The 6 Best Dairy Milk Alternatives

It’s protein powder’s best friend, but what if you can’t stomach milk from a cow?

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If you have symptoms like abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, or nausea after drinking cow’s milk or other dairy products, you’re probably lactose intolerant to some degree. Fortunately, plant-based milks like almond, hemp, and rice milk are good options for people with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy, says Alissa Rumsey, R.D., C.S.C.S., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Some brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D to help match the nutrients in cow’s milk.

Coconut milk is higher in calories, but most of these calories come from fat, not protein, so be mindful of that if you start to add unwanted body fat. Another alternative is soy milk, which provides 8 grams of protein per cup. Some bodybuilders believe soy can increase estrogen and tamp down testosterone levels, though a 2010 meta-review published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found no impact on T from soy.

SEE ALSO: Why Dairy is a Must in Your Bodybuilding Diet

You can also try lactose-free milk, which has added lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, the natural sugar found in dairy that can cause gastro- intestinal distress. Lactose-free milk still has good amounts of protein and calories, comes in 2%, 1%, and fat-free selections, and even tastes a little sweeter than regular milk. Mix your protein powder with these alternative milks to help you reap the benefits of your gym efforts.

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