What is the best lactose-free protein powder?

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

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

Protein powder and lactose

What is lactose? 

Lactose is a type of sugar formed when two other sugars, glucose and galactose, bond together. It is found in milk and dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream, and whey. It can also be found in many packaged foods, including medications and supplements.

What is lactose intolerance? 

An enzyme called lactase is needed to digest lactose. Lactose intolerance occurs when the body does not produce enough of this enzyme. People who are lactose intolerant experience the following symptoms after consuming lactose: bloating, diarrhea, gas, nausea, and stomach pain.

It is estimated that two thirds of the world’s population suffers from lactose intolerance. If you suspect that you are lactose intolerant, you should consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. They may recommend tests such as a lactose intolerance breath test to confirm the condition.

What does lactose-free mean? 

Lactose-free means that a product does not contain any lactose. Lactose-free protein powders are either dairy-free, or have been processed to remove the lactose.

Those with dairy-allergies should note that lactose-free does not mean dairy-free.

A product can be lactose-free but still contain dairy. A dairy-free product, on the other hand, is necessarily lactose free. This distinction is important to understand, especially if you have a dairy allergy or sensitivity.

Does protein powder have lactose?

Whey, casein, and goat protein powder contain lactose because they are byproducts of cheese and yogurt making. If you are lactose intolerant, you should avoid these three types of protein powders. 

Some whey protein concentrates and isolates have had most of the lactose removed, but this does not necessarily make them easier to digest. Straight from the cow, whey is 75% lactose. In order to strip-away all of that sugar, manufacturers rely on mechanical and chemical processing, turning your whey protein powder in a science experiment. This, in turn, can make it hard to break down. 

It follows that if you are lactose intolerant, or if you have a sensitive stomach, you should just avoid protein powders that contain dairy.

Food and supplement companies are required to label their products clearly if they contain dairy, so this should be easy.

When reading a nutrition label, common allergens such as milk are usually emphasized in bold print. You do have to read the ingredient list closely, however, because some protein powders contain dairy-based food additives like sodium caseinate, which can contain small amounts of lactose.

Why use lactose-free protein powder?

Here are the top 3 reasons why you should use lactose-free protein powders:

1. Lactose can cause digestive issues. Most adults cannot fully digest lactose and experience painful side effects when they consume dairy-products.  

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. The industrial dairy industry 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.

If finding an easy-to-digest protein powder is your top priority, then you should not be satisfied with lactose-free, as lactose is by no means the only thing in protein powder that can upset your stomach. Continue reading to learn more. 

Should you use lactose free protein powder? Advice from a registered dietitian:

Although most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate a little lactose, this is not the case for everyone, especially those navigating more complicated gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, Chron’s, and SIBO.

Lactose-free protein powder is thus recommended for individuals who have digestive issues, as it is a great way to boost your protein intake without upsetting your stomach. Registered dietitian, Brittany Adelman, shares her take on using lactose free protein powders with her clients:

As someone who specializes in gut health, the topic of protein powder comes up a lot, as many individuals with digestive conditions struggle to eat enough protein. Protein powders that are lactose-free, but not necessarily dairy-free, can still cause a lot of digestive discomfort and promote inflammation in the gut, so I typically recommend protein powders that are dairy-free.” – Brittany Adelman, RDN

Additional things to consider when using lactose-free protein powder:

  • Avoid high FODMAP and heavily-processed ingredients as they may exacerbate your gut issues.
  • Be mindful of serving sizes and try not to consume more than the recommended amount.
  • Understand your food triggers and work with a professional to identify them. Many at-home tests available are inaccurate, so not waste your time or money on tests unless they are ordered by a trained practitioner.
  • Make sure you are enjoying your protein powder by experimenting with protein powder recipes.
  • Add extra fiber to your smoothies and recipes. I like to add frozen riced cauliflower to my smoothies for easier digestion.
  • Monitor your gut health and symptoms regularly, and adjust your protein powder consumption as needed.

As always, consult with your registered dietitian or healthcare professional for personalized guidance on incorporating lactose-free protein powder into your diet for optimal gut health.

What is the best protein powder that is lactose-free?

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

If you study ingredient lists, you will find that most lactose-free protein shakes contain a cocktail of additives like emulsifiers, thickeners, flavors, and sugar substitutes. Ingredients like these can cause painful digestive issues.

The best lactose-free protein shakes are thus made with a short list of simple ingredients.

By sticking to lactose-free protein sources and avoiding added junk, you can be sure that your protein shake will not cause any side effects.

Protein Powders

Collagen Protein Powder


Starting at $59.99

Protein Powders

Egg White Protein Powder


Starting at $39.99

Protein Powders

Vegan Almond Protein Powder


Starting at $39.99


drink wholesome is the best lactose-free protein powder

drink wholesome is additive-free

One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder without lactose is that we 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





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 supplements:

  • 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
  • maltitol
  • maltodextrin
  • mono- and diglycerides
  • ‘natural’ flavors
  • rice bran extract
  • rice dextrin
  • rice hulls
  • rosemary extract
  • silica
  • silicon dioxide
  • sodium alginate
  • soluble corn fiber
  • sorbitol
  • 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 that is lactose-free is that we 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 lactose-free protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement. Order samples to see for yourself. 

How to use lactose-free protein powder

There are several ways to easily incorporate lactose-free protein powder into your diet. For example, you can add it to smoothies and pancakes. Check out my favorite ways to use lactose-free protein powder below:

Banana Almond Smoothie

Ingredients (makes 1 smoothie)

  • 1 medium banana (tip: greener bananas are lower in FODMAPs and easier on the gut)
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 3 tablespoons drink wholesome lactose-free protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • handful ice cubes (optional)


Peel the ripe banana and break it into chunks. In a blender, combine the banana, almond butter, hemp seeds, lactose-free protein powder, and unsweetened almond milk. If desired, add a handful of ice cubes for a colder and thicker smoothie.

Blend the ingredients until smooth and creamy, ensuring that the protein powder is fully incorporated. Taste the smoothie and adjust the sweetness or thickness by adding more almond milk or sweetener if needed. Pour the smoothie into a glass and enjoy!

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Ingredients (makes 4 pancakes): 

  • 3 tablespoons drink wholesome lactose-free protein powder
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp crushed walnuts
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup


In a mixing bowl, combine the lactose-free protein powder, almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, melted coconut oil or butter, and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until you have a smooth pancake batter. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquid.

Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly grease it with coconut oil or cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup of the pancake batter onto the hot skillet to form a pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until golden brown.

Repeat with the remaining batter, adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Serve the protein pancakes warm and top with fresh blueberries, crushed walnuts, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Protein Powders

Collagen Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

Protein Powders

Egg White Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $94.97

Protein Powders

Vegan Almond Protein Powder Starter Kit

Starting at $116.97




1 week ago

Verified Purchase I'm only filling this out because I haven't found anything else like it. My system is sensitive to everything. I get headaches and stomachaches so easy from anything but regular old sugar for instance, and even that I can't have too much of. I'm using your protein powder (with the maple sugar) every morning, and I'm convinced there isn't a better one out there. I'm a 50 year old trying to lose 50 pounds and feel like your powder is the closest to something natural I can find which is good at my age, lol. I'm very proud of finding you guys and already tell everyone about it.

For Egg White Protein Powder


4 weeks 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


1 month 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

Frequently asked questions

Who is it for?

Drink Wholesome is the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs. If you are sick of protein powders that upset your stomach, you have come to the right place. 

Why is it easy to digest?

No dairy 

Drink Wholesome is made without whey and casein. These dairy-based proteins contain lactose, a sugar most adults can’t fully digest. 

No additives

Drink Wholesome is made without food additives. Even in small amounts, emulsifiers, thickeners, and other additives can cause digestive issues and long-term gut health problems. 

Whole food protein

Drink Wholesome is made with whole food protein sources like almonds, collagen, and egg whites. Unlike protein concentrates and isolates, which have been stripped of enzymes, fiber, and other digestive aids, whole foods are easy to break down.

Protein powder vs meal replacement powder?

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.

Collagen vs egg white vs almond protein powder?

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 one that best suits your dietary needs and personal preferences.

Which protein powder is right for you?

Which protein powder is best for you?

Which protein powder is best for you?

Answer the questions to find out.

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Protein Rice Krispies Treats


15 min


0 min




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.


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.