I have worked with quite a few people with diabetes, and through consistent work with a dietitian and my exercise programs, we’ve always been able to gain control of body weight.
But a lot of diabetics get to a stage where they also want to improve their fitness and build up some muscle mass. This is entirely possible without messing with blood glucose and insulin levels.
But before you just jump in and buy the first whey protein powder, I have done some careful research and analysis with my dietitian to come up with a list of the best suitable protein supplements.
Top Protein Powders for Diabetics (2020)
#1 Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed
#2 Orgain Organic
#3 Transparent Labs Organic Vegan
1. Transparent Labs Whey Protein: Editor's Choice
Here at TotalShape, we have become big fans of Transparent Labs’ nutrition supplements.
One of the biggest benefits is the total absence of anything other than actual healthy protein.
This particular product also contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrates in each serving, meaning that it won’t cause havoc with your glucose and you won’t have to adapt your meal plans.
With no sugar or artificial sweetening agents, a lot of online reviews highlight that the flavors are natural and tasty. The only downside is that you can’t get it as an unflavored option to mix it in with meals or snacks.
2. Orgain Organic Protein Powder
This is one of the more popular brands of organic plant-based protein powders, with it being based on rice, pea, and chia seeds.
The blend is important as it provides the full range of amino acids needed for muscle growth and recovery.
It’s a low-carb protein shake with no added sugars that could lead to blood glucose spikes.
I saw quite a few comments from people with type 1 and 2 diabetes who found this did support their diet and exercise efforts.
Please check this video out to learn more about Orgain Organic Protein Powder.
The only real downside is that you can only get it in vanilla flavor right now. If its a flavor that you like, then this is a solid choice to make.
3. Transparent Labs Organic Vegan
For many people, whey protein powder is not going to be an option due to lactose intolerance.
Vegans will also want to avoid all dairy sources, but Transparent Labs has created a great option based on rice and pea protein.
Not only is it free from any milk or other animal ingredients, but it’s also GMO and gluten-free.
I’m a fan of the flavors as they are subtle and not fake tasting and a lot of users have commented that it’s easy to mix.
One thing to keep in mind though is that compared to the above option, this one does have up to 7 grams of carbs, including 4 grams of fiber. It’s not a huge amount, but just something to be aware of.
See related posts:
4. Slim Fast Protein Shake
My dietitian suggested a few years ago that I recommend Slim Fast products because they are generally low in sugar and carbs in general.
This one is available in two different flavors (chocolate and vanilla), which mix easily into meal replacement shakes.
This also makes it a great choice for weight loss efforts by helping you skip a meal or snack during the day.
One thing to keep in mind is that it contains whey and soy protein, which does make it less suitable for many people with food allergies.
5. Garden Of Life Protein Powder
This company has focused on creating a natural blend of protein and digestive support ingredients.
At the same time, they have managed to avoid adding unnecessary carbs and fat, which is so common these days.
The amino acid profile covers the full range of all essentials by blending a wide variety of plant products.
I did find the flavors were good, and the unflavored option is great for mixing with smoothies. But there are several comments online that it’s not the easiest to mix in a shaker.
Ingredients That Diabetics Should Avoid
Whether it’s type 1 or 2 diabetes that you have to deal with, it’s mainly sugar and carbs in general that you have to be very careful with. At the same time, it’s not enough just to look for “No Added Sugar” labels or avoid anything high in carbs.
A lot of sugar-free options can still have a load of carbs listed in the content. And some supplements have added fiber, which increases the carb content but isn’t actually absorbed by your body (1).
So, basically, you need to check for labels with ideally no sugar and low in non-fiber carbs.
In terms of protein, a health care journalist reiterated that there's no correlation between protein and blood sugar.
Protein itself does not have much of an effect on blood sugar, though the food the protein is in may. Typically, people with diabetes don't need any more protein than people who don't have diabetes.
Can diabetics drink protein shakes?
Yes, diabetics can drink protein shakes, but they need to pay close attention to the labels - note, diabetics can eat protein bars too. Anything high in sugar or non-fiber carbs can cause blood sugar spikes.
Which protein is best for diabetics?
Whey protein is best for most diabetics as long as they don’t have any dairy intolerances. The advantage is that whey is absorbed fast and covers the full range of amino acids.
Is too much protein bad for diabetics?
Yes, too much protein is bad for diabetics but the same is the case in general. The more physically active you are, the more your body will be reliant on protein to repair muscle tissue, so keep that in mind before cutting down on intake.
Does protein raise blood sugar levels?
No, protein doesn’t raise blood sugar levels in any significant way. It is dependent on insulin from a metabolic perspective, but it doesn’t come with the same medical risk as carbs.
Our #1 Recommendation...
Whether you have general weight loss goals or want to bulk up and become a bit more athletic-looking, Transparent Labs Whey Protein is going to provide the best effects.
Many of my diabetic clients have worked with it for years, and the fact that it has practically no carbs at all just makes meal planning so much easier.
If you’ve had your own good or bad experience with protein powders, then contact us through the website or on social media.
TRANSPARENT LABS 100% GRASS
Our #1 Protein Powder For Diabetics