a protein powder jar, shake in a glass and a blender

The 3 Best Lactose Free Protein Powders

Approximately 65% of the world population suffers from lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance occurs when your body is unable to break down a type of sugar called Lactose that is found in milk and other dairy products.

This inability to break down Lactose happens when your small intestine isn’t producing enough of the enzyme lactase, which is designed to break down lactose. If you are lactose intolerant and you consume lactose, you will experience severe stomach aches and cramps that can be often debilitating.

While there are medications that are meant to reduce the pain or discomfort that result from these stomach aches, the only way to avoid the cramps is to avoid lactose. 

Not all athletes need or use protein powder, but for those lactose-intolerant athletes who want to use protein powder, luckily, there are lactose-free options. These lactose-free protein supplements deliver amino acids that are essential to cellular protein synthesis without the addition of any traces of dairy.

Most protein powders use the milk-derived proteins whey and casein. While these options are low in lactose, they are not entirely lactose-free. The only way to ensure that your powder is fully lactose-free is to use protein that is 100% plant based.

The human body naturally produces eleven amino acids. But it does need the remaining nine amino acids from food. These are called essential amino acids. Most animal proteins (chicken, fish, etc.) contain all nine essential amino acids.

Something that is not as widely understood is that there are some plant-based protein options that also include all nine essential amino acids. It’s just important to use a varied amount of plant-based protein sources. 

There are truly a multitude of protein powders out there that fit these requirements. The benefit is an increased level of overall health in each serving of protein powder, in addition to the protein supplement. 

Here are the top 3 lactose-free protein powders of 2019:

#1 Elevate Nutrition Plant Based Protein Powder

Elevate Nutrition Plant Based Protein Powder jarWith a 4.1 star rating on Amazon, Elevate’s plant based protein powder is a great option for those with lactose intolerance. This vegan powder is both dairy and soy free, non GMO, and all natural. It contains 24 grams of protein, 130 calories, three grams of fiber, and zero grams of sugar per serving. 

The type of protein used in this protein powder is a combination of pea protein isolate and organic hemp protein. Pea protein is easily digestible, and is rich in both iron and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).

BCAAs are incredibly important in the protein synthesis process; one of the most vital amino acids to muscular growth is Leucine, which is a BCAA. Leucine opens up a biochemical pathway that allows for the process of protein synthesis to begin.

Hemp protein is considered to be a full source of protein, as it contains all nine essential amino acids. Like with pea protein, hemp protein is also highly digestible. Plus, neither of these protein sources contain any traces of lactose, so you won’t have to worry about those horribly painful cramps that come from dairy consumption. 

The inclusion of fiber in this powder is important, as it allows for a slower breakdown of the protein. With certain types of milk protein, this is not a problem – casein protein is a slow-digesting protein.

Plant based protein doesn’t work quite like that. So, the fiber allows for a longer amount of time in which your body is experiencing an influx of protein. 

This protein powder claims to contain no sugar. And, for once, it’s not a scam. A brand can claim that there is no added sugar even if artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, are included in the ingredients.

Elevate protein powder does not contain sucralose or any other artificial sweetener. Now, even though it doesn’t have any sweeteners, it does contain Monk Fruit, and so carries a trace a natural sweetness, which contributes to the delicious taste that this powder has. 

It comes in two flavors; Chocolate Brownie and Vanilla Milkshake. Regardless of the flavor you pick, this powder is known to mix easily (without clumps) into any beverage, shake, or batter.

Elevate also provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and can boast that it is made in a United States FDA approved factory, which ensures that health and safety measures are adhered to. 

The biggest drawback to Elevate is the price. At $43 for a two-pound container, Elevate comes in on the higher side of protein powders. But if you can afford it, this is a great, clean, healthy option for all athletes, not just those with lactose intolerance. 

#2 Vega Organic All-in-One Shake

Vega Organic All-in-One Shake jarI’m sure at some point you’ve heard of Vega. It is one of the more popular, well known protein brands, and can boast nearly 6,000 reviews and a 3.8 star rating on Amazon.

This vegan, non GMO, and USDA organic protein powder is also dairy, soy, and gluten free. It also contains no added sugars or sweeteners. 

This powder is marketed as an ‘all-in-one’ shake. And it truly is. On top of containing 20 grams of plant-based protein, Vega also includes a total of eight plant-derived vitamins and minerals.

This is in addition to the probiotics, antioxidants, and omega 3s that come alongside the full servings of fruit and veggies. Because of its incredibly high and varied nutritional content, this powder can be used as a meal-replacement.

This powder comes in a handful of delicious flavors, including Berry, Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Coconut Almond, French Vanilla, Mocha, and Plain. It can be easily mixed with a glass of either water or milk, or can be added to a variety of shakes and batters. 

The biggest drawback to Vega is its price. At $45 for a 1.5 pound tub, Vega is much more expensive than Elevate, and is one of the most expensive protein powders out there.

This is due in part to the high quality of the organic ingredients used, but there are cheaper options that can fit the same bill. 

#3 Bone Broth Protein Powder

Bone Broth Protein Powder jarHere’s something I doubt you’ve heard of before. Protein powder derived from bone broth. It is definitely unique, and so is worth the mention.

Bone broth is rising in popularity, as it is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It also is known to reduce inflammation, and, as such, may help protect your joints and fight against arthritis. 

This powder contains 21.4 grams of protein, 87 calories, and zero grams of added sugar. The ingredients used are refreshingly straightforward: beef bone broth protein concentrate. 

At $43 for a two pound container, it costs about the same as the other options listed here. 

It is definitely different, but, when blended properly, doesn’t taste bad. Plus it provides a multitude of nutrients in addition to dairy-free, yet non-plant based protein. 

It’s impossible to say which of these is the ‘best.’ Best is subjective. The only thing I can do is explain which products are best-suited to which types of athletes.

An athlete looking for dairy-free protein and nothing else, should look into Elevate. Someone who wants all organic protein that comes loaded with other nutrients et al, should look into Vega one.

And someone who wants to experiment a little might consider the Bone Broth protein powder. The biggest point is that even if you are restricted by lactose intolerance, you still have options. 

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Article by:

Daniel DeMoss

I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.  

Get in touch: [email protected]