For a long time, milk-based proteins like whey and casein have ruled the protein powder landscape. But, could there be a reason why someone would opt for a dairy free protein powder instead?
As it turns out, there are several advantages to going dairy free.
1) Lactose Intolerance
Milk, and protein powders derived from it, contain a form of sugar called lactose. In order to break this compound down and use it, you require a specialized enzyme (somewhat confusingly) called lactase.
According to some experts, as many as 60 percent of adults around the globe lack this enzyme – a condition called lactose intolerance. Although levels of lactose are reduced in whey and casein, the sugar is still present and may cause digestive discomfort in some individuals.
Dairy free protein powders, however, have absolutely no lactose and therefore carry no risk of symptoms.
2) Better Bone Health
Granted, the traditional wisdom has always held that milk – and the calcium held within – is vital for healthy bones. Modern research, however, has challenged this idea.
For example, a 2015 study found that increased calcium consumption doesn't actually do anything to ward up bone fractures. In fact, regions that have low rates of dairy intake also have very low rates of osteoporosis.
3) Reduced Risk Of Some Cancers
Although the connection is not fully understood, a significant body of research has linked high levels of calcium in the blood with fatal prostate cancer in men.
In reality, many of the supposed benefits of dairy have been exaggerated. At the same time, the risks of have somewhat minimized.
If you struggle with lactose intolerance or have concerns over bone health and cancer prevention, it's likely that you should select a dairy-free protein powder instead of the more traditional milk-based options.