We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

If you’ve ever been in a supplement store, you know just how many protein powder varieties there are. And while it’s hard to choose the best protein powder out of all of them, there are ways to narrow down your choice based on your fitness goal, whether that’s losing weight, building muscle, or just maintaining your protein intake.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to try them all, cause we already did that for you. Our team of certified nutrition coaches, registered dietitians, and competitive weightlifters has personally tested more than 100 protein powders, including the best whey proteins, casein proteins, collagen proteins, and plant-based proteins for taste, solubility, and effects.  

We then consulted with Laila Ouldibbat, a New York City-based registered dietitian who’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, to give you our top picks for the best protein powder through evaluating factors included in our in-depth supplement testing methodology such as the following:

  • Formulation: Does it have clinically recommended protein content and macro ratio?
  • Ingredients: Are additional ingredients sound, or problematic?
  • Third-party testing: Has it been tested for potential contaminants and banned substances? Such protein powders will have a NSF Certified for Sport or Informed Choice logo on their website and/or container.
  • Solubility and taste: Does it mix well with the recommended amount of liquid? And how did we and other customer reviewers like the taste?

And last, but certainly not least, we also worked with an independent accredited lab, Ellipse Analytics, to test and rate more than 150 protein powders for purity and label accuracy. We then scored them and chose to feature products that ranked in the top 50% of the samples tested. You’ll see those products designated below.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workouts

But, before we begin, it’s important to remember that man and woman cannot survive on protein shakes alone. These supplements should be used as part of a balanced nutrition regimen to increase your protein intake, but should not make up the majority of your diet.

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

The 18 Best Protein Powders, Tested by a Lab and Athletes

Best Protein Powders Video Review

Best Overall Protein Powder: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Anyone who’s looking for a high-quality protein powder for muscle gain and/or weight loss

Best Overall

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • High-quality whey protein isolate
  • 28 grams of protein per serving
  • 15 flavors to choose from
  • $1.99 per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High-quality protein
  • No artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or preservatives
  • Lots of flavors to choose from
  • Good customer reviews
  • Whey isolate may be easier to digest for some people

Cons

  • Price per serving on the high end

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is a clean, high-quality protein powder that contains 28 grams of protein per serving.

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is essentially pure protein, with 28 grams coming from the macronutrient responsible for building muscle and increasing satiety1 (the feeling of being full). There’s just one gram of carbohydrates and zero grams of fat in most flavors, making it a great option for anyone whose main focus is protein intake. 

We like Transparent Labs for those looking to build muscle or lose weight, which is why we named it our best overall protein powder. 

transparent labs best protein powder bottle in hand

Anthony O’Reilly, a certified personal trainer and GGR performance editor, loves it because it tastes great—customer reviews state the eight year-round flavors are all delicious, but he couldn’t help snagging the limited edition Peppermint Hot Chocolate flavor. “This is something I’d put out for Santa Claus if he drank protein shakes instead of milk, though I would’ve liked the peppermint flavor to be a little more apparent,” Anthony says. “Still, it gets a 5 out of 5 on taste. I hope they bring this back next holiday season.”

Third-party lab test results for Transparent Labs Whey Isolate Protein Powder
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

Laila Ouldibbat, R.D., loves Transparent Labs whey isolate because it’s a clean product, starting with the grass-fed and hormone-free cows who help make the milk from which the whey protein isolate is extracted. Whey protein isolate is protein that’s been filtered to remove lactose from the product, which not only allows those with dairy sensitivities to consume it with few issues but also creates a lower-fat product.

Laila also likes the short ingredient list—there are only five—and the fact that it’s free of dyes, preservatives, or fillers, which granted this a 4.5 out of 5 on our rating metric. It’s not a significant source of vitamins and minerals, which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re getting those vital nutrients from other food sources.

And if you’re an athlete, you’ll be happy that Transparent Labs products have been checked by Informed Choice for any banned substances. GGR also enlisted Ellipse Analytics, an independent accredited lab, to test Transparent Labs whey isolate and it ranked as an Above Average product overall, meaning that it passed our rigorous quality screen for both protein content and purity (check out what purity really means in our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary).

Read our full Transparent Labs Protein Review for the rest of our thoughts on this product.

Price per serving$1.99 
FlavorsMilk Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon French Toast, Strawberry, Mocha, Vanilla Peanut Butter, French Vanilla, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie 
Servings Per Container 30
Total Calories120
Protein28 g
Carbs2g
Fat0g 
Protein SourceWhey protein isolate

Best-Tasting Protein Powder: XWERKS Grow

Good for: People looking to bulk up their physique

Best Tasting

XWERKS Grow

GGR Score: 4.25 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Natural, healthy, convenient, and tasty way to get protein
  • Uses a microfiltration process to preserve critical biological nutrients in raw whey
  • Removes unwanted fats and carbohydrates
  • All flavors are naturally sweetened
  • Nicely flavored, easily digested, and low-carb protein powder
  • Promotes muscle growth and repair

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Keto-friendly
  • Naturally sweetened
  • Sourced from naturally raised grass-fed cows
  • Tastes great
  • Soy- and gluten-free
  • Convenient

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

XWERKS Grow whey protein isolate provides a solid blend of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in a whey protein isolate. It comes in a widely-loved range of flavors which are naturally sweetened, so they’re easily digested.

XWERKS Grow tastes like a richer, protein-packed version of Yoo-hoo, and what’s even better is that it almost tastes as good when mixed with water as it is when mixed with milk—the latter, of course, is the preferred beverage but you’ll still have a delicious protein shake if you run out and don’t feel like running to the store. Either way, you’re getting a protein powder that gets a 5 out of 5 on taste.

“This is the smoothest, finest protein powder I’ve ever drank and I’ve downed no fewer than 50,” says Anthony O’Reilly, a certified nutrition coach and GGR performance editor. “An absolute 5 out of 5 for solubility. I don’t think you even need a blender ball for this to dissolve.”

XWERKS has a lot more than being the best-tasting protein powder going for it. It’s a high-quality protein that contains key nutrients that have been shown to help with building muscle mass. The whey protein isolate comes from cows raised in New Zealand, which has some of the strictest dairy laws in the world. 

The land down under prohibits2 any antibiotics, pesticides, or hormones from coming in contact with the cows. XWERKS also uses a micro-filtration process that removes most of the fat, sugar (lactose), and carbs from the whey while keeping its amino acids—protein’s building blocks—and other key nutrients intact.

one of our best protein powder, xwerks grow protein powder in a shaker bottle

One of those nutrients is alpha-lactalbumin, a protein found in human breast milk needed for growth3 (you can see where they got the name from). It also contains immunoglobulins, which are antibodies that help the body fight bacteria and viruses.4  

Grow is nearly pure protein, with 100 of the 110 calories per every 30-gram scoop coming from the muscle-building macronutrient. Most flavors contain zero grams of fat and only one gram of carbs, with the exception of peanut butter which has two grams of each. 

At $1.96 per serving it’s a fairly expensive protein powder, but well worth it if you’re looking for some of the best quality whey isolate on the market. Read more about our experience with this product in our XWERKS Grow whey protein review.

Price per serving$1.96
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, Strawberry
Servings Per Container30
Total Calories110
Protein25 g (Peanut Butter has 23g)
Carbs1 g (Peanut butter has 2g)
Fat0 g (Peanut Butter has 2g) 
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate

Best Clean Protein Powder: Legion Whey+

Good for: Those who want a protein powder free of artificial ingredients

Best Clean

Legion Whey+

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland
  • Over 5 g of BCAAs per serving
  • Non-GMO and animal welfare approved
  • Third-party tested for banned substances

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs and fat
  • Natural ingredients
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Made with ethically-sourced milk
  • Lots of flavor options

Cons

  • Comparably high cost per serving
  • May be clumpy when mixed
  • Some flavors have mixed reviews

Bottom Line

Legion Whey+ is a clean, sustainable protein powder that also is macro-friendly and a great option for anyone looking for a clean protein supplement.

If you’re looking for one of the best clean protein powders, check out Legion Whey+. Legion Whey+ contains all-natural ingredients and is tested by Labdoor, a third-party laboratory that ensures supplements are free from heavy metals and banned substances. In other words, athletes and those looking to prioritize all-natural supplements can take this clean protein powder with peace of mind knowing it’s antibiotic-free, hormone-free, GMO-free, and sugar-free.

Legion whey+ protein lab result scorecard
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

GGR’s own independent testing with independent accredited lab Ellipse Analytics also found that Legion Whey+ scored in the top half of the 150 protein powders we tested for label accuracy and purity, achieving an overall Meets Standard rating. (You can learn more about these purity metrics in our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary).

Legion also has a Truly Grass-Fed certification, which means the cows that produced the dairy from which the protein was made spent most of their time grazing on grass in open fields—you know, the way nature intended.

The GGR team has tried several flavors of Legion Whey+ and found most, if not all to be very tasty. Anthony O’Reilly, a certified nutrition coach and GGR performance editor, awarded the Cinnamon Cereal flavor a 5 out of 5 on taste and says it tastes like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

GGR Head of Content and competitive weightlifter Kate Meier has been using Legion Whey+ for a month. “The Vanilla option is perfect for my morning fruit smoothie because it adds a hint of flavor and gets me more than 20 grams of protein,” she says.

legion whey protein powder scoop

As far as solubility goes, this gets a perfect 5 out of 5 on our list, as it dissolves great in water and mixes very well in smoothies.

As far as nutrition, Legion hits it out of the park. The exact macronutrient makeup varies by flavor, though you can expect anywhere from 22 to 24 grams of protein with a modest amount of carbs and fat.

The only negative thing about this protein powder is its $1.99 per serving cost, which falls at a 3.5 out of 5 on our scoring metric. And while it doesn’t have an Informed Choice or NSF Certified for Sport certification, it is third-party tested by Labdoor for harmful and banned substances.

Learn more in our Legion whey protein review, or watch our Legion Whey+ video review.

Price per serving$1.99 
Flavors17
Servings Per Container 30
Total Calories110
Protein22-24 g
Carbs2-4 g (varies by flavor) 
Fat0-5 g (varies by flavor)
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate

Best Vegan Protein Powder: Ritual Essential Protein 18+

Good for: Those who want a high-quality vegan protein powder

Best Vegan

Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+

GGR Score: 4.13 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Organic pea protein powder
  • 20 g of protein per serving
  • Formulated to support adults 18-49
  • Third-party tested
  • 150 mg of choline per serving 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Complete amino acid profile
  • Non-GMO
  • USA-grown peas

Cons

  • Only comes in one flavor
  • Price per serving is on the high end

Bottom Line

Ritual’s Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+ is specifically designed for 18-to-49 year-olds with 20 grams of protein per serving and 150 milligrams of chlorine (to support brain and nervous system function). This protein powder from Ritual is third-party tested and Informed Sport Certified, which means this formula has been screened for over 250 banned substances.

We’ve tested our share of the best vegan protein powders. And unfortunately, plant-based protein powders often have the disadvantage of being low in certain types of amino acids—case and point, pea protein lacks enough methionine to be considered a “complete” protein source (a protein with all nine essential amino acids needed for muscle growth). Ritual Essential Protein 18+ gets around this problem by adding more methionine to the powder, providing you with 20 complete grams of protein per serving.

GGR Head of Content and weightlifting coach Kate Meier has been using Ritual Essential protein in her morning smoothies that has blueberries, strawberries, and one serving of this vanilla protein powder. “The taste is definitely detectable, but not overly strong,” Kate says in our Ritual Protein Powder review, scoring it a 4 out of 5 on taste.

ritual essential shake 18+ in blender next to bag of one of the top protein powder

Ritual also has an Essential Protein Powder 50+ that’s specially formulated to be a protein supplement for older adults. Kate and Kathleen, a 50-plus woman, found their respective powders to be a 5 out of 5 on solubility. “This has a shockingly great consistency,” Kate says.

Both testers also said the pouch sometimes gets powders stuck in the grooves near the top, which makes closing the bag a struggle.

Ritual only has one flavor as of this writing, and as a subscription-based company you can’t just order one container (though there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee). On the bright side, you’ll never have to worry about running out of protein powder.

Price per serving$2.66
FlavorsVanilla
Servings Per Container15
Total Calories15
Protein20
Carbs3 g
Fat2 g
Protein sourcePea protein

Best Vanilla Protein Powder: Jacked Factory Authentic Whey

Good for: People who prefer vanilla-flavored protein powders

Best Vanilla

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 24 g of protein per serving
  • Low-fat and low-carb
  • Costs $1.50 per serving
  • Five flavors
  • Artificial aftertaste

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low-carb
  • Five flavors
  • 24g of protein per serving
  • No fillers or thickening agents

Cons

  • Some artificial ingredients
  • Has an artificial aftertaste

Bottom Line

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey is a low-carb, high-protein supplement that comes in five flavors at an affordable price.

Unlike some low-carb protein powders, Jacked Factory doesn’t compromise on taste. Although we haven’t tried the Vanilla Jacked Factory Authentic Whey, we’ve given their other flavors a 4 out of 5 or above, so we’re confident we’ll enjoy this classic option, too.

There are also multiple five-star customer reviews for the flavor, such as reviewer Jay who says, “I normally hate vanilla protein but this is hands down the best [I’ve] ever tried. Mixes easily, taste great and perfect macro ratio.”

Anthony O’Reilly, a certified nutrition coach and GGR performance editor, can personally attest to the fact that the Fruity Cereal Splash tastes exactly like the fruity breakfast cereal we all know and love (y’know, the one with the bird on the box) but it does have a slight artificial aftertaste, which brought its flavor score to a 4 out of 5.

There were also no clumps, which is always a huge plus.

Best Low-Carb Protein Powder Jacked Factory Authentic Whey

We’re not the type of fitness gurus who demonize carbs, but we also agree that protein powders should mostly contain…well, protein. Authentic Whey only contains one gram of carbs per scoop, making it a perfect choice for those looking to prioritize protein intake or those who need to minimize carb intake.

The magic is in Jacked Factory’s filtration process, which removes much of the carbs and lactose, making it a good choice for those who have dairy sensitivity. We also like that the high-protein product (you get 24 grams per scoop) has a short ingredients list, which helps earn it a 5 out of 5 when it comes to formulation.

Jacked Factory uses a combination of whey protein concentrate and whey isolate protein powder, both of which contain all the essential amino acids needed for protein synthesis5 to aid in muscle growth and recovery. 

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey protein lab test scorecard
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

It’s free of fillers and thickening agents, though it does contain artificial flavors (which are simply man-made flavors created in a laboratory that have little to no nutritional value and are safe for consumption).

Jacked Factory is not third-party tested, but is produced in the United States in a Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP)-certified and FDA-registered facility, which means it adheres to strict production standards set by the federal government.

GGR also enlisted independent accredited lab Ellipse Analytics to test more than 150 protein powders for label accuracy and purity, and Jacked Factory Authentic Whey scored as Meets Standard overall, which indicates that it passed our strict quality screen. Our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary provides more information on these purity metrics if you’re curious.

And lastly, on the bright side, Authentic Whey’s $1.49 per serving cost is enough for it to earn a 4 out of 5 on price. You can read our full thoughts in our Jacked Factory Authentic Whey review, or check out certified personal trainer Lindsay Scheele’s YouTube review.

Price per serving$1.49 
FlavorsVanilla, Fruity Cereal Splash, Salted Chocolate Caramel, Orange Ice Cream, Chocolate
Servings Per Container30
Total Calories120
Protein24 g
Carbs1-2 g (varies by flavor)
Fat2 g 
Protein sourceWhey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate

Best Plant-Based Protein Powder: 1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro

Good for: Anyone looking for a plant-based protein powder that works as well as whey

Best Plant-Based

1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based and soy-free
  • Digestive enzyme blend for easier digestion
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • $1.83 per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Allergen-friendly
  • Digestive enzymes to help with digestion
  • 6 flavor options
  • No artificial sweeteners

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro is free from most allergens and comes with a digestive enzyme blend to aid the digestion, decreasing the likelihood of upset stomachs.

We’ve tested more than 20 types of plant-based protein powders, and 1st Phorm Vegan Power Pro is by far one of our top choices due to the superior macronutrient profile and taste. We typically like to see more than 19 grams of protein per scoop, but this plant-based protein gets a pass because the carb and fat content is lower than other non-animal-based supplements.

RELATED: Best Protein Powder for Breastfeeding

The company goes a step further by adding a superfood and fruits blend that delivers extra vitamins and minerals, and an enzyme blend to help with digestion.

Plant-based proteins don’t have the best taste, in our opinion, though one of our testers said Vegan Power Pro’s Oatmeal Cookie flavor is in their top two of all time, rating it a 4.5 out of 5. “Maybe the thick consistency had me thinking of eggnog, but the flavor made think of gingerbread cookies on Christmas morning,” says certified personal trainer Lindsay Scheele, lead reviewer of Garage Gym Reviews Everything. “I’m only docking a half point because I think the thickness would be a bit much on a daily basis, but some people might prefer it.”

Lindsay notes she felt a little bloated after taking 1st Phorm the first time, though it wasn’t anything that would prevent her from drinking it again since it kept her full until her next meal. She added, however, that it was a little chalky and stuck to the side of her cup, and that it was one of the few times she preferred a protein powder with water over milk.

“With milk the taste was good but it made the shake unbearably thick in consistency,” she says.

1st Phorm gets bonus points for being approved by Informed Choice, meaning it’s been third-party tested for banned substances that might show up in an athlete’s drug test. For this reason, we rate it a 5 out of 5 for transparency and third-party testing.

This is a case where if you want quality, you’re going to have to pay for it. At $1.83 per serving, it’s not the most expensive protein powder in the world but there are more affordable options out there, so we rate it a 3 out of 5 on pricing.

Price per serving$1.83
FlavorsChocolate Frost, Chocolate Mint Cookie, Key Lime Pie, Iced Oatmeal Cookie, Vanilla Creme
Servings Per Container30
Total Calories100-110 (varies by flavor)
Protein19g
Carbs3g
Fat1.5-3g (varies by flavor)
Protein sourcePea protein, rice protein

Best Whey Protein Powder: Momentous Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Good for: Anyone who is looking for high-quality protein

Best Whey

Momentous Grass-Fed Whey

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Grass-fed whey protein isolate 
  • Cold-pressed with a micro-processing filtration 
  • ProHydrolase enzyme blend 
  • Protein is sourced from Irish cows

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Clean
  • Third-party verified
  • Mixes well
  • High-quality
  • Bioavailable

Cons

  • Unflavored may clump when mixing
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

If you are willing to pay a premium price for a high-quality grass-fed whey protein, the Momentous brand is a solid choice.

Yes, most of the protein powders on this list are whey protein, but Momentous Grass-Fed Whey Protein uses a special type of protein that’s more easily digestible. Unlike other powders that solely contain whey protein isolate, Momentous has ProHydrolase6 for improved protein absorption and muscle recovery—and that’s what pushes it over the edge.

Additionally, whey protein isolate is more easily digestible than whey protein concentrate, which has more lactose in it. Momentous also uses grass-fed dairy that has higher concentrations of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids compared to grain-fed dairy, and they source the dairy from European cows that have not been given antibiotics or growth hormones.

man drinking and testing the momentous whey protein powder

Certified personal trainer and New York City native Anthony O’Reilly says the Momentous Grass-Fed Whey vanilla protein powder reminds him of his childhood ice cream cone, Mister Softee, and rated it a 5 out of 5 on taste. “It tastes like natural vanilla and nothing is artificial-tasting about it,” he says.

Caine Wilkes, a GGR staff writer and Olympic weightlifter who competed at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics scored it a 4 out of 5. “With milk, the flavor reminded me of vanilla bean ice cream,” he says.

Both expert testers agreed the solubility is a 5 out of 5. “It’s incredibly smooth,” Anthony says. “I’ve mixed this with a straw and there were no lumps left behind.”

Momentous essential whey protein protein powder lab test scorecard
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

We’ll be very transparent and warn you that this is an expensive protein powder—one 24-serving bag is more than $60, though you can save nearly $10 by putting it on a subscription plan. Is it worth it? Yes, but in the same way a ribeye steak is worth it so long as you have the budget for it, or you’re someone who enjoys the best-of-the-best.

For one, as we found with our testing of 150 protein powders done by Ellipse Analytics, an independent accredited lab, Momentous Essential Whey was rated as Meets Standard overall. This means that it’s in the top 50% of all samples we tested and passes our strict quality screen.

Read more about this in our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary.

This whey protein isolate, which contains less lactose than whey protein concentrate, comes in three flavors: Unflavored, Chocolate, and Vanilla. Want to read more about this protein powder option? Check out our Momentous Essential grass-fed whey protein review.

Price per serving$2.71
FlavorsUnflavored, Chocolate, Vanilla
Servings Per Container24
Total Calories100
Protein20 g 
Carbs3 g
Fat0 g
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate

Best Collagen Protein Powder: Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate

Good for: Anyone who’s looking after their hair and nail health in addition to their protein intake 

Best Collagen

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • No artificial sweetener, colors, or preservatives
  • Formulated with grass-fed bovine collagen peptides
  • Claimed to help eliminate visible signs of skin aging like sagging and wrinkles
  • Made with minimal ingredients

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Worldwide shipping
  • A good amount of positive reviews
  • Easily mixable in cold or hot beverages

Cons

  • Only 10 g of protein per serving
  • Low doses of collagen compared to other brands
  • Doesn’t include vitamin C, which can help with absorption
  • Only comes in 1 flavor

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate is a collagen rich in type I and type III collagen peptides made without artificial sweetener, colors, or preservatives.

Collagen has become a bit of a buzzword in the fitness industry lately, but the Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate is anything but buzz. “Good for someone who is not only looking for increased protein intake but also considering skin, joint, bone, hair health7,” says registered dietitian Laila Ouldibbat. 

There are two types of collagen found in this protein powder: Type I and Type III. “Type I is the type of collagen for preserving the levels of collagen in your skin, hair or nails,” Laila says. It’s also a major component of the tendons, organs and bones.

Transparent Labs Grass-fed collagen hydrolysate

“Type III is generally found in reticular fibers, such as in the bone marrow,” she adds. “It’s usually found alongside Type I collagen in the body.”

There are 10 grams of protein per scoop and 11 grams of hydrolyzed collagen from bovine hide (cow’s skin). 

Amanda Capritto, GGR staff writer and competitive triathlete, tried the collagen’s chocolate flavor (the lone option) and warns against mixing it with water like other collagen supplements. “It tastes like watered-down chocolate milk,” she warns, though she says it’s much better when mixed with almond milk,” she says in our Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate review.

Transparent Labs collagen protein lab test scorecard
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

Amanda says the solubility is “a little scary,” but in a good way and rated it a 5 out of 5. She adds that it’s virtually unnoticeable when mixed with other powders, such as greens powder or other protein powders. We also recommend mixing it with your coffee for a nice mocha treat that helps with your skin, hair, and nails.

Laila says the collagen can be used like any other protein powder to increase satiety (being full)1 and may also help with joint pain, bone health, and lean muscle growth14

It should be noted, however, that collagen protein is an incomplete protein, meaning it doesn’t contain one of the essential amino acids needed for muscle protein synthesis7. In this case, it’s tryptophan, of which there is zero milligrams.  

Another bonus of Transparent Labs collagen? In our independent testing with Ellipse Analytics, where they tested 150 protein powders for label accuracy and purity, this product was rated as Meets Standard overall, meaning it was in the top 50% of samples that we tested. Check out our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary for more information on what we tested for.

Price per serving$1.17
FlavorsChocolate
Servings Per Container 30
Total Calories45
Protein10 g 
Collagen11 g
Carbs2 g
Fat0 g
Protein sourceCollagen

Best Budget Protein Powder: Nutricost Whey Concentrate

Good for: Quality for less

Best Budget

Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 25 grams of whey protein concentrate per serving
  • Available in 5 flavors, including unflavored
  • High-quality ingredients and third-party testing
  • Supports lean muscle growth and recovery after workouts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Non-GMO and gluten-free
  • Manufactured in GMP-compliant facility
  • Unflavored option only contains one ingredient, instantized whey protein concentrate

Cons

  • Whey concentrate may not mix as well as whey isolate
  • Flavored options are higher in calories than other whey proteins

Bottom Line

Nutricost Whey Concentrate contains 25 grams of high-quality whey protein concentrate, available in five flavors. It's gluten-free, non-GMO, manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility, and third-party tested.

At about $0.80 per serving, Nutricost Whey Concentrate is super wallet-friendly, giving it a 5-out-of-5 rating for price. Plus, with 25 grams of protein per serving, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

“Twenty-five grams of protein is plenty to stimulate muscle protein synthesis for building and repairing muscle mass,” explains Perry Nix, R.D. We did dock one point in the formulation category because of the artificial ingredients in Nutricost Whey Concentrate, but it still earns a solid 4 out of 5.

girl making smoothie with nutricost whey protein isolate

What’s more, it tastes good, too. GGR senior director of content Kate Meier tried the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor and was pleasantly surprised, especially because she’s not a huge peanut butter fan. “The peanut butter flavor was there, but not overpowering, which is great in my opinion,” Kate explained. She rates this whey protein a 5 out of 5 in both taste and solubility, saying it’s super creamy, especially when mixed with milk. 

RELATED: Best Protein Powder for Runners

Another thing that surprises us for a budget product is that Nutricost Whey Concentrate is third-party tested, which ensures that what you see on the label is what’s actually in the product. Many budget products don’t have this certification, so this is a plus.  

Price per servingApprox $0.80
FlavorsChocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Strawberry Milkshake, Unflavored, Vanilla 
Servings per containerApprox. 60
Total calories140-150
Protein25 g
Carbs3 g
Fat3-3.5 g
Protein sourceWhey protein concentrate

Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs Casein

Good for: Those who are looking for a filling protein powder to aid with weight loss

Best for Weight Loss

Transparent Labs Casein Protein

GGR Score: 4.18 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 100% grass-fed casein protein 
  • 3rd-party lab tested 
  • Chocolate flavor

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Subscribe and save 10%
  • No artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives
  • 3rd-party lab tested
  • Transparent ingredients
  • Extremely positive reviews on taste

Cons

  • Only available in 1 flavor
  • May be sold out
  • Comparably expensive
  • Limited reviews

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs Casein Protein provides 25 grams of protein per scoop and is extremely popular among users. Unfortunately, it may be sold out when you try to buy it, but you can sign up to be notified when it is available again.

Casein protein powder is one of the best protein powders for weight loss because it digests slower than whey protein or any plant-based protein types, meaning it keeps you fuller for longer and can help you more easily achieve the caloric deficit8 that’s necessary to achieve weight loss.

Transparent Labs is our favorite casein powder because it tastes great and is more easily mixed into liquid than other options (casein is naturally thicker than whey). You can read our full thoughts on this product in our Transparent Labs casein protein review, but here are the highlights.

Really close up, looking at the side of a scoop of Transparent Labs Casein Protein powder. The words '100% Grass-Fed" can be seen in the background.

“Unlike with most casein powders, I don’t find it particularly difficult to break up all the clumps with this one,” says certified sports nutrition coach and former GGR senior staff writer Amanda Capritto, who scored the solubility a 4.5 out of 5. 

Transparent Labs casein protein lab result scorecard
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

Amanda has tried dozens of protein powders—including many on our best casein protein powder list—and it’s rare that she awards a 5 out of 5 on taste—but she did for this protein powder. “This stuff tastes damn near like Jell-O chocolate pudding out of the little plastic tubs,” she says. “I actually crave this.” 

She normally uses it to create a protein pudding, which you can make by adding splashes of liquid (preferably milk) and mixing until all the powder is incorporated and it reaches your desired consistency. You can also make a thick shake with casein protein, although we definitely recommend the pudding option.

Beyond this casein’s yummy taste and consistency, it rated highly in our independent testing as well. GGR worked with independent and accredited lab Ellipse Analytics to test more than 150 protein powders for label accuracy and purity, and Transparent Labs casein was rated as Meets Standard overall. This means it’s in the top 50% of samples we tested and has passed our strict quality screen. Our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary provides more information about what we tested for and why.

Price per serving$1.99
FlavorsChocolate
Servings per container30
Total calories120
Protein25 g
Carbs4 g
Fat0.5 g
Protein sourceGrass-fed micellar casein

Best Protein Powder for Athletes: Onnit Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Good for: Competitive athletes looking for a protein powder to help with training and recovery

Best for Athletes

Onnit Whey Protein

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sourced from New Zealand grass-fed cows
  • Made with whey protein isolate to filter out fats and carbs
  • Offers a complete amino acid profile
  • Website offers a subscription option to save money and auto-ship

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs
  • High in leucine
  • Whey isolate gets to muscles faster
  • Non-GMO

Cons

  • High cost per serving
  • Can cause digestive issues for some people
  • The Mexican Chocolate flavor has mixed reviews

Bottom Line

Onnit Whey Protein is a great protein option for those looking for a grass-fed protein, however there are cleaner grass-fed protein powders on the market that are lower in cost.

Onnit Grass-Fed Whey Protein has an Informed Sport certification, meaning it’s been tested for more than 250 banned substances and meets the standards of approval of several regulatory and government agencies, sports industry organizations, and consumer groups.

Some supplements, including protein powders and pre-workouts, contain harmful ingredients or small doses of banned substances that might show up in a drug test. Different sports governing bodies have different screening policies and dose limits for certain substances, so the Informed Sport certification tells an athlete they can take that supplement without worrying about potentially failing a drug test.

An image of Onnit grass-fed whey

There’s way more to like about Onnit Grass-Fed whey, too. It comes packed with 20 grams of protein and several billion probiotics to help with immune health9. Onnit sources their dairy from New Zealand cows, which means there are zero concerns about hormones or antibiotics in the dairy used to create this whey protein isolate and it’s more nutrient-dense.

Former GGR senior staff writer, expert product tester, and triathlon athlete Amanda Capritto grabbed the Mexican Chocolate flavor and said it was one of the more unique chocolate protein powders she’s tried. 

“It actually does taste different than other chocolate protein powders, which I honestly wasn’t expecting,” she says in our Onnit Grass Fed Whey Isolate review. “It’s rich when mixed with whole or oat milk.” The solubility, she added, was a 5 out of 5. “This dissolves great—almost too well!”

Price per serving$1.59
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, S’mores
Servings per container25
Total calories100
Protein25 g
Carbs1 g
Fat0 g
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate

Best Chocolate Whey Protein Powder: Kaged Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Anyone who is looking for high-quality protein with a good chocolate flavor

Best Chocolate Whey

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Whey protein isolate
  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • Available in 3 flavors
  • Third-party tested

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good macro profile
  • Reviewers claim it's easy on the stomach
  • Tastes good

Cons

  • Clumpy when mixed
  • Certain flavors out of stock frequently
  • Only 3 flavors available

Bottom Line

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate is a fast-digesting protein available in five flavors with 25 grams of protein per serving.

Yes, most of the protein powders on this list are whey protein and have a chocolate flavor option, but Kaged Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate stands out. 

Nicole Davis, GGR head of content and certified nutrition coach, likened the Chocolate flavor to “one of those Carnation instant breakfast mixes” and gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 for taste.

However, be warned, solubility might be an issue, so you may want to use a blender if you go with this protein. “It’s clumpy just mixed in a shaker (even with the ball),” says Nicole, who rated the mixability a 3.5 out of 5. She said there were some clumps remaining even after a vigorous shake.

GGR protein lab testing data scorecard for Kaged whey isolate
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

Kaged Whey Isolate uses a special type of protein that’s more easily digestible. Unlike other powders that solely contain whey protein isolate, Kaged has ProHydrolase6 for improved protein absorption and muscle recovery. It’s also a clean product with minimal ingredients, which is what we and many other people like to see in a whey protein powder. You get 25 grams of protein per 31-gram scoop, so it’s mostly protein (it has under a gram of fat and only two to three grams of carbs).

Another advantage is you get more than 40 servings per container (the exact number varies by flavor)—so while the tub isn’t the most budget-friendly, you end up saving some money on a per-serving basis, especially since most protein powders have 25 to 30 scoops in a container.

Kaged products are Informed Sport certified, so athletes can use them with the peace of mind that they’ve been checked for banned substances. GGR also tested Kaged whey isolate using Ellipse Analytics, an independent accredited lab, for label accuracy (protein content), as well as purity (heavy metals, bisphenols, phthalates, and pesticides). It scored as Meets Standard overall, which means that it passed our rigorous quality screen. If you’re curious what all of these purity metrics really mean, check out our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary.

For more about this protein powder, check out our full Kaged whey protein isolate review.

Price per serving$1.59
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, S’mores
Servings per container25
Total calories100
Protein25 g
Carbs1 g
Fat0 g
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate

Best Organic Protein Powder: KOS Orgain Plant Protein 

Good for: Those who prefer organic supplements and don’t mind a plant-based option

Best Organic

KOS Vegan Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Multi-source vegan protein powder 
  • USDA-certified organic, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO
  • Digestive support via DigeSEB to help maximize absorption

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Superfood-infused
  • 20 g protein per serving
  • Chocolate flavor is rich
  • Enhanced with digestive support enzymes
  • Under $1.50 per serving

Cons

  • Customers say it has a gritty/chalky flavor
  • Some users reported protein gave them stomach issues
  • Reports of strong sweetness and bad aftertaste

Bottom Line

KOS is a vegan protein with a lot of positive reviews, but a number of people experienced stomach issues using this protein powder.

As one of the best organic protein powders, KOS Organic Plant Protein uses a combination of organic pea protein, organic chia seed, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic flax seed, and organic quinoa to ensure you get all nine essential amino acids needed for protein synthesis in a USDA Organic product.  

Not only does KOS Vegan Protein Powder come packed with 20 grams of high-quality plant protein, it also has 9 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s more than other vegan protein powders we tried and it can help keep those following a plant-based lifestyle energized in two big ways.

The first you probably already know: Carbs10 are the body’s preferred energy source. The second way is actually fiber, which when fermented releases short-chain fatty acids into our system that can be used as energy11. Researchers say about 10 percent of our daily energy comes from short-chain fatty acids. 

kos vegan protein review

Former GGR senior staff writer Amanda Capritto doesn’t follow a plant-based lifestyle, but she is a competitive triathlete who regularly uses protein shakes. She says she felt no negative side effects from this vegan protein powder, and while she rates the Chocolate flavor a 3 out of 5, it should be noted that she’s quite critical of most vegan protein powders so that score is a compliment coming from her.

“I tried it three separate times: with almond milk, regular 2% milk, and water. Even with water, the taste is decent,” the experienced triathlete says. “It’s not great, but it’s not terrible, and honestly, what more can you ask for when you’re drinking vegan protein powder?”

KOS Plant Protein does fall on the higher end of the protein powder price spectrum at about $2 per serving, but for an organic protein, the cost may be worth it to you. 

Read Amanda’s full KOS vegan protein review for a deep dive.

Price per serving$2
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Unflavored
Servings per container25
Total calories160
Protein20 g
Carbs9 g
Fat7 g
Protein sourcePea protein, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin seed protein, chia seed

Best Protein Powder for Smoothies: Sports Research Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Blending up for a frozen treat

Best for Smoothies

Sports Research Whey Isolate

GGR Score: 4.06 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Whey protein isolate
  • 25 g of protein per serving
  • Available in chocolate or vanilla
  • Informed Choice-certified

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Third-party tested
  • 25 grams of protein per serving

Cons

  • Only two flavors available
  • Our tester had issues with solubility

Bottom Line

Sports Research whey protein isolate has 25 grams of protein per serving and just 150 calories. It's third-party tested, too. Although there are only two flavors available, our testers think it's worth a try.

We like Sports Research whey protein isolate as one of the best protein powders for smoothies because it tastes good and blends up well. 

We’ll admit, if you just use a shaker cup and some milk or water, the solubility of this product isn’t great from our experience. However, if you blend it up into a smoothie, you’ll get a creamy frozen treat that’s absolutely delicious. 

Our tester, GGR performance editor and CPT Anthony O’Reilly, tried the Dutch Chocolate flavor of this protein and rates it a 5 out of 5 for taste. “This tastes like an instant cocoa powder drink, which is a good thing,” he explains. “I want to have this with marshmallows over an open fire. No protein aftertaste at all, and no upset stomach or bloating either.”

Anthony blended this with fresh strawberries, bananas, and milk and found it to be the perfect sweet treat. “It tastes just like a chocolate-covered strawberry,” he says. “It’s like Valentine’s Day in a cup. The chocolate doesn’t overpower the strawberries, but it’s still there.”

Sports Research whey protein isolate also gets a 4.5 out of 5 for formulation with 25 grams of protein per serving with 2 to 4 grams of carbs and 3.5 to 4 grams of fat depending on the flavor. It does use artificial ingredients, so we docked it a half a point.  

Price-wise, Sports Research gets a 5-out-of-5 rating with its approximately $1.15 per serving cost; that’s significantly less than many other protein powders on the market. Also, it’s third-party tested—for the price, you can’t beat it. 

Price per serving$1.15
FlavorsDutch Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla
Servings per container60
Total calories140-150
Protein25 g
Carbs2-4 g
Fat3.5-4 g
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate

Best Unflavored Protein Powder: NOW Sports Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Anyone looking for an allergen-free and/or unflavored protein powder

No Flavor

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 3.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 25 g of whey protein isolate per serving 
  • NPA A-rated GMP certified 
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or additives
  • Packaged in the USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No additives
  • Pure protein isolate
  • Budget friendly
  • Mixes well

Cons

  • Some reports of a sour aftertaste
  • Some users complained of missing scoopers

Bottom Line

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate is an unflavored protein which delivers 25 grams of protein per serving along with a good profile of BCAAs.

Now Sports Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate contains two ingredients: whey protein isolate and a minimal amount of sunflower lecithin emulsifier (which prevents the protein from separating). That’s it. No flavorings or artificial sweeteners, though GGR staff writer and certified personal trainer Lauren Strong detected a “whey taste,” which she says is neither good nor bad.

“Blended just like you would want a protein powder to—no clumps, not too thick or thin,” Lauren says in her NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate review. “Pretty decent all around.” She landed on a 4 out of 5 for taste and a perfect 5 out of 5 for solubility—aka no chunks in your morning protein smoothie.

Now Sports whey protein powder isolate

Laila Ouldibbat, R.D., noted that the powder is free of most notable allergens, including corn, egg, soy, and is gluten-free.  It’s also safe for those who follow kosher and halal lifestyles, which she says is “extremely rare” in protein powders.

She also likes that the company is very transparent in listing the protein powder’s amino acid content, including non-essential amino acids (amino acids that don’t need to be obtained through diet because our body creates enough of them on its own) and branched-chain amino acids, which may help reduce muscle fatigue2.  

Each 28-gram scoop delivers 25 grams of protein and less than a gram of fat and carbs. Now Sports only gives you 19 servings in the 1.2-pound tub, which comes out to about $1.31 per serving. We usually like to see at least a month’s worth of protein in each tub, but we can’t complain much about the price. 

Price per serving$0.66-$1.38 (varies by size) 
FlavorsUnflavored
Servings Per Container19-162
Total Calories110
Protein25 g
Carbs<1 g
Fat0.5 g
Protein SourceWhey protein isolate

Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain: Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Protein 

Good for: Supporting muscle growth 

Best for Muscle Gain

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Contains 3 different kinds of whey protein
  • Tested for banned substances
  • Over 5 g of BCAAs per serving
  • Instantized to help prevent clumping

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • High in protein
  • Plenty of flavor options
  • Low in carbs

Cons

  • Some users say it's overly sweet
  • Contains artificial flavors
  • Most flavors contain sucralose

Bottom Line

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is a team favorite for its budget-friendly prices and taste. Our team has tried multiple Optimum Nutrition flavors, and every one is ranked a 4 or 5 out of 5.

Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Gold Standard Whey Protein is easily the most affordable protein powder we’ve tried, and it also happens to be a great option if you’re looking for one of the best protein powders for muscle gain.

Optimum Nutrition Whey

Laila Ouldibbat, R.D., is a fan of this protein powder for multiple reasons. For one, it contains 24 grams of protein per serving, which is just about the research-backed amount12 per meal for an average-sized person to help build lean muscle, from a mix of protein sources (whey isolate and concentrate and hydrolyzed whey protein) that comes from hormone-free cows. It also contains 5.5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in support of improved muscle endurance and recovery.

Certified personal trainer and GGR Head of Content Nicole Davis has tried multiple flavors and awarded all of them a 5 out of 5 for taste. “I ordered Delicious Strawberry and it’s amazing,” she says. “I wouldn’t have normally picked this flavor but my husband said this was his favorite protein back in the day and it didn’t disappoint. Even my kids liked it.”

Third-party lab test results for Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Vanilla Ice Cream
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

Nicole noted it mixed well in her morning smoothie but that it was very thin compared to other protein powders. Don’t like strawberries? No worries, we tried multiple Optimum Nutrition protein powders to find the best Optimum Nutrition flavor.

It should come as no surprise that a budget-friendly protein powder comes with artificial sweeteners like sucralose and thickeners (that’s how they’re able to make it so affordable), but there’s a lot to like about Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard. For one, there are more than 20 flavors that are beloved by Amazon customer reviewers and our expert product testers.

Also, we tested four flavors of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey with independent accredited lab Ellipse Analytics for label accuracy and purity, which includes heavy metals, bisphenols, phthalates, and pesticides, and all met our quality screen (Read more on this in our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary). The Vanilla Ice Cream flavor in particular was rated as Excellent, meaning it was in the top 10% of samples that we tested.

Read out Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard Review for a deep dive. 

Price per serving$1.08-$1.66 (depending on container size)
Flavors17
Servings Per Container28-70
Total Calories120-130
Protein24 g
Carbs2-5 g (varies by flavor)
Fat1-2 g (varies by flavor)
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed whey protein

Best High-Protein Protein Powder: GNC Amp Wheybolic

Good for: A higher-than-average protein content 

Best High-Protein

GNC AMP Wheybolic

GGR Score: 4.03 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 40 grams of protein per serving
  • 17 flavors
  • Includes extra leucine, digestive enzymes, and Velositol®
  • $2.80 per serving, making it one of the more expensive protein powders

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 40 grams of protein serving
  • Uses fast-digesting whey isolate
  • 17 flavors available
  • Some flavors include digestive enzymes

Cons

  • Expensive
  • More artificial sweeteners than other options

Bottom Line

GNC AMP Wheybolic contains whey isolate, hydrolyzed whey protein, and several other additives, like extra leucine and digestive enzymes. Each serving contains 40 grams of protein, but it's expensive at $2.80 per serving.

If getting the most protein bang for your buck out of a powder supplement is important to you, check out GNC Amp Wheybolic protein powder. This supplement contains a hefty 40 grams of protein per serving, with 1 to 2 grams of fat and 4 to 7 grams of carbohydrates, depending on the flavor. The average protein powder comes in at about 20 grams of protein per serving, so Amp Wheybolic is one to take notice of. 

While it does have a bit more calories per serving at 200, if protein is what you’re most concerned with, this is a solid option. We rated it a 5 out of 5 in formulation. 

RELATED: Best Protein Powder for Weight Gain

Certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, and GGR Head of Content Nicole Davis tried out this protein powder in the Chocolate Fudge flavor and said it was unique as far as chocolate proteins go. “You definitely get the fudge component of it, so that’s interesting. It also tastes much better with milk.” We rated it a 4 out of 5 in taste and a 5 out of 5 in solubility; Nicole says it mixes up great in both milk and water. 

Lastly, GGR collaborated with independent accredited lab Ellipse Analytics to conduct its own third-party testing on more than 150 protein powders to assess label accuracy and purity. GNC Amp Wheybolic in both Chocolate Fudge and Strawberries and Cream flavors were rated as “Meets Standard,” a passing score for our rigorous quality control.

Our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary explains more about what we tested for, but just know that the sole presence of a contaminant alone doesn’t make a product immediately harmful; you have to assess your own personal risk and go from there. 

Price per serving$2.80
Flavors17
Servings per container25
Total calories200
Protein40 g
Carbs4-7 g
Fat1-2 g
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate, hydrolyzed whey protein

Best Hydrolyzed Protein Powder: Dymatize ISO 100 

Good for: Those looking for a quick-absorbing protein powder

Best Hydrolyzed

Dymatize ISO 100

Community Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Each serving contains 25 g of whey protein isolate 
  • Pre-hydrolyzed protein to speed up absorption
  • Available in 11 flavors, including Dunkin’ coffee flavors
  • Low in both fat and carbohydrates

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 11 flavor options
  • Includes 5.5 grams of BCAAs
  • Fast absorption
  • Flavors are highly rated

Cons

  • Complaints of quantity in container
  • Contains sucralose and stevia

Bottom Line

Available in 11 different flavors, Dymatize ISO100 is stacked with 25 grams of protein, including 5.5 grams of BCAAs and 4.4 grams of glutamine designed to enhance muscular growth and recovery.

Dymatize ISO 100  is made of a type of protein called hydrolyzed protein powder, which goes through a process called hydrolysis—”hydro” means water and “lysis” means to remove or bind, Laila Ouldibbat, R.D., explains. “This form of protein has been broken down by exposing it to heat, acid, or enzymes that break apart the bonds linking the amino acids, making it the purest form of whey protein,” she says. 

Laila continues that while hydrolyzed protein powder, such as Dymatize ISO 100, is more easily absorbed and digested by the body, there’s little to no evidence supporting claims that it can stimulate muscle/protein synthesis quicker than intact proteins. 

A container of A container and scoop of Dymatize ISO 100 next to a half-full shaker cup.

Still, she says, Dymatize ISO 100 is a high-quality protein powder that delivers 25 grams of protein per 32-gram scoop with 1 or fewer grams of fat (depending on the flavor) and 2 grams of carbs. 

Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach and GGR staff writer Matt Dustin calls Dymatize ISO 100 the best chocolate protein powder out of all the proteins he’s tried. “It tastes really good, but it’s not so overpowering or sweet that I get sick of it, though I only mix it in water, so maybe it tastes richer in milk,” says Matt, who scored the chocolate taste a 4.5 out of 5.

Dymatize ISO 100 gourmet chocolate protein lab result scorecard
GGR collaborated with Ellipse Analytics, an accredited third-party lab, to test more than 150 protein powder products. We screened for dozens of factors and rated each product against its peers. Excellent indicates the top 10% of products; Above Average is the top 25% of products; and Meets Standard is the top 50% of products tested.

He adds that the solubility is a perfect 5 out of 5. “It mixes really well, and is easy to digest, no bloating or anything,” he says.

Amanda Capritto, expert product tester and senior staff writer at GGR, went for a bowl, um, shaker bottle of Cocoa Pebbles. “I like it, but I wouldn’t say it’s better than other chocolate protein powders,” she says. She scored the solubility a 4 out of 5 because it didn’t work well with water. “I like chocolate milk, but not chocolate water, and that’s basically what you get when mixing this powder with just water,” she says. “I recommend milk.”

GGR commissioned its own testing of more than 150 protein powders via Ellipse Analytics, an independent accredited lab, and found that Dymatize ISO 100 in the Gourmet Chocolate flavor specifically was rated as Meets Standard overall—it had excellent label accuracy as well as several purity metrics. Read more about these purity metrics in our Independent Supplement Testing Glossary to get a better sense of what it all means.

Read our full Dymatize ISO 100 review for a deep dive on this protein powder, or watch our Dymatize ISO 100 video review by certified personal trainer Lindsay Scheele.

Price per serving$1.65-$1.99
FlavorsFruity Pebbles, Birthday Cake, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cocoa Pebbles, Cookies & Cream, Dunkin’ Cappuccino, Dunkin Mocha Latte, Fudge Brownie, Strawberry, Vanilla
Servings per container20 servings/ 5 lbs.
Total calories<120 
Protein25 g
Carbs2 g
Fat1 g
Protein sourceHydrolyzed whey protein isolate, whey protein isolate

Other Protein Powders We Researched 

It might be hard to believe, but there are a few protein powders we came across during our research that didn’t make the mark. Hey, after trying more than 120 you’re bound to run into some that just don’t make the cut.

Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder: We noted in our full Muscle Milk review that this protein powder is a great choice for people who are more active than the everyday person due to the higher caloric and carbs and fat content. If you fit that description, this might be the best protein powder for you.

Bob’s Red Mill Almond Protein Powder: This plant-based protein powder is produced by Bob’s Red Mill, a company that primarily makes baking ingredients. While it does have 20 grams of protein per serving the fat and carb content is higher than we’d like to see and the per-serving cost is high at $1.85. It’s also only made from ground almonds, which are an incomplete protein. 

BSN Syntha 6: A mixture of whey protein and casein protein, BSN Syntha 6 is a fairly affordable protein powder (around $1.50 per scoop) that some might consider a meal replacement shake (each serving is 200 calories with a moderate amount of carbs and fats). It has a longer ingredient list than we would like and can contain up to four grams of added sugar (depending on the flavor). 

Ka’Chava Meal Replacement: $6.02 per serving…no that’s not a typo. Customers were impressed with the taste and those trying to lose weight found it to be a suitable meal replacement. It also has the advantage of being higher in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) than other protein supplements. Our Ka’Chava review has our full thoughts.

Bare Performance Nutrition Whey Protein: Anthony O’Reilly, a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, tried Bare Performance Nutrition Whey Protein years ago. “I recall being a big fan of their product when I first got into weightlifting,” he says. The protein powder is a whey and casein blend, so it’s a little thicker than most whey proteins and is perfect for protein sludge (my favorite recipe actually comes from BPN founder Nick Bare). The flavors, as I recall, are all great— but if I had to pick just one I’d go with Blueberry Muffin.

Orgain Grass-Fed Whey Protein: Many of Orgain’s protein powders are organic, however, this one is not and it contains more carbs and fats than we typically like to see in a protein powder. Our Orgain protein powder review looks at the plant-based version, which is organic.

Ghost Whey Protein: Ghost Whey Protein comes in a lot of fun flavors, such as an officially-licensed Chips Ahoy option, but as we note in our Ghost Whey protein review there are a few things that kept it from making our list (such as the price per serving).

Bloom Whey Isolate Protein: This protein powder is a TikTok trend. Our Bloom protein review looks into whether it’s worth the hype.

SEEQ Protein Powder: You’ve probably seen this clear whey protein isolate and thought, “Is it any good?” Our SEEQ protein powder review answers that question.

woman drinking Ritual Essential protein powder for pregnancy

What Is Protein Powder?

Protein powder is a dietary supplement that contains a powdered form of protein either from plants (like hemp, quinoa, pea, soybean, rice, or hemp), milk (whey or casein), or eggs. It was first introduced as a bodybuilding supplement by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kali Muscle and has since gone mainstream, with everyday people using it to bulk up their morning smoothies or as a meal replacement shake.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Women

Protein and Amino Acids

Protein is a molecule made up of 20 amino acids—of those 20, there are 11 that the body makes enough of and so we don’t have to worry about getting them through our diet. The other nine are known as essential amino acids (EAAs), which the body doesn’t make enough of and must be obtained through diet.

A protein molecule containing all nine essential amino acids is called a complete protein, whereas a protein molecule lacking any of the nine EAAs is an incomplete protein. To make sure you’re reaping the benefits of the best protein powder you need to make sure you’re eating complete proteins.

How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Powder 

There are more than 400 brands creating what they claim to be the best protein powder, according to marketing analysis firm Lumina Intelligence13. We’ll say right now that we didn’t try nearly that much, but we were able to narrow down our selections by using our GGR supplement testing methodology. 

We also worked with a registered dietitian to develop our protein-specific testing method, which accounts for a number of factors.

best protein powder testing sheet
A small sample of the dozens of protein powders we tested for this roundup

Protein Content

Obviously, a good protein powder should have a high amount of protein—our top picks have protein content ranging from 19 to 30 grams. In order to score a perfect 5/5 for protein content, we insist that a supplement has at least 18 to 20 grams of protein per serving.

RELATED: How Much Protein Do I Need?

Protein Source

The source of the protein matters because we recommend complete proteins. Therefore, we research if the protein powder comes from whey, casein, egg white, or plant-based sources (such as pea protein, rice protein, chia seeds, or brown rice). If the protein comes from an incomplete source, are there additional ingredients to make it a complete source? If not, the product would score low with our testers. 

Carb and Fats

We also wanted to make sure each selection had a low or moderate carb and fat content (it should, after all, be mostly protein). If a protein is loaded with carbs, it could be considered one of the best mass gainers instead of just a protein powder.

Digestibility and Side Effects

We had each product tester report back on any potential side effects. For example, how well did the protein powder digest? Did it cause any digestive issues or bloating? You will often find enzymes in protein derived from dairy sources to help with the breakdown.

Solubility

We personally mixed protein powders with water or with milk or milk substitutes to test for solubility. our testers put the powders in a shaker cup and used blenders to asses: How well does this product dissolve in the suggested amount of liquid? Are there floaties? Is it grainy? Is it super thick or super thin? Does it separate after a few minutes?

Amino acids

Did each protein powder have all nine essential amino acids? This is especially important for plant-based protein sources as every one, with the exception of soy and technically pea, is incomplete protein. Companies work around this by using complementary proteins, or combining two or more protein sources to get all essential amino acids into their supplement.

Flavor and Taste

Did it taste good? Most protein powders are going to be sweet and milk-based. We know taste is subjective, so we had multiple people try many of the options on our list, and we also consulted customer reviews.

One factor we also look for in the taste department is variety. While we wouldn’t rate a product low for a lack of options, we do give credit to companies that offer customers a number of options.

Price per serving

The price per serving can range from $1.25 on the low end to upwards of $2 on the high end. Protein powders with a more affordable cost-per-serving were rated higher than those that cost $2 or more per scoop.

Ingredients

Protein powders get bonus points for having a short ingredients list. Things like artificial sweeteners and fillers aren’t as bad as some health influencers want you to believe but we don’t want large amounts of them in a protein supplement. On the flip side, protein powders often come with extra additional ingredients such as creatine, digestive enzymes, or probiotics.

Third-Party Testing

Since dietary supplements are not approved by the FDA, having an independent third-party lab verify that what’s on the label is what’s in the protein powder is super important, especially for athletes. Companies that had their products tested for heavy metals, toxins, or banned substances—and those who scored highly in our own independent testing of more than 150 protein powders with independent accredited lab Ellipse Analytic—got extra points in our book.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Men 

Transparency also plays a part in this—does the company provide COAs, not use proprietary blends, and generally seem very upfront about what’s used in their protein powder and why?

How to Use Protein Powder

If you’re new to consuming protein powder, it’s understandable you may have some questions around how much to take as well as when to take it. We’ll address those questions here.

How Much Protein Should I Take?

We consulted with Perry Nix, registered dietitan, regarding how much protein the average person should take.

“It’s almost impossible for the average person to consume too much protein in a day,” she says.

An image of macros for weight loss

There is a spectrum of protein recommendations based on several factors, as the Mayo Clinic14 states that anywhere between 10% to 35% of your overall caloric intake should come from protein. Put another way, on the lower end of the spectrum, a sedentary adult should get 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, while highly active adults generally shouldn’t exceed 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.

The Mayo Clinic offers these recommendations:

  • Sedentary adults: 0.8 to 1 g of protein per kg bodyweight
  • Average adults: 1 to 1.2 g of protein per kg bodyweight
  • Active adults: 1.1 to 1.5 g of protein per kg bodyweight
  • Athletes: 1.2 to 1.7 g of protein per kg bodyweight

Dietitians and health professionals recommend that micro- and macronutrients should come from real foods, not powders. However, it’s understandably difficult to hit high protein goals.

RELATED: Best Protein Powder Without Artificial Sweeteners

If you track your food, you’ll likely find you aren’t getting enough protein. Supplementing with a clean protein is a great idea. Most quality powders offer 20 or more grams of protein per serving, and many people find that just one to two servings of powders gets them within their protein recommendations.

When Should I Take Protein Powder?

As long as you’re not a competitive bodybuilder, the answer is whenever you’re hungry or need a quick dose of protein. And before you say, “But I heard you need to take it right after working out” or even utter the words “anabolic window, I’ll tell you why both of those things are “bro science,” or fitness myths that people believe just because someone with big muscles told them it’s true. (By the way, if you are a competitive bodybuilder or strength athlete I’ll get back to you in just a second).

Numerous studies15 in recent years have shown that overall caloric and protein intake along with proper resistance training is more important than so-called nutrient timing or eating certain meals based on when you workout. Nutrient timing can be beneficial for professional bodybuilders or powerlifters, but for the general lifter or person, there’s no need to down a protein shake right after a workout.

best time to drink a Klean Isolate Protein 4 Shake

Here’s how the researchers in a review published in Nutrients put it:

“When it comes to nutrient intake for athletes and active individuals, there exists a hierarchy of needs. If we look at it like baking a cake, the training stimulus and the total daily intake form the cake itself. The timing of nutrient intake is more like the frosting, which requires the foundation of the cake to do its job.”

In other words, nutrient timing is important but not as important as some people claim.

And now we’ll get back to the competitive bodybuilders, powerlifters, or other strength-based athletes. The “anabolic window” is a little more true for these types of athletes, but it’s a window that’s sometimes only open halfway. What we mean by that is your nutrient timing needs vary based on workout intensity and how much or little you ate before training.

Your meal size can also impact how soon after a workout, as researchers in one study16 said larger meals could be eaten up to 6 hours after a workout, compared to smaller meals that they recommended be consumed 3-4 hours post-training.

Benefits of Protein Powder

Wondering why you should consider purchasing or using protein powder? Here are a few reasons: 

  • Convenience: It’s much easier and quicker to chug eight ounces of protein powder (mixed with the liquid of your choice) than it is to defrost, prepare, cook, and eat a piece of meat (not to mention the clean up). It may not be as portable as a No Cow protein bar, but at least it’s quick.
  • Shelf-Stable: Protein powders can last a surprisingly long time on your shelf if properly sealed and kept out of direct sunlight. 
  • Builds Muscle: There are mountains of evidence supporting the use of protein powder to help build muscle1.
  • Lose Weight: Protein powder can also be used for those who are on a weight loss plan1

Potential Side Effects

Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, and the same thing goes for taking too much protein powder. The Mayo Clinic says the potential side effects of excess protein intake include, “bad breath, headache and constipation.” Too much protein may also impact your kidneys, the Mayo Clinic says.

woman scooping quest protein

What to Consider When Buying Protein Powder

Protein powders will try to draw you in with colorful labels and attractive claims, but here’s what you should actually look for when you’re trying to decide which is the best protein powder for you. 

Calorie Content

This might change depending on your fitness goal. For example, if you’re looking to bulk (or add muscle), you’d want more calories than someone whose main goal is weight loss. 

Protein Content

You should generally look for a protein powder with anywhere from 25 to 30 grams of protein per serving, but even 20 grams is enough protein to help keep you full. 

Carb and Fat Content

Carbohydrates and fats are essential macronutrients but they should be present in low or moderate amounts in protein powder—they may be a little higher in protein supplements such as the best protein chips

Protein Type

Most protein powders come from whey protein, but there are different protein types, the two most common alternatives being casein protein powder and plant-based protein powders. Casein is also a dairy-based protein that digests slower than whey, which is why athletes will often take it before going to sleep.

There are also meal replacements, sometimes called mass gainers, which contain an entire meal’s worth of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Mass gainers are primarily used for people looking to add muscle mass but can also be utilized by those trying to reduce their body weight.  

Taste

Find a flavor you like. Most protein powders will come in dessert-themed flavors, though there are now companies producing more fruity flavors that mix well with water. If you’re interested in a more refreshing protein powder, we recommend checking out SEEQ Clear Whey Isolate’s Blue Razz Freeze flavor—certified personal trainer and triathlete Amanda Capritto says it reminds her of candy. Read our full SEEQ protein powder review for more.

Price

Self-explanatory, but find a protein powder that works for your budget. Most of the best protein powders will be around $1.50-$2.00 per scoop with 30 servings, though you can find more affordable protein powders for around $1.10 per scoop.

Picking a protein powder is kind of like online dating—you have to look out for red flags.

Anthony O’Reilly, certified nutrition coach

What to Avoid in Protein Powder

Picking a protein powder is kind of like online dating—you have to look out for red flags. Luckily, it’s a lot easier to notice the warning signs when looking at protein powder than it is when swiping through dating profiles.

Artificial/Harmful Ingredients

Avoid protein powders that are loaded with excess sugars, thickeners like xantham gum that may cause digestive issues or filler ingredients like maltodextrin. While many of the health risks of these ingredients are exaggerated by online health gurus, they can cause some digestive issues. You’ll also want to check for any allergens and, if applicable, whether your protein powder is kosher or halal.

Excess Carbs and Fat

Although there are times when carbohydrates should be paired with protein, specifically after intense training sessions, most people should look for a protein powder that’s mostly, well, protein. There should be minimal carbs and fats, ideally under 5 grams of each.

Untested Supplements and Proprietary Blends

Athletes should avoid any protein powder that doesn’t bear Informed Choice, Certified for Sport, or any third-party certifications. These marks show that they’ve been third-party tested for banned substances, heavy metals, and toxins.

Lastly, avoid any protein supplement that has proprietary blends. These blends are a mix of different ingredients and manufacturers aren’t required to disclose how much of each ingredient is in the blend—oftentimes, companies underdose ingredients.

Types of Protein Powder

Even though we have our pick for the best protein powder, there are many people who may disagree due to dietary or religious reasons—there are some religions that prohibit the consumption of dairy. No worries, as there are many different types of protein powder for you to choose from.

different types of the best protein powder we’ve tested at Garage Gym Reviews in our testing facility

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein powder is the most common type of protein powder, and it comes from whey (shocking, we know). Whey is the liquid left behind after milk has been processed and is used in multiple applications, such as cheese-making or producing protein powder.

The pros of whey protein are that it’s cheap and readily available, though people with dairy sensitivities may find it difficult to digest it. In fact, people who are able to eat or drink milk-based products sometimes struggle with whey protein powder (it can result in some rumbling down under if you catch our drift). Luckily, there are two other types of whey protein powder:

  • Whey protein isolate: Whey protein isolate is simply whey protein that’s undergone additional filtering to remove much of the lactose (aka sugars), which results in a lower carb, lower fat protein powder that’s also easier to digest than normal whey protein (which may sometimes be called whey protein concentrate).
  • Whey Protein Hydrolysate: This whey protein has been pre-digested through a special process that increases the rate of absorption.

Casein Protein Powder

Casein is another byproduct of the cheese-making process, and while it’s not nearly as popular as whey protein it contains just as much protein and micronutrients. It’s made by adding a curdling agent to milk, which then becomes lumpy. Those curdles are then taken and either made into cheese or casein protein powder (after being dehydrated and processed, of course).

You’ll often see casein protein powder in meal replacement shakes for two reasons: It’s thicker than whey protein and digests slower. It’s more like a pudding than a shake, which will give your body the feeling that you’re eating more food than you actually are. And because it’s digested slower than whey protein, it’s a great type of protein to take before going to bed or when you know you might not be able to eat for a few hours.

Plant-Based and Vegan Protein Powders — What to Know

Plant-based or vegan protein powders are dairy-free alternatives that source their protein from soy, plants, or other food sources. Here is a list of the most common plant-based proteins:

  • Soy
  • Pea
  • Hemp
  • Lentil
  • Chia Seed
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Brown Rice

If you’re looking for a vegan or plant-based protein powder make sure to pay extra attention to the amino acid profile. As we discussed earlier, a protein needs nine of the essential amino acids to be a complete protein and aid in muscle growth or satiety (the feeling of being full). Soy and (technically) pea and hemp are complete plant-based protein sources, whereas other popular options like rice protein are not.

Does that mean plant-based and vegan protein powders don’t work? Not necessarily, since they may use complementary proteins—basically, a company will add rice protein and hemp protein since one may have the essential amino acids that the other lacks.

truvani vegan protein

Some of the best protein powders have their full amino acid profile on the label, so if you’re a plant-based lifter be sure to look for this on the tub or the company’s website.

Pea Protein Powder

Pea protein powder is a plant-based protein source created from yellow peas and is very high in micronutrients. Technically it contains all nine essential amino acids so it’s considered a complete protein, but it is low in methionine. It’s also not as bioavailable as other protein types.

Egg Protein Powder

Egg protein powder comes from eggs and while it can be a great option for those who can’t drink dairy, we should warn you that egg protein powder often comes with an unsavory taste and smell.

Meal Replacements and Mass Gainers

Meal replacement shakes often have more calories and protein (along with additional carbs and fat) than your standard protein powder because they’re made to mimic an entire meal’s worth of fuel. These are used by people who are trying to lose weight or those who don’t have enough time to eat a full plate of food.

Mass gainers are a type of meal replacement shake used by powerlifters or bodybuilders who are trying to put on as much weight as possible, and as a result, contain thousands of calories. Some mass gainers contain more calories and protein in one scoop than some people drink in an entire day, and they should only be used under the supervision of a dietary professional.

RELATED: Onnit Total Human review

Clear Whey Protein Isolates

A relative newcomer to the protein powder scene, clear whey protein isolates have been hydrolysed to be much more soluble and clear than regular protein shakes. The best clear whey protein drinks have a juice-like taste, rather than the milk-forward flavors you see in supplement stores and may be a good choice for anyone with lactose sensitivities or anyone who prefers a more refreshing post-workout drink.

Best Protein Powder FAQs

Is whey protein better than plant-based protein?

Whey protein is guaranteed to have all nine essential amino acids (EAAs), which are necessary for protein synthesis and absorption. This is not always the case for plant-based protein, with the exception of soy. However, many plant-based protein powder manufacturers will add complementary proteins to their supplements to ensure all nine EAAs are in their product.

Does protein powder have an expiration date?

If you’re wondering does protein powder expire, yes, it does. It does, however, last much longer than protein sources like chicken or tofu. Most of the best protein powder’s expiration dates are nine to 18 months after it was produced.

As certified personal trainers and expert product testers who frequently have quite a few protein powders on hand, here are some of our tips for ensuring your protein powder stays fresh for many months:

1. Properly seal the container every time
2. Keep the container in a dry, cool place away from sunlight
3. Throw it away if it starts to smell rancid

Is it OK to take protein powder every day?

There are no adverse effects to drinking a protein powder shake every day, though it should be pointed out that it’s a supplement—meaning it supplements your overall diet. The majority of your calories and protein should come from whole food sources like meats, plants, and dairy. That said, protein powder is a cost-efficient and convenient way to increase your protein intake.

What is the best protein powder for beginners?

Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey is the perfect protein powder for beginners due to its lean macronutrient profile, high protein content, great taste, and affordable price point.

Does protein powder help you build muscle?

Protein powder is used to ensure you reach your daily protein goals and maintain a caloric surplus, which is when you consume more calories than you burn in a given day. So yes, it can help you build muscle but only if it’s used alongside a proper workout routine and nutrition regimen.

What is the best protein powder for weight loss?

Our pick for the best protein powder for weight loss is Transparent Labs Casein because it only has 120 calories (with 25 grams of protein) and digests slower than whey protein powder, meaning it will keep you fuller for longer.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Stokes T, Hector AJ, Morton RW, McGlory C, Phillips SM. Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients. 2018;10(2):180. Published 2018 Feb 7. doi:10.3390/nu10020180
  2. Design and Operation of Farm Dairies, New Zealand Government 
  3. Layman DK, Lönnerdal B, Fernstrom JD. Applications for α-lactalbumin in human nutrition. Nutr Rev. 2018 Jun 1;76(6):444-460. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy004. PMID: 29617841; PMCID: PMC5934683.
  4. Justiz Vaillant AA, Jamal Z, Patel P, Ramphul K. Immunoglobulin. 2022 Nov 24. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30035936.
  5. Church DD, Hirsch KR, Park S, Kim IY, Gwin JA, Pasiakos SM, Wolfe RR, Ferrando AA. Essential Amino Acids and Protein Synthesis: Insights into Maximizing the Muscle and Whole-Body Response to Feeding. Nutrients. 2020 Dec 2;12(12):3717. doi: 10.3390/nu12123717. PMID: 33276485; PMCID: PMC7760188.
  6. Townsend JR, Morimune JE, Jones MD, Beuning CN, Haase AA, Boot CM, Heffington SH, Littlefield LA, Henry RN, Marshall AC, VanDusseldorp TA, Feito Y, Mangine GT. The Effect of ProHydrolase® on the Amino Acid and Intramuscular Anabolic Signaling Response to Resistance Exercise in Trained Males. Sports (Basel). 2020 Jan 22;8(2):13. doi: 10.3390/sports8020013. PMID: 31978998; PMCID: PMC7077235.
  7. Khatri M, Naughton RJ, Clifford T, Harper LD, Corr L. The effects of collagen peptide supplementation on body composition, collagen synthesis, and recovery from joint injury and exercise: a systematic review. Amino Acids. 2021 Oct;53(10):1493-1506. doi: 10.1007/s00726-021-03072-x. Epub 2021 Sep 7. PMID: 34491424; PMCID: PMC8521576.
  8. Strasser B, Spreitzer A, Haber P. Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(5):428-32. doi: 10.1159/000111162. Epub 2007 Nov 20. PMID: 18025815.
  9. Khalesi S, Bellissimo N, Vandelanotte C, Williams S, Stanley D, Irwin C. A review of probiotic supplementation in healthy adults: helpful or hype? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2019 Jan;73(1):24-37. doi: 10.1038/s41430-018-0135-9. Epub 2018 Mar 26. PMID: 29581563.
  10. Slavin J, Carlson J. Carbohydrates. Adv Nutr. 2014 Nov 14;5(6):760-1. doi: 10.3945/an.114.006163. PMID: 25398736; PMCID: PMC4224210.
  11. den Besten G, van Eunen K, Groen AK, Venema K, Reijngoud DJ, Bakker BM. The role of short-chain fatty acids in the interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and host energy metabolism. J Lipid Res. 2013 Sep;54(9):2325-40. doi: 10.1194/jlr.R036012. Epub 2013 Jul 2. PMID: 23821742; PMCID: PMC3735932.
  12. Schoenfeld, B.J., Aragon, A.A. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distributionJ Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 10 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1
  13. Lumina Intelligence, Sports Nutrition Market: Size, trends and analysis, July 31, 2020
  14. Mayo Clinic. Are You Getting Too Much Protein? April 29, 2022.
  15. Arent SM, Cintineo HP, McFadden BA, Chandler AJ, Arent MA. Nutrient Timing: A Garage Door of Opportunity?. Nutrients. 2020;12(7):1948. Published 2020 Jun 30. doi:10.3390/nu12071948
  16. Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013;10(1):5. Published 2013 Jan 29. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-

Further reading

Creatine for Runners: Power Up Your Cardio with This Popular Supplement Cover Image
Creatine for Runners: Power Up Your Cardio with This Popular Supplement

Can creatine make you a better runner? In this guide, a nutrition coach explains everything you need to know about creatine for runners. Read more

Plunge All-In Review (2024): A First Look From a Team That Has Tested the Original Plunge Cover Image
Plunge All-In Review (2024): A First Look From a Team That Has Tested the Original Plunge

Plunge’s newest product keeps it even cooler than the original. Learn more about this tub in our Plunge All In review. Read more

The Good Kitchen Review (2024): Is This Popular Service Worth Its High Price? Cover Image
The Good Kitchen Review (2024): Is This Popular Service Worth Its High Price?

The Good Kitchen Review: Tasted and Tested by Experts (%currentyear%) %sep% %sitename% Read more

Nutrition Coaches Answer: Should You Mix Your Protein Shake with Milk or Water? Cover Image
Nutrition Coaches Answer: Should You Mix Your Protein Shake with Milk or Water?

Nutrition coaches explain exactly how to decide whether you should mix your next protein shake with milk or water. Read more