What is the best dairy-free protein powder?

If you are looking for the best dairy-free protein powder, you have come to the right place. Learn how to supplement your dietary protein intake without upsetting your stomach.

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Collagen Protein Powder

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This article was written by Jack Schrupp and Brittany Adelman, RDN.

Protein powder and dairy

What does ‘dairy-free’ mean? 


Before I can give you the scoop on the best dairy-free protein powder, I have to define some terminology. Not to be confused with lactose-free, dairy-free means that a product does not contain milk or ingredients derived from milk. A dairy-free diet thus excludes all dairy products, including butter, cheese, yogurt, whey, and casein.

Is protein powder dairy-free?


Whey and casein are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, so whey and casein protein powders are not dairy-free. There are lactose-free whey protein isolates, but there is no such thing as dairy-free whey or casein protein powder. People with dairy-allergies must avoid whey and casein protein powders.

People with dairy allergies should also avoid common dairy-based food additives like sodium caseinate. Depending on the severity of your allergy, even small amounts of ingredients like these can trigger an allergic reaction.

To be sure that a protein powder is  dairy-free, look for the following labels:  “dairy-free,” “vegan,” or “plant-based.” These labels provide a clear indication that the product does not contain any dairy.

Manufacturers are also required to include allergen statements on their packaging. If a protein powder contains dairy, which is a common allergen, it will appear on the ingredient list. It might say something like “Contains: Milk.”

Why use dairy-free protein powder?


Although they are cheap and widely available sources of dietary protein, dairy-based protein powders have a number of drawbacks. Here are the top 8 reasons why you should avoid dairy-based proteins:

1. Dairy-based proteins cause digestive issues. Whey and casein contain lactose, a sugar that most adults cannot digest. If you are lactose intolerant or sensitive, dairy-based proteins can cause digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain. These are not normal symptoms. Protein powder should make you feel full and satisfied without any side effects whatsoever. 

2. Dairy-based proteins can cause acne. Dairy consumption stimulates the production of insulin and insulin-like growth factor, both of which have been linked to acne development. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor regulate sebum production. Sebum, an oily substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands, can clog pores and result in pimples. If you have acne or are looking to improve your skin health, choosing a dairy-free protein powder is a must. 

3. Dairy-based proteins are not sustainable. Although whey protein does offer a way for farmers to reduce waste, it is part of the industrial dairy industry, which has a profound impact on the environment. Dairy cows and their manure produce enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, the poor handling of manure and fertilizers pollute local water resources, and unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can also lead to the loss of ecologically important areas such as prairies, wetlands, and forests.

4. Dairy-based proteins are not suitable for those following an elimination diet. Dairy is a common allergen and trigger. If you are experimenting with an elimination diet, choosing a dairy-free option can help you identify your food triggers.

5. Dairy-based proteins can trigger IBS flares. For some, dairy consumption can alter the composition of your gut microbiome and compromise your gut barrier, leading to increased intestinal permeability. This allows harmful substances to leak into the bloodstream, triggering immune responses and inflammation. For individuals with IBS, reducing or eliminating dairy from your diet can be a crucial step in managing symptoms, supporting gut health, and reducing the risk of inflammatory reactions.

6. Dairy-based proteins are not suitable for vegans. Whey and casein are derived from cow’s milk, making them incompatible with a vegan diet. Dairy farming practices often involve animal exploitation and cruelty, which goes against the ethical principles of veganism.

7. Dairy-based proteins are highly processed. Dairy-based proteins are stripped of most nutrients, which raises a number of health concerns. Basically, getting your protein from a whey protein isolate is like eating a multivitamin instead of eating fruits and vegetables.

In summary, dairy-free protein powder is the best choice for individuals with sensitive stomachs, acne-prone skin, and certain dietary restrictions. Continue reading to learn more about non dairy protein powders, and how they offer the same nutritional advantages as whey and casein without the downsides! 

Is non dairy protein powder good for you?


Some people claim that whey is better for you than protein sources such as egg whites, hemp, and peas, but this could not be farther from the truth. While whey is a complete and highly bioavailable protein, it does not offer any nutritional advantages for people getting their protein from a variety of sources.

In case you forgot high school biology, a complete protein contains all the essential amino acids your body needs, but cannot make on its own. Most animal-based proteins are complete, whereas most plant-based proteins are not.

Bioavailability, on the other hand, measures how well the body can absorb and use a nutrient. Whey scores a perfect 100%, while other sources, with the exception of egg whites, score lower.

At first glance, whey would seem to be the ideal protein source – it contains all of the amino acids that you need in a format that is easy to break down and utilize. That said, if you are getting protein from various sources, these advantages do not really matter. A balanced diet will give you everything you need to be strong and healthy, which is why studies indicate that pea and whey proteins yield similar results in body composition and muscle strength when part of a balanced diet.

In summary, whey is a high quality source of protein, but no better for you than any other protein source if you are eating a balanced diet. Do not be fooled by clever marketing.

What is the best non dairy protein powder?


Any type of dairy-free protein (egg whites, hemp, peas, etc.) can help you meet your daily protein needs goal, but not all dairy-free protein powders are created equal..

If you take the time to look at ingredient lists, you will immediately notice that most dairy-free protein powders contain a cocktail of additives including emulsifiers, thickeners, flavors, and sugar substitutes. Ingredients like these can cause painful side effects and long-term gut health problems.

It follows that the best dairy-free protein powders are made with a short list of simple ingredients. By sticking to whole food protein sources and avoiding added junk, you can ensure that your protein powder does not cause any nasty complications.

Insights from a registered dietitian

“Adding dairy-free protein powder to your diet can be a great way to boost your protein intake while working on improving your gut health. By opting for high-quality dairy-free protein powders and using them mindfully, you can boost your daily nutrient intake while keeping tummy troubles at bay.” – Brittany Adelman, RDN

Incorporating dairy-free protein powder is an effective way to prioritize your gut health and overall well-being. Here are a few tips from a registered dietitian on how optimize your gut health while boosting your protein intake: 

Rotate protein sources

To support gut health and ensure balanced nutrition, it is important to incorporate a variety of dairy-free protein sources into your diet. By rotating between high quality protein sources such as eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds,  you will diversify your amino acid intake and expose your body to greater nutritional diversity. Experimenting with different types of protein also makes meal and snack time more exciting.

Pair with gut-health foods

A great way to enhance the benefits of dairy-free protein powder is to pair it with other gut-friendly foods. Adding fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains to your smoothies will make it more filling and easier to digest.

Practice mindful eating habits

Adopting mindful eating practices such as eating in a relaxed environment and avoiding distractions during meals optimizes digestion. When it comes to protein shakes, sipping slowly allows you to tap into satiety cues, promoting better portion control.

Space out your meals

Strategically spacing out your meals is crucial for optimizing digestion and gut health. The migrating motor complex, which activates approximately 2-3 hours after a meal, plays a vital role in resetting digestive pathways, preparing your gut for the next meal. Eating with this timeline in mind supports digestion, reduces bloating, and maintains the healthy functioning of your gastrointestinal system.

Eat lots of fiber

Eating protein without enough fiber can lead to constipation. Adding fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your smoothie will make it easier to digest. It is recommended that men and women consume approximately 35 grams and 25 grams of fiber respectively. 

Exercise

Consistent exercise plays a crucial role in gut health. Regular physical activity promotes gut motility, enhances nutrient absorption, and contributes to healthy bowel movements. As a rule of thumb, drink your protein shake after a workout, not before, to avoid upsetting your stomach.

Hydrate properly

Drinking lots of water before or during meals can dilute stomach acid and hinder digestion. It is recommended that you sip water throughout the day, but avoid excessive water intake immediately before or during meals to support optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.

Consider timing

Avoid consuming protein powder right before bedtime to prevent sleep interruptions. Allowing your body time to digest food before lying down promotes better sleep quality and reduces the risk of nighttime digestive issues. Opt for lighter snacks or meals in the evening to support more restful sleep.

By following these tips when incorporating dairy-free protein powder into your diet, you can be sure to keep your gut happy and healthy! As always, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized recommendations based on your unique health needs and goals.

Sale
Protein Powders

Collagen Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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Sale
Protein Powders

Egg White Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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Sale
Protein Powders

Vegan Almond Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

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drink wholesome is the best dairy-free protein powder


drink wholesome is additive-free

One of the reasons why we make the best non dairy protein powder is that I do not use any food additives whatsoever. This includes gums, lecithin, flavors, and artificial sweeteners. Even in small amounts, added ingredients like these can cause painful side effects, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. 

Our ingredients

egg whites

egg whites

coconut

coconut

vanilla

vanilla

monk fruit

monk fruit

NOT our ingredients

  • acacia gum

  • acesulfame potassium

  • artificial flavors

  • carrageenan

  • erythritol

  • guar gum

  • inulin

  • maltodextrin

  • 'natural' flavors

  • silica

  • soy lecithin

  • sucralose

  • xanthan gum

  • xylitol

Food additives are hard to digest and feed your gut bacteria, which release gas as they eat. As you might imagine, too much intestinal gas can cause bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain.

Partially digested food additives also cause your colon to absorb too much water, which can lead to diarrhea. Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:

acacia fiber, acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, ascorbic acid, aspartame, calcium carbonate, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dicalcium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, ‘natural’ flavors, rice bran extract, rice dextrin, rice hulls, rosemary extract, silica, silicon dioxide, sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate, soluble corn fiber, soy lecithin, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, tocopherols, tricalcium phosphate, xanthan gum, xylitol, zinc oxide

Regularly eating food additives can cause long term gut health problems too. For example, certain food additives can disturb regulatory pathways in your intestines, triggering the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Some food additives, especially artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, can also alter the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. An altered gut microbiome is a leading driver of inflammation and linked to the onset and progression of chronic digestive diseases.

drink wholesome is made with real foods

A final reason why we make the best protein powder without dairy is that I do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Nearly all other protein powders are made from one or both of these protein sources, which have been stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes, fiber, and other natural digestive aids that help you break them down. This not only makes them hard to digest, but may also alter the composition and function of your gut microbiome.

Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best lactose-free protein powder with whole foods like collagen, egg whites, and almonds. Protein sources like these are easy to digest and absorb. Whole food protein sources also have unique digestive benefits: collagen can reduce bloating and improve digestive symptoms, egg whites can help restore your mucosal intestinal barrier, and almonds can improve the composition of your gut microbiome.

It follows that our customers experience fewer digestive issues with our dairy-free protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement. Order samples to see for yourself. 

How to use dairy free protein powder


Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes using a non dairy protein powder. It is super easy to make, and a truly delicious way to boost your protein intake.

Matcha Coconut Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

Instructions:

In a blender, combine the coconut milk, protein powder, matcha powder, chia seeds, banana, and frozen pineapple chunks. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add ice cubes if a thicker consistency is desired. Pour the smoothie into a glass and garnish with shredded coconut. Enjoy!

Reviews

Kelynn

1 week ago

Verified Purchase Hi! Your powder has been life-changing for me! I wear many hats as a military spouse, mom of a toddler, and yoga teacher. However, the hats I wear of being a human, living with endometriosis and IBS, are the ones these simple ingredients have most impacted! Thank you! Thank you for creating a product for stomachs that is sensitive, simple, AND still packs a punch protein wise!

For Egg White Protein Powder

Tom

2 weeks ago

Verified Purchase Your protein is seriously a game changer for me. I went from 135 to 170 in a few months due to the shakes I made with your protein powder. I've been drinking 1 each day for the last bit of time. Most protein kills my gut. You guys are seriously making a life support for me. Thank you for all that you do and create!

For Egg White Protein Powder

Mimi

3 weeks ago

Verified Purchase I've spent the past decade searching for the perfect protein powder, and I've finally found it!!!! Not only does it make me feel incredible, but it's also transformed my fitness recovery in ways I never thought possible. Thank you drinkwholesome for changing the game and helping me feel my best! <3

For Egg White Protein Powder

Frequently asked questions

Collagen vs egg white vs almond protein powder?

You may have noticed that we make three types of protein powder: collagen protein powderegg white protein powder, and vegan almond protein powder. As long as you are eating a balanced diet, any type of protein powder can help you boost your protein intake. Just pick the type that best suits your dietary needs and personal preferences.

Protein powder vs meal replacement powder?

You may have noticed that we make protein powders and meal replacement powders. The difference between protein powders and meal replacement powders is the nutrition content. Protein powders are high in protein and low in everything else, whereas meal replacement powders contain fats, carbs, and protein because they are intended to replace the nutritional value of a healthy meal.

Learn more

My name is Jack and I created drink wholesome because I was sick of protein powders that upset my stomach. Read my story, check out my short list of simple ingredients, and browse reviews from other customers to learn more.

TEST

TEST

Protein Rice Krispies Treats

PREP TIME

15 min

COOK TIME

0 min

SERVES

2+

Ingredients
Instructions

In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat, and incorporate the protein powder. Add the Rice Krispies, stirring until combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13 inch greased pan. Let your Protein Rice Krispie Treats sit for 30 minutes before eating.

Disclaimer

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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