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The vast amount of protein powders on the market can make the task of choosing one daunting, but it also means there are probably several that will be suitable for your needs.
Read on to learn about some of the top protein powders. Based on your desired results and preferred ingredients, you can select the product that will work best for you.
Whey protein powders
Whey is a milk-based protein that’s quickly and easily digested and absorbed, which can help you feel full and energized. Whey protein can be a good choice to use when working out.
1. Protein Milkshake Organic Grass-Fed Protein Powder
|Nutrition||Amount per 29 grams (1 serving)|
This whey protein powder is a low-carb option marketed for people who want to lose weight, boost metabolism, and increase muscle tone. It contains no added sugar, and is designed to help reduce sugar cravings while satisfying your sweet tooth.
This protein powder gets high marks for flavor, with reviewers on Amazon noting that it lacks the bitter aftertaste common to other protein powders. The powder comes in several flavors, including:
- cupcake batter
- chocolate mousse cake
- vanilla caramel
The mix has a creamy consistency and can be added to milk, yogurt, or smoothies for a quick and easy dessert or snack. Find more recipe ideas from Protein Milkshake.
2. SFH Pure Whey Protein
|Nutrition||Amount per 32 grams (1 serving)|
This vanilla-flavored whey protein powder is noted for its amazing taste, ease of absorption, and ingredients.
Sourced from grass-fed, free-range cows in Australia and New Zealand, this minimally processed whey powder doesn’t contain soy, gluten, or artificial ingredients, and has a low lactose content. No bovine growth hormones are used.
This may be a good choice if you’re looking to manage weight and increase muscle.
Casein protein powder
Casein is digested and absorbed slowly, which can help you feel satiated for longer, meaning it may help reduce appetite. The slower digestion and absorption rate may also help support muscle growth over longer periods.
3. BulkSupplements Casein Protein Powder
|Nutrition||Amount per 30 grams (1 serving)|
This unflavored casein protein powder can be used to build muscles. It may also aid in muscle recovery after workouts.
This powder contains no filler protein. It’s also a good source of calcium —484 milligrams or 48 percent of your daily recommended value per serving — which may help improve dental and bone health.
This powder may be a good choice for adding to smoothies or batters because it doesn’t clump. It can also be used to make protein fluff, which is a frozen protein ice cream.
Egg white protein is loaded with amino acids, which help to build lean muscle strength and aid in muscle repair and recovery.
4. MRM Egg White Protein
|Nutrition||Amount per 33 grams (1 serving)|
This egg white protein powder is free of dairy, making it a good choice for people who are lactose-free. It’s also gluten-free and is extracted using a process that makes it easily digestible.
Additionally, the powder is free of GMOs, antibiotics, and hormones.
The powder isn’t chalky and mixes well in shakes, coconut milk, and juice. The vanilla or chocolate flavor makes it a delicious addition to oatmeal, especially when you want a dessert option. Get creative with recipe ideas from MRM.
Collagen protein powder
Collagen is a component of muscles, and supplementing your body with collagen may help stimulate muscle growth after exercise. It can also help your muscles to function properly.
Additionally, one study found evidence that collagen supplementation may help reduce age-related muscle loss when used in combination with resistance training. This study only looked at men, so more research is needed to better understand this relationship.
5. Willis Nutrition Pure Collagen Peptides
|Nutrition||Amount per 33 grams (3 servings)|
This bovine collagen peptide protein powder is free of gluten and dairy and is easy to digest and absorb. It’s a non-GMO product that’s sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows in Brazil.
This powder may help support healthy collagen production, which in turn, may support healthy muscles, bones, and joints.
The unflavored powder can be mixed into drinks, smoothies, and soups.
Plant-based protein powders
Plant-based proteins such as rice, pea, and hemp, are ideal for people who are vegan or have a lactose allergy. Each type of plant-based protein has its own unique benefits.
For example, pea protein, made from yellow split peas, may help muscle mass when used in combination with resistance training.
Brown rice protein powder may have the same muscle-building benefits as whey protein.
Hemp protein is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also easy to digest.
6. Smart 138 Pea Protein
|Nutrition||Amount per 33 grams (1 serving)|
This pure pea protein contains iron and all essential amino acids. This low-carb powder has no added sugar or artificial flavors and is suitable for people who are vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free.
The powder has an earthy, naturally sweet cocoa taste, and mixes well in smoothies, puddings or drinks. It’s also available in vanilla flavor. Check out Smart 138 for recipe ideas.
7. Zen Principle Organic Brown Rice Powder
|Nutrition||Amount per 30 grams (1 serving)|
Made of 80 percent protein, this small-batch, organic brown rice protein powder is free of soy and gluten. It’s an ideal choice for people who are vegan or lactose-free. It’s easy to digest and doesn’t cause bloating.
The powder contains all nine essential amino acids, in addition to anti-inflammatory compounds and iron.
Brown rice powder is ideal to take before exercising and may help improve performance. You can also take it after a workout to aid in muscle recovery and growth.
This powder has a fine consistency that doesn’t leave blender residue, making it easy to mix into hot or cold drinks and smoothies.
8. Navitas Organics Hemp Powder
|Nutrition||Amount per 30 grams (1 serving)|
This organic hemp powder may help boost energy, and it’s a good source of magnesium, iron, and fiber. It also contains omega fatty acids and all nine essential amino acids.
This hemp powder is suitable for people who are gluten-free and have digestive sensitivities. It has an earthy, nutty taste with no chalky aftertaste, and can be used as a flour substitute.
The powder dissolves well, making it a delicious addition to smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods. You can also add it to dips, salads, and soups. Check out recipes ideas from Navitas Organics.
9. Seed Oil Company Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder
|Nutrition||Amount per 30 grams (2 servings)|
This raw pumpkin seed powder is produced organically in Oregon. Pumpkin protein is easily digestible, and it’s suitable for people who are vegan, gluten-free, or lactose intolerant. It’s also high in zinc, iron, and magnesium.
This powder can be used to make smoothies, pancakes, or baked goods. It may also help improve mood and promote sleep because of the high levels of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s a precursor to serotonin.
This protein powder can be mixed into a glass of milk, oatmeal, or other healthy carbohydrates.
10. Ground-Based Nutrition Superfood Protein
|Nutrition||Amount per 27 grams (1 serving)|
This raw superfood protein powder is organic and GMO-free. It’s a vegan powder that’s also free of gluten, soy, and sugar.
The plant-based powder contains raw greens including kale, broccoli, and spinach, as well as superfoods such as spirulina and maca. The powder also contains brown rice, sacha inchi, and cranberry proteins, as well as all essential amino acids.
People describe this powder as having a great taste, making it easy to drink and enjoy. It comes in unflavored, vanilla, and chocolate options. You can also find recipe ideas from Ground-Based Nutrition.
11. Nutrex Hawaii Hawaiian Spirulina Protein Shake
|Nutrition||Amount per 26 grams (1 serving)|
This vanilla-flavored spirulina protein powder contains rhodiola and ginseng. Rhodiola may help improve endurance, allowing you to exercise for longer or with increased resistance when taken before working out.
Ginseng may help reduce fatigue and increase physical performance. However, results from a 2016 meta-analysis were inconclusive, so more research is needed to support these claims.
This vegan protein powder also contains pea, rice, and alfalfa, and is free of corn, soy, and gluten. It’s a good source of vitamin B-12, vitamin K, and iron.
You can add this powder to your favorite smoothie, salad, and salad dressing. You can also find recipe ideas from Nutrex Hawaii.
This powder is also available in tablet form.
How to use protein powder
Protein powder can be taken in a lot of ways. The simplest way is to mix it with a beverage or blend it with other ingredients to create a smoothie. Protein powder can also be mixed into simple foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, or dips.
To save time, make a larger portion of smoothie mixture and then freeze it to make individual popsicles.
If you feel like getting creative, experiment with using protein powder as an addition or substitution to your usual recipes. For example, you can use protein powder in soups, veggie burgers, and baked goods.
Once you decide what your health goals are, you can decide when to take protein powder. You may want to have one large portion or several small portions of protein per day.
If you want to lose weight, you can also add in high-protein foods throughout the day.
If you’re using protein powder to improve your athletic performance or endurance, you can have protein powder before or during a workout.
To build muscle, consume protein powder within two hours of finishing a workout. Eating small amounts of protein throughout the day will help to prevent muscle loss. And taking protein powder before you go to sleep can help your muscles to recover overnight.
How to choose a protein powder
Protein powders are popular choices for fitness enthusiasts looking to build and tone muscle while improving athletic performance. They’re also popular among people interested in supplementing their diet due to dietary restrictions or simply to add in a healthy source of protein.
Protein powders can also be a quick and easy way to get protein when you’re pressed for time.
Protein powders are made from various protein sources. To find the protein powder that’s best for you, you’ll need to decide which ingredients would be best for your needs.
Animal-based protein powders include casein, whey, and collagen.
Plant-based protein powders include pea, rice, and hemp.
Look for protein powders that have as few ingredients as possible. And always check the labels carefully and look out for any additives including sodium, sugars, or artificial colors and flavors.
What type is best?
The type of protein powder you choose will depend on your needs and intended outcomes, such as building muscle, losing weight, or fulfilling your daily protein needs.
Whey and casein are the best choices if you eat dairy, and want to reduce body fat and build muscle. You’ll want to avoid these types of protein powders if you’re vegan or vegetarian or follow a lactose-free diet.
Some protein powder sources can cause unintended side effects, too. Carefully consider how the protein powder you choose may affect your hormone regulation, especially if you have any estrogen, insulin, or thyroid concerns. Both plant and animal proteins can cause inflammation and digestive issues, which can exacerbate hormonal concerns. Always look for a clean product since additives can also affect your hormone levels.
Some protein powders are designed specifically for men or women. Men looking to gain muscle and lose fat may choose whey or casein powders. Soy, pea, and rice proteins are good plant-based options.
Animal-based options for women include whey, collagen, and egg white. Plant-based choices include pea, hemp, and brown rice.
Protein powders are generally well tolerated and have few side effects, making them safe for most people. However, it’s possible that certain types of protein can affect you, especially in terms of digestion. Certain types of protein can cause gas, bloating, or stomach cramps. Skin reactions are also possible.
Check with your doctor if you have a medical condition or take any medications that could be affected by protein powders. Whey protein has the potential to interact with albendazole (Albenza), alendronate (Fosamax), and some antibiotics.
Talk to your doctor before consuming protein powder if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
When trying a new protein powder, pay attention to how your body responds. As with any supplement, you may wish to take a break every so often or alternate between different products.
Avoid consuming too much protein by staying within the recommended daily dose of protein, which is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (0.36 grams per pound) of body weight. And remember to include plenty of whole, fresh foods in your diet, including natural sources of protein and fiber, in addition to water.