Are Premier protein shakes gluten-free?

Premier protein shakes have become a popular meal replacement and protein supplement drink in recent years. With the rise in gluten intolerance and celiac disease diagnosis, many people are now checking labels to see if their favorite foods contain gluten. For those who rely on premier protein to get in extra protein or use it as a quick meal on the go, the big question is: are premier protein shakes gluten-free?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It helps foods maintain their shape and texture, but for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause issues for those who are gluten intolerant.

Some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes

Over time, the damage to the intestines can prevent nutrients from being properly absorbed from food. This is why it’s so important for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to avoid gluten in their diets.

Which Premier protein shakes are gluten-free?

The key to determining if Premier protein shakes are gluten-free lies in carefully reading the ingredient labels. Here is the gluten-free status of the main Premier protein shake flavors currently on the market:

Gluten-free Premier protein shakes:

  • Premier protein Café Latte shakes
  • Premier protein Chocolate shakes
  • Premier protein Banana shakes
  • Premier protein Vanilla shakes
  • Premier protein Caramel shakes
  • Premier protein Strawberry shakes
  • Premier Clear protein drinks (all flavors)

These shakes do not contain any wheat, barley, rye or malt ingredients. The company confirms they are gluten-free on the website and packaging.

Premier protein shakes that contain gluten:

  • Premier protein Cookies & Cream shakes
  • Premier protein Cinnamon Roll shakes
  • Premier protein Café Mocha shakes
  • Premier protein Peach shakes
  • Premier protein Pumpkin Spice shakes

These shakes contain barley malt extract, barley malt flavoring, or wheat flour, so they are not gluten-free.

Are all Premier protein shake flavors gluten-free?

No, not all Premier protein shake flavors are gluten-free. As the list above indicates, their Cookies & Cream, Cinnamon Roll, Café Mocha, Peach and Pumpkin Spice flavors contain gluten.

However, most of their shakes are gluten-free. The chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, caramel, banana, and café latte flavors do not contain any gluten ingredients.

Additionally, their clear protein drink line (available in citrus, mixed berry, peach, and wild orange flavors) is entirely gluten-free.

So there are plenty of gluten-free options from Premier, but it’s still important to double check the label before purchasing a flavor you haven’t had before. Ingredients can change over time.

What makes the gluten-containing shakes not gluten-free?

For the Premier protein shakes that contain gluten, here is a breakdown of the ingredients that make them unsuitable for a gluten-free diet:

Cookies & Cream

Contains wheat flour

Cinnamon Roll

Contains barley malt extract

Café Mocha

Contains barley malt flavoring

Peach

Contains barley malt extract

Pumpkin Spice

Contains barley malt extract

Barley malt extract and barley malt flavoring are derived from barley, which is a gluten-containing grain. Wheat flour also contains gluten obviously.

Even though the gluten ingredients may be further down on the ingredients lists, they still need to be avoided by anyone following a strict gluten-free diet.

Why do some Premier shakes contain gluten?

There are a few potential reasons why Premier adds gluten-containing ingredients to some of their shakes:

  • Texture – Gluten helps create a thicker, creamier texture which may be more desirable for shakes like Cookies & Cream and Cinnamon Roll.
  • Flavor – Barley malt extract has a warm, sweet flavor that enhances tastes like Café Mocha, Peach, and Pumpkin Spice.
  • Preservation – The wheat flour in Cookies & Cream may help extend the shelf life.
  • Binding – Gluten can assist with binding ingredients together for shakes containing pieces like cookies or cinnamon crumbles.

While these attributes may improve the taste and texture of some shakes, it does make them unsuitable for people who need to avoid gluten. Thankfully Premier offers plenty of delicious gluten-free options as well.

Are Premier protein shakes made in a gluten-free facility?

Premier does not claim that their shakes are produced in a gluten-free facility. However, any equipment used for the gluten-free shakes is thoroughly cleaned beforehand to avoid cross-contamination.

The company states that all shakes tested below the FDA gluten threshold of 20ppm, even the ones containing glutenous ingredients like wheat flour. So there is likely little risk of traces of gluten getting into the gluten-free shakes.

Of course, extreme celiac sufferers may still wish to exercise some caution and contact Premier directly for the latest information regarding their facilities and manufacturing processes. But for most who follow a gluten-free diet, their shakes that don’t contain gluten ingredients should be safe to consume.

What about Premier protein bars?

Similar to the shakes, Premier offers a variety of protein bar flavors, some gluten-free and some containing gluten.

Here is an overview:

Gluten-free Premier protein bars:

  • Chocolate peanut butter
  • Chocolate coconut almond
  • Dark chocolate & nut
  • Peanut butter chocolate
  • Caramel chocolate nut
  • Banana crème
  • Cinnamon roll
  • Birthday cake

Gluten-containing Premier protein bars:

  • Chocolate chip cookie dough
  • Chocolate brownie
  • Lemon cake
  • Apple pie
  • S’mores
  • Mint chocolate chip
  • Almond bliss
  • Salted caramel
  • Neapolitan
  • Oatmeal raisin
  • Café latte

The gluten-free bars do not contain any wheat, barley, rye or malt. The gluten-containing ones feature ingredients like wheat flour, barley malt extract, and maltitol syrup derived from barley and wheat starch.

So as you can see, about half of the Premier protein bar options are gluten-free while the other half contain gluten. Check the label of any new flavors to confirm gluten status.

Should you consume Premier protein shakes if sensitive to gluten?

Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should stick to the Premier shakes and bars that are labeled gluten-free and do not have any concerning ingredients.

For most people who follow a gluten-free diet, the shakes made without gluten should be fine even if manufactured in a facility that also processes gluten products. Only those extremely sensitive would need further assurances from the company regarding cross-contamination risks.

In general, Premier protein shakes that don’t contain gluten have very low levels detected through testing. And it’s reassuring that Premier lists “gluten-free” directly on the packaging of the shakes and bars that apply.

But as with any product, it’s ultimately up to the individual to determine their level of comfort regarding minute traces of cross-contamination that may elude testing.

Other considerations and FAQs

Here are some other common questions related to Premier protein shakes and gluten:

Are the flavors and sweeteners gluten-free?

Yes, Premier protein states that all of their shakes’ flavorings and sweeteners, like sucralose and acesulfame potassium, are gluten-free. So ingredients like natural and artificial flavors can be consumed on a gluten-free diet.

Does Premier protein test for gluten?

Yes, Premier states that all products undergo gluten testing and fall below the FDA threshold of 20ppm gluten, even the shakes and bars containing wheat and barley ingredients.

What about guar gum and xanthan gum? Are they gluten-free?

Yes, the gums used for texture and stability in Premier protein products are gluten-free. They are produced through bacterial fermentation and not derived from gluten-containing grains.

Can you find Premier protein shakes in grocery stores?

Yes, Premier protein shakes are carried at many major grocery stores, warehouse clubs, supplement retailers, and online merchants like Amazon. Flavors may vary by location.

How long do Premier protein shakes last?

Unopened shakes have a 9-month shelf life if stored properly at room temperature or cooler. Once opened, they should be consumed within 3-4 days. Bars last about 8-9 months unopened.

Are Premier Clear protein drinks lactose-free?

Yes, the clear protein drinks from Premier are both gluten-free and lactose-free, making them suitable for multiple dietary needs and restrictions.

The bottom line

When scanning the Premier protein line of shakes and bars, about half are gluten-free while the other half contain gluten. The chocolate, vanilla and banana shakes are gluten-free along with the clear protein drink line. However Cookies & Cream, Cinnamon Roll, Café Mocha, and other flavors do contain glutenous ingredients.

Carefully checking labels and contacting the company with any questions is the best way to determine if a product is gluten-free for your individual needs. For most following a gluten-free diet, the Premier shakes and bars labeled as gluten-free are suitable, but extra precautions can be taken for those highly sensitive. In the end, Premier offers ample protein-packed, gluten-free selections.

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