What are the best lactose-free protein shakes?

drink wholesome makes the best lactose-free protein shakes with a short list of simple ingredients. If you cannot tolerate lactose, order samples to see if our protein shakes without lactose are right for you. 

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

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How to boost your protein without lactose

What is lactose? 

Lactose is the sugar in milk and dairy products like yogurt, ice cream, and whey protein. It forms when two other sugars, glucose and galactose, join together.

What is lactose intolerance? 

An enzyme called lactase is needed to digest lactose. Lactose intolerance occurs when the body does not make enough of this enzyme. People who are lactose intolerant experience symptoms like bloating and diarrhea after consuming dairy products.

It is estimated that two thirds of the world’s population has some degree of lactose intolerance. This makes sense because humans no longer “need” the ability to digest milk after breastfeeding, so they begin to produce less lactase.

What does lactose-free mean? 

If a food is lactose-free, it does not contain any lactose. Lactose-free does not mean dairy-free. A product can be lactose-free and still contain dairy. A dairy-free product, on the other hand, is necessarily lactose free. This is important to understand if you have a dairy allergy.


Do protein shakes contain lactose?

Whey and casein protein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, contain lactose. If you are lactose intolerant, protein shakes made with whey and casein are not a good choice. Goat’s milk also contains lactose, so it is a good idea to avoid protein shakes made with goat’s milk too.

It is worth mentioning that some dairy-based protein shakes made with whey protein isolate are lactose-free, meaning that most of the lactose has been removed. Although this may seem like a good option for someone with lactose intolerance, these products are extremely processed. Straight from the cow, whey is 75% lactose. In order to remove all of that sugar, manufacturers rely on extensive mechanical and chemical processing.

In short, if you need a lactose-free protein shake, you should avoid casein, goat, and whey protein. You should also avoid dairy-based food additives like sodium caseinate, which can contain low levels of lactose.

To be safe, just avoid protein shakes that contain dairy. By law, food and supplement companies must label their products clearly if they contain milk. Look for “milk” to be labeled either in parentheses after an ingredient in the ingredient list or in a statement under the ingredient list. It will often be in bold.

Why use lactose-free protein shakes?

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

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.

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

What are the best protein shakes that are lactose free? 

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

If you look at ingredient lists, you will notice that most lactose-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 lactose-free protein shakes are made with a short list of simple ingredients. By sticking to lactose-free 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 lactose-free protein shakes

drink wholesome is additive-free.

One of the reasons why we make the best lactose-free protein shakes is that we do not use food additives. Even in small quantities, additives can cause painful side effects, especially if you have pre-existing gut issues.

Additives are hard to digest and fermented by the bacteria in your gut. Fermentation produces gas, which can cause bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain. Gas can also slow the movement of food through your colon, leading to constipation. In some cases, incompletely digested food additives can cause your colon to absorb extra water, which can lead to osmotic diarrhea. 

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

Regularly consuming food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in your intestines, paving the way for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other chronic inflammatory conditions. Food additives, notably artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes, can also alter the composition of your microbiome. An altered gut microbiome is a significant contributor to inflammation and associated with the development of 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 protein shakes for lactose intolerant people is that we do not use protein concentrates or isolates. Most other protein shakes are made from one or both of these protein sources, which are the product of rigorous mechanical and chemical processing. What you put into your body thus looks nothing like real foo

Your digestive system is meant to digest minimally or unprocessed real foods, not heavily-processed protein concentrates or isolates. Emerging research indicates, it follows, 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 protein shakes without lactose 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 make them easy to digest. 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

“I LOVE your protein drink. I have low blood sugar and cannot take in any sugars, and never any artificial sweeteners. Also, I have lactose intolerance. Thank you. I believe in your product.” – Christine

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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.