Alternatives to Whey Protein if You're Lactose Intolerant

Lactose intolerance is a common issue that many people don’t even realize they have. If you’re lactose intolerant, it just means that your body doesn’t make enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose, a milk sugar. 

When lactose isn’t broken down well, it causes uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea. 

Although whey and casein protein powders are the most popular and effective for most people, both types come from milk. That means if you’re lactose intolerant, taking whey and casein is pretty likely to cause those uncomfortable lactose intolerance symptoms. 

However, if you need to avoid whey and casein, there are still some great protein options to help you reach your fitness goals. This article will go over some good alternatives to whey and protein to help you choose the best option if you’re lactose intolerant.  


Why is Whey Protein Problematic for Lactose Intolerance?

Whey protein is derived from milk. If you’re lactose intolerant and you take whey protein, it’s pretty likely that you will experience the same symptoms as if you would drink milk or eat other high lactose foods. 


When you’re lactose intolerant and consume anything high in lactose like whey, it doesn’t break down for absorption as it should. Once that unprocessed lactose gets into the colon, it reacts with bacteria and causes gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Some people also experience nausea or allergic reactions like hives and a runny nose.



Although these symptoms aren’t usually harmful, they’re definitely uncomfortable and interfere with your daily life. Discomfort may negatively impact your workouts, and bloating can mask your progress. 


Alternatives to Whey Protein if You are Lactose Intolerant

It’s not necessary to suffer the consequences of taking whey protein from cows if you’re lactose intolerant. There are plenty of lactose-free protein powders that provide high-quality protein to support any of your fitness goals.


Goat Protein 


goat whey protein

Goat protein is an increasingly popular protein option. Overall, it’s easier for the body to digest than whey from cow’s milk. Although goat whey is still a dairy-derived protein that does contain some lactose, it’s lower lactose content makes it much easier for many people with lactose intolerance to digest. 


Our goat whey protein is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the necessary amino acids to build muscle. It’s also known to support a healthy immune system and is rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants. 


Whey Isolate

There are a few different types of whey protein: whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate. Whey concentrate is the most common type of whey protein and has the highest concentration of lactose.

However, whey isolate is fairly low in lactose. This type of whey undergoes a little more processing than whey concentrate and may cost a little more. However, if you simply have a sensitivity to lactose or you can tolerate some low lactose foods, whey isolate could be easier for you to digest. 


Dairy-Free Protein Powders   


Goat protein, and any protein that comes from animal milk, is still considered dairy. If you have issues tolerating all dairy protein or just choose to avoid them, there are dairy-free protein options that offer plenty of fitness benefits. 


Egg Protein

Egg white protein is a great option for anyone who avoids dairy but isn’t totally vegan. This lactose-free protein powder is made with dried chicken egg whites, making it a rich source of high-quality protein and other nutrients. Egg protein is an easy-to-digest option for anyone who is lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy.


Collagen Powder 

Collagen is another non-dairy protein powder that has recently exploded in popularity. Although it’s not usually the first choice for muscle building, a collagen supplement does benefit muscle growth and recovery. Naked Collagen is made from pasture-raised European bovine hides, meaning it doesn’t contain any components from milk.  

Collagen Peptides Protein Powder


Pea Protein   

Pea protein is a popular choice for a vegan protein powder. Made from raw yellow peas, Naked Pea is a great source of branched-chain amino acids and iron. This dairy-free protein powder is also easy to digest. 


Rice Protein

Rice is another popular source of vegan protein. It’s made from organic sprouted whole grain brown rice, and its amino acid content may actually surprise you. Each serving of Naked Rice provides 25 grams of high-quality protein. It’s easy on the digestive system as well, making it a great option for a non-dairy protein powder.


Final Thoughts


Lactose sensitivity or intolerance doesn’t have to derail your fitness goals. If you normally take whey protein powder but experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, or other common lactose intolerance symptoms, it’s probably time to experiment with other protein options. 

Whether you choose to simply avoid or reduce the amount of lactose you consume, or avoid dairy altogether, try some of the alternatives to whey protein to help you reach your fitness goals.