5 Alternatives To Whey Protein For Lactose Intolerance

Whey protein is a go to supplement for just about anyone seeking a boost in lean muscle mass. It has long been sought after by gym goers for its wide range of flavors, brands that make it, and easability to drink (especially in large quantities). But if you’re one of the unlucky individuals who are lactose intolerant or have a sensitivity to dairy, you’ve probably spent a decent amount of time looking for an alternative. 

Follow along as we breakdown the top reasons people can’t drink whey protein and some plant based alternatives to help you gain muscle. More inside….


Whey Protein and Lactose Intolerance

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “lactose intolerance is when your body can’t break down or digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products.”

While most people might think lactose intolerance is a food allergy, it actually isn’t. Food allergies involve the immune system but intolerances do not. 

Whey protein, which is made from cow’s milk, does contain lactose but the amount depends on the brand of protein. In some cases whey protein is filtered to a greater extent into a product that most people know as whey protein isolate. This form of whey contains little amounts of lactose and therefore some people with a non severe form of lactose intolerance can handle drinking it.

Side Effect Risks of Taking Whey With Lactose Intolerance

Individuals with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose. When consumed, lactose can cause digestive discomfort and symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, pain in the abdomen and more. For more severe cases of lactose intolerance, people can also experience longer term symptoms like headaches, fatigue and rashes. 

Alternatives to Whey if You’re Lactose Intolerant

Whey protein is a go-to supplement for individuals wanting to gain muscle. However, if you’re lactose intolerant you might have trouble finding options that give you the same benefits. Luckily for individuals who are lactose intolerant there are now an array of alternatives, especially when it comes to protein powders. And while plant-based sources of protein may not have the same amino acid makeup and may not be considered a complete protein, there are many benefits for those choosing to use them. 

Depending on the brand and type of plant-based protein you choose, the fat and carb content may not be comparable to whey, but you should still be able to get an equivalent amount of protein. 

Goat whey protein

Goat whey protein is a relatively new product in the world of sports nutrition. For people who want a more complete protein source than what they can get from a plant based protein, goat whey can be a good option. When it comes to the macronutrient makeup of goat whey it is actually similar to that of whey, although goat whey does offer slightly more benefits. The protein, carbohydrate, and fat content is almost the same as whey protein and people with lactose intolerance can usually ingest it without the negative side effects that sometimes occur with whey. 

Pea protein

Pea protein is one of the most common sources of plant based protein used by sports nutrition companies. It is a lean source of protein that is slow to digest and high in fiber so individuals who use it will be fuller longer. Pea protein contains about 22 grams of protein per a 30-gram serving making it a good source of protein. It is also a complete protein which is unusual for plant based protein sources. 

Almond Protein 

Like all nuts, almonds contain some sort of protein. Raw almonds contain about 6 grams of protein for every one ounce, making them one of the nuts with the highest amount of protein. Plus, most almond protein powders contain about 20 grams per serving. While almond protein is not considered a complete protein, it can easily be combined with other protein sources to make it complete. Unlike other plant based proteins, individuals with nut allergies should avoid almond protein in case of an allergic reaction. 

Seed protein

Raw seeds like chia, pumpkin, sunflower, and more are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals and seed protein powder is no different. Seed proteins are often used in plant based protein powders in tandem with other sources. They are a great option for individuals who are vegan, vegetarian, and have varying types of allergies like lactose intolerance. Seed proteins are a good alternative to whey protein, especially when there are multiple types in one protein powder. 

Rice protein

Rice has long been thought of as a good carb source pre and post workout for individuals looking for an extra boost. Carbohydrate rich foods like rice ensure muscles are stocked with glycogen resulting in maximized energy for workouts. Carbohydrate content can vary in rice protein, but generally rice protein is relatively low in comparison to regular rice. It is also high in protein, containing about 25 grams per one 30-gram serving. 

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