I have worked with quite a few people with diabetes (most of them have type 2), 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 sugar and insulin levels.
Before you just jump in and buy the first whey protein powder you see, I have done some careful research and analysis with my dietitian to come up with a list of the best protein powders for diabetics.
Let's see which best protein powder gets on top of the list.
Top Protein Powders for Diabetics (2021)
1 - Future Kind Organic Vegan Protein Powder (Editor's Choice)
Here’s a treat for all the vanilla lovers out there, especially the lactose-intolerant ones.
Future Kind protein powder is derived from the 100% organic non-GMO yellow pea, and contains the full spectrum of essential amino acids. You will get 20g of pure protein in one serving, which your muscles would love after the strenuous workout.
According to the contents label, it has as little as 1g of carbs, and zero sugars added (organic stevia is used as artificial sweeteners). And what would attract many nature lovers is the fact that the package is made of eco-friendly recycled materials.
Yet, the massive appreciation this protein powder is getting owes mainly to its natural taste - it doesn’t have that artificial vanilla flavor that most protein powders do. That’s why those looking for the strong chemical vanilla flavor may end up disappointed and find it a bit bland.
- Calories: 85
- Protein: 20g
- Carbs: 1g
- Fat: 0g
- Contains 20 grams of clean, plant-based protein
- Low carb and zero sugar
- Delicious vanilla flavor
- No fillers and artificial flavors
- More flavor options would be awesome
Thanks to its ingredients and smooth and natural taste, this protein powder has rightfully earned its place on our list of the best protein powders.
2 - Transparent Labs Whey Protein Powder
Here at Total Shape, we have become big fans of Transparent Labs’ protein powders and other nutrition supplements.
One of the biggest benefits of this whey protein powder is the total absence of anything other than actual healthy protein. The entire team, with our clients' feedback and in depth research, consider this as the best protein powder for diabetics because of this.
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 adjust your diabetic meal plans.
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 28g
- Carbs: 2g
- Fat: 0.5g
- 28 g of whey protein from grass-fed cows
- No additives or fillers to worry about
- Significant savings available on bulk orders
- Available in tasty flavor options
- An unflavored option would help for mixing with other foods
With no sugar or artificial sweetening agents, a lot of online reviews highlight that the flavors are natural and tasty. The only downside to this whey protein powder is that you can’t get it as an unflavored option to mix it in with meals or snacks, but it's still one of the best protein powders for diabetics in my opinion.
3 - Plant Protein Powder by Ladder
Another protein powder for diabetics I highly recommend is the Plant Protein by Ladder. If you're not into whey protein, Ladder offers a good alternative.
This plant-based protein powder provides a higher dose of essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids, which is more than enough to fully repair your body after an intense workout.
This includes improving muscle growth, weight loss, and sports performance.
Check out our Ladder whey protein powder review here.
- Calories: 130
- Protein: 21g
- Carbs: 7g
- Fat: 2.5g
- 100% plant based protein powders
- Contains a higher dose of EAAs and BAAs
- Contains probiotics
- May contain more sugars than other protein powders
What I love about this protein powder for diabetics is that it’s completely plant-based making it easy to digest. With the improved absorption, you can ensure that your body gets the most out of drinking this.
You can choose from two different flavors. But regardless of which, you’ll definitely find your muscles recovered the next day after taking this protein powder.
4 - 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. It's also a good alternative to whey protein powders.
The protein powder blend is important as it provides the full range of essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and recovery.
It’s a low-carb protein powder for diabetics 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 protein powder support their diet and exercise efforts.
- Calories: 150
- Protein: 21g
- Carbs: 15g
- Fat: 4g
- Based on pea, rice and chia seeds
- Zero sugar to cause glucose spikes
- Contains fiber for digestive health
- Low fat and carbs per serving, making it easy to support a diabetes diet
- Currently only available as vanilla flavor
The only real downside to this protein powder 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.
5 - Transparent Labs Organic Vegan Protein Powder
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, and Transparent Labs has created a great plant-based protein powder option based on rice and pea protein.
Not only is it free from any milk or other animal ingredients and artificial sweeteners, but it’s also non-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 this protein powder is easy to mix and dissolve.
- Calories: 130
- Protein: 24g
- Carbs: 3g
- Fat: 2g
- 24 g of pea and rice protein for a broad range of essential amino acids
- Gluten-free and non-GMO protein powders
- No added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or colors
- Chocolate and vanilla flavors mix easily
- The chocolate version has 150 calories, 7 g of carbs, and 2.5 g of fat
One thing to keep in mind though is that compared to the above option, this protein powder (chocolate flavor) 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.
6 - 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.
This protein powder for diabetics 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.
- Calories: 190
- Protein: 10g
- Carbs: 24g
- Fat: 6g
- Less than 1g of sugar when mixed with water, not milk
- Many positive reviews about working as a light meal replacement
- Good source of vitamins and minerals
- Low-fat content supports most diets
- Contains soy and whey protein which may not be suitable for certain allergies
One thing to keep in mind is that this protein powder contains whey and soy protein, which does make it less suitable for many people with food allergies.
7 - Garden Of Life Protein Powder
This company has focused on creating a natural blend of protein and digestive-supporting ingredients.
At the same time, they have managed to avoid adding unnecessary carbs and fat, which is so common these days.
The nutrient profile of this protein powder covers the full range of all essential amino acids by blending a wide variety of plant products.
- Calories: 170
- Protein: 28g
- Carbs: 10g
- Fat: 2g
- No added sugars to help avoid blood glucose spikes
- Protein blend sourced from a wide range of plant products for best amino acid profile
- Rich in vitamins for overall immune health
- Includes probiotics and enzymes for digestive health
- Some people have commented that it’s not the easiest protein powder to mix
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 type 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 protein powders 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 the label of the protein powders or any protein supplement. Ideally, there should be 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 glucose levels.
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.
- Shereen Lehman, Health Care Journalist
See related articles:
Can diabetics drink protein shakes?
Yes, diabetics can drink protein shake as a protein supplement, but they need to pay close attention to the labels. Take note that diabetics can eat protein bars too. Anything high in sugar or non-fiber carbs can cause blood sugar spikes. Additionally, the best protein powder may help with weight loss and sugar level management.
Which protein is best for diabetics?
The protein best for diabetics is whey protein, as long as they don’t have any dairy intolerances. The advantage is that whey protein is absorbed faster and covers a full range of essential 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. The products included in this best protein powder list are all low in carbs, thus ideal for controlling blood sugar levels.
Do protein powders cause weight loss?
What foods are high in protein for diabetics?
Our #1 Protein Powder For Diabetics
Whether you have general body weight loss goals or want to bulk up and become a bit more athletic-looking, Future Kind Organic Vegan Protein Powder is going to provide the best effects.
Many of my diabetic clients are satisfied, and the fact that it has practically no carbs at all makes meal planning easier.
After extensive testing, client interview, and research, our team is convinced that this brand has the best protein powder for diabetics.
Offering 20 g of plant-based protein, less than 1 g of carbohydrates, and zero additives, you can work around your meal plans without glucose spikes.
Contact us and let us know if you like it.