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Protein powders come in a wide variety of formulations, flavors, and pricing options, and choosing your next tub can leave you overwhelmed and confused. In this NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate review, I’ll be explaining all of the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. 

What is protein isolate in the first place? Is NOW Sports a good brand? And is unflavored protein truly unflavored? 

I’ll answer all of these questions, and more, in this review. 

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. GGR also recommends choosing a product that has been third-party tested for quality.

Unbiased Reviews from Experienced Protein Testers

Here at Garage Gym Reviews, we take great pride in providing completely honest, unbiased reviews. We’re here to help you make an informed decision, and we aren’t afraid to share both the good and bad when it comes to product ratings. 

Our testers include nutrition coaches, dietitians, gym owners, Olympic athletes, and certified personal trainers, and to date, we’ve tested over 100 types of protein using the following criteria:

  • Price per serving
  • Formulation
  • Taste
  • Solubility
  • Side effects
  • Third-party testing
  • Customer service
  • Customer reviews

Now, let’s take a closer look at NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate and see how it holds up to our supplement testing methodology.

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4.7 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.

A Quick Look at NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate

NOW started in 1968 as a natural health product company and has since grown into an award-winning brand with a wide range of products that includes health foods, supplements, essential oils, and even health foods. 

NOW takes food purity and safety very seriously, with an ISO-certified in-house lab that performs over 19,000 tests on various products every single month. All formulas are produced in NOW’s GMP facilities in the USA or Canada. 

This particular formula uses whey protein isolate, which is one of the many types of protein powder on the market. Whey protein isolate has gone through extra processing to remove fat and lactose, resulting in a protein with less total fat, total sugars, and cholesterol than standard whey protein. 

Whey protein isolate also digests slightly faster than standard whey or casein proteins, though protein timing doesn’t seem to be as important as many companies claim, with studies showing that your muscle-building potential is increased for up to 48 hours after training1.

NOW’s whey protein isolate is only available in three flavors, including an unflavored option, which isn’t super common. GGR tester Lauren Strong, CPT, tried the unflavored whey protein isolate powder during her hands-on testing. 

RELATED: Best Low-Carb Protein Powder

Before You Buy

  • NOW uses high manufacturing standards and quality ingredients, so you can trust the quality of your protein. 
  • This whey protein isolate is one of the more affordable whey protein isolates we’ve tested, though it’s only available in three flavors if you include the unflavored powder. 
  • The unflavored option mixes well with other flavored ingredients but doesn’t taste all that great on its own, so you’ll want to mix it with something that has a stronger flavor.

Is NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate Worth It?

NOW uses high manufacturing and testing standards to create trustworthy supplements that won’t empty your bank account. At $1.32 a serving, this protein powder is no exception, but that doesn’t mean NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate is the best fit for everyone. 

Closeup of a hand mixing a batch of  NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate in an orange shaker cup

Before you buy anything, you need to make sure this is the right product for your goals. 

Great for:

  • Anyone looking for a protein source that’s high in protein, but low in total calories
  • Active individuals who are looking for a protein supplement to help improve muscle strength and recovery
  • Those who often get digestive issues from whey protein, and prefer to use isolates for easier digestion

Not recommended for:

  • Anyone who’s following a dairy-free diet and needs to avoid all dairy sources
  • Those looking for variety and taste over quality

RELATED: What to Look for in Protein Powder

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate Specs

Price per serving$1.32
Serving size28 g
Type of proteinWhey protein isolate
Protein content25 g
Carb content0-2 g
Fat content0.5 g
Notable ingredientsWhey protein isolate, sunflower lecithin
FlavorsUnflavored, Creamy Vanilla, Creamy Chocolate
Third-party tested?Tested at NOW’s in-house certified lab

Experience Using NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate

When Lauren tested NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate, she ordered the unflavored option. She said that the unflavored option didn’t taste very good mixed in plain water and had a bit of a strange aftertaste.

She added that it would taste great mixed into a smoothie with other flavors, and user reviews say they enjoy using the unflavored option to add protein to baked goods and other recipes. Flavor aside, Lauren said the protein mixed very well and didn’t cause any bloating or discomfort. 

RELATED: Best Whey Protein

Price Per Serving

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate earns a rating of 4.5 out of 5 for pricing, with a price of $1.32 per serving for the unflavored version in the smallest size, which is 19 servings. Each serving is 28 grams or one level scoop.

You can also order unflavored in a larger serving size of 81 servings, bringing the total cost down to $0.89 per serving. 

The Creamy Chocolate and Creamy Vanilla flavors are a little bit more expensive, costing $1.03 to $1.30 per serving, though the product is frequently on sale and is sold at many different retailers at varying prices. 

Formulation

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate has 25 grams of protein per serving, at only 110 calories for the unflavored protein, and 120 calories for Creamy Chocolate or Creamy Vanilla, earning it a 5-out-of-5-star rating. 

Whey protein isolate is whey protein that’s had most of the fat and lactose removed, resulting in faster and easier digestion. NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate even earned a spot in our guide to the best protein powder for sensitive stomachs, though our ratings may change with future product testing.

The unflavored version only contains two ingredients, whey protein isolate and sunflower lecithin, with no other additives However, because NOW also makes food products, they do warn that the protein is manufactured in a GMP facility that processes other allergens, like yeast, gluten, soy, shellfish, and others. 

The Creamy Chocolate and Vanilla flavors also contain xantham gum, cocoa, xylitol, organic stevia leaf, and sea salt. Interestingly, the chocolate also contains 1.3 milligrams of iron, which is 8% of the recommended daily value. 

Even though the tub of protein mentions BCAAs on the front, which are branched-chain amino acids, there are no added BCAAs in this formula. BCAAs are three essential amino acids, l-valine, l-leucine, and l-isoleucine that are found in all whey proteins, so I’m not sure why they mention the BCAAs at all if they aren’t adding extra. From what I can tell, this has the typical amino acid profile you’d find in any whey isolate.

With this simple ingredient list, NOW Sports Whey Isolate is high in protein and low in excess calories from carbs and fats, making it a useful option for those on a calorie-restricted diet.

RELATED: Is Protein Powder Good for Weight Loss?

Taste and Solubility 

When it comes to taste, we give this a 4 out of 5. To be fair, Lauren only tried the unflavored edition, but she didn’t enjoy the taste, saying, “There’s definitely a whey taste, which is not that good. This is certainly not gag-worthy but I did mix this with water to get the full non-flavored effect. This would actually be pretty good with a sports drink, or in a smoothie.”

A woman drinks from a shaker bottle

Other reviewers love the flavored options, but we haven’t tried those ourselves. Many customers report using the unflavored protein in other creative ways, like baking it into various recipes to add more protein.

RELATED: How to Use Protein Powder

Solubility earned a 5 out of 5, as it blended perfectly with no clumping, and it wasn’t too thick or unpleasant to drink. 

Side Effects

Lauren didn’t experience any side effects (aside from the weird taste of unflavored whey protein), so we scored this a 5 out of 5. 

If you’re sensitive to dairy you may need to avoid this product, but whey isolates are often very easy to digest as they’ve had most of the lactose removed. Several user reviews specifically mentioned that switching to this product eliminated the gas and bloating they experienced from other types of protein powder. 

Third-Party Testing 

For third-party testing, NOW Sports Whey Isolate earns a 5 out of 5 score. 

NOW does extensive testing on all of its formulas, completing over 19,000 tests and analyses each month at its in-house lab. That may not be true third-party testing but NOW does list the many credentials and certifications the brand has earned.

NOW has received ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) for both the analytical and microbiological laboratories. They are also Non-GMO Project Verified, GMP certified by Intertek, and Informed-Sport tested to ensure there are no banned substances.

Comparison to MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate

MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate

Myprotein Impact Whey Protein

GGR Score: 3.75 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Provides 22 g of protein 
  • 0 g fat and less than 2 g carbs
  • Certified by Labdoor for quality and purity
  • Available in 8 flavors

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Taste has positive reviews
  • Mixes well
  • Undergoes rigorous testing for quality
  • Low fat and carbs
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Contains sucralose, which can cause digestive issues
  • No images of product labels on Amazon or brand site
  • Misleading/missing information about allergens

Bottom Line

Myprotein Impact Whey Protein provides 22 grams of protein per serving in a variety of flavors. However, it may not be a great choice for those with gluten sensitivity or other allergies due to the lack of clear ingredient labels on the product pages.

When it comes to affordable Whey Protein Isolate options, MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate is another popular option you may wish to consider. 

Impact Whey Isolate is a better choice if you like more flavor variety, while NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate is best if you want a slightly more affordable option with more protein per serving and don’t care as much about the taste. 

NOW Sports Whey Protein IsolateMyProtein Impact Whey
Price per serving$1.32$1.62
Serving size28 g25 g
Type of proteinWhey protein isolateWhey protein isolate
Protein content25 g22 g
Carb content0-2 g1-3 g
Fat content0.5 g1.5 g
Notable ingredientsWhey protein isolate, sunflower lecithinHydrolyzed whey protein isolate, whey protein isolate, natural and artificial flavors, soy lecithin, salt, potassium chloride, stevia
FlavorsUnflavored, Vanilla, Creamy ChocolateChocolate Brownie, Chocolate Mint, Cookies and Cream, Mocha, Pistachio, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Cream, Unflavored, Vanilla
Third-party tested?YesTested by Labdoor

Customer Experience 

Overall, the customer experience is excellent when ordering from NOW Foods. They have a customer support phone number, or you can submit a form through their website. 

New, unopened items may be returned within 30 days, but you need to pay for your return shipping. Other retailers, like Amazon, often have better return policies and don’t charge for return shipping.

Ordering NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate

When you order directly from NOW, orders that are $50 or more are eligible for free shipping in the United States, though you’ll need to pay an extra $6.95 if you live in Hawaii or Alaska. Other retailers may provide free shipping regardless of where you live. 

Customer Reviews

Customers also had similar comments about the unflavored option, saying it worked well but didn’t have the best flavor. Most users had good things to say about the Creamy Chocolate and Vanilla options but reported somewhat of an aftertaste from the sweeteners used.

Final Verdict of Our NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate Review

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate is a high-quality, affordable protein powder that packs in 25 grams of protein for less than 120 calories per serving, and it’s very affordable compared to many other options on the market. 

It’s only available in three flavors, including unflavored, but for the price per serving and protein content, it’s hard to beat this protein powder. This is a great choice for anyone looking for a high-quality protein source on a budget and isn’t too picky about the flavor choices. 

  • NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate has a great formulation that’s high in protein, low in total carbohydrates, and easy to digest, making it a great choice for a post-workout protein shake.
  • The flavor selection is quite small compared to most competitors, and the unflavored option isn’t very pleasant to consume alone.

Full Rating

Now Sports Whey Protein

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

Product Brand: NOW Sports

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 68.84

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.7

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate Rating

Price per serving – 4
Formulation – 5
Taste – 4
Solubility – 5
Side effects – 5
Third-party testing – 5
Customer service – 5
Customer reviews – 4.4
Buy Now

NOW Sports Whey Protein Isolate: FAQ

Is whey isolate as good as whey protein?

Whey isolate may have a slightly higher amount of protein per serving, as some of the excess fats and lactose have been removed for faster and easier digestion. Both forms are rich in beneficial amino acids from protein, as well as important minerals like calcium and potassium. 

Is it okay to drink whey isolate every day?

Yes. Those who have sensitivities to dairy should avoid whey protein isolate altogether, but for everyone else, whey protein isolate is a useful tool to help you reach your daily protein goals. 

Who should not take whey isolate?

Those who are lactose intolerant, or have any problems with dairy, should probably avoid whey protein isolate and use a plant-based protein powder instead. 

Should I buy normal whey or whey isolate?

The protein in both types of whey is the same, and the primary difference is the extra processing in whey isolate that removes fat and lactose. Because of this, whey protein isolate typically has fewer calories per serving and could be a better choice for anyone following a weight reduction plan.

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. 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

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