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While I have no problem with a scoop of protein powder and almond milk, I know many people who aren’t down with the shaker bottle life, even if they use one of the best-tasting protein powders. 

Whether you’re looking to stack your post-workout shake with more superfoods or you want to add whole foods to make it a meal, you’ve come to the right place. After testing countless protein powders, consulting with registered dietitians, and pursuing my own sports nutrition certification, I’ve got you covered with this guide to the best protein powder for smoothies. 

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.

Best Protein Powder for Smoothies in 2024

Best Overall Protein Powder for Smoothies: Kaged Whey Isolate

Good for: Anyone looking for a high-quality, tasty protein powder that mixes well into any smoothie

Best Overall

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Whey protein isolate
  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • Available in 5 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 5 flavors available

Bottom Line

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

Our team likes Kaged Whey Isolate for a few reasons, with two notable ones being that it contains whey protein and whey protein alone—no fillers or blends—and it contains ProHydrolase, an enzyme thought to increase muscle protein synthesis, aka the process by which your body uses protein to create new muscle tissue and repair damaged muscle tissue. 

Research on this is limited and new, and the effects may be minimal according to a 2020 double-blind study on ProHydrolase in the journal Sports1. However, even small effects can add up over the long run.

Additionally, Kaged Whey Protein Isolate is third-party tested and certified to be free of banned substances. Kaged also prides itself on using clinical dosages of ingredients in its supplements, which is somewhat hard to come by. 

As for how this all affects your smoothies, it doesn’t, really… But you’ll be glad to know that we chose Kaged Whey Protein Isolate as the best protein powder for smoothies because it has a rather thin consistency that won’t overpower the texture of your smoothie. 

It’s available in a few yummy flavors, but we recommend chocolate or vanilla for versatility in regard to smoothie-making. The chocolate reminded product tester and GGR editor Nicole Davis of a Carnation Instant Breakfast shake, and I liked the vanilla for its mild but sweet taste. 

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate is sweetened with stevia and sucralose, but I don’t notice the typical sucralose aftertaste. It shouldn’t affect the flavor of your smoothies in that sense.

Protein per serving25  g
Flavors availableS’Mores, Cinnamon French Toast, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla, Chocolate
SweetenersStevia, sucralose

Best Plant-Based Protein Powder for Smoothies: Ritual Essential Protein 18+

Good for: People looking for a high-quality, plant-based protein powder that tastes great in smoothies

Best Plant Based

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.

Competitive weightlifter and GGR Head of Content Kate Meier uses the Ritual Essential Protein 18+ in her morning smoothies (water, blueberries, and strawberries) and says it’s a good accompaniment to her usual morning meal.

“Mixed in a smoothie, the taste is definitely detectable, but not overly strong,” Kate says, awarding the vanilla protein powder a 4 out of 5. “It’s not super plant-y or hemp-y like some plant-based proteins are. There is a very slight chalky aftertaste with water, but I could drink this with water alone and be fine with it.”

ritual essential shake 18+ in blender next to bag

Kate adds that the powder has a “shockingly great consistency” and gave it a 5 out of 5 for solubility.

Ritual uses organic pea protein powder, which normally we’d raise a small red flag to since it can’t be considered a complete protein source because there’s not enough of the amino acid methionine. The company solves this problem by adding more of the amino acid in the powder to ensure the 20 grams of protein can properly do its job.

Protein per serving20 g
Flavors availableVanilla
SweetenersMonk fruit

Best Casein Protein Powder for Smoothies: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Micellar Casein

Good for: People who crave an ultra-rich, thick shake that’s almost like custard 

Best Casein

Transparent Labs Casein Protein

GGR Score: 4.5 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 in general is a great choice for those who want their smoothies or shakes to have a thick consistency. The explanation for its thickness? During processing, casein separates from whey and forms curds, while whey is left behind as a watery liquid. According to registered dietitian Sydney Lappe, who authored our guide to the best casein protein, casein is actually the predominant protein found in cow’s milk.

That said, Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Micellar Casein is one of the most palatable casein protein powders I’ve personally tried. It doesn’t feel as gooey as some other options, which makes it great for smoothies. It’ll still definitely create a very thick shake, unless you use upward of 12 ounces of water.

Transparent Labs Casein 1

The chocolate flavor is rich, almost like cocoa, but still allows other flavors to come through in smoothies. One of my favorite ways to have this protein powder is in a smoothie with very ripe strawberries and cherries. It’s like sipping on Valentine’s Day.

Bonus points: Transparent Labs has all of its products—each and every batch—tested for various substances and for ingredient accuracy by independent labs. The brand even posts certificates of composition and certificates of analysis for each batch of products. 

Protein per serving25 g
Flavors availableChocolate
SweetenersStevia

Best Chocolate Protein Powder for Smoothies: XWERKS Grow Chocolate Protein Powder

Good for: Chocolate fanatics who’d fancy a shake reminiscent of a chocolate Yoohoo 

Best Chocolate Flavor

XWERKS Grow

GGR Score: 4 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.

If you’re searching for a yummy and high-quality chocolate protein powder to add to your smoothies, consider XWERKS Grow, which is one of the best protein powders for muscle gain and one of the best keto protein powders

All flavors of XWERKS Grow contain 25 grams of protein per serving, except for Peanut Butter, which contains 23 grams per serving. To produce its whey protein isolate, XWERKS uses only grass-fed cattle in New Zealand, where, according to XWERKS, cattle laws are extremely strict regarding dairy quality.

Because XWERKS Grow goes through a microfiltration process, it contains only trace amounts of dairy, carbohydrates, and fat. Plus, per 30-gram serving, there are 6 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

Xwerks Grow 1

This protein powder is on the pricey side at just under $2 per serving, but we think the quality, taste, and consistency make it worthwhile. With XWERKS, we think you’ll find yourself using this protein time and time again in smoothies and on its own in a shaker bottle. 

Protein per serving25 g (Peanut Butter has 23g)
Flavors availableChocolate, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, Strawberry
SweetenersStevia

Best Unflavored Protein Powder for Smoothies: NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: Those who just want the extra protein without altering the taste of their smoothie

Best Unflavored

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.

For those who are dead-set on not altering the taste of their beloved smoothies, unflavored whey protein is a good choice. (We do not recommend unflavored whey protein with just water or milk, and we definitely judge those who do that.)

GGR product tester and staff writer Lauren Strong tested the unflavored NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate and concluded that there is “definitely a ‘whey’ taste, which is not good or bad, really.

“This is certainly not gag-worthy, but I did mix this with water to get the full effect,” she continues. “It would actually be pretty good with a sports drink or in a smoothie. It blends just like you would want a protein powder to—no clumps, and it’s not too thick or thin.”

An image of NOW Sports organic whey protein powder

Lauren reports no side effects like bloating, just a “strange aftertaste from the ‘non-flavor.’” As mentioned already, though, such ‘non-flavor’ is undetectable when blended with fruit, cocoa powder, yogurt, etc. 

With 25 grams of protein per serving, the NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate will add substantial protein to your smoothie and your daily intake. Plus, since it’s unflavored, it’s free from sweeteners, including sugar, sugar alcohols, artificial sugar, and alternative sweeteners.

RELATED: Best Low-Carb Protein Powder

Protein per serving25 g
Flavors availableUnflavored
SweetenersNone

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Smoothies: KOS Vegan Protein Powder

Good for: Individuals who follow a plant-based diet and want to add a substantial amount of protein to their diet

Best for Vegan Dieters

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.

All seven flavors of KOS Vegan Protein Powder lack that earthy and plant-like taste you often find in the best vegan protein powders, so they won’t overpower or change the flavor of your smoothie. I personally give the chocolate flavor a 3.5 out of 5 on taste—it’s pretty rich, but it’s not the greatest protein powder I’ve ever tried—and it has a 4 out of 5 when it comes to solubility—there were some small chunks.

One note: I found that the thicker the liquid, the harder it was to mix. In other words, there were few issues when I mixed it with water but it took a bit longer to fully incorporate into almond milk.

KOS Organic Plant Protein 2

Another reason we like KOS is that it uses five vegan protein sources to provide a complete protein source: pea protein, flax seed protein, pumpkin seed protein, quinoa protein, and chia seed protein. Plant-based protein sources often lack in some of the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth, but the combination used here makes sure you get enough of each so the 20 grams of protein per scoop can go to building and repairing muscle.

That’s not all, as KOS also has a superfoods blend that provides much needed vitamins and minerals—including iron, a mineral that vegans and plant-based eaters often lack. The digestive enzyme blend may also help with digestion.

Protein per serving20 g
Flavors availableChocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate chip mint, Chocolate peanut butter, Blueberry muffin, Salted caramel coffee, Unflavored
SweetenersMonk fruit extract

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

Good for: People who are trying to look after the health of their skin, hair, and nails

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 isn’t a complete protein source, it lacks a significant amount of tryptophan, but it is a great way to look after your hair, skin, and nails thanks to the type I and III bovine collagen found in Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate. Each serving provides 11 grams of collagen in a tasty chocolate flavor.

The chocolate flavor sort of tastes like the milk chocolate powder you may have added to milk during your childhood. The solubility is a perfect 5 out of 5 and it was almost scary how well it dissolved into the liquid.

An image of Transparent Labs Grass-fed collagen hydrolysate
Protein per serving10 g
Flavors availableChocolate
SweetenersStevia

Best Budget Protein Powder for Smoothies: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard French Vanilla Creme

Good for: People searching for a tasty protein source that goes with any flavor smoothie and won’t empty their wallet

Best On A Budget

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

  • 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

With plenty of flavor and size options to choose from, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is a great basic choice in protein powder.

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard consistently makes an appearance on our various guides, such as the best whey protein powder, because it tastes great, mixes easily, and is budget-friendly. While it’s not the “cleanest” protein powder available, we realize that not everyone can pay top-dollar for third-party tested, organic, grass-fed, all-the-other-things protein powder. 

All of our product testers have used Optimum Nutrition whey protein at some point in their fitness journeys, and I currently still use it on a regular basis. We’ve even debated over the best Optimum Nutrition flavor (there are more than 20!). My go-to is Double Rich Chocolate, but I recommend French Vanilla Creme for smoothies since it’s much more versatile. 

The French Vanilla Creme also, to me, seems slightly “fluffier” than the other Optimum Nutrition flavors I’ve tried, which gives smoothies a frothy, milkshake-like consistency. Plus, the vanilla flavor is mild but tasty, and it doesn’t overpower the fruit or other ingredients in a smoothie. If you want a chocolate smoothie, you can always add cocoa powder.

Optimum Nutrition Whey

Still, if vanilla isn’t your game, you can easily pick up one of the 20-plus flavors on Amazon or from your local supplement shop and experiment until you find the right one. 

Despite being a wallet-friendly pick, Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard is Informed Choice-certified, meaning that it’s been independently verified to be free of banned substances for athletes. 

Protein per serving20 g
Flavors availableMore than 20 options
SweetenersAcesulfame K, sucralose

Best Organic Protein Powder for Smoothies: Truvani Plant-Based Protein Powder

Good for: People who prioritize organic ingredients but don’t want to sacrifice taste or texture

Best Organic

Truvani Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Made with 6 organic ingredients
  • Rich chocolate flavor
  • A USDA-certified organic, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and non-GMO product
  • 20 grams of protein per serving
  • Has 4.4/5 stars on Amazon and 14,000+ reviews
  • #4 in Sports Nutrition Pea Protein Powders on Amazon
  • Store in a cool and dry place

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No added sugars or stevia
  • Does not have a chalky or grainy taste
  • Reviewers love the chocolate flavor
  • Paleo-friendly
  • Organic
  • Vegan
  • Certified gluten-free

Cons

  • Expensive (about $2.50 per serving)
  • Made in a facility that processes wheat, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, peanuts, and eggs

Bottom Line

The chocolate flavor is a fan favorite, especially on Amazon, as Truvani’s Chocolate Protein Powder is rated #4 in Sports Nutrition Pea Protein Powders at the time of writing. We’ve found that reviewers love this product for its taste and simple ingredients.

Not only is Truvani Plant-Based Protein Powder one of the best organic protein powders available in general, but it is the only vegan protein powder that I am willing to drink of my own accord. 

Usually, when I test plant-based protein powders for our various best-of guides, I drink just enough to understand the taste, texture, solubility, consistency, and side effects, if any, of a given product. But I’m almost done with my bag of Truvani protein powder! For me, that says a lot. 

What’s more, Truvani’s formula is insanely simple. It contains just six ingredients in the chocolate flavor: pea protein, chia seed protein, pumpkin seed protein, alkalized cocoa, vanilla powder, and monk fruit extract. Chia seeds are a complete protein, while the other ingredients are low in or lack some essential amino acids.

Truvani Plant Protein

The flavor of the chocolate powder is extremely rich, and it mixes into quite a thick shake on its own. In smoothies, chocolate Truvani tastes incredible with a variety of ripe berries and/or banana. With almond milk, chocolate Truvani, a banana, and ice, you’ll have a smoothie reminiscent of Nutella toast with sliced bananas. It’s so good it should be illegal. 

Additionally, Truvani protein powder is USDA-certified organic, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and a non-GMO product, making it suitable for many diet types. 

RELATED: Best Clean Protein Powder

Protein per serving20 g
Flavors availableChocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Banana Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, Unflavored
SweetenersMonk Fruit Extract

Best Vanilla Protein Powder for Smoothies: Quest Nutrition Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

Good for: Anyone who wants their protein shake to taste like a frothy vanilla milkshake

Best Vanilla

Quest Nutrition Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Made with fast- and slow-absorbing proteins
  • Contains 9 amino acids
  • Sweet flavors help curb cravings
  • Complete proteins help keep you full

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs
  • Comparably affordable per serving cost
  • Balanced for workouts

Cons

  • Contains sucralose
  • Contains soy
  • Thick texture

Bottom Line

With plenty of great flavors, Quest Nutrition Protein Powder is a great option for those who get bored of the same flavor of proteins.

Kate Meier, GGR head of content, tried the Quest Nutrition Vanilla Milkshake Whey Protein Powder and says it has a “rich taste that is very vanilla!”

“You don’t need to mix this with anything else, as it’s totally awesome on its own,” Kate says, but it’s sure to elevate your smoothies with its frothy, creamy taste and texture. In fact, based on Kate’s notes on this product, I’m inclined to think that it would taste insanely good blended with milk and ice—like a real milkshake, but protein-packed.

In our full Quest protein powder review, writer and registered dietitian Megan Toomey says that Quest protein powder is a good choice for individuals who want a low-fat and low-carbohydrate powder or a gluten-free option, as well as cost-conscious buyers. (The cost per serving for this protein powder is lower than many other top brands.)

scoop in front of quest nutrition powder

Depending on the flavor, Quest protein powder offers 20 to 26 grams of protein per serving, as well as 20 to 25% of the daily recommended calcium intake—so it’s not only good for your muscles, but your bones, too. 

Kate, like all of our product testers, has tried many different protein powders to bring our readers our expert opinions around which are purchase-worthy. Quest protein powder is one she keeps returning to for its great taste and solubility (and she says her kids love it, too).

RELATED: Quest Protein Bar Review

Protein per serving24 g
Flavors availableVanilla Milkshake, Chocolate Milkshake, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Crunch, Cookies & Cream, 
SweetenersSucralose, stevia

Other Protein Powders We Researched

At this point, our product testers have tried so many protein powders that it’s getting impossible to list them all out. We’ve tested protein powders from all of the well-known brands, as well as from lesser-known, newer, and more niche brands. We’ve tested countless whey proteins, casein proteins, vegan-friendly proteins, organic proteins, unflavored, unsweetened, pea protein, hemp protein—the list goes on. We’ve tested any type of protein powder you can think of. 

RELATED: Best Pea Protein Powder

How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Powders for Smoothies

As of this writing, our team of certified personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and athletes has tested upward of 60 different protein supplements. During our testing, we look at several criteria that help us determine whether or not a certain product belongs in a certain guide. Here are some of the questions we ask ourselves as we evaluate all of the different types of protein powder.

  • Protein source: Does the protein come from plant sources, or is it a dairy derivative (whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, hydrolyzed whey, or casein)? If it’s a plant-based protein blend, does it contain all of the essential amino acids needed to make it a complete protein? 
  • Solubility: Does it dissolve quickly and easily? Are there any chunks or flecks? Is it chalky or smooth?
  • Taste: How does it taste with plain water? Milk or a milk alternative? In a smoothie or oats?
  • Grams of protein per serving: Are there at least 20 grams of protein per serving?
  • Calories per serving: Is there enough protein for the calorie count, or does it seem high-calorie relative to the protein content?
  • Carbs and fats per serving: Do these nutrients seem in line with what’s standard, or do they seem to be high for the protein content or calorie amount? If the carbohydrate content is very high, for instance, the product may be better categorized as a mass gainer.
  • Sweeteners: Is the product unsweetened, or does the protein contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, or natural alternatives to sugar? 
  • Third-party testing: Is the product vetted by any agency outside of the manufacturer? We look for NSF Certified for Sport, US Pharmacopeia verifications, allergen testing, heavy metal testing, and individual dietary certifications, such as USDA Certified Organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, when applicable.
  • Other ingredients: Are there any ingredients that are clearly there as fillers; or are there proprietary blends that don’t allow us to know what’s really in the product? 

Benefits of Protein Powder

The benefits of protein powder are many, as protein is an essential macronutrient that supports all sorts of body functions from hormone regulation to muscle growth and appetite. 

Keeps You Full 

Several studies have shown that protein, both from whole food sources and in the form of supplements, can assist with appetite regulation and promote satiety, or the feeling of being full from food. For instance, in a 2022 study in the Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome9, researchers point out that protein consumption triggers the excretion of three anorexigenic (appetite suppressant) hormones and “is a good method to reduce total energy intake by increasing satiety in comparison to that gained from carbohydrates and fats.”

May Help With Weight Loss

A 2020 review in the Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome10 concluded that higher-protein diets (defined as “consuming more protein than the recommended dietary allowance”) is linked to reduced body weight and less fat mass compared with lower-protein diets. Of course, protein intake is just one factor of many that can affect weight loss.

Helps With Workout Recovery

Time and time again, researchers have shown that consuming protein powder after a workout can enhance and expedite muscle recovery. A 2019 study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine11 pointedly states, “Protein supplements facilitate muscle repair and mitigate muscle damage markers during recovery,” although it’s important to know that meeting protein intake minimums over the long-term is more important than simply consuming a protein shake after each workout, according to a 2018 report in Frontiers in Nutrition12.

Assists Muscle Growth Process

If your goal is to gain muscle, a high-quality protein powder should be one of the very first supplements you reach for, along with creatine and pre-workout. Dietary protein is one of the most important nutrients for maintaining and building muscle tissue, according to a 2019 study in the journal Nutrients13. Additionally, as evidenced by a 2018 study14 in the same journal, supplementing with protein after workouts is one way to maximize hypertrophy potential from resistance training sessions.

RELATED: Best Creatine for Packing on Muscle

Dosing and Interactions 

Protein powder is generally recognized as safe by nutritionists, registered dietitians, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. With protein powder, the important thing to look out for is allergens. Those with a gluten allergy will need to look for a protein powder that is certified gluten-free; those with lactose intolerance will need a certified dairy-free protein or one with enzymes that can help them digest the dairy protein.

Third-Party Testing

Third-party testing refers to independent verification of the ingredients in a supplement. If a company has third-party testing performed on their products, it assures the consumer that what’s on the ingredients list is actually what’s in the product. 

For our part, we prioritize independently vetted supplements in our guides to the best products, and that’s why you’ll see us consistently recommend products from brands like Transparent Labs, Kaged, XWERKS, Vega, and Orgain. 

However, we remain aware that a lack of third-party testing doesn’t always indicate shadiness on the part of a brand. For instance, budget picks rarely boast third-party verification, but it’s nearly impossible to find a protein powder under $1.50 per serving that is thoroughly tested by independent agencies. 

FAQs About Protein Powder

To wrap up, here are the answers to some common questions about protein powder.

How much protein do I need?

Your ideal protein intake is determined by many factors, including your body weight, age, activity level, and fitness goals. For the most part, the recommended amount of protein per day is 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Your individual protein needs can change depending on the aforementioned factors; for instance, a bodybuilder will need more protein than someone who is just trying to meet the recommended intake for health and longevity. We dive deeper into this topic in our guide, “How Much Protein Do I Need?”

Which protein powders are best for muscle growth?

Any protein powder that contains at least 20 grams of protein per serving and is a complete protein source—meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids—will be a great aid as you try to build muscle mass.

What should I look for in protein powder?

Well, firstly, it should have a high protein content relative to the amount of calories in the product. If it contains more than 200 calories but less than 25 grams of protein per serving, it may be better classified as a meal replacement shake. Additionally, be sure to check the ingredients label for allergens and any sweeteners you want to avoid. Third-party testing is ideal, too.

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. Townsend JR, Morimune JE, Jones MD, et al. The Effect of ProHydrolase® on the Amino Acid and Intramuscular Anabolic Signaling Response to Resistance Exercise in Trained Males. Sports (Basel). 2020;8(2):13. Published 2020 Jan 22. doi:10.3390/sports8020013
  2. Hwang SB, Park HJ, Lee BH. Hair-Growth-Promoting Effects of the Fish Collagen Peptide in Human Dermal Papilla Cells and C57BL/6 Mice Modulating Wnt/β-Catenin and BMP Signaling Pathways. Int J Mol Sci. 2022;23(19):11904. Published 2022 Oct 7. doi:10.3390/ijms231911904
  3. de Miranda RB, Weimer P, Rossi RC. Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Dermatol. 2021;60(12):1449-1461. doi:10.1111/ijd.15518
  4. Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, Siega C, Camozzato FO, Oesser S. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017;16(4):520-526. doi:10.1111/jocd.12393
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