If you’re a diabetic, there are a lot of limitations to your diet and what you can do, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot strive to improve your overall health, build muscle and just be a better version of yourself. It actually gives you more reasons to do so.
In order to achieve that, a lot of focus should be placed on what you are putting into your body. Although that sounds simple enough, the road will be long and hard, just as any worthy journey should be. One of the things that can help you get on that track is protein powders.
I know: protein powder and diabetes? Seems counterproductive!
Actually, the wrong protein powder can put you at risk as most are high in sugar and calories. On the other hand, there are protein powders that have little sugar to almost none at all and that’s what I’m about to share with you. The list below hopefully changes your perspective as I list down some of the best protein powders for diabetics as rated by others on the internet.
Always consult with your doctor or healthcare physician when changing your diet, especially if you are controlling your diabetes. The below reviews are for informational purposes only and as rated by others on the internet.
Please make sure you consult with someone and read all the details before jumping on anything that is mentioned on the internet.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s the list.
Best Protein Powder For Diabetics Compared & Reviewed
|Top||Garden of Life Raw Organic Fit Powder||Garden of Life||Check Price on Amazon|
|Orgain Keto Collagen Protein Powder with MCT Oil||Orgain||Check Price on Amazon|
|Isopure Zero Carb, Vitamin C and Zinc for Immune Support||Isopure||Check Price on Amazon|
|MRM - Whey Protein Powder||MRM||Check Price on Amazon|
|Glucerna, Diabetes Nutritional Shake with 10g of Protein||Glucerna||Check Price on Amazon|
|NutraBio 100% Whey Protein Isolate||NutraBio||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Garden of Life Raw Organic Fit Powder
Garden of Life was acquired by Nestle, but it was originally founded by Jordan Rubin in 2000. He was battling Crohn’s disease and his weight drastically dropped from 180 to 104 pounds.
He started eating food that was only available during biblical times (whole foods), and that helped the beginnings of the organic Fit Powder.
Each serving contains 170 calories and 28 grams of protein derived from pea protein and raw sprouts. It can be considered as a full meal replacement. Morgan Oliveira of the Women’s Health Magazine says that this is a product she takes everywhere she goes as it is filling and very nutritious.
What I like about it that I think most diabetics would too is the fact that it has zero grams of sugar. This can help avoid glucose spikes and help non-diabetics to avoid unnecessary carbs and fat. Its unflavored version doesn’t contain any stevia, gums or any other additives.
It has a wide array of amino acids and includes a lot of probiotics and enzymes which is good for overall health.
#2 - Orgain Organic Protein Powder
Orgain believes that great nutrition can change the life of anyone. The founder, Dr. Andrew Abraham, is a proud doctor and cancer survivor, having started the brand through a humble blender that he had at home. During his cancer treatment, Andrew saw the need to have a nutritional shake with all-natural, food-based ingredients that propelled him to his passion for nutritional science.
The brand boasts of highly-nutritious and delicious products. The Orgain Protein Powder is made of truly organic and plant-based ingredients of pea, brown rice, chia seeds and hemp.
What makes this so popular with drinkers, which I personally like as well, is they managed to make the drink creamy through their Creamer Base. This is made of acacia gum, inulin fiber, rice dextrins, rice bran and rosemary extract.
While it isn’t completely 0 sugar like the Garden of Life’s, one serving contains 150 calories, 21 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbs (with 1 gram sugar). They also managed to offer complete proteins while still being soy-free. The drink also covers 4% of your daily calcium and 15% of your iron, which are tougher to get on a regular diet.
One red flag for me though is that it didn’t list the amino acids and vitamins present, so besides the one listed on down, buyers wouldn’t know. Another one is although it is low in sugar, it isn’t exactly low in carb either.
#3 - Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder
Dubbing themselves as the first family of nutritional fuel, Isopure’s founders Hal and Ernie had an idea to make things better. In 1998, their idea took form and revolutionized the protein powder industry. Since then, they’ve been committed to provide people with the purest form of protein powders in the market.
I was honestly taken quite surprised as I found out that Isopure has zero carbs. It’s almost an impossible idea: a protein powder with zero carbs, but this brand has managed to do it.
They have different flavors: Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla, Apple melon, which all had about one gram of carbs per serving. But their unflavored one had absolutely no carbs at all. Each service is 110 calories and 25 grams of protein.
Their main ingredients include whey isolate, soy lecithin, l-glutamine, natural and artificial flavors, sucralose, and xantham gums for thickening.
#4 - MRM - Whey Protein Powder, Maximum Muscle Growth and Development
MRM is all about the science of nutrition. It was founded by a dietitian and a clinical researcher who shares the same passion of helping people through organic nutrition. Their claim is that they don’t wait to see what the next trend is going to be but consistently innovates, researches and creates to improve way of life.
Now onto the real deal: for a single serving of the MRM powder, you get 85 calories and 18 grams of protein. It has no carbs and very little sugar at 1 gram. Sodium is also very low on this drink but it seems to be missing fiber components.
There are only a few ingredients on this which I think is a great indication. It’s simply whey, l-glutamine, and enzymes. You won’t find any artificial or natural sweeteners.
I like how this is a straightforward protein product. However, most users say that it is completely flavorless. So if you cannot stomach that, then you might need to move on to other protein powders. On the other hand, most say that this one is truly not intended for the masses but only for those who are looking for their protein fix.
#5 - Glucerna, Diabetes Nutritional Shake with 10g of Protein
Glucerna is a well-known brand for diabetics. They offer a wide variety of protein shakes and snacks that will ensure consumers can keep the glucose levels in check.
Glucerna Shake isn’t actually a protein powder but a ready-to-drink protein shake. What I like most about this product is that you’ll know it is safe for diabetics as it is doctor recommended not just as a protein supplement but a snack in between meals.
Each serving gives you 10grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. From the list, this has the highest sugar at 4grams per serving. While it is doctor-recommended, I don’t particularly feel safe with that sugar level, especially, if you are diabetic.
I would prefer if they offered a flavorless variant in order to reduce the sugar a little bit. One bottle of this can help you feel full for 2 to 3 hours.
#6 - NutraBio 100% Whey Protein
NutraBio was founded in 1996 with the mission to maximize the quality of life of its customers by providing nutritional products based on science and health research. The founder, Mark Glazier, is a well-known self-defense advocate who was inducted in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
The Whey Protein underwent cross flow micro and ultra-filtering processes. It is lactose and gluten-free. Their ingredient list is transparent and straightforward.
Each service gives you 110 calories with 25 grams of protein– the highest of the list. It has a minimum amount of sucralose at 60 grams for the whole tub. Though some were already turned off by this; though there are news that NutraBio is planning to eradicate this soon.
Users rave that this is an effective isolate, and does its job to help with muscle recovery and repair. With every drink, you get 5.3 grams of BCAA and almost 86% of proteins. It comes in a number of flavors: Alpine Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Blueberry Muffin, Cinnamon Sugar Donut, Pancakes and Maple Syrup, and Strawberry Ice cream.
My Number One Pick
- Certified USDA Organic, Non GMO Project Verified, Certified Vegan, NSF Certified Gluten Free, Informed Choice Certified (Trusted by Sport), Kosher Certified, Dairy Free, Soy Free
- Featuring Clean Organic Plant Protein from Organic Peas and Sprouted Organic Grains, Seeds and Legumes
- Boost energy and build lean muscle mass. Use pre or post workout
What Are Protein Powders? A Bit Of Knowledge
Protein Powders is a form of protein that is usually derived from plants, eggs or milk. Plant-based ones are usually made from soy, soybeans, peas, hemp, potatoes and rice. While milk-based ones are either casein or whey protein.
Along with these, the powder may include additives for flavoring or thickeners. Sugar can also be an added ingredient to boost flavor. You’d also get other vitamins and minerals from drinking protein powders.
Each serving (can be a scoop or two) may contain 10 to 25 grams of protein. Of course, supplements for weight loss and muscle building would have decreased or increased amounts.
What are the benefits of drinking protein powder?
- Promotes muscle growth
As you grow older, your muscle mass tends to decline. This will lead to fat gain and increase your risk for other diseases. But this can be reversed or slowed with good diet and strength training.
According to NCBI, a high-protein diet and protein supplements is an effective way to build muscle because it provides you leucine— the most growth promoting amino acid in your body.
- Helps reduce inflammation
Inflammation is one of the ways the body adjusts to changes. However, chronic inflammation can be dangerous and harmful.
A study suggests, that high doses of protein can help reduce the marker of inflammation in the body which is: CRP (C-reactive protein).
- Will aid in treating type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is described as high blood sugar and impaired insulin function. Research has shown that protein is an effective combative against blood sugar and helps moderate it.
With this, protein can actually be used as a supplementary and treatment for type 2 diabetes.
- Protein will help strengthen the body’s antioxidants
The main role of antioxidants is to help fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. One example of the most important antioxidants in the body is called glutathione.
While this is naturally produced through the amino acid, cysteine, the supply is limited and is dependent on the intake of amino acids of the person. With this, protein, that is high cysteine, may be able to help in boosting the body’s glutathione levels and other antioxidants. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11205219/
- Can promote weight loss
Keto diet and other protein-based diets exist because they are an effective strategy to promote weight loss. High protein intake can help in suppressing one’s appetite that will help reduce caloric intake.
It also helps boost metabolism and aid in burning calories. More than this, it helps you maintain muscle mass as you lose weight, helping you in toning your muscles. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19400750/
Some risks of protein powder
- Long term effects are unknown according to Dr. Kathy McManus of Harvard
- As a dietary supplement, the FDA doesn’t regulate protein powders. All ingredients claimed by the manufacturer aren’t backed by the FDA.
- Can cause digestive interruptions especially for those who are lactose intolerant
- Some are high in sugar, calories, and carbs which may be doing more harm than good
Things To Consider When Buying A Protein Powder For Diabetics
Basically, there are only three things that you need to consider when you’re buying protein powder as a diabetic: the type of diabetes you have, the type of protein you want, and sugar content. For sugar content, you obviously need to go for the lowest.
What kind of diabetes do you have?
Type 1 diabetes is when your body attacks your immune system and as a result, eradicates the insulin production in your pancreas. You need daily insulin to stay alive.
On the other hand, with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance happens. This is the most common kind of diabetes wherein your body cannot make or use insulin. This can happen as early as childhood to middle-aged and even older people.
What kind of protein should you take as a diabetic?
These kinds have the lowest sugar content or no sugar at all:
- Whey protein isolate
In the process of making an isolate, lactose has already been removed from the protein. This means that fat and milk sugar is no longer present, making this the highest quality of protein for diabetics. An isolate has weaker taste and thinner consistency.
- Milk Protein
There are a lot of milk-based proteins, so make sure that you look for zero sugar and low carb to no carbs. This kind stays in your system for as long as 6 hours, which makes it a great meal replacement for when you have no time to eat.
- Pea Protein
For diabetics who want to avoid milk products or who are also lactose intolerant, protein derived from peas are also a great source. Usually, this would be combined with brown rice to make it a more complete protein. Yellow pea protein is considered as the most common protein source but there are a lot of sources of plant protein.
- Brown Rice Protein
Out of all the types of protein, this one has the best amino acid profile. As mentioned, it is best paired with a pea protein to maximize the nutrient content. Naturally, this is free of sugar and very low in carbohydrates.
Frequently Asked Questions On Protein Powders For Diabetics
Q: Is too much protein bad for diabetics?
A: Not just for diabetics but for the average Joe as well. Too much protein will just turn into fat. However, before you start cutting down on your proteins make sure you’re considering your physical activity. The more you exercise, the higher amount of protein you’ll need as it will help in speedy muscle recovery and repair.
Q: Can protein raise my blood sugar level?
A: No. It wouldn’t raise it significantly as it is only dependent on insulin for metabolic purposes. In any case, when you take protein shakes, make sure you check the nutritional information to ensure carbs and sugar levels are low.
Having diabetes is no walk in the park. Aiming to be fit and healthy with diabetes is twice as hard.
Protein powders are one way to ensure that you are getting nourished and satisfied. While people drink them for different reasons like weight loss, muscle building, and as a performance enhancer; it can also serve as a nutritional supplement for people with diabetes.
Still, for optimum wellness, I recommend that the majority of your food intake should be whole and healthy foods. Have you tried protein powders? Let me know in the comments section below.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.