What is the best protein powder for lactose intolerance?

If you are looking for the best protein powder for lactose intolerance, 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.

Protein powder and lactose intolerance

What is lactose? 

Lactose is a sugar in milk and dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream, and whey protein. It is created when two other sugars, glucose and galactose, combine.

What is lactose intolerance? 

To digest lactose, you need an enzyme called lactase. Lactose intolerance happens when your body does not produce enough of this enzyme.

About two-thirds of the world’s population suffers from some degree of lactose intolerance.

It is so common because humans no longer “need” to digest milk after breastfeeding, so they begin to produce less lactase.

If you are lactose intolerant, you may feel bloated and experience diarrhea and other side effects after consuming dairy products.

What does lactose-free mean? 

If a food is lactose-free, it has no lactose in it. Being lactose-free does not guarantee that a food is dairy-free, however.

A food can be lactose-free and still have dairy in it.

On the flip side, a dairy-free product is always lactose-free. This distinction is important to understand, especially if you have a dairy allergy. 

“As a dietitian specializing in gut health, I frequently work with lactose-intolerant clients struggling to meet their protein needs. While lactose-free protein powders can be helpful for some, I find that dairy-free protein powders work best. – Brittany Adelman, RDN


Is protein powder lactose-free?

Cow’s milk-based proteins like whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, contain lactose. If you are lactose intolerant, avoid protein powders made from whey and casein.

If you have severe lactose intolerance, you should avoid goat’s milk-based protein too. Goat’s milk is easier to digest and contains less lactose than cow’s milk, but it can still upset your stomach.

It is important to note that dairy-based food additives like sodium caseinate contain small amounts of lactose, which may be problematic if you are extremely sensitive to lactose.

To be safe, people with severe lactose intolerance should use a protein powder that is dairy-free. 

Why use lactose-free protein powder?

Lactose-free protein sources tend to be easier to digest than casein, whey, and other dairy-based protein sources, even for people without lactose intolerance. There are several different theories as to why this is so, but most of them point to the amount of processing that goes into making dairy-based protein supplements. 

Straight from the cow, whey is 75% lactose.

In order to strip-away all of that sugar, manufacturers rely on a lot of mechanical and chemical processing, turning your whey protein powder into something that looks nothing like real food. 

Generally speaking, the less something looks like real food, the harder it is to digest. This makes sense intuitively, because your body was designed to break down and absorb nutrients from foods that can be found in nature. Whey protein, although derived from milk, cannot be found in nature.


What is the best protein powder for lactose intolerant people?

There are several types of lactose-free protein powder. Some of the most common include beef protein powder, egg white protein powder, and plant-based protein powders made from dietary protein sources like hemp, nuts, and peas.

Some people will have you believe that plant-based protein sources are inferior to animal-based protein sources like eggs and beef because they have a lower protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS), which takes into account a dietary protein’s amino acid composition and digestibility.

Amino acid composition: Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 of them in the human body, 9 of which are essential, meaning we must get them from food. A dietary protein source with all 9 essential amino acids is considered a complete protein. The PDCAAS considers how much of each essential amino acid is in a dietary protein, and compares those values to the reference pattern established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which represents the ideal amino acid profile for human nutrition.

Protein digestibility: The PDCAAS also accounts for the digestibility of a dietary protein, as not all dietary proteins are digested and absorbed by the body in the same way. Dietary proteins that are more easily digested and absorbed have a higher PDCAAS.

Egg white protein, for example, has a PDCAAS of 100, which is the highest score possible. Not only does it contain high amounts of all the essential amino acids, but it is also easily digested and absorbed by the body.

Although plant-based proteins tend to score much lower, this does not mean that they are not a good source of protein. The PDCAAS is an imperfect method of assessment biased towards a protein’s “completeness” and ignores its nutritional value as part of an overall diet.

This is why research shows that supplementing your dietary protein intake with plant-based proteins is just as effective as supplementing with whey, egg whites, or another other animal-based protein.

As long as you are eating a balanced diet and getting your dietary protein from a variety sources, you will meet 100% of your essential amino acid requirements.

This is not to say that all protein powders for lactose intolerance are created equal, however. Many protein powders for lactose intolerant people are made with ingredients that can cause painful side effects and long term gut health problems.

Among these ingredients are food additives and protein concentrates and isolates. 

Avoid food additives

Regularly eating emulsifiers, thickeners, sugar substitutes, and other additives can not only upset your stomach, but also alter the composition of your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms living in your gut. This can lead to gut dysbiosis, which is linked to a number of chronic digestive issues.

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

Avoid protein concentrates and isolates

Most protein powders are made from protein concentrates and isolates, which have been mechanically and or chemically stripped of everything but the protein, including the enzymes, fiber, and other natural digestive aids that help you break them down. As a result, they can cause digestive issues and possibly even disruptions to your gut microbiome

Finding a lactose-free protein powder free from food additives and protein concentrates and isolates is hard.

In fact, 99% of protein supplements contain one or more of these problematic ingredients. This is why we created drink wholesome. Keep reading to learn more about why we make the best protein powder for lactose intolerance.

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 protein powder for lactose intolerance

We make the best protein powder for lactose intolerant people because we use a short list of simple ingredients free from dairy-based proteins, food additives, and protein concentrates and isolates.

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

Note that instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we use dairy-free, whole food protein sources like collagen, egg whites, and almonds, which are easier 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 protein powder than with any other type of protein supplement. Order samples to see for yourself. 

Can lactose-free protein powder improve your gut health?

Lactose-free protein powder can contribute to improved gut health, especially for individuals with lactose intolerance. For starters, if you are unable to fully digest lactose, using lactose-free protein powder can reduce bloating, gas, and other digestive issues. 

Moreover, although lactose intolerance is not directly caused by an inflammatory response, inflammation can occur when symptoms are present.

By removing lactose from their diet, lactose-intolerant individuals can reduce gut inflammation.

In short, if you are sensitive to lactose, choosing a lactose-free protein powder can be a step towards improving your gut health. 

Can lactose-free protein powder support your fitness goals ?

It is a common misconception that whey protein powder is the key to building muscle. As long as you are eating a balanced diet and getting your dietary protein from a variety of sources, any type of protein powder can help you achieve your fitness goals. 

Whey is the main reason why protein powder sends people running to the bathroom, and is often a source of discomfort and distraction above all else.

Moreover, for many people, using whey protein to build muscle or improve performance is counter productive. 

By choosing a lactose-free protein powder, you can reduce or avoid digestive discomfort during and after exercise, allowing you to focus on your fitness.

How should I use protein powder if I am lactose intolerant? 

First of all, you can add lactose-free protein powder to protein shakes, smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods, and other recipes. Just be sure to avoid using lactose-containing ingredients such as milk, cream, butter, cheese, and yogurt.

Here are a few more tips from a registered dietitian:

  • Check the nutrition panel look for a short list of simple ingredients. 
  • Be mindful of serving sizes and try not to consume more than the recommended amount.
  • Spread your protein intake throughout the day to allow for better digestion and absorption. 
  • Experiment with protein powder recipes to keep meeting your protein needs fun and delicious. 
  • Stay hydrated to support digestion.
  • Rotating between different types of protein powders for optimal gut health. 
  • Monitor your symptoms regularly, and adjust your protein powder consumption as needed

As always, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance on incorporating lactose-free protein powder into your diet. 

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.

press Enter
What is your main goal?
Do you have sensitive stomach?
Do you regularly experience bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, or stomach pain?
Have you ever been diagnosed with a digestive disease?
Select your condition.
Can you eat bovine collagen?
Can you eat eggs?
Can you eat almonds?
Use Shift+Tab to go back

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.