The Top 5 Dairy Free Protein Powders in the Market

Reading time: 16 minutes

In Search for the Best Dairy Free Protein Powder

There is a common misperception that the terms dairy free and lactose free mean the same thing, although somewhat related, they are entirely different.

It is important to understand the distinction, especially for anyone who cannot tolerate one or both.

The term dairy refers to any milk and related milk products produced by mammals such as cows, sheep, goats, tigers, and camels to name a few.

Related products include things such as cheese, curds, ice cream, sour cream, yogurt, and of course some protein powders other than dairy free protein powders.

People who look for dairy free products generally have an allergic reaction to anything dairy resulting in hives, wheezing and vomiting, or as in the case of vegans, choose not to include it in their diets.

Lactose on the other hand, is a sugar found in milk products which is metabolized in the body by an enzyme called lactase.

Dairy Free versus Lactose Free

People who become lactose intolerant show reduced levels of lactase, resulting in bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea and nausea.

It is more common in adults, however, those with minor cases may still be able to tolerate low levels of lactose, while others cannot tolerate even the smallest traces.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, about 10 – 15% of the American population will develop signs of lactose intolerance by the age of 20 and it will progress with age.

The dairy industry has addressed the unique needs of those who require dairy free or lactose free products by developing technologies to remove lactose, and all but very small traces of dairy.

A we walked down the dairy section of any grocery store, it is evident that a great number of products are marketed as lactose free and / or dairy free.

Further, the protein powder industry has jumped on the band wagon as well, and has essentially created an entirely new category of products targeting those with lactose intolerance or having an adversity to dairy.

The take away here is to understand your own dietary limitations, understand the ingredient listing on labels, and remember that even though a product is lactose free, it does not necessarily mean that it is dairy free – or vice versa.

The Whey, Dairy Free, Lactose Free Debate

The most effective way to ensure you are getting a 100% dairy free protein powder is to stay away from any powder made from cow’s milk, or any other mammal’s milk.

Whey protein powder is one of the most popular and effective protein powders for muscle building and a whole realm of other benefits, but unfortunately, anyone who has is allergic to dairy, or cannot include dairy in their diet, must stay away from whey as it is a direct derivative of milk.

The confusion stems from a lack of understanding of the difference between terms dairy free and lactose free.

Many who are lactose intolerant or averse to lactose, stay away from any whey based protein powders.

In reality, the process of reducing the liquid down to a powder form, uses heat which removes virtually all traces of lactose.

The amount of lactose remaining in the powder substance is less than 1%, hardly enough to cause any issues with lactose intolerant users.

The take away here is that whey protein powder is not a dairy free protein powder, however, it is considered to be a lactose free protein powder by most, due to the minimal traces of lactose found after processing.

What Are The Benefits of Dairy Free Protein Powder?

For so many years, animal based protein powders were perceived as being superior in terms of building lean muscle mass, increasing strength, and improving athletic performance.

Due to the growth of the protein supplement industry, and the need to address specific dietary requirements and medical conditions, new, innovative, and high quality products have been created, and in the case at hand, dairy free protein powders.

Quite simply, dairy free protein powders are not derived from the milk of cows or other mammals and are produced by extracting the protein primarily from plants.

Protein levels are generally as high as their animal based counterparts, however, they do hold some unique and special benefits.

Here is a list of a few:

  1. Allergen Free

For the most part, dairy free protein powders are gluten free and hypoallergenic by nature.

In general they do not result in the same level of gas, bloating, or nausea associated with some of their dairy inclusive counterparts.

  1. Natural Fiber

Many plant based dairy free protein powders, such as hemp or soy based powders, have naturally occurring soluble and insoluble fibers, which promotes proper digestion and supports motility.

  1. Weight Loss

Plant based protein has the effect of boosting metabolism, and the fact that it has a high fiber content, means that the metabolic function works harder, and in turn burns fat at a better rate that a high fat or high carb protein.

Further, non dairy proteins will generally create the feeling of fullness, called satiation, thus reducing the cravings for snacks and junk food between meals.

  1. Vitamins and Minerals

Dairy free protein powders by nature, are loaded with high levels of nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins which are not present in most animal proteins without being added.

In addition, most dairy free proteins contain an excellent mineral profile that your body can use to keep it healthy and strong.

  1. Antibiotic Free

Animals are often injected with antibiotics or growth hormones, however, dairy free plant based protein, if derived from organic sources are free from any additives or harmful chemicals.

 

Top 5 Dairy Free Protein Powders

AZ Healthy Families Editors Choice

#1 Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake

Our pick

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake, is a dairy free protein powder which is packed with all the plant based protein, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to power up your day and keep you energized.

Each serving contains 20 grams of protein, a complement of greens, a probiotic delivering 2 billion CFU’s, 5 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids, 4 grams of fiber, and 8 different vitamins and minerals to complete the mix.

Many customers were impressed with extent of ingredients covering everything from gut health to digestive support.

If you lead an active lifestyle and need a quick meal replacement or a boost of energy, the Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake is likely a great for you.

Other users mentioned that they could not tolerate whey based protein powders and found Vega one to be an excellent dairy and lactose free alternative.

If you are lactose intolerant or lead a vegan lifestyle, Vega One might be a great choice.

On the downside, numerous customer said that the sodium content was recently increased from 30 milligrams to 240 milligrams and was enough not to continue purchasing.

If you are on a low sodium diet or have issues with high blood pressure, this might not be the product for you.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros

  • Truly an all in one protein powder containing vitamins, minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, and omega-3s
  • USDA Organic approved with proteins derived from pea protein, organic sunflower seed protein, and organic pumpkin seed protein
  • 100% dairy free protein powder
  • Vegan friendly

thumbs-down-icon

Cons

  • High sodium content
  • Clean Labe Report indicates some heavy metal content

Price: Click here to check the price of the Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake on Amazon’s website

 

#2 Garden of Life Meal Replacement

Our pick

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Garden of Life Meal Replacement, is a very close second, as it loaded with 7 different ingredients including, 20 grams of protein derived from 13 raw sprouted ingredients, a complex of greens, healthy fats, 5 grams fiber, 1.5 billion live probiotics, enzymes to support digestion, plus 21 vitamins and minerals.

It is available in 4 different flavors, is soy and dairy free, and is ideal for those looking to lose weight or on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Many customers who use this protein powder, rave about the flavor, especially chocolate, and vanilla spiced chai.

One user said, “Best tasting meal replacement protein drink I’ve ever experienced – and I’ve got cupboards full of other brands”.

So if you, like many plant-based protein powder users, are frustrated with the taste and flavoring, Garden of Life Meal Replacement might be the answer.

Others mentioned that this protein powder reduces hunger cravings and creates the feeling of being full.

If you are wanting to shed a few pounds or manage your weight, Garden of Life may be a great dairy for protein powder for you.

Conversely, a number of users mentioned that the ownership of Garden of Life was recently changed, and as a result, the formula was changed to include lower quality ingredients.

This change seemed to make the texture watery and made certain flavors unpleasant.

If you desire top quality ingredients and texture is important, you might want to pass on this brand.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros

  • Dairy, lactose, and soy free
  • Made from 44 superfoods including grass, fruits, and veggies
  • Contains probiotics, digestive enzymes, and a complex of vitamins and minerals
  • Great meal replacement and fantastic for muscle building and energizing

thumbs-down-icon

Cons

  • May contain lower quality ingredients than in the past
  • Some concern about texture and taste

Price: Click here to check the price of the Garden of Life Meal Replacement – Organic Raw Plant Based Protein Powder on Amazon’s website

 

#3 Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder

Our pick

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder, is a plant-based dairy free protein powder and made with a combination of brown rice protein powder and yellow pea protein powder.

Ideal for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who is lactose intolerant, each serving contains 20 grams of protein, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of fat, making it perfect for those on a weight loss diet.

This USDA Organic Certified protein powder is available in chocolate and vanilla flavors and is sold in 1.5 pound (680 gram) containers.

Numerous customers said that they preferred the taste and texture of Purely Inspired Organic over whey protein powder, and since it is dairy free, makes it a great protein for those who are lactose intolerant.

If you have had adverse reactions to dairy-based protein powders such as whey or casein, this protein powder may be the solution.

Many other people who purchased Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder found that it is very filling and makes great a meal replacement.

If you are someone who is always on the go and does not always have time for a meal, a glass of this protein could do the trick for you.

Looking at the negative side, the largest concern of numerous users is that advertisements and marketing materials indicate that the product is 100% lactose free, however, the ingredients list indicates that there are small amounts of dairy.

If you are truly averse to dairy, even negligible traces, you should probably pass on this product.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros

  • Contains the benefits of proteins extracted from peas and brown rice
  • Low sugar, fat, and carbs making it great for weight loss
  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Contains no artificial flavoring or sweeteners

thumbs-down-icon

Cons

  • Contains traces of soy and dairy products, contrary to the advertising
  • Poor taste and lingering after taste

Price: Click here to check the price of the Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder on Amazon’s website

 

#4 PlantFusion Phood Plant Based Meal Replacement Protein Powder

Our pick

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

PlantFusion Phood Plant Based Meal Replacement Protein Powder, as of June 1, 2018, is now called Complete Meal as a result of Plant Fusion under going a complete re-branding and improvement to the quality of their product line.

Phood / Complete Meal uses high quality ingredients including pure protein, superfoods, omega fats, fiber, green foods, vitamins and minerals.

Each serving contains 18 grams of plant-based protein, 6 grams of fiber, and is 100% dairy free, soy free, and rice free.

Many customers who used PlantFusion Phood / Complete Meal, said it was a great cost effective meal replacement and made an excellent snack between meals.

For those who are looking for a quality dairy protein powder at a cost effective price point, this may very well be the solution for you.

A few others mentioned that they found it effective for weight loss and building muscle, and a one diabetic found that due to its low sugar, low carb formulation, it was a perfect fit for their diet.

If you are someone who is getting back not an exercise routine and wanting to drop a few pounds and gain some muscle, PlantFusion Phood / Complete Meal may work for you.

On the downside, a few customers mentioned that it reacted with their stomachs and gave them terrible gas and bloating.

For people who are prone to bloat and are sensitive to gas causing foods, this protein may not be advisable.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros

  • All in one powder containing protein, fiber, greens, enzymes, superfoods, omega fats, probiotics and vitamins
  • One of the highest quality protein powders on the market
  • 100% dairy free, soy free, and rice free, and ideal for vegans or vegetarians
  • Allergen free contain no dairy, soy, rice, gluten, eggs, nuts, fish, tree nuts or shellfish

thumbs-down-icon

Cons

  • May cause bloating and gas
  • Some concern about a salty, earthy taste

Price: Click here to check the price of the PlantFusion Phood Plant Based Meal Replacement Protein Powder on Amazon’s website

 

#5 Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Our pick

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, although derived from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides, is 100% dairy free.

Each serving contains 18 grams of protein, 20 grams of collagen, and promotes healthy hair, skin, nails and joints, ligaments, and tendons. In addition it absorbs very well and has an impressive amino acid profile including 8 of the nine essential amino acids.

It is available in 6 different sizes and comes in powder, capsule, and stick form.

A number of user mentioned a noticeable difference in complexion after taking this protein for a few months, and others stated that the experienced some hair growth.

For those looking to reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the face, or seeing some har loss, it is worth giving Vital Proteins Collagen peptides a shot.

A common drawback mention by some customers was the tremendous amount of gas and bloating this protein caused.

If you are predisposed to stomach sensitivities, you may have to pass on Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros

  • Promotes younger skin, healthier hair, and stronger nails
  • Excellent for bone and joint health
  • Dairy free, lactose free, and gluten free
  • Perfect for a Paleo diet

thumbs-down-icon

Cons

  • May cause extreme gas and bloating
  • Some saw the appearance of acne

Price: Click here to check the price of the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (20 oz) – Pasture-Raised on Amazon’s website

 

Summing It Up

Choosing the top 5 dairy free protein powders was a very difficult task because the term dairy free protein powder covers such a wide range of products.

We did, however, find a product which stands out from the rest, and that is the Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake.

With almost 5,000 reviews, and a 4.3 rating, we were most impressed with the high quality of this product and the amount of ingredients Vega One has packed into one powder.

Each serving contains 20 grams of protein, a complement of greens, a probiotic delivering 2 billion CFU’s, 5 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids, 4 grams of fiber, and 8 different vitamins and minerals to complete the mix.

What more can we say!

Congratulations to Vega One for being the #1 choice on our Top 5 Dairy Protein Powders list.

The Top 5 Dairy Free Protein Powders in the Market
5 (100%) 6 votes