Lactose intolerance is something that affects a lot of people. It is estimated that as many as one in ten Australians have made at least some changes to their diet to accommodate an inability to properly digest this naturally occurring dairy sugar.
During the normal process of digestion, lactose is broken down into glucose by an enzyme known as lactase, and absorbed into the bloodstream. The extent of lactase production varies between people. Some people do not produce lactase at all, while others produce a reduced amount. People tend to grow more intolerant of lactose as they reach adulthood, and lactase production is also determined by genetics, with people from some ethnic backgrounds typically more able to digest dairy products than others.
When lactose passes through the gut undigested, it is acted upon by bacteria in the intestine, producing the extremely uncomfortable symptoms of lactose intolerance, which include cramps, diarrhoea, bloating and wind. Lactose intolerance differs from milk allergy, which is an immune response provoked by dairy proteins.
Lactose Intolerance - Weight Loss and Bodybuilding
While most people obtain their daily protein requirement from eating a balanced diet, bodybuilders and some athletes find it difficult to meet their high protein requirements through food alone, and choose to supplement with protein powder. Additionally, the weight loss benefits of a high protein intake are well known by anyone trying to shed the kilos, and protein powders are extremely popular and effective meal replacements.
The gold standard in protein powders is whey, which is derived from dairy. This is, understandably, a deterrent to many people who are lactose intolerant. It may come as a surprise that some whey proteins are so low in lactose they can be tolerated by almost anyone. Additionally, there are a number of high quality non-dairy proteins on the market for those who would like to avoid lactose entirely. Lactose intolerance should not stop anyone from obtaining the body they want.
Best Whey Protein for the Lactose intolerant
Whey protein comes in two main varieties – concentrate and isolate. Whey concentrate is cheap to make, and typically contains between 60 and 80% protein. It is an excellent, high quality, fast-absorbing protein that is great for everyday use. Unfortunately, this type of whey tends to be higher in lactose.
On the other hand, whey isolate is an ultra-pure product that usually comes in at greater than 80% protein. Unlike whey concentrate, whey isolate is extremely low in fats and sugars, including lactose, making it suitable for most people with an intolerance. It is estimated that a single 30g serving of whey protein isolate contains about 0.1g of lactose, which is well below the 4% lactose content found in whole milk. Many whey isolate powders are also processed in a way that removes carbohydrates, which includes the lactose component.
Best Lactose-Free Protein Shakes
1. Clean Active Vegan Pro
Vegan Pro, or any vegan protein powder for that matter is automatically lactose-free as they are not made by the milk-based whey. These are good options for those not wanting to risk even the tiniest amount of lactose, or for those looking to avoid animal products altogether.
2. Elemental Xtreme WPI
Elemental Nutrition make an extremely high-quality WPI (isolate) with little to almost no lactose. This option is for those still wanting to reep all the benefits of an animal-based protein but wanting to avoid high amounts of lactose.
ATP Science Noway
Collagen protein could be one of the least known of protein options. Noway (as can be assumed by the name) contains no whey, meaning no milk and no lactose. Although not a plant-based option (so not suitable for vegan or vegetarian diets) as it comes from hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides. It is shown to be highly absorbable in the human body, much more so than plant-based proteins with the advantage of not being dairy based, making it a perfect option for lactose intolerance.