With the advent of online supplement shopping, there are literally hundreds of different protein powders available to purchase and they all seem to promise better amino acid profiles, simpler ingredients, higher quality protein than their competitors.

Protein powder is a popular nutritional supplement. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, make enzymes and balance hormones. Using protein powder may also aid weight loss, gain muscle, tone muscle, and improve physical performance.

Although the powder has a higher concentration of protein than food it also may lack other nutrients that naturally accompany proteins found in meat, fish, dairy products or whole grains. Protein food offer vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and healthy fats unavailable in protein powder. We never recommend that protein powder be a complete substitute but used a dietary supplement.

How can you tell which one is best whey protein powder?

The American protein powder market has surpassed 3 billion in USD sales and produced over 700,000 metric tons of  products since 2016. How anyone from a bodybuilder to the average gym bro to know if the product is highly quality or just well marketed?

The best protein powder is going to very specific to taste, health and fitness goals, how complete amino acid profile, dietary restrictions and affordability. Protein isolates are valued by how much protein per gram they contain — the powder with the fewest carbohybrates and fat wins. Other brands seem pretty adamant that the best product is one without artificial ingredients, and others add extra ingredients, like glutamine and taurine, for their additional potential benefits.

Keep reading for some more detailed breakdowns of our top choices of best protein and opinions per category. At the bottom of this article, we’ve also included an infographic describing the most common protein supplement ingredients

There are plenty of myths about protein powder, but here’s the main benefit: it’s a cheap, convenient source of protein. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Typically, protein is the most expensive of the three macronutrients (mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fat) and most people fall far short of the protein intake that’s generally recommended for people who are regularly undertaking strenuous physical exercise: one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. On top of that, whey is a complete protein that contains all the essential amino acids necessary to spur muscle growth.

We tested out dozens of protein supplements them from the biggest supplement sellers to the little-known underdogs— check out our methodology at the end of the article for more — to figure our favorites products based on body goal:

Best Whey Protein Powder Picks

Best for Building Muscle
Dymatize Iso 100
Dymatize Iso 100
Dymatize Iso 100

A protein powder that deliver whey protein isolate to promote muscle recovery.

Best for Men
Cellucor Cor-Performance
Cellucor Cor-Performance
Cellucor Cor-Performance

This protein delivers 24 grams of Cellucor's Cor-Performance protein matrix to support performance and recovery.

Best for Meal Replacement
IdealShape’s IdealShake
IdealShape’s IdealShake
IdealShape’s IdealShake

This nutritious meal replacement is both satiating and low in calories, plus it has digestive enzymes that might help with nutrient absorption.

Best for Women
PrettyFit Whey
PrettyFit Whey
PrettyFit Whey

This protein is super low in calories, no artificial ingredients, and a blend of enzymes that may improve absorption — PrettyFit protein is a great option for men or women.

Best for Weight Loss
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder

A tasty protein powder that provides ingredients for muscle recovery and satiation.

Best for Weight Gain
Isopure Low Carb
Isopure Low Carb
Isopure Low Carb

Isopure protein powder isn't just low in carbs, it provides more vitamins and minerals than any of its competitors.

Best Grass-Fed
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

A grass-fed whey isolate protein that has more ingredients for digestive health than any other on the market.

Read further below for even more categories and supplement picks!

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. 

Whey Protein Powder Ingredients

Protein Powder Infographic amino acids
Protein Powder Infographic

What Are the Benefits of Whey Protein Powder?

There’s plenty of debate among bodybuilders and strength athletes alike as to whether or not you have to consume a protein shake after a workout — that is to say, whether a post-workout shake significantly improves recovery and muscle growth.

We’ll be honest: yes, there is some research that suggests if you have a protein shake after you work out it might be better for muscle gain than whole foods. An influential study published in Physiological Reports in 2016 suggested that 40 grams of whey protein is better than 20 grams, so maybe you should have two protein shakes.(1) There are also studies, like a 2012 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, that suggest pre-workout protein is even more important.(2) There’s no shortage of people telling you to take protein supplements before, during, and after training to maximize muscle protein synthesis and strength and hypertrophy… and profit for whey protein companies.

Does your protein have to be whey? It’s not like there’s zero evidence that it’s the best protein. We’re not saying it is, but as Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD, at Precision Nutrition told us,

Whey protein has an incredibly high biological value, incredibly high leucine content, and it’s digested rapidly so you get this quick rise in muscle protein synthesis. And if you look at short term studies, two hours after a workout you see this rapid rise in protein synthesis with whey more so than soy.

Leucine is linked with muscle protein synthesis and whey is super high in leucine, according to a 2012 protein comparison published in Nutrition & Metabolism.(3)(4)

[Learn more: Should Athletes Consume Soy At All?]

And if you’re regularly engaging in strenuous exercise, you do need to consume a relatively large amount of protein (and calories overall) to build muscle, recover properly, and become stronger for the next workout. Whey is a fantastic way to do that.

Best Whey Protein for Building Muscle

Dymatize Iso-100

Our favorite whey protein for building muscle is Dymatize Iso-100.Our main reason is that out of all the protein powders we reviewed, Iso-100 is the one that’s comprised mostly of hydrolyzed whey. Hydrolyzed whey protein (also called whey peptides) absorbs more quickly than other forms of whey, and while the difference is pretty small for recreational athletes, it’s what tipped Iso-100 whey protein into our top spot. The Chocolate Fudge flavor tastes excellent with water. Learn more about Dymatize Iso-100 whey protein powder here.

Dymatize Iso 100
Dymatize Iso 100
Dymatize Iso 100

A protein powder comprised mostly of hydrolyzed whey, which may help you recover more quickly than other forms of whey.

Best Whey Protein for Men

Cellucor Cor-Performance Whey Taste

Cellucor Cor-Performance

Cellucor Cor-Performance was our favorite protein powder for men. It’s soy-free, contains two digestive enzymes, and it tastes pretty good with water. It also mixes well.

Cellucor Cor-Performance
Cellucor Cor-Performance
Cellucor Cor-Performance

Cellucor whey protein powder delivers 24 grams of protein, two digestive enzymes, great taste, excellent mixability, and no soy.

Best Whey for Meal Replacement

IdealShake by IdealShape

IdealShake was our best bet for a whey offering near-complete nutrition. There’s a pretty blurry line between “whey that has some extra vitamins” and “whey-based meal replacement shake” but IdealShake has come out on top. It’s got a base of whey concentrate and isolate, has 100 calories per serving, and it delivers roughly 75 percent of the recommended daily intake of most vitamins and minerals per serving. That includes iron, Vitamin D, magnesium, and B12 — not a bad spread, though it does have roughly as many carbs as protein. Awesome pick for those who are looking for whey protein supplements.

IdealShape’s IdealShake
IdealShape’s IdealShake
IdealShape’s IdealShake

This nutritious meal replacement is both satiating and low in calories, plus it has digestive enzymes that might help with nutrient absorption. 

Best Whey Protein for Women

PrettyFit Whey Review

PrettyFit Whey

For several reasons, PrettyFit protein is an excellent whey isolate that contains under a gram of carbs and fat per serving. This makes it super low in calories, plus it doesn’t contain any soy — which may be useful for women concerned about consuming phytoestrogens — and this whey protein is free from artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. And despite the fact that it’s lactose-free, it contains five digestive enzymes to minimize stomach problems.

PrettyFit Whey
PrettyFit Whey
PrettyFit Whey

This protein is super low in calories, no artificial ingredients, and a blend of enzymes that may improve absorption — PrettyFit protein is a great option for men or women.

Best Whey Protein for Weight Loss

FitMiss Delight Protein Powder

Because of its ingredient profile, FitMiss Delight was our favorite protein powder for weight loss. As mentioned above, it’s low in calories and contains a hefty dose of greens powder, but its most impressive ingredient? SolaThin™, a protein made from potatoes that’s been shown to help boost satiety, or a feeling of fullness. Learn more about FitMiss Delight here.

FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
A tasty protein powder that provides ingredients for muscle recovery and satiation.

Best Whey Protein for Weight Gain

Isopure Low Carb

If your biggest concern is gaining mass, Isopure protein powder is a good bet because at 220 calories, it’s the most energy dense of all the whey protein powders we tested. It’s also the most nutritious protein powder we found, containing 50 percent of the recommended daily intake of almost two dozen vitamins and minerals, so it may help you keep your health in check while you deliberately gain weight. Learn more about Isopure Low Carb Protein Powder here.

Isopure Low Carb
Isopure Low Carb
Isopure Low Carb

Isopure protein powder isn't just low in carbs, it provides more vitamins and minerals than many of its competitors.

Best Grass-Fed Protein Powder

Onnit’s Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

Onnit’s Grass-Fed Whey Isolate comes from free roaming New Zealand dairy cows, has zero sugar tastes astonishingly good for a whey with no artificial ingredients or sweeteners. The best part is the product’s focus on digestion: it contains no less than seven digestive enzymes — the most I’d seen in a whey protein before this was three — plus it has probiotic bacteria as well.

Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
A grass-fed whey isolate that has more ingredients for digestive health than any other on the market.

Still Looking for the Best Whey Protein for You?

We understand not all athletes and exercisers will find protein brands that perfectly fit their needs from our picks above. So we’ve gone into even more detail for our favorites in some other common and popular categories below.

Best Whey Protein for Weight Loss

Disclaimer: Please note that none of these products describe themselves as weight loss supplements and should not be taken as such. Please consult with a medical professional before beginning any weight loss protocol.

FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
A tasty protein powder that provides ingredients for muscle recovery and satiation.

Because of its ingredient profile, FitMiss Delight was our favorite protein for weight loss. As mentioned above, it’s low in calories and contains a hefty dose of greens powder, but its most impressive ingredient? SolaThin™, a protein made from potatoes that’s been shown to help boost satiety, or a feeling of fullness.

Ultimate Nutrition IsoCool is a pretty high-quality whey protein that may be great for weight loss. At 90 calories per serving, it has fewer calories than FitMiss protein, and it has no carbohydrates or fat either. The main reason we included it is that this protein it tastes great with water, so it’s easy to keep calories even lower by leaving out the milk. (Ultimate Nutrition IsoCool protein powder also contains soy and artificial sweeteners, and is a bodybuilding favorite.)

Dymatize Iso-100 is another great pick for weight loss, mostly because it also tastes great with water. It’s a lot cheaper than IsoCool protein as well, though it is higher in calories (120 per serving).

Best All-Natural Whey Protein

Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
A grass-fed whey isolate that has more ingredients for digestive health than any other on the market.

Onnit’s Grass-Fed Whey Isolate Protein really took the cake as a dietary supplement. The cows, which roam free on lush New Zealand pastures, are never treated with hormones or antibiotics and is flavored not just with stevia, but also sea salt, monk fruit, and medium chain triglyceride oil. Plus it comes with seven digestive enzymes and some probiotic bacteria to improve digestion.

Muscle Feast Hormone-Free Whey Isolate is a remarkably nice all-natural option for muscle building. This protein is made from dairy that’s imported from Germany and it’s free range, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free. There are also no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.

Xwerks Grow is a top-notch whey protein that’s made from grass-fed dairy imported from New Zealand. Marketed toward functional fitness athletes (Xwerks sponsors CrossFit® superstar Noah Ohlsen), Xwerks whey protein has zero grams of carbs or fat per serving.

SFH Pure is our third favorite all-natural whey protein. The dairy is grass-fed and a whey concentrate, it contains a gram of fat per serving. (The benefits of grass-fed dairy are confined to the fat content, so a grass-fed whey protein concentrates are a good thing.) It’s soy-free and contains nothing but protein, a rich source of the essential amino acids, natural chocolate flavor, sunflower lecithin, and stevia.

Best Value Whey Protein

BodyTech Whey Tech
BodyTech Whey Tech
BodyTech Whey Tech
This protein powder is packed with amino acids and 24 grams of protein per serving.

We thought BodyTech Whey Tech Pro 24 was our favorite whey protein for the value. Whey isolate is the first ingredient, which is extremely unusual for a nicely protein powder. Learn more about BodyTech Whey Tech Pro 24 here.

Isopure Low Carb was our second favorite pick. It’s a whey isolate protein, which are usually quite expensive, this one was pretty reasonable. A serving is enormous and provides fifty grams of protein, which is about twice the size of your standard whey. Isopure also added a ton of vitamins and minerals to the product, so it’s also the most nutritious option I tried.

Muscle Feast Hormone-Free Whey Isolate is also extremely good value. It’s a good value for any protein powder, great value for a protein, and incredible value for a grass-fed, hormone-free, naturally sweetened whey protein.

Best Grass-Fed Protein Powder

Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
A grass-fed whey isolate that has more ingredients for digestive health than any other on the market.

Onnit’s Grass-Fed Whey Isolate was my absolute favorite. It comes from free roaming New Zealand dairy cows, has zero sugar tastes astonishingly good for a powdered protein with no artificial ingredients or sweeteners. The best part is the product’s focus on digestion: it contains no less than seven digestive enzymes — the most I’d seen in a whey protein before this was three — plus it has probiotic bacteria as well.

Muscle Feast Hormone-Free Whey Ifsolate is also a great pick. It’s a little more basic than some of the other options here — it’s just whey protein, natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, and stevia — but it’s extremely well priced at about 4 cents per gram of protein.

Pure Label Nutrition’s Grass Fed Whey is also one of my favorites. It’s also cheap for conventional or grass-fed whey at 4.2 cents per gram of protein, but the reason I included it is that it’s the tastiest unflavored whey I’ve ever had. I have no idea why because it literally only contains whey concentrate, but it adds a pretty enjoyable creaminess to milk or oatmeal. It’s the only tub of unflavored whey protein that I’ve finished.

Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Protein
Onnit’s Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Best for Digestion

Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
A grass-fed whey isolate that has more ingredients for digestive health than any other on the market.

Onnit’s Grass-Fed Whey Isolate, hands down. Many companies put digestive enzymes in their protein powders with the idea that they may improve absorption, reduce potential indigestion, and possibly make their product more palatable for those who with sensitivities to lactose. Before we tried Onnit’s whey protein, the most amount of enzymes we’d seen in a whey were three. Onnit’s whey protein powder has seven, plus it has some probiotic bacteria, which could improve digestive health and confer other benefits for athletes.

Best for Low Carb

Ultimate Nutrition Isocool
Ultimate Nutrition Isocool
Ultimate Nutrition Isocool
This is a tasty, versatile protein powder that’s suitable for low-carb, low-fat, and low-calorie diets.

Ultimate Nutrition Isocool is a solid bet for low carb. One scoop has zero grams of carbs, 23 grams of protein, and zero grams of fat. This is straight protein and it’s extraordinarily tasty as well — Chocolate Crème legit tastes like melted chocolate bars. If you’re put off by the soy lecithin it contains, you can try the zero-carb Allmax Isoflex, which isn’t as tasty but it is cheaper.

Less Naked Chocolate Flavor protein powder

Best for Paleo Diet

Naked Nutrition Less Naked Whey
Naked Nutrition Less Naked Whey
Naked Nutrition Less Naked Whey
A great option for people who want their whey to be as unprocessed and as free of artificial ingredients as possible.

Naked Nutrition’s Less Naked Whey was the tastiest Paleo whey protein. Obviously, many Paleo folks don’t consume dairy at all, but those who do like their protein powder to be grass-fed and to have no artificial ingredients. Even “natural flavors” often contain solvents and preservatives, so for the most absolute all-natural whey protein that tasted pretty good, we went with Naked Nutrition. It’s just whey protein, organic cocoa, and organic coconut sugar. It’s usually considered Paleo but if you don’t like coconut sugar, Pure Label Nutrition’s whey was the tastiest unflavored grass-fed whey protein powder that we tried, and it has absolutely no other ingredients.

Best for Meal Replacement

IdealShape’s IdealShake
IdealShape’s IdealShake
IdealShape’s IdealShake

This nutritious meal replacement is both satiating and low in calories, plus it has digestive enzymes that might help with nutrient absorption. 

IdealShake was our best bet for a powder offering near-complete nutrition. There’s a pretty blurry line between “whey that has some extra vitamins” and “whey-based meal replacement shake” but IdealShake has come out on top for a dietary supplement. It’s got a base of whey concentrate and isolate, has 100 calories per serving, and it delivers roughly 75 percent of the recommended daily intake of most vitamins, amino acids and minerals per serving. That includes iron, Vitamin D, magnesium, and B12 — not a bad spread, though it does have roughly as many carbs as protein. (If that’s an issue, check out the surprisingly nutritious Isopure instead). Bodybuilders we spoke with especially love this product.

AllMax IsoFlex Ingredients
AllMax IsoFlex whey protein Ingredients

Best for Lowering Cholesterol

AllMax IsoFlex
AllMax IsoFlex
AllMax IsoFlex

This protein contains 27 grams of protein per serving and has no soy, sugar, or gluten.

Allmax Isoflex protein is our favorite cholesterol-free whey. We’re not saying here that it will lower your cholesterol, rather that if you’re trying to limit your intake then this is out ideal pick. Cholesterol is very common in whey protein powders, even in fat-free varieties. If you’re on the lookout for whey protein powder that has as little cholesterol as possible, it’s smart to start with isolates. (You can always look for hydrolyzed whey too, but it’s a lot more expensive for the same fat content.) Our favorite with absolutely no cholesterol whatsoever was Allmax Isoflex protein, which has a super impressive macro split: zero fat, one gram of carbs, and 27 grams of protein per serving.

Best Protein for Belly Fat

FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
A tasty protein powder that provides ingredients for muscle recovery and satiation.

FitMiss protein  is a good choice if you’re looking to lose belly fat, or body fat in general. It has just 90 calories per serving with 20 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of fat, and 3 grams of carbs. That should help you to keep your calorie count down, especially because it contains an enzyme from potatoes that’s been shown to help reduce hunger cravings. if you’re just looking for a protein powder with zero carbs or fat, Ultimate Nutrition’s Isocool is a good bet.

Designer Protein Native Whey Isolate Review

Best for High Blood Pressure

Designer Whey Native Whey Isolate may be useful for those looking to reduce sodium. A lot of doctors recommend minimizing sodium if your blood pressure is running high. We’re not doctors, so we’re recommending anything for high blood pressure, but if you’re looking to reduce sodium as much as possible then we’d go with Designer Whey Native Whey Isolate Protein, which has just 35 milligrams per serving. That’s about one percent of the recommended daily intake and it’s the lowest sodium whey protein powder we’ve tried.

Best for Lactose Intolerant

Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Onnit's Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
A grass-fed whey isolate that has more ingredients for digestive health than any other on the market.

Onnit’s Grass-Fed Whey Isolate Protein is a good bet for the lactose intolerant. First off, it’s a whey isolate protein, which has far less lactose than the cheaper and more common whey concentrate. Onnit whey protein powder has labeled their product as lactose-free, but just in case any lingering lactose remains, the product also contains lactase, a digestive enzyme that helps some folks digest lactose when they would have trouble otherwise.

Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Taste

Best Protein for Testosterone

Body Fortress Super Whey
Body Fortress Super Whey
Body Fortress Super Whey
The protein is packed with 60 grams of protein per 2 scoops, along with 12 grams of BCAAs.

Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein may be useful for testosterone. This is because some studies have linked cholesterol to testosterone production, and increasing amino acid intake could have a positive effect. Body Fortress’ protein has the highest amino levels of any protein we’ve tried, with a huge 42 percent of your daily intake of cholesterol per scoop. That’s coupled with 18 percent of your daily saturated fat intake, which may also have an effect on your Testosterone. Also enhanced with creatine and other critical amino acids

Best Protein for Night

Pro Jym Protein
Pro Jym Protein
Pro Jym Protein
Pro Jym offers a blend of fast, moderate, and slow digesting proteins for a versatile shake that can be taken at any time.

Pro Jym might be the best whey protein to take before bed. This protein is a little pricy, but it’s got a blend of a few different kinds of protein that includes milk protein and micellar casein, making for a powder that’s 40 percent casein protein. People like to take casein protein before bed because it digests much more slowly than whey protein, meaning it will continue releasing amino acids into the bloodstream for hours after you hit the hay. This casein protein might make it more useful for muscle mass than whey protein on its own.

Protein Supplement Ingredients

Complaints about supplements are usually people who feel you never really know what you’re getting. Here are a few companies that have gone above and beyond when it comes to transparency of what you are putting into your body.

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey
An extremely transparent ingredient list from a company that goes out of its way to provide clear sourcing.
  • Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Concentrate, as the name suggests, is a solid pick. They don’t just provide certificates of composition and analysis of all their protein products on their site, they also tell you what’s in each supplement down to the milligram. 
  • Raw Grass Fed Whey is Sourced 100% from US Sustainable Small Farms & Processed at low temperatures WITHOUT acid or bleach treatment. It has just one ingredient (so you don’t need to worry about ratios of sucralose to stevia) and they have certificates of analysis on their site that show testing for contaminants, heavy metals, antibiotics, and pesticides.
  • Muscle Feast Grass-Fed Whey Isolate Protein is another great protein. It’s tasty, super inexpensive, and third party testing site Labdoor named it the highest quality whey protein on the market when taking into account purity, nutrition, safety, efficacy, and accuracy.

Athletic Greens Whey vanilla

How We Decide the Best

It may look uncomplicated, but assessing the key differences between different protein powders is no easy task. It’s important to emphasize that some of the areas we note below aren’t necessarily good or bad. Some athletes prefer foods without artificial sweeteners, some try to limit soy, and while there’s not a ton of evidence that either has deleterious effects, we point them out in case they’re a problem for you — no judgment.

Type of Protein Powders

Whey proteins typically contain one or more of three kinds protein content: concentrate, isolate, and/or hydrolysate. They each have their own pros and cons: concentrate is cheaper and extracted with an enzyme or acid, but isolate has fewer fat and carbs and hydrolysate digests more quickly and may be friendlier on allergies. All of this is taken into account.

Protein Per Calorie

A gram of pure protein has 4 calories and many measure the protein density of a supplement by how many calories it provides per gram. If it’s nothing but protein you’re getting 4 calorie per gram, the “best” score possible. If you’re getting 20 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fat per scoop, that’s 114 calories for 20 grams of protein: 5.7 calories per gram of protein.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with carbs or fat but if all you want is protein then this number can be useful.

Sweeteners

We’re not taking a stance on whether or not artificial sweeteners are unhealthy but we can’t ignore the fact that many athletes prefer to avoid them. To that end, we’ll point out the presence of aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and anything else used to sweeten the product like stevia or sugar alcohols, which can cause digestive issues among a small portion of the population.

[Related: We decide the best Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey flavor!]

Protein Powder Additives

Some people avoid soy at all costs, but it’s very popular in protein supplements as a means to improve mixability. Perhaps you have issues with thickeners and stabilizers like xanthan gum or carrageenan, which can cause digestive discomfort. No judgment here, but we’ll take into account.

Protein Powder Taste

Chalky, smooth, sweet, earthy, bitter… there are a lot of ways a powder can taste. We consider the real taste test to be how a protein powder tastes with water — it’s not as hard to make something that tastes good with milk.

Protein Powder Price

We’re talking about protein powder, so the value is in the protein. Cost per pound or per serving means less than cost per gram of protein, which is why you’re buying it. The average whey protein powder is between 4 and 5 cents per gram of protein and the cost is affected by the type of whey powder, additives, protein density, and other factors.

Final Word

It wasn’t easy to land on these top picks; we had to weigh ingredients, effectiveness, taste, and many other factors, including the fact that different consumers value totally different qualities in their health supplements. But we’re confident that we’ve selected some stellar picks no matter what your reasons are for turning to protein shakes. All we can say now is: bottoms up!

Related Protein Content

Other Great Protein Powders Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

What is whey protein powder?

There are two types of protein in milk: whey and casein. The two get separated in the cheesemaking process, and while whey used to be considered something of a waste byproduct, it’s a very high quality protein that can be processed into powder. Usually, flavorings are added to make for a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to consume protein.

What is whey concentrate?

Whey concentrate is the most basic, unprocessed, and inexpensive form of whey protein powder. It also contains the most carbohydrates (including sugar, and lactose) and fat. It’s nonetheless relatively low in carbs and fat, with about 2 to 5 grams of each for every 20 to 25 grams of protein.

What's the difference between whey concentrate vs isolate?

Whey concentrate is the least processed kind of whey protein powder, so it has the most carbohydrates and fat. (About 3 grams each per 20-25 grams of protein.) Whey isolate is further processed in a way that reduces most of the carbs and fat. Some whey isolates contain no carbs or fat whatsoever. This makes it more diets that severely restrict carbohydrates and/or fat, though the taste does suffer somewhat.

Important Protein References

1. Macnaughton LS, et al. The response of muscle protein synthesis following whole-body resistance exercise is greater following 40 g than 20 g of ingested whey protein. Physiol Rep. 2016 Aug;4(15).
2. Stark M, et al. Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Dec 14;9(1):54.
3. Norton LE, et al. Leucine content of dietary proteins is a determinant of postprandial skeletal muscle protein synthesis in adult rats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012 Jul 20;9(1):67.
4. Breen L, et al. Leucine: a nutrient ‘trigger’ for muscle anabolism, but what more? J Physiol. 2012 May 1;590(9):2065-6.