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Reviewed by Emily Gregory
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Did you know that almost 68% of the world's population has issues with lactose intolerance? Protein shakes are a staple in many people's diets, but did you know that your favorite protein shake might actually contain some lactose? Who would have thought that something so delicious could be causing digestive issues and discomfort? Well, it is true! Many companies add lactose to their powders because of its high biological value. If you're lactose intolerant or simply avoiding dairy for its side effects, there is good news: there are plenty of options out there for you too.
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What is Lactose?
Lactose is a carbohydrate found in all dairy products. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, which can lead to digestive issues like gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. A person who is lactose intolerant will have difficulty digesting the Lactase Enzyme needed to break down Lactose. In other words, Lactase breaks down lactose in the small intestine so it can be digested by your body.
What is Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose is a natural sugar found in most mammals' milk. If someone is lactose-intolerant a certain enzyme called lactase is insufficient.
Lactase plays a significant role in releasing and digesting lactose. As we get older our body's production of lactase decreases when we are younger.
Many young adults that were able to consume milk or cheese in childhood now face lactose intolerance. It can also happen to individuals when they undergo surgery or experience a viral or bacterial infection. The reason is that the problem is not an immunity problem but a lack of specific enzymes.
Why choose lactose-free?
Many people with Lactose Intolerance choose Lactose-Free Protein Shakes in their protein shakes because they don't have the Lactase enzyme needed to break down Lactic Acid in milk and therefore suffer from gas, bloating, and stomach cramps after drinking a glass of milk or eating Lactose rich foods.
Lactose-Free Protein Shakes are great because they get rid of any bloating, gas, or stomach cramps after consuming whey protein shakes made with milk instead of Lactose-Free Protein Powder.
Lactose-free shakes won't affect your muscles and will still provide you with the right dose of protein and amino acids needed to boost muscle growth and repair.
How do you know if you need a lactose-free diet?
Most lactose intolerance symptoms are related to digestion. If people with Lactose intolerance have occasional (or several) symptoms after consuming dairy goods, it happens. Symptoms usually begin immediately but typically appear slowly within a few hours or even days after consumption. The symptom of an allergic reaction (rash, trouble breathing, etc.) arises spontaneously. They also have to be treated immediately.
Is Whey protein lactose-free? What about Whey Protein Isolate?
Whey protein is a great source of protein, but it does have Lactose in it. Lactose is considered a part of whey because it is not completely filtered out when whey is processed for manufacturing. However, if you are lactose intolerant or concerned about your protein powder's Lactose content, there are several Lactose-Free Protein Shake options to choose from. Lactose-Free Whey Protein Isolate has Lactose reduced to less than 0.1 grams per serving, which makes it perfect for people who are Lactose intolerant and want a Lactose-free shake.
Are plant-based protein powders lactose-free? Especially pea protein or soy protein?
Good news! Most plant-based protein powders are Lactose-free. However, there are some Lactose proteins that can be found in soy and other vegetarian options. Pea protein, soy protein, rice protein powders are known to not have any lactose. Additionally, combining pea protein and rice protein makes a complete protein (includes all essential branched chain amino acids), thereby giving you a very suitable option if you're looking to replace your current whey protein powder. To read more about this, feel free to check out Whey Protein vs. Plant Protein: Which is better for you?
Are vegan protein powders lactose-free?
Vegan proteins contain no animal ingredients of any kind. Lactose is a milk sugar that comes from dairy products, so vegan proteins are Lactose-free and usually Lactase enzyme-free as well.
Lactose-Free Protein Shakes are a great option for people with Lactose Intolerance because they allow them to get the right amount of protein and amino acids needed to boost muscle growth and repair without any stomach cramps or gas after drinking Lactose-Free Whey Isolate Protein Powder or Lactic Acid in milk and therefore suffer from gas, bloating, and stomach cramps after drinking a glass of milk or eating Lactose rich foods.
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