8 High Protein Milk Options to Boost Protein Intake

When it comes to fueling your body, high protein milk is an excellent choice that provides essential nutrients. In fact, high protein milk benefits include boasting a higher protein and calcium content than regular milk.

In this post, we will share our top recommendations, including high protein milk alternative options, such as plant based milks, and discuss the best ways to incorporate them into your daily routine.

Read on to learn more about our top recommendations for high protein milk.

high protein milk

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What is high protein milk and how is it made

High protein milk is milk processed to increase its protein content and reduce its sugar and fat content. There are three main processes to make high protein milk including ultra filtering, adding protein and blending with other ingredients.

The protein content of high protein milk can vary depending on the type and brand, but it is usually between 10 to 13 grams per cup (240 ml), compared to 8 grams per cup (240 ml) in regular cow’s milk.

How protein content is increased in milk

1. Ultra filtering

A special filter helps to remove some of the water, lactose (sugar) and minerals from regular milk, leaving behind a more concentrated and protein-rich product. 

2. Adding protein

This method involves adding extra protein powder or dry milk powder from other sources, such as whey or casein, to regular or plant-based milk. 

3. Blending with other ingredients

This process involves blending milk with other high-protein ingredients, such as nuts, seeds or oats. 

description of how high protein milk is made

Nutrient contents of high protein milk

High protein milk nutrition provides a complete source of protein, providing all nine essential amino acids. Additionally, like regular milk, high protein milk contains a good or excellent source of 13 essential nutrients.

These essential nutrients include protein, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D, phosphorous, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, niacin, potassium, iodine, selenium and zinc.

BrandProtein (g)Sugar (g)Fat (g)Calcium (%)Vitamin D (%)Lactose free
Darigold FIT® 2%14753015Yes
H‑E‑B MooTopia™ 2%13653515Yes
Fairlife® 2%13653025Yes
LACTAID® Lactose-Free131193515Yes

Ultra filtered high protein milk brands

Our top picks for high protein milk brands include some shelf stable options as well as a lactose free option for those who have issues with digesting lactose.

Fairlife® ultra-filtered milk

Fairlife is a brand of high protein milk that uses a patented cold-filtration process to remove lactose and concentrate the protein and calcium in the milk. It has 50% more protein and 50% less sugar than regular milk.

This means it has 13 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving. Fairlife® ultra-filtered milk also claims to have a longer shelf life than regular milk due to its filtration process.

Darigold® FIT ultra filtered milk 

Darigold is another brand of milk that uses ultra-filtration to create a lactose-free, high-protein, low-sugar product.

It has 75% more protein and 40% less sugar than regular milk, which means it has 14 grams of protein and 5 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving.

Darigold® FIT ultra filtered milk also offers a chocolate flavor that has more protein than regular chocolate milk.

H‑E‑B MooTopia™ 

H-E-B is a brand of ultra-filtered milk that is available at H-E-B grocery stores. It has 50% more protein and 50% less sugar than regular milk with 13 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving.

H‑E‑B MooTopia™ is also lactose-free and enriched with vitamins A and D.

LACTAID® Lactose-Free ultra filtered milk 

LACTAID is a brand of milk that is specially made for people who are lactose intolerant. It has the same amount of protein as regular milk, which is 8 grams per 8-ounce serving, but it has less sugar, which is 11 grams per serving.

LACTAID® Lactose-Free ultra filtered milk also contains the natural enzyme lactase, which helps break down lactose and make it easier to digest.

Plant-based high protein milk options

If you are vegan, lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, there are more limited plant based high protein milk alternative options. However there are still great choices on store shelves.

Since plant based high protein milk alternative options can vary from brand to brand, it’s important to read the labels to make sure you’re getting the protein, vitamin and minerals that you need.

Most soy milk brands have about 8 grams of protein per cup (240 ml), which is similar to cow’s milk. However, some plant based brands have more or less protein depending on the ingredients and processing.

Our top picks for plant based high protein milk alternatives (at least 8 g protein)

  • Edensoy Extra Plain: 13 grams of protein per cup (240 ml) from organic soybeans and added organic soy protein, 1 gram of fiber and fortified with calcium.
  • Silk Protein Original: 8 grams of protein per cup (240 ml) from soy protein isolate and pea protein, 2 grams of fiber and is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Has a lightly sweetened flavor with cane sugar.
  • Orgain Organic Protein Almond Milk: 10 grams of protein per cup (240 ml) from organic pea protein and organic almond, 1 gram of fiber and is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. It’s an unsweetened vanilla flavor.

As far as other plant based milks, pea milk has about 8 grams of protein per cup and also contains calcium, iron and vitamin D, which are often added to plant-based milks.

High protein milk benefits for athletes

High protein milk benefits athletes in several ways, such as:

Supporting muscle growth and repair

Protein is essential for building new muscle tissue and repairing the damage caused by exercise. High protein milk provides a complete source of protein. 

Enhancing hydration and electrolyte balance

Milk is naturally rich in water and electrolytes. These are important for maintaining fluid balance and preventing dehydration and cramps during and after exercise. 

High protein milk can help replenish these losses and keep you hydrated.

Boosting bone health

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium, which is vital for bone health and strength. Calcium also helps with muscle contraction and nerve function. 

These high protein milks can provide more calcium than regular milk or some plant-based milks that are not fortified. For example, Fairlife® ultra-filtered milk has 30% more calcium than regular milk.

Improving satiety

Protein is known to be more filling than carbs or fat. High protein milk can help you feel full for longer and stabilize your blood sugar.

list of the health benefits of drinking high protein milk

When to drink high protein milk

The best time to consume high protein milk is within 30 minutes after exercise, since this is the optimal window for muscle protein synthesis. 

Drinking high protein milk with a high carbohydrate food after exercise can help replenish the muscle glycogen stores, stimulate muscle growth and repair, reduce muscle soreness and enhance hydration

You can also drink high protein milk before sleep, as this can provide a sustained source of energy and prevent muscle breakdown and the casein in the milk may help you to fall asleep. (1)

Using high protein milk in your sports diet

Drinking it plain or flavored

You can enjoy it as a refreshing drink by itself or with some natural flavorings, such as cocoa powder, vanilla extract or cinnamon. High protein milk makes a great recovery drink paired with high carb options for an post game snack.

Some brands, like Fairlife, sell ready-to-drink flavors, such as chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. However you should review the ingredients because some use artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols or sugar. 

Adding it to smoothies or shakes

Blend in as a base for your smoothies or shakes and add your favorite fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds or other ingredients. 

This can make a delicious and nutritious breakfast, snack or post game treat that will top off your fuel stores or assist recovery.

Mixing it with cereal or oatmeal

Use high protein milk instead of regular milk or water to prepare your cereal, oatmeal or even overnight oats. This can boost the protein content of your breakfast meal or snack and make it more satisfying and balanced.

Hand Pouring Milk in White Ceramic Bowl, using high protein milk in meals

Cooking or baking with it

Add to your favorite recipes that call for regular milk, such as soups, sauces, casseroles, muffins, pancakes or cakes. This increases the protein content of your dishes without affecting the taste or texture.

FAQs about high protein milk

The milk with the most protein is sheep’s milk, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sheep’s milk has the highest protein content with 15 grams per one cup (240 ml) of 8-ounce serving.

However, sheep’s milk is not widely available and has a strong flavor that some people may not like. Among the more common types of milk, cow’s milk and soy milk have similar protein content with about 8 grams per cup.

If you are vegan, lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy, you can still enjoy the benefits of high protein milk by choosing plant-based options. Generally soy milk has the highest amount of protein.

These milks also have other nutrients and health benefits, such as omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, iron and calcium. However, some nutrients such as vitamin B12 and zinc may not be absorbed as well.

Therefore, it is advisable to choose fortified plant-based milks and supplement your diet with other sources of these nutrients.

Athletes need high protein milk because protein is essential for muscle growth, repair and recovery. Protein also helps support the immune system, which can be compromised by intense training.

High protein milk can provide a convenient, delicious and nutritious source of protein that can help athletes meet their daily protein needs and improve their performance and health.

Athletes should drink high protein milk within 30 minutes after exercise, as this is the optimal window for muscle protein synthesis.

Drinking high protein milk after exercise can help replenish the muscle glycogen stores, stimulate muscle growth and repair, reduce muscle soreness and enhance hydration

The amount of high protein milk that athletes should drink depends on several factors, such as their body weight, activity level, type of exercise, duration of exercise and overall protein intake from other sources.

Generally, athletes should aim to consume 1.2–1.4 grams per kg of body weight per day from all sources. This means that an athlete who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) should consume 82–95 grams of protein per day.

A cup (240 ml) of high protein milk can provide about 10–13 grams of protein, depending on the type and brand. However, this is only an estimate and may vary depending on individual factors.

High protein milk can benefit athletes of all types and levels, as long as they are not allergic or intolerant to dairy or plant-based milks.

However, some athletes may benefit more from high protein milk than others, depending on their goals, training intensity and frequency, body composition and dietary preferences.

A recent study showed that drinking high protein dairy milk during a weight training program can enhance lean mass, strength and power gains.

This may be due to the high quality and quantity of protein, especially leucine, in dairy milk, which is a key amino acid for helping muscles to grow as well as preventing muscle protein breakdown.


As an athlete, you need protein to fuel your muscles, recovery and performance. High protein milk is an easy, tasty and healthy way to meet your protein needs throughout the day.

Protein has many benefits for athletes, such as enhancing your hydration, bone health, satiety and weight management. It also helps you recover faster and perform better, especially when you consume it regularly.

You can enjoy high protein milk in many ways, such as drinking it plain or flavored. Try blending it with fruits or vegetables, stirring it with cereal or oatmeal or using it for cooking or baking.

You can also choose different types of high protein milk, such as ultra-filtered, added protein or mixed with other ingredients.

How do you like to include high protein milk in your sports nutrition plan?

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