Whey protein powder consumers share a common interest: they want to include more protein in their diets. But that’s kind of where the unifying goal ends. There are diverse reasons to increase protein: to gain weight, lose weight, gain lean muscle, attain a more balanced diet, etc. Also, consumers’ interests in specific types of whey protein products vary substantially. You might even be able to say that for every diet out there, from keto to organic to gluten-free, there are as many types of whey protein powders. So, if you’re looking for a good protein powder to add to your health routine, here are some we recommend.
Choosing a Whey Protein Powder
Here’s what to consider:
- Taste Preferences: Some like their protein powder sweet; others like non-flavored, still others go for a specific flavor like chocolate. Who wants to spend money on something edible that doesn’t taste good? No one, that’s who!
- Nutritional Needs: With so many whey protein powders available, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Start with your dietary goals. Are you on a specific diet? Do you want to bulk up and rock it in the gym?
- Personal Values: The nutrition and sports performance markets are rich with products to meet just about any alternative way of eating. If your interests lie in animal welfare, weight loss, muscle gain, non-GMOs—whatever they may be, you can find the right whey protein powder if you know what you’re looking for.
Best Overall: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
First, let’s talk a bit about Optimum Nutrition (OP): It has precedence over the market for its reputation and quality ingredients. The company has been around for over 30 years, which is really saying something in the rapidly changing nutrition and diet market. OP markets to athletes of all levels who want to gain lean muscle and value quality standards. OP emphasizes the value of Whey Protein Isolates (WPI) as the “purest” form of whey protein.
This popular product offers much more than high-quality whey protein isolate, protein concentrate, and peptides. It contains 5.5 grams of naturally occurring Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which are the main components of muscle protein synthesis. OP whey protein is easy to mix, requiring only the use of a shaker or spoon. It’s also chock-full of protein (24 grams), making it a great drink to start your day or have before or after exercise.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Extreme Milk Chocolate, 2 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
This whey protein powder has an impressive reputation and high-quality standards.
Best Grass-Fed: Levels Grass-Fed 100% Whey Protein
If you’re on the hunt for a whey protein powder that prioritizes animal and environmental welfare, domestic economy, and your health, then you’ve found a great product. Levels Whey Pure Chocolate Protein is free of hormones, GMOs, and artificial flavors and sweeteners. It’s free of many common ingredients such as soy, fillers, bleach, and gluten.
But this whey protein powder is not idealistically based on what it lacks. The selling point is the quality added. Take the whey itself, an ingredient derived from cow’s milk. Levels uses dairy from grass-fed cows. Cows fed on grass versus grain tend to suffer fewer liver abscesses and gastrointestinal disorders. And who wants to put potentially sicker cow product into their own stomach? The whey protein concentrate Levels uses is less processed than the conventional protein isolate; again, this product emphasizes quality-added ingredients. Monk fruit sweetener takes the place of artificial sweeteners like sucralose. Even the chocolate is held to the highest quality standards and is made with cold-pressed cacao.
With 24 grams of protein and 5.4 grams of BCAAs, the cold-pressed microfiltered powder is easy to mix. Use a blender or shaker bottle for 15 to 30 seconds, and you’re ready to go.
Levels Grass Fed 100% Whey Protein, No Hormones, Pure Chocolate, 5LB
Pro animal welfare and anti GMOs? This product is for you.
Best Keto-Friendly: Isopure Zero Carb Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate
The ketogenic diet is all the rage today. It’s based on a high-fat, high-protein, and very low carbohydrate meal plan. Those who aim to lose weight are drawn to the keto diet because it has been known to lead to weight loss. Ketosis occurs when the blood sugar levels drop as a result of low carb consumption. The body learns to use fat and protein as fuel rather than carbs, a relearning process that is thought to lead to weight loss.
If you overhaul your diet to go keto, you may find it difficult to reach your body’s protein recommendation. That’s where Isopure Zero Carb Whey Protein powder enters the scene. One scoop yields 50% of U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances. It’s unflavored, GMO-free, and contains only two ingredients! That’s pretty much unheard of in the world of food. Whey protein isolate and soy lecithin. This is an unflavored, uncolored, brilliantly simple protein you can add to soups and sauces and the more common protein powder delights like smoothies and shakes. Isopure is gluten-, lactose-, and rBST-free.
Isopure Unflavored Whey Isolate Protein Powder, with Vitamin C & Zinc for Immune Support, 25g Protein, Zero Carb & Keto Friendly, 3 Pounds (Packaging May Vary)
This whey protein supports keto diets and is unflavored.
Best Added Greens: PMD Sports Amplify XL Premium Whey Protein
PDM Sports responded to the health food and fitness crowd when they created this whey protein. It has all the benefits of other whey protein products like 25 grams protein and only 7 grams of carbohydrates and BCAAs. Bodies need a spectrum of vitamins and minerals, not just protein, and PDM Sports responded to that underrepresented corner of the whey protein market by adding greens to the mix.
This product contains spirulina, maca root, chlorella, wheatgrass, flax seeds, and chia seeds—ingredients hailed as superfoods for their nutrient-dense properties. Another thing that gives PDM Sports whey protein an edge: controlled released egg protein. Egg and whey protein is essential for tissue repair, strong bones, skin, and muscles, of course! You can’t go wrong with high-quality protein and greens.
PMD Sports Amplify XL Premium Whey Protein Supplement Hydro Greens Blend - Glutamine and Whey Protein Matrix with Superfood for Muscle, Strength and Recovery - Double Chocolate Explosion (24 Servings)
This protein powder is supercharged with greens, seeds, and amino acids.
Best for Weight Gain: Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Weight Gainer Protein Powder
We hear the message from seemingly all angles of society to lose weight! Yeah, well, not everyone needs to, and not everyone wants to. Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Weight Gainer Protein Powder is designed to make weight gain easier and tastier.
If you’re a self-described gym rat who wants to bulk up, this OP product is for you, but not exclusively. Some people struggle to meet the demands of a high metabolism, suffer from low appetite, or are simply too darn busy to sit down for a meal.
Just two scoops of ON Mass Weight Gainer contain 1,250 calories and 50 grams of protein. To gain weight, of course, you need more than just protein. One serving yields 250 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of creatine (a supplement that may increase muscle mass). The powder also contains 500 milligrams of glutamine, and glutamic acid. The nutritional benefits don’t stop there. The whey protein powder is packed with vitamin C, D, E, and zinc.
It’s easy to make a meal out of it, too. In an electric blender, add fresh or frozen fruit, nuts or nut butters, and the liquid of your choice. Mix and enjoy.
Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Weight Gainer Protein Powder, Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D for Immune Support, Chocolate, 6 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
This product assists in weight gain for athletes and non-athletes alike.