You are eating giant portion sizes, religiously working out at the gym following that bulking program everyone raves about- you seem to be doing everything right, yet your ectomorphic build simply refuses to pad up with those coveted lean muscles. Sounds familiar?
Well, you are definitely not alone. It is a common struggle for ectomorphs to put on weight and muscle mass because of our super-fast metabolism. The secret ingredient to overcome this plateau is a dietary supplement- specifically, a weight gainer.
Now, just like your diet and exercise routine, there is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to weight or mass gainers. You need to pick one based on your goals, lifestyle, and dietary requirements or restrictions.
Here is when things get complicated- the market is flooded with a huge variety of weight gainers, but when it comes to quality weight gainers to suit those with dietary restrictions, options are few and far between.
Lactose free weight gainers are one of these much-in-demand variants that you could have trouble finding the right fit for yourself in the market.
Recommended: Since you are trying to gain weight, check out my complete guide on how to gain weight if you are a hard-gainer.
Understanding Lactose Breakdown and Lactose Intolerance
Lactose is a type of natural sugar that is characteristically present in milk and dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, etc. Normally, our small intestines produce an enzyme known as lactase which breaks down this more complex milk sugar into two simpler sugars, glucose and galactose, which can then be easily absorbed into the bloodstream through the linings of the intestines.
If you are lactose intolerant, it implies that your body’s mechanism of breaking down the milk sugar is not at its optimum. Lactose intolerant people have a dearth of lactase produced by their small intestine, and therefore they have trouble digesting dairy products.
What Happens When Lactose Intolerant People Consume Dairy?
As established, if you are lactose intolerant, your body cannot successfully break down lactose. So how does your body deal with it when you end up ingesting dairy products? Instead of being processed and absorbed into the bloodstream through the linings of your small intestine, the lactose travels down to your large intestines and colon. This region of your digestive tract is rich in bacteria, which interacts with the undigested lactose, thus leading to the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Lactose tolerance may be classified as primary, secondary, or congenital.
Here are a few common symptoms of lactose intolerance, usually evident 30 minutes to 2 hours since consumption, that you may be susceptible to when you eat or drink anything with dairy:
- Stomach Cramps
- Nausea, and even vomiting
The Need for Lactose free Weight Gainers
Lactose Intolerance is an extremely common condition in adults, especially if you have Hispanic, African, or East Asian roots. In fact, approximately one in three Americans suffer from lactose intolerance.
While it is quite harmless, it is super uncomfortable to deal with the symptoms and really sucks away the joy of eating out. While you can try your best to monitor your diet, and maybe put yourself through the struggle to enjoy a bowl of cheesy pasta or ice cream once in a blue moon, your nutritional supplements cannot be a compromise.
Recommended: Not sure how to use a mass gainer for optimum results? Here’s the Best Way of Taking a Mass Gainer.
Weight gainers, like most supplements, require daily consumption to show optimum results. A majority of weight gainer blends contain lactose in some form or the other, and this component contributes significantly towards the palatability of the mix.
Think about it, most people drink their weight gainers blended into water or smoothies- typically, a tinge of dairy would only enhance the taste and texture of this drink you are about to chug.
If you have lactose intolerance, however, this is a big no! You simply cannot put your body through a daily dose of a lactose-laden drink, often on an empty stomach or first thing in the morning. This is why it becomes so important to have lactose free gainer in the market catering to your specific dietary needs.
After all, you should be able to go about your weight gain journey with minimal bothersome side effects!
Recommended: If you are avoiding sugar, here’s a great list of Sugar Free Weight Gainer Products.
The Best Lactose Free Weight Gainer
While the market is far from saturated with high quality lactose free mass gainers, there are a considerable few to debate upon.
To help make your decision-making process less cumbersome and more informed, I have curated a list of the top lactose free weight gainers in the market at the moment.
Here, at one go, you can glance through all the pertinent details of the supplement- ranging from their ingredient list and nutritional value, to the taste and pricing.
Isopure® Mass is one of the best lactose free mass builder blends out there in the market right now. It’s the perfect option for you if you are looking to gain some brawn without bulking up unnaturally. It helps build lean muscles and boost your muscle strength but not hulk out unnaturally.
Brand Value: Isopure® is a trusted and well-known brand which makes high-quality premium nutritional supplements targeted towards athletes and high performers. The brands USP is a the use of simple trusted ingredients, pure proteins, and maintaining the highest standards of quality and taste to give you the fuel you need to beat your daily obstacles and be the best version of yourself. If you are looking for the best weight gainer for lactose intolerant, Isopure Mass is your best bet.
Ingredients: The primary ingredient of this lactose free mass builder is 100% pure whey protein isolate, measuring to 53 grams in each standard serving. Isopure® Mass also includes 11.5 grams of naturally occurring BCAAs and 4.8 grams of naturally occurring L-Glutamine per serving as the other hero ingredients.
Nutritional Value: Isopure® Mass has a significantly high nutritional density, packing in 600 calories, 86 grams of carbs, and 53 grams of protein per standard serving. It contains 4 grams of dietary fibers and only 3 grams of sugar per serving.
Some other important nutritional components that give Isopure® Mass the upper hand includes:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6 and B12
- Pantothenic Acid
Serving Size and Suggestions: The recommended serving size for Isopure® Mass is 6 scoops.
The most convenient way to get your daily dose despite your busy fast-paced lifestyle is probably to simply stir in 6 scoops of the Isopure® Mass blend into 16 oz (that is, 2 cups) of water to prepare a rich and thick shake. Other recipe ideas to make it a more fun and exciting experience is to prepare a smoothie, swapping out the water for 2 cups of soy milk or other plant-based milks to prepare a smoothie to give your day an appetizing and filling start.
Making a smoothie using the Isopure® Mass would not only be perfect as a breakfast-replacement, but would also increase the calorific value of the blend.
Taste: The Isopure® Mass tastes great, with its perfect balance of sweetness and a great consistency. It is an easy to drink formula that is not too thick or too sweet, which is definitely a bonus considering nutritional supplements can usually be quite overpowering or unappetizing to taste. The Isopure® Mass comes in two appetizing flavour variants- Dutch Chocolate and Creamy Vanilla.
Pricing and Other Purchase Information: The Isopure® Mass comes in two sizes- a smaller 3.25 lb tub priced at 29.99 USD, and the larger 7 lb tub costing 59.99 USD. Isopure® also subscribes to the Norton Shopping Guarantee, which makes your shopping experience from their website a safer and more rewarding one.
This weight gainer blend is created using a unique powerful microfiltration process, making the whey protein in it completely clear when dissolved in water. However, you should consider the vitamin-mineral premix composition of Isopure® Mass.
Not all vitamins and minerals are completely soluble, so the resultant mixture would still be a bit cloudy. In addition to being lactose-free, the Isopure® Mass also does not contain gluten- which makes it great for a range of dietary restrictions.
The MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass is much more advanced than a typical mass gainer blend. As an ‘anabolic superfood’, the MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass aces where conventional plant-based mass gainers in the market fall short- the speed of absorption of nutrients, and the potential for insulin spikes.
This lactose-free weight gainer contains pure hydrolyzed Beef Protein Isolate (BPI), which works in tandem with the unique dual-action technology, known as iSpike™, to amplify the insulin signal. The result? Minimal fat storage and enhanced muscle anabolism to give you the musculature of your dreams.
MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass promises a clean and fast-acting formula which shows superior results in comparison to standard whey isolate mass gainers.
Brand Value: MuscleMeds Performance Technologies is a trusted brand that has been a game changer in the arena of mass gainers over the past decade. The brand promises state-of-the-art technology, cutting edge research, premium ingredients, and potent doses to create nutritional supplements that are perfect for athletes, bodybuilders, and high performers looking to enhance their physique and performance.
In fact, the brand revolutionized the market when they introduced their Carnivore Mass. It was the first Beef Protein Isolate (BPI) mass gainer and exhibited stellar unprecedented results.
Ingredients: The MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass boasts a clean ingredient list which employs cutting-edge technology to harness the most benefits possible. Per standard serving, the blend contains 50 grams of Hydrolyzed Beef Protein Isolate and 5 grams of Creatine and BCAAs. The insulin amplification and signaling employs novel insulin potentiators Chromium 454 (Cr454) and D-Pinitol (a Cyclitol) to give you superior results.
Recommended: Speaking of Creatine, it can be a very effective supplement if used correctly. Here’s my review on how Creatine can help you gain weight.
Nutritional Value: MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass contains 720 muscle-building calories and 125 grams of high impact reactive carbohydrates, which makes for a superior mass gainer formulation. It contains only 2 grams of fat- so when you are padding up, it is pure muscle that you are gaining.
Serving Size and Suggestions: The recommended serving size for MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass is 4 scoops, that is, 196 grams.
For a standard serving, mix or blend 4 scoops of the gainer mix into 16 oz (that is, 2 cups) of water. The less water you add, the thicker and sweeter would the shake taste. Whereas, you could add more water for a thinner and less overpowering consistency to gulp down at a go.
Taste: Weight gainers have come a long way today in terms of their taste. Compared to the cardboard-y or grass-y taste of nutritional supplements back in the day, most of them are pretty appetizing and have a range of flavors now.
For a mass gainer as advanced as the MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass, can we expect otherwise? The formula tastes great, and comes in quite a few exciting flavors- Strawberry, Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Vanilla Caramel.
Pricing and Other Purchase Information: Each tub of MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass contains 6 lb of product, which gives you 14 standard servings. For a premium blend that was a trailblazer in the industry, it is quite competitively priced at 78.56 USD. You can save some more when there are discounts running on the website, or if you subscribe to the 4-installment interest-free payment structure.
The MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass makes for an excellent clean option if you are lactose-intolerant since it is a lactose-free formulation. Additionally, the supplement is sugar-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, making it the perfect choice for everyone but vegans.
A feedback on the formula would be its tendency to clump up occassionally when mixing. However, it is nothing a few seconds of extra blending can’t solve. The clean and certified formula is appropriate for athletes and sportspersons.
Overall, the MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass is a blend with hardly any shortcomings- a glass a day contributing not only towards muscle building, but also tissue regeneration and glycogen replenishment thanks to the powerful iSpike™ technology.
3. MRE Real Whole Food (Update: Contains Milk)
Alright, so the MRE Real Whole Food is not really a weight gainer. But hear me out. What is the primary objective of a weight or mass gainer? To help build muscle and enhance performance. These supplements are characterized by their high calorific content. Well, that is pretty much what MRE Real Whole Food promises as well- so why not use it as a lactose free mass builder?
MRE Real Whole Food was originally created for those in the military. Real food, especially whole foods are indispensable, yet soldiers must maintain peak performance and form while surviving on limited food rations.
The MRE Real Whole Food steps in to bridge this gap, providing the soldiers (and now athletes and high performers) with the fuel they need to overcome their daily obstacles while boosting muscle building, recovery, and repair. As a lactose-free blend which does exactly what one would expect from a mass gainer, it makes sense to explore the MRE Real Whole Food in this list, doesn’t it?
Ingredients: The MRE Real Whole Food has a comprehensive and transparent ingredient list. The protein blend comprises Beef Protein Isolate (BPI), Salmon Protein, Egg Albumin, Pea Protein, and Brown Rice Protein. It also contains rolled oats, dehydrated yam, dehydrated sweet potato, dehydrated goji berries, dehydrated blueberries, coconut water powder, and pea starch as other prominent ingredients.
The product does contain natural and artificial flavors, and comes with an allergen warning since it shares manufacturing equipment with products that contain milk, soy, nut, and shellfish.
Nutritional Value: The MRE Real Whole Food contains an impressive 525 calories per standard serving. With only 4 grams of fat, of which less than 1 gram is saturated, the formula is perfect for gaining quality weight, that is, more muscle and negligible fat.
The blend contains 75 grams of carbohydrates, 47grams of protein, and 8 grams of dietary fibers. With 0 cholesterol, 0 trans fat, and only 5 grams of sugar, the MRE Real Whole Food is an excellent product.
Serving Size and Suggestions: The recommended serving size of MRE Real Whole Food is 4 scoops. You can consume this powdered mix pretty much the same as any regular weight gainer or other nutritional supplement. Mix it with water to prepare a shake, or blend with a plant or nut-based milk to create a nutrition-packed smoothie that is a perfect meal replacement drink.
Taste: the MRE Real Whole Food comes in three flavorful variants- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Fudge Brownie, and Strawberry Shortcake.
Pricing and Other Purchase Information: The 7.15 lb tub of MRE Real Whole Food is priced at 79.99 USD. Each tub contains 25 standard servings of the nutritional supplement, placing each serving at 3.19 USD.
Despite not being marketed as a mass gainer, the MRE Real Whole Food’s specs make it perfect as one. The market has a clear dearth in a lactose free mass gainer, so when you find a quality supplement which does pretty much the same stuff, grab it!
UPDATE: MRE Real Whole Food contains milk, which doesn’t make it lactose free. If you are looking for lactose free weight gainers, try other products mentioned in the list or alternatives mentioned below.
Alternatives to Lactose Free Weight Gainers
When it comes to lactose free mass gainers, the market has limited options. Yes, there has been a definite surge in options as more and more people are embracing a dairy-free or vegan lifestyle, but the shelves are still not exactly brimming with options to choose from.
Recommneded: While Whey Protein and Mass Gainer supplements have different target audience, here’s how you can use Whey Protein to Gain Weight Effectively.
Since protein blends are pretty high in calorific value, you could turn to a lactose free weight gainer protein to compensate for the lack of options.
Here are two great lactose free protein mixes that can help you bulk up without compromising on your comfort and gut health:
1. Performance Lab® SPORT Protein
The Performance Lab® SPORT Protein is a plant-based protein blend with Oryzatein®, their patented organic brown rice protein, as the hero ingredient. While it’s not a lactose free mass gainer per say, the Performance Lab® SPORT Protein is marketed as the world’s ‘cleanest and most effective protein powder’- a steep claim, but I am all for it.
Formula: Oryzatein® has proved to be as effective as whey for building muscle mass, and the Performance Lab® SPORT Protein makes the most of its formulation promising enhanced strength, growth, and performance.
This protein powder also contains Leucine as a key ingredient, which helps the nutrients absorb 30% faster in the body. The blend includes Organic Cocoa Powder, Organic Guar Gum, Organic Coconut Water, Organic Vanilla Bean, Himalayan Pink Salt, and Organic Stevia Leaf Extract as some of the other primary ingredients.
Nutritional Information: Per standard serving, Performance Lab® SPORT Protein contains 100 calories, 20 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of dietary fibers. The blend is very low in sugar, with only 1 gram per serving. It also contains zero cholesterol. Other key nutrients in the composition are Vitamin A. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Potassium, calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, and Manganese.
Serving Size and Purchase Information: With a recommended serving size of 2 scoops (or 30 grams), each tub contains 20 servings. A single tub of Performance Lab® SPORT Protein is priced at 39.83 USD; however, the website offers lucrative discounts and bundles you can explore.
Why go for It: This vegan-friendly formulation is free from lactose, making it the perfect substitute for lactose-free weight gainer blends. It is also GMP certified, non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, free from synthetic additives, and is non-irradiated. What’s not to love about this formulation, right?
The Vega One® Organic is an all-in-one shake with plant-based ingredients. Not only does it give you a blast of energy to survive the day and meet all your goals, the high calorific value makes it a perfect alternative to lactose free mass builder.
Nutritional Information: Each recommended serving of Vega One® Organic contains 150 calories, 20 grams of plant-based protein, 4 grams of dietary fibers, and only 1 gram of sugar. Amongst other key nutritional constituents, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Iron are pretty integral to the formulation of Vega One® Organic.
Formula: The plant-based protein complex includes Organic Pea Protein, Organic Sunflower seed Protein, and Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein. Other key ingredients include Chlorella, Organic Spirulina, Organic Kale, Organic Chia Seed Powder, Organic Golden Flaxseed, Organic Acerola Juice, Organic Carrot Juice, and probiotics.
Serving Size and Purchase Information: The recommended serving size for Vega One® Organic is 42 grams. The product comes in 3 sizes- the small tub (9-10 servings) priced at 33.99 USD, large tub (17-20 servings) costing 59.99 USD, and XL tub (42-43 servings) priced at 99.99 USD. A travel-friendly 10-pack variant is also available at 33.99 USD, which you could conveniently throw in your luggage when travelling.
Why go for It: The Vega One® Organic offers quite the variety when it comes to flavour options. Available in plain unsweetened, French Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry, Chocolate Mint, Coconut Almond, and Mocha variants, Vega One® Organic offers quite the variety when it comes to flavour options. They clearly understand clearly values their consumers’ preferences and experience.
It is also a versatile powder which you can mix into water and chug, prepare a smoothie by blending into plant-based milk, and even bake into pancakes, waffles, cookies, cupcakes or pretty much anything you want! High in calories, with great nutrient value, offering bonus health benefits, and a fun user experience- the Vega One® Organic makes for a great alternative.
Recommended: Here’s how Mass Gainer is different from Whey Protein.
Factors to Keep in Mind When Picking a Weight Gainer
Weight gainers, lactose-free or otherwise, are typically judged on the basis of their calorie content, quality and quantity of protein, the percentage of carbohydrates. The calorific value determines the rate at which the protein powder shows results and how effectively your body recovers.
The carbohydrates are integral towards bulking up. In addition, keep an eye out for your specific dietary requirements or restrictions- if you are allergic to something or if an ingredient does not suit you, definitely peruse through the ingredient list to make sure they don’t figure in it.
Even a few years ago, lactose free weight gainers were pretty difficult to come by. Today, not only are people growing more conscious of the debilitations of lactose intolerance, more and more fitness enthusiasts are embracing a vegan or dairy-free lifestyle.
To keep up with the times and growing demand, new weight gainers are entering the market. However, it is important to verify the quality of these new entrants to the market.
You need not settle for any odd weight gainer simply because your options are limited. My list explored some of the best products or gainer alternatives in the market right now, but do put in your own research to browse the existing options in the market with this new knowledge in your arsenal!