Back in the day, protein powders were pretty simple. You only had milk & egg or 100% egg white. Then whey protein hit the market and protein supplements began to expand dramatically.
Jump to 2023, and there’s the plant-based protein powder trend, whey (of course), milk, good old egg, and even beef.
There are also lactose-free protein powders.
Back then, specific protein powders that targeted digestive problems were uncommon. Now, it’s a different story.
What good is a protein powder if you can’t digest it?
You guessed it, no good whatsoever.
This article gives you a list of the best lactose-free protein powders available.
After all, if muscle growth is on your goal list, and you’re lactose intolerant, you need the convenience of a good lactose-free protein powder if you want to make progress.
Let’s get started!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
Best Lactose-Free Protein Powders
- NutraBio 100% Whey Protein Isolate – Best Overall
- JYM Supplement Science Pro Jym Protein Powder – Best Blend
- Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey Protein Powder – Best Fast Digesting
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – Best Value
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Organic Plant-Based Protein – Best Organic
- PEScience Select Vegan Protein Powder – Best For Vegans
- Naked Nutrition Naked Pea Protein Isolate – Best Pea Protein
- Nature’s Best Plant-Based Vegan Protein Powder – Best Clean Formula
- Legion Whey+ Protein Powder – Best Tasting
- Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder – Best Complete Formula
- Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg – Best Egg White
Reviews – The Best Lactose-Free Protein Powders
1. NutraBio 100% Whey Protein Isolate – Best Overall
If there was a lactose-free whey protein that rated higher than 5 stars, this is it.
This is hands down the best lactose-free protein powder in this guide.
NutraBio’s labels redefine transparency. Every ingredient is clearly listed with the exact dose.
Everything else is broken down to the exact amount of flavorings, sweeteners, and other ingredients.
There’s no guesswork here, folks.
NutraBio 100% Whey Protein Isolate provides 25g of protein per serving. Even though it’s whey, it’s suitable for lactose intolerant individuals. Plus, it’s gluten-free and non-GMO.
It’s also 3rd party tested for purity, potency, and quality.
100% Whey Protein Isolate Protein Powder features 11 flavors, such as Root Beer Float, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss, Bourbon Banana Nut, Raw Unflavored, Cinnamon Sugar Donut, Alpine Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Blueberry Muffin, Pancakes and Maple Syrup, Strawberry Ice Cream, and Ice Cream Cookie Dream.
If this product has a downside, it contains sucralose. This powder would be perfect if it was naturally sweetened with stevia or monk fruit extract.
Still, this is the best protein powder for lactose intolerant users. That’s true whether they are bodybuilders, athletes, fitness enthusiasts, or users following a weight loss program.
Finally, it’s good for anyone looking to add protein to their diet for general good health.
For all these reasons, this is the best Lactose-Free Protein Powder on this list.
- Exceptional Quality
- Full Label Transparency
- Gluten-Free – non-GMO – Zero Fillers
- 25g Of Whey Protein Isolate Per Serving
- Contains Sucralose
2. JYM Supplement Science Pro Jym Protein Powder – Best Blend
Whey is still considered the premium protein source despite the significant increase in plant-based protein powders.
One potential disadvantage of whey is that it digests quickly. Yet, that’s a disadvantage based on the intended use.
First thing in the morning or after a workout, you want a fast-digesting whey protein.
Are you at the start of a long day at work or school? Do you know you won’t get to a planned meal? Or, is it just before bed? In these cases, the rapid rate of digestion of whey protein is a disadvantage.
That’s where Pro Jym Protein Powder comes in.
This lactose-free protein powder is the ideal choice if you have to wait longer than planned without a meal.
Pro Jym Protein Powder provides 24g of fast and slow-digesting proteins from whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate, casein, and egg white.
This combination of high-quality protein sources creates a sustained-release effect. Your protein needs are covered for several hours over using whey protein by itself.
If you’re a bodybuilder or athlete, that’s a huge benefit. The fact that a lactose-free protein is this good is an even bigger benefit.
This is the best choice in a multi-source lactose-free protein that allows for sustained digestion.
- 24g Of Fast & Slow Digesting Protein
- Good Source Of Calcium
- Good Range Of Flavors
- Artificially Sweetened
3. Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey Protein Powder – Best Fast Digesting
Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey protein powder provides a huge 30g of very high quality, fast digesting protein per serving. This is hydrolyzed whey protein. That means the whey isolate has been broken down into smaller pieces, so it mixes easily. This is also why it digests so fast.
That makes this lactose-free protein powder a great choice to use first thing in the morning.
That’s because when you first wake up, you’re coming off of a 7-10 hour fast. You haven’t eaten since the day before. Your muscles are literally starving for protein.
Other times to use this protein is post-workout, and in-between meals.
Hydro Whey provides all nine essential amino acids, including the branched-chain amino acids. This means Hydro Whey stimulates muscle protein synthesis for more muscle mass.
Post-workout, you’ll want a fast-digesting protein like Hydro Whey to start the recovery process. Time matters because training is a catabolic event. The sooner you take in protein powder the sooner you can shift back to an anabolic environment.
It’s clear this whey hydrolysate is a great protein for bodybuilders and athletes. Yet anyone who’s exercising can benefit from a powder like this.
But can those who have chosen not to exercise and just want some extra protein use Hydro Whey?
Of course, but it is expensive.
While the quality is exceptional, there are more cost-effective whey protein shakes for those who just want some good quality protein.
If you choose this product, there are some excellent flavor choices. These include Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Mint, or Chocolate Peanut Butter.
However, some users have reported the taste is a little bland, despite the excellent flavor variations.
Cost may be a downside to some. Still, you’re getting 38 servings from a 3.5lb. container.
Still, for fast digestion, this is the way to go.
- 30g Of Fast Digesting Whey
- 15.5g EAAs (Includes 9g BCAAs)
- This Is Optimum’s Most Advanced Lactose -Free Protein Powder
- Specifically Designed For Athletes – Not The Best Choice For General Use
- Pricy But Exceptional Quality
- Bland Taste
4. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – Best Value
Like Hydro Whey protein powder, this is 100% whey isolate protein. One serving gives you 24g of fast-digesting whey.
There’s a cost difference between Hydro Whey and this protein powder. This is the best value in the Optimum line. That does not mean lower quality. It does mean there is no hydrolyzation process.
What that does mean is that the protein isn’t broken down into smaller particles. Therefore, digestion is a little slower. Still, all whey protein digests within a few hours.
This has been the flagship Optimum protein powder for decades. It’s a great choice for bodybuilders and athletes. Plus, the better price point opens it up to anyone who wants the quality of a good whey isolate.
The downside is the bland, weak taste. Whey isolate can taste thin and weak. Still, some companies have created a thick, delicious whey isolate protein. Optimum protein powder is not one of them.
Even though the taste may not be great, dedicated bodybuilders and athletes overlook this issue. They use it because it’s a good quality, high protein powder. It’s also the best value.
- 24g Of Premium Quality Whey Isolate Per Serving
- High In Amino Acids
- 4g Of Glutamine
- Bland Taste
5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Organic Plant-Based Protein – Best Organic
This lactose-free protein powder is our best organic powder. One serving supplies 24g of organic plant-based protein.
There is just 1g of sugar. It’s sweetened naturally with organic stevia leaf.
Optimum Plant-Based Protein powder also supplies 7g of carbs from a special grain blend called AncienTrim™. That’s a blend of amaranth, barley, buckwheat, durum, millet, chia, quinoa and spelt. This blend is high in fiber and protein. It’s also something not usually found in other protein powders.
This plant-based protein powder is designed for bodybuilders, athletes, and active individuals. That includes anyone following a weight loss program.
Flavors are typical with Berry, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Unflavored. You can use it as protein shakes, or smoothies. You can even add it to recipes. This product is a top contender for overall use as a lactose-free protein powder.
- 24g Of Plant-Based Protein Per Serving
- Complete Amino Acid Profile
- No Artificial Ingredients
- Does Not Specify If Protein Is Isolate Or Concentrate
6. PEScience Select Vegan Protein Powder – Best For Vegans
As noted, plant-based protein sources are the current trend in nutrition in general and protein powders in particular.
For the most part, the lactose-free powders reviewed so far are designed more for bodybuilders and athletes.
Select Vegan is our pick for vegans who want to follow a high protein diet. In particular, it’s meant for anyone that wants to do so with the convenience of a low-carb protein powder.
Select Vegan plant-based protein powder supplies 20g of pea and brown rice protein with little fat and zero sugar.
The combination of pea and brown rice protein creates a complete protein. It’s similar to whey in quality. Also, it has become a popular combination among plant-based protein powders.
There are absolutely no artificial sweeteners as it’s sweetened with stevia.
PEScience put a lot of effort into the taste and texture of Select Vegan plant-based protein powder.
There are flavors such as Cinnamon Delight, Peanut Butter Delight as well as Chocolate, Vanilla, and Berry.
Overall, this is a good choice for anyone looking for a lactose-free protein supplement.
- Good Combination Of Plant Proteins
- 20g Complete Protein Per Serving
- Thick Texture & Good Flavor Selection
- Sweetened Naturally With Stevia
- Uses Pea & Rice Concentrate Instead Of Isolate
7. Naked Nutrition Naked Pea Protein Isolate – Best Pea Protein
We know a popular solution to lactose intolerance is to use a plant-based protein. For years the primary choice was soy. Now you have better protein sources to choose from.
One of those sources is pea isolate, the protein used in Naked Pea Protein Powder. In fact, there’s only one ingredient, Yellow Pea Protein. That’s why it’s our best pea protein powder.
Naked Pea Protein Powder supplies 27g of protein with 5.7g of BCAAs. That makes it ideal for bodybuilders and athletes. It’s also more protein per serving than many other protein powders on the market.
Plus, pea isolate protein has an amino acid profile similar to whey protein.
There’s just 2g of sugar, half a gram of fat, and only 110mg of sodium. That’s lower than the sodium content in some of the other plant-based proteins available.
There are the usual Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. Plus, there’s Matcha and Unflavored. You can add these to recipes if you prefer.
This dairy-free protein powder is marketed to those individuals who exercise and eat a clean diet. It is also ideal for anyone trying to lose weight.
Even if you don’t exercise, you can still consume it as part of a high protein diet. The versatility and quality of this protein make it the best lactose-free protein for general use.
- 27g Of 100% Pea Isolate Protein
- Yellow Peas Are The Only Ingredient
- Good Amino Acid Profile
- May Not Be As Complete As A Mix Of Plant Proteins
8. Nature’s Best Plant-Based Vegan Protein Powder – Best Clean Formula
Nature’s Best is the makers of Isopure Whey Isolate Zero Carb Protein powder. Now they have a high-quality, ultra-clean entry into the plant-based protein market with Plant-Based Vegan Protein Powder.
This lactose-free protein powder provides 20g of organic pea and brown rice protein per serving. There’s no added sugar, no artificial flavors, and no artificial sweeteners. It’s naturally sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract. Now that’s clean!
Flavors are Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry. There’s also Unflavored, so you can doctor it up however you like.
Plant-Based Vegan Protein Powder is ideal for anyone trying to lose weight on the keto or low carb diet. It’s also good for anyone wanting to add a quality high protein supplement to their diet.
If there’s a downside, the labeling does not indicate if this is isolate or concentrate protein. Also, it’s a little high in sodium at 200mg per serving.
- 20g Of Plant-Based Protein Per Serving
- Vegan, non-GMO, Keto & Low Carb-Friendly
- No Artificial Flavors or Sweeteners
- A Little High In Sodium (200 mg)
9. Legion Whey+ Protein Powder – Best Tasting
Legion Whey+ Protein Powder contains 22g of whey protein isolate per serving. This is a grass-fed whey protein with little fillers and no artificial ingredients. It’s naturally sweetened with stevia.
There are a whopping 11 flavor options: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Cereal, Cookies & Cream, Dutch Chocolate, French Vanilla, Mint Chocolate, Mocha Cappuccino, Strawberry Banana, Birthday Cake, Salted Caramel, and Unflavored.
Now that’s quite a list!
With options like that, it better mix well and it does. You can mix it into the smoothie or protein shake of your choice.
This is a great-tasting addition to your favorite drink. Some users feel Whey+ is delicious even in cold water.
Why does it taste so good? Legion only uses milk from Irish dairy farms. Irish whey is richer and creamier, creating a great-tasting grass-fed whey protein.
Legion Whey+ Protein Powder is a top contender whey protein isolate. If there’s a downside, it’s a little expensive.
You can get other good quality, lactose-free protein supplements for less. That means you’ll have to decide if this product is value-conscious enough to meet your needs.
- 22g Of Whey Isolate Protein Per Serving
- Sweetened Naturally With Stevia
- 11 Flavors!
- One Of The Most Expensive Lactose-Free Protein Powders
10. Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder – Best Complete Formula
Raw Organic Protein Powder is a completely organic powder. One serving provides 22g of protein. It’s a unique blend of organic pea protein and organic sprouted brown rice protein. The blend also includes 12 organic beans, seeds, and grains.
Plus, it includes a probiotic and digestive enzyme blend. This is as complete as it gets. There is absolutely nothing artificial in this lactose-free protein powder.
Raw Organic Protein Powder supports a healthy lifestyle and can be used by anyone.
In fact, it’s a great choice for bodybuilders and athletes who want an organic, natural protein source. It’s a clean protein with a good amino acid profile which makes it ideal for recovery and muscle growth.
It comes in Vanilla, Chocolate, Vanilla Chai & Unflavored, which means you can flavor it any way you like or add it to recipes.
Many users will add the Unflavored powder to healthy cookies, muffins, or soups.
You can add it to just about anything for an extra boost of clean protein. You can also use any of the flavored versions for your recipes if you wish.
Most non-organic or organic plant protein powders are not known for their amazing taste, and this is no exception.
Still, with this kind of commitment to quality and the fact that it’s organic, raw, and all-natural, it’s a great choice.
- 22g Of Complete Plant Protein Per Serving
- Features A Unique Protein Complex Consisting Of Pea, Brown Rice & 12 Organic Beans, Seeds 7 Grains
- Certified Raw Organic
- Nothing Artificial
- Not The Best Tasting Protein Powder
11. Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg – Best Egg White
When you think of lactose-free protein powders, you don’t usually think of egg white protein. That’s for good reason, egg white protein typically is not lactose-free.
Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg is a 100% egg white protein powder that is free of lactose. One serving of Proven Egg protein provides 25g or the same amount of protein as 7 egg whites.
It also has a balanced amino acid profile, with an impressive 6.5g of BCAAs per serving.
Egg white protein powder has long been one of the best proteins available. It’s a complete protein powder that rivals whey protein powders in quality, absorbability, and digestibility.
Proven Egg is a clean non-dairy protein powder. Besides no lactose and no dairy, there are no hormones or antibiotics. There are also zero artificial colors or sweeteners. Proven Egg is sweetened with stevia.
Finally, this lactose-free protein powder is keto-friendly, making it ideal for weight loss. Of course, with the high BCAA content, it’s a great choice for building muscle. Use Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg in your protein shakes or smoothies.
- 100% Lactose-Free Egg White Protein
- 25g Per Serving – 6.5g BCAAs
- No Artificial Colors Or Sweeteners
- Uses Artificial Flavors
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Lactose-Free Protein Powder?
When you hear someone use the term lactose intolerant, the first thing you think of is that the individual can’t tolerate cow’s milk or dairy products.
The problem isn’t the dairy products or the cow’s milk but lactose, a form of sugar found in milk.
Lactose intolerance means that the individual has problems digesting this sugar.
People with lactose intolerance are sensitive to all dairy products. There’s no cure for lactose intolerance. The only solution is to eliminate products that contain lactose from your diet.
While the degree of symptoms varies, they include abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, bloating, vomiting, and nausea.
Ultimately, for people with lactose intolerance, it’s best to use only lactose-free products. That means if you’re a bodybuilder or athlete, your best choice is lactose-free protein powders.
Types Of Lactose-Free Protein Powder
Of course, you know how important protein is.
Are you a bodybuilder, athlete, or fitness enthusiast that wants to build muscle mass? Then it goes without saying that protein is the most important macronutrient.
If your goal is to lose weight, protein is an equally essential part of your diet.
Finally, many people simply want to eat healthier whether they work out or not. That goal includes good sources of protein. (1, 2).
With that in mind, here is a look at the types of protein available for lactose intolerant individuals. The truth is, there are a lot of great choices:
Whey Protein Isolate – Whey in isolate form has had the fat and lactose removed. That leaves users with the highest quality protein available. Whey protein concentrate, on the other hand, still has some lactose and fat. Lactose intolerant people should avoid all whey protein powders that do not specifically state lactose-free on the label.
As noted, one downside is that isolate can have a weak, thin taste. Also, it digests fast, which only fits certain circumstances. Still, when it comes to a good lactose-free whey protein for any purpose, you can’t beat whey isolate.
The best example of this type of protein is NutraBio 100% Whey.
Brown Rice Protein – Typically, this is a mainstay of plant protein powders and is almost always combined with pea protein. This combination creates a complete lactose-free protein powder with a good amino acid profile. That’s because each one offsets the nutritional shortcomings of the other. Of course, brown rice protein contains no lactose. Yet it needs to be in a formula where it’s combined with pea or some other high-quality plant protein source.
Pea Protein – This is a good protein for lactose intolerant individuals. It’s usually combined with brown rice protein to create a complete protein source. Pea protein comes from yellow peas and has been the subject of research despite being relatively new. (3) This is the most common plant protein source. A great example of this type of protein is Naked Pea.
Soy Protein – There was a time when soy protein was the only option if you were lactose intolerant. While it has fallen out of favor in recent years, it is a common source of protein in many protein bars. Besides being lactose-free, it may support heart health. But it is also considered estrogenic. That’s the main reason it’s not as popular as it once was. (4)
Beef Protein Isolate– This is a relatively unpopular lactose-free protein powder with few choices available. If you can’t tolerate lactose, beef protein may be an option. The problem is that beef protein isolate is made of the discarded parts of a cow. I don’t know about you, but that’s a definite turn-off for me.
Hemp – This is a THC-free, good-quality protein that’s sourced from the cannabis plant. And no, you can’t get high from it.
Milk Isolate – This can be an excellent source if it’s lactose-free. The advantage of milk protein is that it digests more slowly than whey.
In fact, the combination of whey and milk isolate, such as found in Pro Jym, creates an excellent protein source. It provides a sustained-release effect that’s ideal for busy lifestyles.
Finally, some lactose-free protein powders are organic.
An important point to consider when buying lactose-free protein powders is the actual protein content. Different types of protein have different contents as follows:
- Protein Concentrates contain 70-80% protein. Most of the carbohydrates, minerals, and fats are removed. They will contain significant lactose if the source is dairy. A good example is whey protein concentrate, probably the most popular of any protein concentrate.
- Protein Isolates are 90% protein. In this case, all of the lactose is removed.
- Protein Hydrolysate is an isolate that’s further broken down into smaller particles for improved digestion. Hydrolysate, like isolate, is 90% protein.
Do you have lactose intolerance? Are you in the market for whey protein or whey and milk? Start your search with isolate.
Otherwise, many good plant-based proteins are concentrate, as we have seen in our review of PES Select Vegan.
Benefits Of Lactose-Free Protein Powder
Even if you have lactose intolerance, protein is still important. This is especially true if you work out.
What are the main benefits of using a lactose-free protein powder? Let’s find out.
Adequate Protein Intake Is Critical For Gaining Muscle Mass
You need sufficient protein intake for maximum results in the gym. This includes gaining muscle mass and optimizing post-workout recovery.
As noted, one component of protein is amino acids. There are 20, and 9 of them are essential amino acids. This means they must come from diet and protein powder. Your body cannot make them. Of those 9, 3 are called branched-chain amino acids. These amino acids, especially leucine, are critical for muscle protein synthesis to occur. That’s a direct trigger for muscle growth.
That means protein supplementation is a key to your success.
Adequate Protein Intake Is Critical For Weight Loss
Sufficient protein is required consistently during the day. Your body must be in a positive protein state for any progress to occur. Are you losing weight? You need to prevent muscle protein breakdown caused by restricted calories.
The easiest way to ensure adequate protein intake is with protein powders. Or, in this case, lactose-free protein powders.
Lactose-Free Protein Powders Won’t Cause Digestive Problems
No doubt this is the most important concern for people that have an intolerance for lactose. Nothing is more unpleasant than gastric problems that could have been avoided by the use of lactose-free protein powder.
Lactose intolerance is a serious issue. Thankfully, when it comes to getting the benefits of protein powder, the market has responded with quite a few good options.
While every protein on this list would be a good choice, Naked Nutrition’s Naked Pea protein powder is the best for general use. This is a product that fits the vegan lifestyle. It’s also a good choice for lactose intolerant people that want a good protein from non-dairy sources.
If whey is on your list of protein choices, we’ve seen that NutraBio protein powder makes the best protein you can buy, bar none. Their extreme open-label hides nothing. You can see how much of everything is in their product. This is the kind of transparency every company should be emulating.
Speed of digestion is a big deal for many bodybuilders and athletes. That’s because the demands of life can derail pre-planned meal times.
If you’re serious about your goals, you know you need protein. What you don’t need is to have to wait several hours to get to a meal or shake. For this reason, Pro Jym protein powder is our best choice for a sustained release protein.
Pro Jym protein powder achieves this by using several protein sources that each digest at different speeds. This makes it a great choice before bed to help offset catabolism, as well as before a long day at work or school. Drinking a protein shake before you start your day ensures you will maintain an anabolic environment for most of the day.
Lactose-free means you don’t have to let lactose intolerance derail your goals, not when you have so many good lactose-free protein supplements available.
So, what are you waiting for, go get some lactose-free protein powder!
- Nutrition and Diet Therapy, Cataldo, DeBruyne and Whitney, “The Chemists View of Protein” p.80-81
- What Is Protein Synthesis. (2015, December 27). Retrieved May 02, 2017, from http://www.proteinsynthesis.org/what-is-protein-synthesis/