8 Best Lactose-Free Protein Powders and Shakes
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Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the milk sugar lactose.
Common symptoms include stomach pain, excessive gas, bloating, and diarrhea following the consumption of lactose-containing foods and drinks.
Protein powders and shakes commonly contain milk protein like whey — and therefore lactose — since it’s a high-quality source and it’s inexpensive compared with other protein sources.
While people with lactose intolerance can usually tolerate whey protein — especially a highly processed form called whey protein isolate — without experiencing symptoms, you may still prefer a lactose-free protein powder or shake to play it safe.
This article provides a list of the eight best lactose-free protein powders and shakes.
A quick look at the best lactose-free protein powders and shakes
- Best overall: Naked Pea
- Best for bulking: Naked Mass Vegan
- Best for weight loss: MuscleMeds Carnivor
- Best for diabetics: Evolve Plant-Based Shake
- Best for kids: Orgain Kids Shake
- Best for elderly: Kate Farms Nutrition Shake
- Best for vegans: Vega Sport
How I chose these lactose-free protein powders and shakes
- Third-party testing: When possible, I aim to include products that are third-party tested to ensure quality, purity, and potency.
- Company reputation: I include products from reputable brands that have existed for at least five years.
- Nutritional value: Each powder or shake is lactose- and dairy-free.
- We’ve tried them: I only include lactose-free powders and shakes that I have personally tried at least one flavor of so I can confidently speak to and recommend them.
A note about price
Each product is assigned a dollar sign ranging from one to three ($ to $$$). One dollar sign indicates the product is more affordable compared with the others, whereas three indicates a higher price range.
- $ = under $1.25 per serving
- $$ = $1.25–$3.00 per serving
- $$$ = over $3.00 per serving
My picks of the best lactose-free protein powders and shakes
Naked Pea takes possession of the best overall lactose-free protein powder since it can meet most people’s needs.
As the name suggests, Naked Pea provides protein from yellow peas.
Pea protein is a high-quality source and provides all the essential amino acids your body cannot make on its own (1).
Naked Pea contains no artificial sweeteners and instead uses coconut sugar and cacao powder as natural sweeteners.
It’s also hypoallergenic since it’s free of soy and gluten.
Naked Pea comes in 1- and 5-pound tubs with a choice of Chocolate, Vanilla, or Unflavored.
In my experience, Chocolate plant-based protein powders always taste better than Vanilla so I tried the Chocolate.
It mixed well, wasn’t chalky, and had a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Naked Pea is third-party tested for substances banned in sports, making it safe for competitive athletes.
Nutrition facts per two-scoop serving:
- Calories: 140–160
- Fat: 2.5–4 grams
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Protein: 25 grams
Best for bulking
Naked Mass Vegan
Bulking is a common strategy used among bodybuilders to gain as much muscle as possible before cutting or trimming down for competition.
However, bulking isn’t for competitive bodybuilders only, anyone who wants to add size to their frame can bulk.
Bulking requires that you consistently consume more calories than your body needs (calorie surplus) and train hard in the gym to gain muscle.
While not required, taking a mass or weight gainer supplement can make it easier to consume the necessary calories you need each day to gain weight.
Providing more than 1,200 calories per serving, Naked Mass Vegan is a great lactose-free choice for bulking.
It provides protein from yellow peas and brown rice and contains no artificial sweeteners or colors.
Like Naked Pea, Naked Mass Vegan comes unflavored or in Chocolate or Vanilla.
It comes in one 8-pound tub size.
The Chocolate Naked Mass Vegan is much denser — as to be expected — and sweeter than the Naked Pea protein powder.
A serving size is 4 scoops but you can always use fewer scoops depending on your calorie needs and weight gain goals.
Nutrition facts per 4-scoop serving:
- Calories: 1,230–1,280
- Fat: 15 grams
- Carbs: 237–245 grams
- Protein: 50 grams
Best for weight loss
Losing weight requires that you consistently consume fewer calories than your body needs (calorie deficit).
You can do this by emphasizing low-calorie, high-volume foods like fruits, nonstarchy vegetables, and lean proteins like poultry and beef.
Protein shakes are beneficial for losing weight since they can are generally low in calories and promote satiety, leaving you to feel less hungry.
MuscleMeds Carnivor is the perfect lactose-free protein powder since it provides as few as 100 calories — depending on the flavor — and 23 grams of protein
MuscleMeds Carnivor is unique in that it provides protein from beef.
It also contains creatine monohydrate, which when combined with weight training, can ensure that most weight loss comes from fat rather than muscle (2).
Creatine may also offer benefits for brain health and support healthy aging (2, 3).
MuscleMeds Carnivor comes in several flavors, including Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla Carmel, and Strawberry, among others.
It also comes in various tub sizes, ranging from 2 to 8 pounds.
I tried the Chocolate Peanut Butter. It mixed well and had a stronger chocolate taste than it did peanut butter.
MuscleMeds Carnivor is third-party tested by Informed Choice to ensure it’s free of substances banned in sports.
Nutrition facts per one-scoop serving:
- Calories: 100–120
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 3–6 grams
- Protein: 23 grams
Best for diabetics
Evolve Plant-Based Shake
For most people with diabetes, the primary goal is to balance blood sugars, preventing highs and lows.
This is because poorly controlled blood sugar can lead to various health complications that affect the heart, kidneys, and liver.
While there is no single best diet for diabetes and various dietary patterns can support healthy blood sugar balance, a high-protein, low-to-moderate carbohydrate diet works well for many (4).
Evolve Plant-Based Shake is a good choice for people with diabetes since it provides 20 grams of protein from peas and 10 grams of fiber, which plays an important role in supporting healthy blood sugar levels.
What’s more, Evolve Plant-Based Shake provides 15% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin B12.
A vitamin B12 deficiency is common in people with diabetes, especially in older adults and in those treated long-term with the diabetes drug metformin (5, 6).
The shakes come in a pack of 12 and in three flavors — Double Chocolate, Chocolate Caramel, and Vanilla Bean.
I tried the Vanilla Bean. It was smooth with a mild grassy aftertaste.
Nutrition facts per 11-ounce carton:
- Calories: 140
- Fat: 2–2.5 grams
- Carbs: 15–17 grams
- Protein: 20 grams
Best for kids
Orgain Kids Shake
Kids who are lactose-intolerant may struggle to get enough protein, especially if they are picky eaters.
In this case, Orgain Kids Shake is a good option.
It supplies 200 calories and 8 grams of protein — equivalent to one cup of milk — per carton.
The protein comes from peas and chia seeds.
Orgain Kids Shake is also a good source of 23 vitamins and minerals and provides beneficial plant compounds called phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables.
Phytochemicals provide strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Orgain Kids Shakes provides no artificial colors or flavors.
They come in a case of 12 and in Vanilla and Chocolate.
I opted for the Chocolate, which was smooth but intensely sweet.
Nutrition facts per 8-ounce carton:
- Calories: 200
- Fat: 7–8 grams
- Carbs: 26–28 grams
- Protein: 8 grams
Best for elderly
Kate Farms Nutrition Shake
Aging is associated with several physiological changes that lead to a reduction in appetite and food intake.
This phenomenon, known as the anorexia of aging, puts older adults at an increased risk of malnutrition, frailty, and illness (7).
Energy-dense nutrition shakes like Kate Farms can treat or reduce the risk of malnutrition in older adults.
Each carton provides 330 calories, 16 grams of protein from peas, and five grams of fiber to ease constipation and support bowel health.
All ingredients are organic and it is free of common allergens, including soy and gluten.
Each carton is also an excellent source of 25 vitamins and minerals and provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients from various extracts of fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
The shakes are best used between meals for those who have experienced unintended weight loss or need to gain weight, otherwise, they can be used as a meal replacement.
Kate Farms Nutrition Shake comes in a case of 12 and in three flavors — Vanilla, Chocolate, and Coffee.
I tried both the Vanilla and Chocolate. Of the two, Chocolate was my favorite since it has a more pleasant and less noticeable aftertaste.
Nutrition facts per 11-ounce carton:
- Calories: 330
- Fat: 12 grams
- Carbs: 38 grams
- Protein: 16 grams
Best for vegans
While most of the lactose-free protein powders and shakes on this list are vegan-friendly, Vega Sport is the best option.
It provides 170 calories and 30 grams of protein primarily from peas.
Each serving provides an excellent amount of calcium and iron — nutrients in which vegans tend to fall short (8).
Vega Sport also provides probiotics — which are beneficial for digestive health — and anti-inflammatory nutrients like tart cherry and turmeric (9, 10).
It’s available in a 1.8-pound tub and in Chocolate, Mocha, Peanut Butter, and Vanilla.
I tried the Mocha and thought it masked the pea protein taste well.
Vega Sport is third-party tested by NSF for substances banned in sports.
Nutrition facts per one-scoop serving:
- Calories: 170–180
- Fat: 3.5–4 grams
- Carbs: 4–6 grams
- Protein: 30 grams
A comparison of the best lactose-free protein powders and shakes
Here’s a quick look at how my top picks for lactose-free protein powders and shakes compare:
|Lactose-Free Protein Powder or Shake||Price||Best For||Calories||Protein (grams)||Form|
|Naked Mass Vegan||$$$||Bulking||1,230–1,280||50||Powder|
|MuscleMeds Carnivor||$||Weight Loss||100–120||23||Powder|
|Evolve Plant-Based Shake||$$||Diabetics||140||20||Shake|
|Orgain Kids Shake||$$||Children||200||8||Shake|
|Kate Farms Nutrition Shake||$$$||Elderly||330||16||Shake|
The bottom line
While most protein powders and shakes contain lactose, there are plenty of quality lactose-free options to suit your needs.
Naked Pea can meet most people’s needs for a lactose-free protein powder but the other products on this list might be a better fit depending on other factors like age, goals, and health conditions.