein powder to your diet as part of a weight-loss diet. This is because, as mentioned earlier, protein gives you a feeling of being full, thereby preventing you from always getting hungry. So adding a protein to your diet may help you lose weight as long as the protein is used to replace carbohydrates and fats.
Note that adding the protein to an existing high carbohydrate or fat diet will not help you in losing weight. However, your protein should not replace fruits, vegetables, and wholegrain food, as this can lead to health problems due to reduced fiber levels.
Review of 13 Best Protein Powders for Diabetics
1. Orgain Organic Plant-based Protein Powder Review
- It is made with sweet vanilla bean flavor.
- It is made with vast ingredients, some of which includes, Orgain organic protein blend [organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic chia seed], orgain organic creamer base [organic acacia gum, organic high oleic sunflower oil, organic inulin, organic rice dextrins, organic rice bran extract, organic rosemary extract], organic erythritol, organic natural flavor, organic natural flavors, natural flavor, sea salt, etc.
- It weighs about 2.03 pounds
- For serving, you can take 2 scoops [46g]. Then, mix 2 scoops in 8-10 fluid ounces of water or almond milk and shake using a blender or cup shaker.
- This protein is made with hand-selected ingredients, which give room for maximum nutrition.
- Orgain organic proteins are certified USDA organic proteins
- These proteins are gluten-free, non-GMO and contain no soy
- The proteins are made to be creamy and very much delicious
- They can be used for various purposes ranging from breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even than a snack.
- It does not contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
- You can mix it with water and make yourself a quick breakfast.
- Although you are using it than a result of diabetes, it can serve the whole family.
- Some people don’t usually enjoy the taste when it is mixed with water
- Some find it very salty
2. Now Sports Nutrition, Whey Protein Isolate Review
- It does not contain flavor.
- It is produced by NOW Foods brands.
- The packaged protein weighs 5 pounds.
- It is made with so many ingredients like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, microfiltered whey protein isolate [milk], and sunflower, lecithin.
- For your serving, 1 level scoop is enough. Mix the 1 level scoop into 4 to 8 oz of cold water, milk, or your favorite juice.
- You may get natural protein variations.
- It is bioavailable and also easily digestible.
- This whey protein has naturally occurring branched-chain amino acids.
- It is believed that whey protein has the highest biological value when compared to other protein sources.
- It contains quality GMP. Its GMP is assured meaning that every aspect of the NOW manufacturing process has been properly examined, including testing methods. This is to ensure stability, potency, and great product formulation.
- This is ideal for you than a person with diabetes because it has no artificial sweeteners, non-GMO, it is steroid-free, soy-free, and keto-friendly.
- It can only serve than a supplement and not for weight loss.
3. Garden Of Life Protein Powder Review
- It is made with vanilla flavor.
- Produced by Garden of Life brand
- It is made with so many ingredients like raw-certified organic protein blend [organic pea protein, organic tapioca fiber, organic chia seed & sprout, organic flaxseed and sprout, organic Amaranth sprout, organic buckwheat sprout, organic lentil sprout], raw-certified organic weight loss and stress management blend, raw probiotic and enzyme blend, sea salt, chia flavor.
- It is made with a blend of plant-sourced proteins, including 13 raw sprouted organic ingredients.
- This protein is ideal for diabetes because it aids in weight loss.
- It helps you satisfy your carbohydrate or sugar cravings when you are under stress. Because the body produces cortisol hormone, which triggers the cravings, an additional 300mg to help curb it.
- It is made with raw green coffee bean extract, which contains 400mg of RAW stevol. It contains a powerful high antioxidant polyphenol called chlorogenic acid. This acid supports the body’s natural process to metabolize sugar rather than changing them to fat.
- The fiber in this protein makes you feel full for a long time, thereby stopping you from eating so much food.
- It helps you to boost your energy and also build lean muscle mass.
- This might not be ideal for someone with diabetes who is lean and needs to gain weight.
4. Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder Review
- It is made with a creamy vanilla flavor.
- It is made by Isopure brand.
- The packaged protein weighs about 3 pounds.
- For your serving, use about 2 spoonfuls.
- It is made with so many healthy ingredients like whey protein isolate, vitamin and mineral blend [dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, sodium chloride, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, riboflavin, chromium chloride, sodium selenite, cyanocobalamin], soy lecithin, L glutamine, sucralose, xanthan gum.
- It has a high whey protein content, thereby helping in muscle building and recovery.
- It is ideal for people with diabetes watching their weight because it has a zero carb content
- The protein powder contains vitamin C and zinc, which provides immune support.
- It can serve many functions for you, like breakfast, for post-workout, between meals, and anytime you choose.
- For people with diabetes involved in keto, Isopure Zero brands are ideal because it supports ketogenic macros.
- It might not be appreciated by people with diabetes who are not watching weight.
5. GENEPRO Protein Powder Review
- The Musclegen brand produces it.
- It does not contain any flavor.
- It is gluten and lactose-free.
- It has a small size molecule.
- The protein weighs 13.6 ounces when packaged.
- GENEPRO delivers protein more efficiently compared to other traditional whey protein because of its small size molecules.
- Also, GENEPRO having a small size molecule that travels fast means you don’t need to consume a whole lot of protein before you meet your protein requirement.
- It has a high absorbent property.
- It does not cause cramps
or stomach aches.
- You can add anything to your GENEPRO without changing the taste because GENEPRO is flavorless.
- If you are with diabetes and aiming to build lean muscle, this protein is ideal because it has a low calorie per protein ratio.
- You might not enjoy GENEPRO alone because it is flavorless. You will always have to mix it up with other drinks.
6. Sun Star Organic Whey Protein Review
- It is made with vanilla and strawberry flavor
- Produced by Sun Star Organic brand
- It is soy-free
- The protein is sourced from pea
- There is no added sugar
- It is made without preservatives, additives, or artificial colors
- It does not contain any nut or gluten
- This powder is also ideal for people with diabetes and for those with soy allergy
- European golden pea is known to be amongst the most potent of all vegetable proteins
- It contains 8.6g of 9 essential amino acid per serving
- It has a great taste
- It blends well
- Some complain that it has a bad aftertaste
7. Future Kind Organic Vegan Protein Powder Review
- It is derived from 100% an organic non-GMO yellow pea
- It contains the full spectrum of amino acids
- It has zero sugars and 1g of carbohydrate
- It is made with vanilla flavor
- This is ideal for people with diabetes, especially those who are lactose intolerant
- It is made of 20 grams of clean, plant-based protein
- It contains very low carbohydrate and zero sugar, thereby making it ideal for diabetics
- It does not contain artificial ingredients or filters
- Some prefer and hope that more ingredients will be added.
8. Transparent Labs Whey Protein Powder Review
- It contains very low carbohydrate
- It contains zero fat
- It contains about 28g of protein
- It has about 120 calories
- It is produced by Transparent Labs brands
- It has different flavors
- It is healthy a good choice for people with diabetes. With its very low carb content, it won’t react with your glucose
- It does not contain any additives or fillers
- Its 28g whey protein is ideal
- It is available in protein
- You might not enjoy mixing it with other foods or drinks because of their different flavors
9. Ladder Plant Protein Review
- It is produced by the Ladder brand
- It contains high essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids
- It contains 26g of protein
- It has a calorie content of 130
- It contains 6g of carbohydrate
- It contains 1g of fat
- contains probiotics
- This plant protein powder is a very good alternative for whey protein
- It will greatly contribute to your body repair after a workout because of its high content of essential and branched-chain amino acids
- It is very safe and healthy because it is a 100% plant-based protein powder
- It has the full certification of NSF
- It digestible because it is plant-based
- It has a higher sugar content when compared to others, so it shouldn’t be your first choice.
10. Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Review
- The plant powder is based on rice and pea
- It is GMO and gluten-free
- It has a calorie content of 150
- It has a protein content of 24g
- It has a carbohydrate content of 7g
- It has a fat content of 2.5g
- It contains chocolate and vanilla flavors
- For people with diabetes who are lactose intolerant, whey protein won’t be an option, so they can easily make up with this protein powder
- It is a good alternative for people with diabetes who don’t want to use whey protein
- It is very good if you are watching your weight because it is gluten-free
- If you react to milk animal products than a diabetic, this plant powder is highly recommended for you because it is free from dairy products
- It has a wide range of amino acid because it is made with 24g pea and rice protein
- It does not contain any added sugar, sweetener, or color
- Chocolate and vanilla easily mixes and blends with other products
- If you are checking your weight, the chocolate version might not be ideal because it contains 7g of carbohydrates.
11. Slim Fast Protein Shake Review
- They have a low sugar content
- It has vanilla and chocolate flavor
- It contains 190 calories
- It contains 10g of protein
- It contains 6g of fat
- It contains 24g of carbohydrate
- It can mix easily into milk replacement shakes, making it is a good replacement for snacks or meal during the day
- It contains very low sugar, less than 1g, when mixed with water
- It can serve than a light meal replacement
- You can get a good amount of vitamins and minerals
- For diabetics with certain allergies, this might not be ideal because it contains soy and whey protein.
12. GoBiotix Collagen Peptide Powder Review
- The GoBiotix brand produces it
- It is unflavored
- It is made with collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid, biotin, prebiotic blend [Lactobacilllus acidophilus, streptococcus thermophiles, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum]
- It weighs 14.1 ounces
- It replenishes from the inside out
- It contains essential amino acid and collagen protein type 1 and 3
- It features gut soothing probiotics which beat bloating
- It can serve than a morning coffee
or plain water
- It will be better if a little more flavor is added.
13. Lactose-free Protein Powder for Women and Men Review
- It has a vanilla flavor
- It is gluten and lactose-free
- It is made with ingredients like whey protein isolate, natural flavors, xanthan gum, Stevia leaf extract, monk fruit, and sunflower, lecithin.
- It weighs 1.15 pounds
- It absorbs quickly, making it possible for it to protect your skin and muscles
- It does not contain artificial sweeteners
- It is lactose-free, soy-free, fat-free, aspartame free, corn-free
- It has a non-GMO formula
- It minimizes oxidative stress and helps in the building of lean muscles
- It won’t be ideal for you if you are looking to add weight.
As a person with diabetes, protein powders are sometimes essential to make up for your protein content. Whether it is based on recommendation or not, you should check the pros and cons of the protein powder you would like to purchase.