Whey Protein Substitutes

Fact Checked

iCenk1988/iStock/Getty Images

Whey protein is a source of essential amino acids that are necessary for healthy skin, hair, nails and muscles. Whey is a byproduct of making cheese -- it's what is left over after the mild solids harden into cheese. If you are lactose intolerant, have a milk allergy or are looking for a whey protein substitute, you'll find a variety of other quality protein products are available.

Lowfat Chocolate Milk

Lowfat chocolate milk is an efficient post-workout protein drink that will help your muscles recover from strenuous exercise. Lowfat chocolate milk provides carbohydrates to help replenish energy along with protein to help rebuild muscle tissue. It also contains calcium, potassium and magnesium, important minerals lost when you sweat. Lowfat chocolate milk contains whey protein and casein, and is a good low-cost substitute for the more expensive whey protein powders, which are typically mixed with milk also.


Casein is another protein derived from milk, but it contains higher amounts of amino acids, especially glutamine, and is absorbed at a slower rate than whey protein, according to the July 2012 issue of the "American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism." Casein is a good whey protein substitute if you are looking for a protein that is absorbed over a longer period of time, such as during sleep when your protein levels become depleted. Casein supplies a steady source of protein, helping to reduce muscle breakdown. It's also a good substitute for whey protein as a meal replacement. The slow release will help keep your body fed for hours, reducing hunger and keeping your energy level stable.


Soy protein is another good substitute for whey protein if you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy. Soy protein is comparable in its digestion rate and in its ability to support muscle after strenuous exercise. Soy protein also helps to lower your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, according to a study by Jennifer Starkey in the January 2011 issue of “Journal of Clinical Lipidology.” Soy protein has higher isoflavone content and is a good alternative for vegetarians who cannot consume animal proteins.

Egg Protein

Egg protein is another whey protein option if you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy. Egg protein powder is made from egg whites. Egg protein is a complete protein and digests easily, according to the January-February 2009 issue of "Nutrition Today." Egg protein dissolves about as easily as whey protein, promotes muscle growth, provides sustained energy and is a high-quality protein, containing all the amino acids the body needs for repair and growth.