For those of you who are lactose intolerant or unable to properly digest meat or milk, there are non-dairy alternative to whey protein.
Assessing the Quality of Dairy Free Protein Powder
Protein powders on the market vary in quality and it can be difficult to understand which has the highest amount of protein or which blend will be right for you.
Consider these points when choosing a nondairy protein:
- Protein Digestibility: corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS) rate protein based on bio-availability as well as essential amino acid supply. The highest a supplement can score is 1.00.
- Protein Content: Check the label of the protein powders for the percentage of protein to make sure you’re getting the best nondairy powder for your money. Dairy free supplements tend to be on the lower side when it comes to protein content (although this isn’t always the case).
- Blended Protein Content: Also check the label when you buy protein blends so you know how much protein is in the blend. If this isn’t stated on the label, consider another blend.
- Amino Acid Profile: Understand that amino acid powders aren’t the same as protein powders. Proteins are made up of amino acids. For a protein to be complete it has to contain all 9 of the essential amino acids.
With this in mind, let’s check out some common go-to sources of non-dairy protein…
Egg White Protein
This protein is created by separating the yolk and then converting the white of the egg into powder. Be warned: this protein does create pretty smelly gas! It does become a thinner consistency when you mix it and the best way to stomach this protein is to mix it with one of the other proteins below which will greatly improve its taste and texture as well as lowering the “gas” content.
For a good egg white protein, I recommend Jay Robb Egg White Protein
Gemma Protein (aka Pea Protein)
Pea protein is pretty new on the supplement scene but it’s becoming more and more popular, particularly since the prices of whey protein seem to be soaring. It’s derived from peas so it’s a vegan-friendly option. The powder mixes into a thick consistency and has a rather pleasant nutty flavor. Many of the pea protein powders are also non-GMO which is making it a favorable choice.
You can use the powder on its own or mix it with one of the other proteins. My favorite pea protein is Source Naturals Pea Protein.
This is another vegan-friendly option and also one which is often non-GMO. This protein is derived from brown rice and mixes into a thinner consistency with a gritty texture but the flavor is pleasant.
Check out this rice protein to get started.
This nondairy alternative is derived from defatted soybean flakes. There has been a great deal of controversy as well as conflicting research regarding the use of soy supplements in a diet as well as the GMO situation. Personally, I’m not a big fan of pure soy protein supplements for this reason.
The other reason I avoid soy is that it really is in just about everything (including many popular condiments). Furthermore, it’s used as feed for many meat sources. In short, we all probably consume more than our fair share of soy one way or another. It’s about as common as corn syrup.
There is plenty of research and articles available to back up both sides of the story so it’s up to you to make an educated decision. Either way, it will be a vegan-friendly option.
If you are set on soy, I would recommend trying this soy protein to test out if you like it.
Hemp Seed Protein
Despite wishing otherwise, hemp protein doesn’t make you high. There are a few unique characteristics though: this protein contains essential fatty acids as well as fiber and in a small 30-gram serving you can enjoy 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein.
This is another fantastic nondairy option. In fact, it’s one of my favorite plant-based protein options. The best pure hemp protein that I have used is Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein. You can also check out my full review of Nutiva here.
While not exactly a protein powder, flax seed powder can help if you need to increase the omega 3 fatty acids and protein content. It also contains high amounts of protein so it’s a fantastic addition to other powders. Flaxseeds are also high in fiber and essential omega fatty acids – particularly omega 3. Flaxseeds are gluten free too.
This type of pure protein supplement is harder to find, but organic hemp and flax blend is a great place to start.
Non Dairy Protein Blends
If you are looking for a solution that leverages a variety of plant-based nutrients, there is a growing market of superior supplements available.
Our Favorite Non-Dairy Protein Shake Recipe — Chocolate Banana Goodness
- 1 banana
- 1 big kale leaf
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 scoop non-dairy protein powder like Nutiva
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
To make this yummy protein shake, just add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy! This also makes a great meal replacement or a great protein shake to have a after a tough workout at the gym. Saying no to dairy isn’t that tough when you have creamy, chocolatey goodness!
Final Take on Diary Free Protein Supplements
If bioavailable protein is important to you, opt for an egg protein. And if you’re looking to bulk up quickly this is also a good option unless, of course, you have an allergy to egg whites.
Egg protein is the best source of protein according the PDCAAS ratings. It contains all the essential amino acids as well as a couple of non-essential amino acids. Check out the quality of the powder before you buy it – some are higher in cholesterol than others.
So if you do suffer from lactose intolerance or your body simply struggles to utilize milk and meat, there are a number of nondairy protein supplements on the market that are great quality, great value and will give you all you need for an effective diet and workout.
For a true “vegan” supplement (eggs are out), the table referenced above represents the best of the bunch.
Alt Protein Team is a team of professionals and enthusiasts committed to bringing you the most up-to-date information on alternative protein, health and wellness, workouts, and all things health-related. We’ve reviewed a lot of products and services so you don’t have to guess when you spend your hard-earned money on them. Whether you want to shed some pounds, build lean muscle or bulk, we can help you figure out what you need to do and what you need to have to achieve your goals.
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