Protein Powder

Protein powders are concentrated sources of protein from animal or plant sources, such as dairy, eggs, rice or peas. There are three common forms of protein powder:

1. Protein Concentrates:

These are produced by extracting protein from whole food by using heat and acid or enzymes. Protein concentrates contain about 60–80% protein, with the remaining 20–30% of calories from fat and carbohydrates.

2. Protein Isolates:

These go through an additional filtering step that removes additional fat and carbohydrates, further concentrating the protein. Protein isolate powders contain about 90–95% protein.

3. Protein Hydrolysates:

These are produced by further heating with acid or enzymes, which breaks the bonds between amino acids. This allows your body to absorb them more quickly, and your muscles to take them up more easily.

Facts about Protein Powder

Not all Protein Powders are created equally.  For instance, hydrolysates appear to raise insulin levels more than other forms, at least in the case of whey protein. This can enhance your muscle growth response

Some powders are also fortified with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.

It’s important to note that not everyone will benefit from taking a protein supplement.  If your diet is already rich in high-quality protein, you likely won’t see or feel much difference simply by adding a protein powder.

However, athletes and people who regularly lift weights may find that taking a protein powder supplement will help them to maximize muscle gain and fat loss.

Protein powders can also benefit individuals who find it difficult to meet their daily protein needs with food alone, such as the elderly, some vegetarians or vegans, and people who are suffering from an illness.

 

The Top 25 Best Protein Powders Reviewed

 

1. Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder, Creamy Chocolate Fudge, 2.03 Pound, 1 Count

  • Includes 1 (2.03lb) Organic Plant Based Creamy Chocolate Fudge Protein Power
  • Ideal for healthy, on-the-go nourishment for busy professionals, moms, athletes and students
  • 21g Organic Plant Based Protein, 5g Organic Fiber, 3g Net Carbs, 150 Calories per Serving
  • Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan, Non-GMO, Soy Free
  • USDA Organic

2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound

  • Gold Standard 100% Whey delivers 24g of whey protein per serving
  • Whey protein shake consumed before or after exercise helps kick start muscle recovery for men and women
  • Gold Standard 100% whey protein powder has 5.5 grams of naturally occurring BCAA’s and 4 grams of naturally occurring glutamine
  • Over 20 delicious flavors to choose from
  • Comes in multiple sizes, choose from 1, 2, 5, or 10 lbs
  • Frequently purchased with ON Creatine, ON Amino Energy, and Opti-Men

3. Vega Protein & Greens, Vanilla, 1.67 lb, 25 Servings

  • Add effortless nutrition to your day with real plant-based food ingredients
  • 20 grams complete protein from a multisource plant-based blend
  • Veggies and greens with ingredients like spinach powder, organic kale powder, and broccoli
  • 110-120 calories, 0 grams sugars
  • Non-GMO Project verified, gluten-free, certified vegan, no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners

4. BSN SYNTHA-6 Protein Powder, Whey Protein, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Flavor: Chocolate Milkshake, 48 Servings

  • 22g protein per serving
  • 5 grams of fiber per serving
  • 10 grams of essential amino acids per serving
  • Produces rich, creamy milkshake taste and texture
  • Promotes muscle protein synthesis and recovery support

5. ALOHA Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder, Vanilla, 1 Pound 3.6 Ounce, 15 Servings

  • 18g of organic plant-based protein, 3g of fiber, 4g of sugar, 150 calories per serving.
  • Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, USDA Organic, Vegan, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, Stevia-Free, Nothing Artificial. We use coconut sugar instead of artificial sweeteners.
  • 13 whole food ingredients including organic hemp seed protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic pea protein.
  • 200mg Omega-3s, complete amino acid profile, free of antibiotics and hormones, excellent source of iron & magnesium.
  • A great option for vegetarians, vegans, celiacs and paleo friendly.

6. MusclePharm Combat Powder Advanced Time Release Protein, Chocolate Milk, 4 Pound

  • 25 Grams Of Award Winning, High-Quality Protein To Meet The Recovery Needs Of Elite Athletes, And Those Who Engage In An Active Lifestyle
  • 5 Powerful, Time Released, Proteins Are Fast & Slow Digesting
  • With Only 5 Grams Of Carbohydrates, This Protein Blend Helps Build Lean Muscle Mass
  • Take It Anytime: Morning, Pre/Post Workout, And Night
  • Gluten-Free

7. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate 2 Pound

  • Gold Standard 100% Whey delivers 24g of whey protein per serving
  • Whey protein shake consumed before or after exercise helps kick start muscle recovery for men and women
  • Gold Standard 100% whey protein powder has 5.5 grams of naturally occurring BCAA’s and 4 grams of naturally occurring glutamine
  • Over 20 delicious flavors to choose from
  • Comes in multiple sizes, choose from 1, 2, 5, or 10 lbs
  • Frequently purchased with ON Creatine, ON Amino Energy, and Opti-Men

8. Garden of Life Meal Replacement - Organic Raw Plant Based Protein Powder, Chocolate, Vegan, Gluten-Free, 35.9oz (2lb 4oz/1,017g) Powder

  • ON-THE-GO NUTRITION: 20 grams of clean, organic plant protein with 44 superfoods including organic grass juices, fruits and veggies and 6 grams of fiber to keep you satisfied
  • POST WORKOUT RECOVERY: Help build lean muscle and boost energy with this power-packed meal replacement
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS: This delicious chocolate protein powder is packed with 21 vitamins and minerals
  • MEAL REPLACEMENT SHAKE WITH PROBIOTICS: Tasty, smooth protein shake with 1.5 billion CFU probiotics and enzymes for easy digestion
  • VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER: Organic, gluten free, Star-K kosher, vegan, dairy free, soy free, Informed Choice Certified (Trusted by Sport), non-GMO whole food protein

9. Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder, 100% Whey Protein Isolate, Flavor: Creamy Vanilla, 3 Pounds (Packaging May Vary)

  • 25g Protein from 100% Whey Protein Isolate (per 1 scoop serving)
  • Zero/Low Carb Options
  • Added Vitamin & Mineral Blend
  • Gluten & Lactose Free
  • Loyal consumers might notice changes to Isopure product labels and differences in the way tubs are sealed. As we transition production to a state-of-the-art facility, rest assured that we will continue to provide you with the highest levels of product quality and safety. If you have any questions about authenticity, please contact the Isopure Company Consumer Affairs team at info@theisopurecompany.com.

10. Garden of Life Organic Vegan Protein Powder with Vitamins and Probiotics - Raw Organic Plant Based Protein Shake, Sugar Free, Vanilla 22.0oz (1 lb 6 oz / 624g) Powder

  • HIGH PROTEIN: 22 grams of complete, sugar free plant protein from USA-grown peas and 13 RAW organic sprouts
  • POST WORKOUT RECOVERY: Help your muscles recover with a clean nutritional shake and get back in the gym faster
  • VITAMINS AND MINERALS: This delicious vanilla protein powder includes fat-soluble RAW food created vitamins A, D, E and K
  • PROTEIN POWDER WITH PROBIOTICS: Tasty, 110 calorie smooth protein shake with 3 billion CFU probiotics and enzymes for easy digestion
  • VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER: Organic, gluten free, vegan, dairy free, soy free, non-GMO whole food protein

11. PlantFusion Complete Protein Powder, Vanilla Bean, No Soy or Rice, 30 Servings, 21g Protein, 2lb Tub

  • Includes 1 (2lb Tub) PlantFusion Complete Vanilla Bean Protein Powder, Non-GMO
  • Ideal for recovering from daily stress and exercise, managing appetite and improving energy
  • Nutrient-dense formula includes 21 grams of complete plant-based protein and only 120 calories per serving
  • Easy to digest, even for those with sensitive stomachs, given our proprietary blend of enzymes
  • Free of all major allergens, no dairy, soy, rice, gluten, eggs, nuts, fish, tree nuts or shellfish

12. Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder, Chocolate, 2 Pounds

  • Premium Whey Protein to build lean muscle & strength*
  • Amino Acids - plus Creatine for improved training recovery*
  • 12g of naturally occurring BCAA's from Protein
  • Contains zero aspartame - zero gluten - zero gimmicks
  • Zero added soy protein (Contains Soy Lecithin)

13. MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey Protein Powder, Chocolate Milk, 5 Pound

  • Ultra-Premium Blend Containing 25 Grams Of 100% Whey Protein Per Serving
  • Featuring Whey Protein Isolate & Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Supports Lean Muscle And Replenishes Nutrients After Workouts To Fuel Muscle Recovery And Performance
  • Low In Fat And Only 1 Gram Of Sugar
  • Gluten-Free

14. Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Gainer Protein Powder, Chocolate, 6 Pound

  • High Calorie Weight Gainer: 1,250 Calories per 2-Scoop Serving
  • 50 Grams of Protein per Serving
  • Over 250 Grams of Carbohydrates per Serving
  • 25 Vitamins & Minerals Plus Creatine & Glutamine
  • Using an Electric Blender to Add Fresh or Frozen Fruits, Peanut Butter, Nuts & Other Calorie Dense Foods to Boost Your Weight Gain Potential

15. Vega Sport Protein Powder, Chocolate, Net Wt 29.5 oz

  • 30 grams protein, 6g BCAAs in a complete, multisource blend of premium, plant-based protein made from pea, pumpkin, organic sunflower seed, and alfalfa
  • Now available in 45 serving tub!
  • 1 billion CFU probiotics in all 4 delicious flavors: Vanilla, Berry, Chocolate and Mocha
  • Gluten-free, Informed-Choice certified, Non-GMO Project verified, and certified vegan, with no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners

16. Garden of Life Greens and Protein Powder - Organic Raw Protein and Greens with Probiotics/Enzymes, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Vanilla, 19.3oz (1lb 3 oz/548g) Powder

  • HIGH PROTEIN: 20 grams of raw organic plant protein from Organic Peas and Sprouted Organic Grains, Seeds and Legumes plus 6 organic greens and veggies
  • POST WORKOUT RECOVERY: Help your muscles recover with a clean nutritional shake powered by organic protein and nutrient-rich organic green energy
  • GREEN SUPERFOOD DRINK: This delicious vanilla protein powder is power-packed with green energy from raw, organic greens and green juices
  • PROTEIN POWDER WITH PROBIOTICS: Tasty, smooth protein shake with 1.5 billion CFU probiotics and 13 non-GMO enzymes for easy digestion
  • VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER: Organic, gluten free, vegan, dairy free, soy free, Informed Choice Certified (Trusted by Sport), non-GMO whole food protein

17. Quest Nutrition Protein Powder, Salted Caramel, 22g Protein, 3g Net Carbs, 88% P/Cals, 2lb Tub, High Protein, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Soy Free

  • Quest Protein Powders can be transformed into a decadent shake or baked into a delicious, protein-rich treat
  • 22g Protein, 3g Net Carbs, 0g Sugars, <1g Dietary Fiber, 100 Calories, 0g Fat
  • No unnecessary ingredients for an incredibly high protein-to-calories percentage
  • Made with high-quality Casein and Whey Protein Isolates; Sweetened with Stevia and Sucralose
  • Gluten Free / Soy Free / No Added Sugar

18. Garden Of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein - BCAA Amino Acid Protein Powder, Vanilla 28.4oz (1lb 12oz / 806g) Powder

  • ORGANIC SPORT PROTEIN: Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, NSF Certified for Sport, Informed-Choice for Sport Certified, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, No added sugars
  • POST WORKOUT RECOVERY: Our Garden of Life Vegan Protein helps you refuel & repair muscles after a hard workout with 30g of Complete Protein and over 5g BCAA amino acids, Glutamine & Glutamic Acid
  • RECOVERY DRINK: This sport protein powder promotes faster recovery with a Organic High Antioxidant Blend of Organic Tart Cherries, Organic Apples, Organic Turmeric, Organic Gogi berries and Organic Blueberries
  • IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT: This BCAAs amino acids powder contains 2 Billion CFU probiotic blend to keep your immune system strong during training
  • CERTIFIED CLEAN: Breath easy knowing this vegan amino acids powder is clean and free of any banned substances

19. EAS 100% Pure Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla, 2 lb (Packaging May Vary)

  • BUILD MUSCLE: One serving of EAS 100% Whey Protein Powder provides 30 grams of high quality protein to help you build muscle and recover quickly
  • RECOVER: Each serving of protein powder delivers 7.3 grams of BCAAs to stimulate protein synthesis and help repair muscle damage
  • NO SUGAR OR FILLERS: 100% of the protein in our powder is from whey with no fillers, proprietary blends or sugar added. NSF tested and certified
  • USE: Consume within 30 minutes after strenuous exercise to help repair and rebuild muscles. Also available as a ready-to-drink protein shake.
  • NSF tested and certified

20. NOW Sports Pea Protein Powder,2-Pound

  • High in branched chain amino acids
  • Pea protein is considered to have the highest biological value of any protein source
  • Natural - no aspartame, no sucralose, no acesulfame-k

21. Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder, Chocolate, 32g Protein, 2.47 Pound (Packaging May Vary)

  • EVERYDAY PERFORMANCE - MUSCLE MILK Genuine Protein Powder contains 32 grams of protein, 3 grams of leucine, and 310 calories in every two scoops. It is an excellent source of 20 essential vitamins and minerals, an excellent source of fiber and gluten free
  • USAGE - MUSCLE MILK Genuine Protein Powders can be used pre-workout, post-workout or as an anytime protein-rich meal option or snack
  • GREAT TASTING SHAKE - Mix 2 scoops (70g) MUSCLE MILK Powder into 10-16 fluid-ounces water for a great tasting shake. You can also add MUSCLE MILK Powder to pancakes, smoothies or other recipes to increase the protein content
  • WORK OUT. RECOVER. MOVE FORWARD. MOVE FAST - MUSCLE MILK Protein Powder provides high quality proteins that are designed to keep your body in positive protein balance to help promote exercise recovery, provide sustained energy and help build lean muscle
  • QUALITY MATTERS - The proteins in MUSCLE MILK Protein Powders attain a Protein Digestibility Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) Score of 1.0. Attaining a PDCAAS Score of 1.0 it is the highest quality score a food protein can have

22. Whey Protein Powder Isolate by BulkSupplements (1 kilograms) | Clean & Pure Unflavored 90% Isolate for Men & Women | Build Muscle Mass & Burn Fat Fast

  • BURN FAT & BUILD MUSCLE: This unflavored whey isolate contains 90% protein and is rich in muscle-building branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). Studies have shown whey protein may help build and maintain lean body mass, boost muscle strength, and burn fat.
  • SPEED UP RECOVERY: Our whey protein powder repairs muscle tissue and reduces post-workout soreness so you can get back to the gym sooner and accelerate your results.
  • LAB-TESTED FOR QUALITY: We lab test our products for purity to ensure they meet the highest quality standards.
  • MIXES EASILY: This powder dissolves easily in water or the preworkout drink of your choice.

23. Vega One All-In-One Plant Based Protein Powder, Chocolate, 1 lb, 10 Servings

  • All-in-one plant-based protein powder made from real, whole food ingredients
  • 20g of premium, plant based protein from pea, hemp, SaviSeed, and flax for a complete amino acid profile
  • 50% daily intake of vitamins and minerals from broccoli, kale, spirulina, strawberries, and more
  • 25% daily fiber, 1.5 Grams omega-3s, probiotics, and antioxidants
  • Non-Gmo project verified, vegan certified, low-glycemic, gluten-free, and made without dairy or soy ingredients

24. Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder, 100% Plant Based Protein, Decadent Chocolate Flavor, 1.5lbs

  • 20 Grams of Plant Based Protein Powder Featuring Organic Pea Protein and Organic Brown Rice
  • Delicious Tasting Organic Protein Powder Smoothies with 7 Grams Fiber Perfect for On-the-Go Nourishment
  • USDA Organic, Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Soy Free
  • No Artificial Sweeteners, Colors or Flavors

25. Navitas Organics Hemp Protein Powder, 12oz. Pouch

  • Cultivated for 12,000 years, hemp is a powerhouse of nutrition, containing essential minerals, fiber and protein!
  • Milled from cold-pressed hemp seeds, our hemp powder is one of the best sources of digestible plant protein, including all 9 of the essential amino acids.
  • Naturally contains the ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. With its bright nutty flavor, blends easily into smoothies, shakes, dips and baked goods.
  • USDA Organic, Kosher, Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free
  • Contains 1 - 12oz. Pouch of Hemp Protein Powder

How To Choose The Best Protein Source For You

 

Walk up and down the aisles of any supplement store, and you will be overwhelmed by the many different kinds of protein powder available. Sources range from whey to soy to pea. And they come in many different flavors. Buyers are presented with premium options like “hydrolyzed” and “isolate,” which come with a considerably higher price tag.

Is it worth spending the extra money for higher priced blends of protein powder that claim to digest faster or slower? Or deliver more nutrients to your muscles? How do your personal goals and dietary needs factor in? To help clear up the confusion for you in the world of protein powders, and to help select the right variation for you, we’ve highlighted the most common types of protein powder and the best uses for each.

 

Here Is A List Of 7 Protein Sources

 

1. Whey Protein Powder

The most common and inexpensive variety of protein powder on the market is whey protein. It can be found at any supplement retailer and even in most grocery stores. Whey protein has an impressive array of vitamins and minerals. This dairy-based product has become a post-workout staple in the diets of pro athletes and recreational gym-goers alike. There is a good reason whey is the way to go for many: It has been shown to help repair muscle post strength training session. It will increase muscle strength and size when consumed within two hours of your workout.

Consumers have the option of “hydrolyzed,” “isolate,” and more. At its core, “hydrolyzed” means the product has broken down from whole proteins, down into smaller groups of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), also referred to as peptides. This method is meant to improve the speed of digestion. Another term, “isolate,” refers to a purification process where supplement companies attempt to get the purest form of whey protein possible.

 

2.  Casein Protein Powder

Although it may not be quite as popular as whey protein, casein protein is actually quite similar in many ways. Like whey, casein protein comes from dairy and is actually the primary protein found in cow’s milk. Unlike whey protein, however, it digests much slower due to a complex interaction with acids in your stomach. This results in a slower release of essential proteins and amino acids. This makes casein the preferred supplement when a slow release of nutrients is desired and beneficial (such as before bed when you’re going 7-8 hours without food).

This is the main reason casein protein has been considered a less than desired supplement post-workout (when you want nutrients quickly). However, research indicates this might not be as big of a deal as we thought. In many cases, whey and casein can be interchangeable. The research that compares whey to caseins post-workout is almost equivocal. Your total protein intake far outweighs anything else. While that total amount will vary from person to person, the experts recommend taking in 0.6 – 1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight depending on activity levels (more active individuals need more protein).

 

3. Pea Protein Powder

It is hard to imagine that protein fuel can come from the pea. This 100 percent plant-based protein is typically made from yellow peas and towers above common protein powders in a few regards. It is naturally fat- and cholesterol-free protein source. Pea protein isn’t derived from dairy, making it a perfect choice for those who are lactose-intolerant. And lastly, it’s completely gluten-free, which can help individuals avoid gastric distress when supplementing frequently.

Pea protein has its benefits, particularly for those with specific dietary considerations. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect for everyone. Pea protein is an affordable protein source and contains similar levels of protein per same-sized serving as whey and casein, but it has been shown to be deficient in one amino acid (cystine). If you’re having stomach trouble with your current protein powder, it might make sense to give pea protein a try. Otherwise, you could try rotating it into your supplement schedule to avoid boredom and mix up your nutritional routine.

 

4. Soy Protein Powder

The favorite of many vegetarians, soybeans are another form of plant-based protein that contains all of your essential amino acids (referred to as a complete protein). In studies, soy protein is comparable to whey protein in terms of stimulating muscle growth after a tough strength training session. However, the benefits of soy extend beyond the gym. Research suggest, isoflavones, organic compounds present in soy, have been shown to possibly reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Soy protein doesn’t come without a possible negative. The isoflavones can interact with hormones like estrogen and potentially skew hormone levels when taken in excess. For males, specifically, the fear is that increased soy intake could reduce testosterone levels. Research suggests that this shouldn’t necessarily be a huge concern for men who use soy protein. If you are having the occasional shake with soy protein in it, it is more than likely fine. For those still a little wary of any ill effects, a soy protein concentrate is always an option. Due to the way this protein is processed, it has a lower amount of the potentially-negative isoflavones.

 

5. Hemp Protein Powder

Made from hemp seeds, hemp protein is actually a derivative of another cannabis. Of course, hemp protein contains very little THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes you feel high, so it’s safe to consume without any side effects. Nutritionally speaking, hemp seeds have more to offer than just protein content. For one, they are often thought of as a superfood due to their high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp protein is also 100 percent plant-based and highly digestible, which means less GI distress for some users.

Hemp protein does come with a few negatives. The high-fat content results in a higher calorie count, making this protein powder a less-optimal choice if the goal is weight loss. It is also worth noting that because growing hemp is illegal in many U.S. states, most hemp products are imported from other countries. This drives up the price making hemp protein one of the more expensive protein powder options on the market.

 

6. Brown Rice Protein Powder

Rice protein is a 100 percent plant-based protein that stacks up well against the competition. In an eight-week study comparing the benefits of both whey and rice protein supplementation, researchers concluded that both offered nearly the same benefit. Rice protein is also gluten-free, making it a safe (and economical) choice for those with gluten allergies.

The one downside to rice protein is that it tends to be low in the amino acid lysine. This means that relying on rice protein powder as your sole source of protein is probably not a good idea. Incorporating another plant or animal based protein into your diet, without experiencing the downsides of missing out on essential amino acids.

 

7. Vegan Protein Powder Blends

Vegan protein powder blends have become a popular choice, harnessing the power of hemp, peas, rice, quinoa and more — all in the same bottle.  The result is a gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free supplement that can nutritionally stand up against animal-based products, without users having to worry about amino acid deficiencies (or an upset stomach).

While some plant-based blends can be a bit more pricey than whey protein, they can be a great choice for vegetarians, vegans (or anyone who does not want to ingest animal-based products), while still getting a satisfactory amount of protein in their diet.  And because these varieties can satisfy most dietary needs or restrictions, vegan protein powders are a smart choice.

 

When making a decision on which protein powder to use, buyers really do have many choices. Powders come from many different sources, both animal and plant-based, and have a wide range of price tags.  Ultimately, the type of protein powder you choose will be based on your dietary needs.  Another very important decision to consider is the taste test.  If you are drinking a protein shake regularly, it better suit your liking as far as taste goes.  If you’re still stumped on which variety to choose, consult with your trainer or a certified nutritionist to review your current diet, training goals and intended use in order to make the best possible decision for you!