You've read and heard all about the benefits of whey protein, but you're lactose intolerant. Does this mean you're automatically barred from reaping the benefits of a nutritionally-complete whey protein?
The key is to read supplement labels while applying some very basic knowledge about supplements. It goes without saying that you can likely reach for any plant-based protein on the market. After all, no cow’s milk also means no lactose. Unfortunately, plant proteins like the ones derived from hemp, peas or soy contain only some of the nine “essential” amino acids. They’re also not quite as easy for your body to digest or fully absorb. Whey protein is the gold standard for several reasons, and if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, it’s likely your best option.
Lactose Intolerance and Whey Protein
Derived from cow's milk during the cheese-making process, whey in its most basic form does contain lactose. When the liquid is filtered and spray-dried to become whey protein concentrate, the lactose content is slightly reduced, but usually not enough for those with even mild lactose sensitivities to use without gastrointestinal distress.
Micro-filtered whey protein isolates, however, are another story. Because it undergoes an additional step of purification during the micro-filtering process, lactose content is dramatically reduced.
For many lactose intolerant women, this extra purification step can make whey protein isolates perfectly safe and highly beneficial. After all, whey does contain all the essential amino acids your body is incapable of producing for itself. You're still reaping the benefits of a nutritionally-complete protein, but you're not forced to take lactase enzymes or suffer through stomach discomfort in the process.
Choosing a Protein Powder
While all bodies are different, many women with lactose sensitivities find that high-quality whey protein isolate supplements like Pinup Girl Protein are perfectly safe for them to consume. This means you don’t have to choose between complete proteins and stomach pain when working to boost your protein intake.