While protein powders are popular, whey isn't for everyone. Whey protein and other dairy-based products can bring a serious digestive burden and they may be unsuitable if you’re lactose-intolerant.
Even those who are lactose-tolerant may struggle with the digestive burden of these products. They’re designed to be rapidly absorbed but dropping heavy dairy powders into your body at high speed, in a liquid solution for faster uptake, can be a risk for your gut.
Today we’re going to discuss lactose-free protein supplements, why they may offer a better alternative, and why we want to offer the best lactose-free protein powder on the market.
Problems with Whey Protein Powders
The problems with whey protein are widespread and they affect the lactose-intolerant and healthy people equally. These are common side-effects that sit on the back of the benefits associated with rapid uptake protein.
The benefits of protein supplementation aren’t specific to whey proteins, but these digestive burdens can be. The point of a lactose-free protein, then, is to avoid the downsides while offering the same protein supplementation benefits.
We can cover a few types of lactose-free protein: plant proteins and lactose-free dairy proteins. These obviously offer different benefits and are appropriate for different diets.
For example, plant protein sources offer a vegan alternative and thus don’t require the same dairy intake. This makes them universally beneficial, but if you’re an omnivore who wants a lactose-free option, other forms of dairy supplement may be appropriate.
Plant Proteins: Lactose Free, Dairy Free
Plant proteins avoid the dairy entirely and thus any possibility of lactose content. They never had any in the first place, so there’s no distillation/skimming process as in whey and casein sources. They do, however, have a slower uptake speed – which has advantages and drawbacks.
Slower protein uptake seems to produce better long-term protein availability, which is linked to better muscle gains and recovery. However, it doesn’t offer the same immediate post-workout protein replenishment that you might get from a fast-absorption protein like whey.
This makes plant based protein powders a great choice for general use, but they won’t suit the immediate protein-dump we see with whey. This is probably not a huge deal if you’re not an elite athlete, since nutrient timing isn’t as important as the total amount you get in throughout the day.
Make sure that you find plant proteins with a complete protein profile – containing all of the essential amino acids. These choices – like plant blends, Oryzatein, and soy – ensure complete nutritional support without needing to add additional protein sources to get all your essential amino acids.
Lactose-free dairy proteins do exist, and they offer a different approach to things like plant protein. If you’re already comfortable with lactose-free dairy then they can offer the rapid uptake of whey without the lactose risks.
Whey protein isolate is a way of getting your whey without unnecessary lactose – and keeping your digestive system happier. These protein sources also tend to be purer, too, containing more protein and less “filler”. This makes them useful for your protein intake, as well as your gut health!
What to look for in a lactose-free protein
When it comes to lactose-free proteins, there’s a slightly different standard and a few principles you want to look out for.
- What source? Is it from plant or animal sources?
You want the best possible source and cutting out dairy altogether is one possible choice. Plant based proteins are making huge strides recently and there’s never been a better time to make the switch to a plant protein powder.
The total removal of dairy raw materials means there’s no lactose in the first place, so you’re going to be getting total peace of mind. It’s possible to get lactose-free whey proteins, but this still relies on animal sources when there are great plant protein alternatives.
- What purity? How much of each serving is not protein?
This is important: you’re paying for protein, so you don’t want to be getting too much filler. Some popular brands contain an equal number of calories from non-protein as their protein content!
A good protein powder is simple: high protein, low carb, low fat. This gives you complete control over your intake and helps you even more when you’re on a fat-loss diet by keeping calories low and protein high.
- Does it have a complete amino acid profile?
This is important because amino acid intake is one of the keys for better health and results. Essential amino acids can’t be made in the body, so they need to be consumed in the diet – as part of proteins.
The best plant proteins are blends, where all the essential amino acids are included by using multiple sources. This also ensures you’re getting at your protein from multiple angles – our Casa de Santé low FODMAP protein powder, for example, uses pea, hemp, peanut, and chia seed proteins.
This complete amino acid profile is important for vegan proteins since a single protein source like pea could easily miss out crucial amino acids. Blends are a great way of getting around this while keeping the nutrients varied and ensuring the highest possible quality.
- What’s the digestive burden of this product? Does it contain common allergens? FODMAPS?
These are common problems for digestion, and you may be suffering with poor response to one or more of them. Products that avoid these are simply better; they are suitable for everyone and contribute to better overall digestion and absorption.
Making things easier for your gut is better whether you’re intolerant or not – a good protein powder feels easy to drink without sitting heavy in the stomach or causing unpleasant toilet trips.
- What’s the brand – what’s the reputation? Manufacturing practices and customer service?
The quality and ethos of a brand make a big difference. For us, we define ourselves through concern for better digestive wellbeing and offering top-quality supplements to everyone, regardless of dietary needs.
When you buy a product, you’re relying on that company for what you put in your body and the ethos and integrity need to match this significant choice. Look for brands that align with your ideals and offer the manufacturing quality and assurances that matter most to you.
Speaking of high quality…
Our Lactose Free Protein
The Casa de Santé protein powder is specifically designed with these questions – and your dietary needs – in mind. It offers a combination of high-purity, high-quality protein with none of the digestive problems we’d see with a standard protein powder.
It’s a totally vegan product which means you don’t have to worry about the digestive effects or your own ethical concerns with dairy, and is totally gluten free. It’s a supplement that brings high quality, high purity dietary protein for everyone.
The initial features are simple and important: high protein, low carb and low fat, FODMAP friendly, and totally free from preservatives or filler ingredients. You buy a protein powder for the protein and – with the Casa de Santé Lactose-Free protein powder, that’s what you get.
It also contains digestive support enzymes with two main purposes:
- To improve the digestibility of protein, helping reduce the burden even further
- Improving protein availability, making sure you absorb as much as possible – and get more value from each serving
This produces a well-rounded and comprehensively powerful protein powder – all without the lactose!
There is a quality selection of lactose-free products on the market if you’re not into whey – or if you want the benefits without the drawbacks.
There may be a long history of whey dominating the market but that doesn’t make it the best choice – especially at a digestive level. The alternatives out here are fantastic, and you shouldn’t overlook them just because they’re not as popular.
The difference between the products aren’t better or worse – it’s a question of fitting your diet and lifestyle. If you’re an elite athlete who trains 3 times a day then you may need to worry about protein uptake speed, but for most of us the slower accretion of a non-whey is a better choice.
Our favorite protein supplements fit a simple criteria:
- No lactose: lactose-free proteins are for everyone
- Great protein purity and complete amino acid profiles
- Sustainable release to improve long-term protein uptake and muscle repair/growth
- Doesn’t feel heavy or uncomfortable in the stomach
- Environmentally conscious and sustainable
For these reasons, we look at a high-quality lactose-free protein supplement as the absolute gold-standard for the regular gym-goer. Plant-based and lactose-free proteins offer up a significant difference to the standard fare in the supplement market, and they could be perfect for you.
We’re obviously fans, so we recommend trying them for yourself and letting us know what you think!