What are the best dairy-free protein shakes?

drink wholesome makes the best dairy-free protein shakes with a short list of simple ingredients. If you cannot eat dairy, order samples to see if our non dairy protein shakes are right for you. 

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

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How to boost your protein without dairy

Are protein shakes dairy-free?

Some, but not all, protein shakes are dairy-free. Whey and casein protein shakes, for example, are not dairy-free because whey and casein are byproducts of cheese and yogurt manufacturing. While lactose-free whey protein is a thing, dairy-free whey protein is not.

If you are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy, you should steer clear of whey and casein shakes. You should also avoid common dairy-based additives like sodium caseinate. Even tiny amounts of these ingredients can trigger side effects, especially if you are allergic to dairy.

Basically, dairy-free protein shakes are free from milk and milk derivatives. They are made with dietary protein sources like eggs whites, hemp, and peas.

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

Moreover, manufacturers are 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.”

Are non dairy protein shakes good for you?

Some claim that other sources of dietary protein (egg whites, hemp, peas, etc.) are not as good as whey, but this is not true. While whey is a complete, highly bioavailable protein, it is not any better for you than other types of protein if you are eating a balanced diet.

A complete protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs, but cannot produce on its own. Most animal-based proteins are complete, whereas most plant-based proteins are not.

Bioavailability is a measurement of how well the body can absorb and use a nutrient. It is measured on a scale of 0-100%, and whey protein scores 100%. Except for egg whites, all other protein sources score lower.

Given its complete amino acid profile and perfect bioavailability, whey protein seems like the perfect protein source. If you are getting your protein from a variety of sources, however, these apparent advantages all but disappear. Eating a balanced diet, with a variety of protein sources, will get you all the nutrients and amino acids that you need. This is why studies show that pea and whey protein supplementation produce similar outcomes in measurements of body composition, muscle strength, etc. 


Why use dairy-free protein shakes?

Although dairy-based proteins are a quality source of nutrition, they have a number of drawbacks. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should choose a dairy-free protein shake:

1. Dairy-based proteins cause digestive issues. Whey and casein contain lactose, a sugar that most adults cannot digest

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.

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.

Going dairy-free is clearly the way to go, but dairy is not the only ingredient to avoid when buying protein shakes.


What are the best non dairy protein shakes?

Any type of dairy-free protein (egg whites, hemp, peas, etc.) can help you boost your protein intake and achieve your wellness goals. Not all dairy-free protein shakes are created equal, however.

If you look at ingredient lists, you will notice that most dairy-free protein shakes 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 shakes 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 shake does not cause any complications. Keep reading to learn more. 

drink wholesome makes the best dairy-free protein shakes

drink wholesome is additive-free

First of all, we make the best dairy-free protein shakes because we do not use any food additives. Most protein supplement companies, on the contrary, use all sorts of additives in their formulations. While food additives can improve characteristics like taste and texture, they can also cause many of the same side effects that dairy causes people with lactose intolerance.

Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein shakes:

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

Essentially, because they do not look like real food, food additives are hard to digest and absorb. They consequently linger in the gut for longer than food is supposed to, giving your gut bacteria extra time to eat. As they eat, gut bacteria release gas, which can cause bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain. Gas also slow colonic transit,causing constipation.

In some cases, digestion-resistant food additives draw water in your colon. This can lead to diarrhea, and may very well be the reason why protein shakes make you run to the bathroom!

If you drink a protein shake every day, certain food additives can also disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestines, contributing to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other chronic inflammatory disorders. Some additives can also alter the composition of your gut microbiota, which can cause widespread inflammation and even several chronic diseases.

the alternative:

Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate,  Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids,  Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain

drink wholesome is made with real foods

Another reason why we make the best dairy-free protein shakes is that we avoid protein concentrates or isolates. The majority of protein shakes, on the contrary, are made from these protein sources, which are stripped of everything but the protein. Making protein concentrates and isolates requires rigorous mechanical and chemical processing, sometimes with solvents like hexane. What you ultimately put into your body therefore looks nothing like real food.

Your digestive system is meant to digest minimally or unprocessed real foods, not protein concentrates or isolates. This is why more and more research indicates that regularly eating foods like these can also alter the composition of your gut microbiota. An altered gut microbiome impacts your ability to protect against pathogens, educate your immune system, and perform a number of bodily functions.

Instead of relying on protein concentrates or isolates, our non dairy protein shakes are made with egg whites and almonds. By using whole food protein sources like these, we offer a gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.

For instance, egg whites and almonds contain enzymes that facilitate their breakdown. Protein isolates and concentrates, in contrast, have been stripped of these natural digestive aids.

Egg whites are also low in fiber, low FODMAP, alkaline (maintaining healthy pH levels in your gut), and bioactive (promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria). In fact, my happy customers have reported fewer digestive issues with my egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement.

Almonds, on the other hand, promote the diversity of the gut microbiome as well as regular and healthy bowel movements. In short, our dairy-free protein shakes are the perfect way to boost your protein intake without the extra processing and added junk.


easy to digest

“My dietician recommended this, and it is the best non-dairy protein ever!!! The flavor is so good and it is easy to digest. I’ve never had a protein shake like it.” – Britta

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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.