Choosing the Best Protein Powders on the Market – Top 10 Brands

Best Protein Powder Brands On The Market

Our bodies need a certain number of macronutrients in order to function at their peak capacity. Macronutrients refers to the three primary building blocks of our nutritional profile in three categories: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Of the three of these, the most important macronutrient for us to consume in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and build muscle is protein. Protein is one of the building blocks of our entire physiology and is made up of numerous amino acids that play a major role in almost every aspect of the human body.

Protein can be found naturally in a variety of items, such as chicken, beef, fish, nuts, and eggs. However, consuming enough protein on a daily basis, especially for someone who is physically active and/or looking to build muscle, is not always easy.

In addition, thanks to the anabolic window post-workout, we have a finite amount of time to consume protein that is quickly absorbed into the body to maximize our gains and recovery from strenuous workout sessions. In these cases, protein powder supplements make an ideal choice for ensuring that we get enough protein and at the right times to maximize our performance.

In this guide, we will break down exactly what protein powders do, what to look for when purchasing one and the best products on the market today.

What Is Protein?

One of the three macronutrients (along with fats and carbohydrates), protein is composed of chains of amino acids [1] and is a contributor to your total caloric intake.

What Is Its Biological Role?

Protein provides your body with the specific fuel required for a wide variety of functions. Protein can be utilized as a structural part of cells found both internally and in your hair, skin, and nails.

It is the driving force behind many of the tiny chemical reactions your body is constantly processing to keep it working the way it should. Protein is also responsible for helping your muscles function properly. This means processes as unnoticed as pushing food through your body during the digestive process, to as overt as running a marathon.

When you overexert your skeletal muscles, protein is also what help to repair that damage and allow your muscles to strengthen and grow so that you can perform better next time around.

How Does It Help Bodybuilders and People Who Work Out?

Protein is vital to helping your body recover after any strenuous activity [2]. People who work out to stay slim will want to consume lots of lean protein sources, as this will allow them to stay healthy and strong so they can continue working out without injuring themselves.

Bodybuilders can sometimes be more particular in the types of protein they consume–for instance, whey protein is a type of protein found in dairy products and is particularly suited to helping build muscles.

This means that if a bodybuilder spends a few hours working out and then consumes a protein shake afterwards that includes whey protein, that targeted protein intake can help to quickly repair the miniscule muscle tears that result from strength training.

This will help the muscles grow larger and stronger. In addition to preventing injury and promoting muscle growth, protein can help you perform for longer period of time without experiencing muscle fatigue.

Which Foods Contain Protein?

Protein is most commonly found in animal products such as meats and dairy, but can also be found in nuts, seeds, and legumes. Healthy sources of protein include lean cuts of beef, chicken, pork, salmon, cod, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, soy products, and more.

How Much Protein You Need?

How much protein you need to eat every day depends on your size [3]. To this end, the general recommendation for protein consumption is .8g per kilogram of bodyweight, or .36g per pound of bodyweight. For an average sized adult, this comes out to roughly 56g per day for men and 46g per day for women.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Much Of It?

Eating too much protein usually means that you’re offsetting the increase in protein by eating less of other foods, like carbohydrates or fiber. If this is the case, consuming too much protein without balancing your diet can result in poor mood, digestive issues, and feeling bloated.

What’s more, excessive protein consumption can stress your kidneys. When you eat protein your kidneys go to work helping you filter the nitrogen by-products of protein consumption out of your system. If you eat more protein than you need, strictly speaking, you can end up overworking your kidney which can lead to kidney damage.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Little Of It?

Most Americans get more than enough protein on a daily basis and won’t experience problems with too little protein; or, if they are eating just slightly too little protein will experience very minor symptoms that may go unnoticed such as taking longer to recover from injuries or a weakened immune system.

Extreme protein deficiency can lead to weakening or wasting away of the muscles, joint pain, digestive issues, and in the most severe cases can cause coma.

What Are Protein Powders?

Protein powders are supplements that deliver protein in powdered form for quick absorption and use by the body. There are a variety of sources for protein powder, though the most common is derived from dairy products, called whey. Whey protein can be further broken down into traditional whey which may be combined with other products or compounds, and whey isolate which is pure whey protein. In addition, some companies will specialize in providing whey from pure grass-fed cows and dairy sources as opposed to traditional dairy.

While whey is the most common protein source, there are many varieties of protein powders from other sources including plant proteins for vegetarians, soy protein, casein protein and so on. Each has their own individual benefits and may be the best fit for particular populations due to their preferences, however most people will tend to utilize whey protein.

Common Ingredients in Protein Powders

The most common ingredient in protein powders is of course, protein. More importantly in many cases, is the type of protein and the source it comes from. Protein powders take many forms depending on the initial source. The most common form is whey protein, which originates from dairy products, thus those with lactose intolerance have to audible to other options. While whey is the most popularly used form, there are many other options such as casein, vegan, soy, and more.

Whey is without a doubt the most popular and used option on the market. Whey can be further classified based on its source and manufacturing as well. For example, just as many users prefer beef that has been grass fed or has not had any synthetic hormones injected over time, whey protein comes from the same source and many whey products will specify whether the source of the whey was grass-fed or hormone free.

In addition, protein powders like why protein tend to be mixed with other products or compounds, thus these ingredients must also be factored in, and users may want whey isolate, which means that the product contains only whey protein with no additional mixes or ingredients.

Precautions and Side Effects

Side effects from protein powder supplements are generally non-existent or at worst mild as long the recommended dosage is followed. That is a critical component of using protein powder supplements effectively, however, as the recommended dosage is what should be consumed and over-reaching for more can have side effects.

Side effects from protein powders may include bloating, digestive issues or overly dark urine, indicating a surplus of protein in the body. Most of these side effects tend to occur only when the recommended dosage has not been followed, thus the reason the recommended dosage is crucial.

In addition, if you have any particular food allergies or issues such as lactose intolerance, this will affect which protein powders make the best choice; if you have these issues or are not sure then consulting a medical professional is advised. Overall, protein powder supplements are generally considered safe and effective as long as the recommended guidelines and dosages are followed. If you are not sure if they are safe for you consult your medical professional.

How to Pick a Good Protein Powder

When choosing a protein powder supplement there are a variety of factors to take into account. Your personal preferences will play a major part in finding the right selection for you, for example if you prefer an unflavored powdered option you can mix with a drink or a flavored option that makes a tasty drink by itself.

Some protein powder supplements will skew towards a specific demographic or training goal, such as gaining mass or putting on lean muscle; your personal goals will need to align with the stated purpose of the product in order to see the best results.

Flavor is of course important and not all protein powders are particularly tasty, you’ll want to search for an option with a flavor you generally like to make the supplement more palatable and easier to use.

Finally, price and budget are a factor as well. When cross-referenced with your other needs, the best option will need to fit into your budget, and while you generally may get what you pay for, there are some very effective protein powders that won’t break the bank.

Top 10 Protein Powder Supplements

We have put together a list of our top 10 recommended protein powder supplements. Each one has a short breakdown of its highlights, primary ingredients and usages, as well as a brief profile for the company who makes the product.

Check out all 10 and look for the best option that not only comes highly recommended but fits your individual needs and desires for a protein powder supplement. We hope you enjoy and find the best product for you!


1. Muscle Feast Grass Fed Whey Isolate

Muscle Feast Grass Fed Whey Isolate

This protein powder from Muscle Feast is one of the best on the market. It sources its whey protein from hormone free, grass fed sources and is one of the purest protein powders available. At 24.7g of protein per serving it offers a potent dose while remaining reasonably priced, making it one of the best values on the market.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Nearly 25g of protein per serving
  • Hormone Free
  • Grass Fed
  • All natural, with no common allergens including lactose, soy and gluten.
  • Lab tested for purity
  • Mixes easily
  • Not overly priced, making it a great value.

Company Profile:

Muscle Feast is an up and coming company founded by the parents of a young bodybuilder who made it their goal to produce high quality supplements for aspiring lifters and athletes. They take pride in their standards of high quality, and pure products that are manufactured to the highest standards.

Why We Recommend It:

This product is one of our top recommendations as it is one of the purest options available, coming from a grass-fed source with no hormones or common allergens. It delivers a quality serving size and offers excellent protein powder quality at a reasonable price, making it one of the best values on the market.

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2. Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate

Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate

This whey protein isolate from Myprotein is an excellent choice for an isolate protein product, delivering whey protein isolate without any extra ingredients or otherwise, making it a quality product. It is an appropriate product for vegetarians and those looking for gluten-free options and comes in a wide variety of flavors.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Delivers 22g of high-quality whey isolate protein in each serving
  • Very affordable
  • Comes in a wide variety of flavors
  • Has a high quality grade and has passed strict product standards
  • Very well reviewed

Company Profile:

Myprotein is based out of the United Kingdom and is emerging as one of the top sports nutrition companies in Europe. They have recently begun expanding into the USA and have an ambitious goal of becoming the largest sport nutrition brand in the world by 2020.

Why We Recommend It:

This is one of the best options on the market for a whey isolate product, as it delivers a strong per serving amount of protein, is affordable, has great flavors and is manufactured at a very high quality. It is appropriate for a wide variety of users and is one of the top overall options for a great protein powder choice.

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3. Dymatize ISO-100

Dymatize Iso 100

ISO-100 from industry stalwart Dymatize has one of the strongest per serving amounts of protein available at 25 grams per serving, while maintaining an affordable per serving rate. It also includes branched chain amino acids and is gluten and lactose free, though it does include some sweeteners such as sucralose. It uses minimal sugar though, and with several great flavors it is a solid option.

Product Highlights and Ingredients

  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • 5 grams of branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) per serving, including 2.7 grams of Leucine, which helps to improve protein synthesis
  • Has minimal fat and sugar at less than 1 gram per serving
  • Is gluten and lactose free
  • Digests easily and mixes well
  • Does contain some artificial sweeteners like sucralose

Company Profile:

Dymatize Nutrition is a mid-sized supplement company originally founded in 1994 and has been in business producing quality products for over 20 years. They are known for a variety of products from protein powders to amino acids and are best known for high quality yet affordable products.

Why We Recommend It:

If you are looking for protein and lots of it, this might be the best option for you. With the addition of BCAA’s and a high leucine count, this is a great product for putting on mass and getting stronger. While it does contain some artificial sweeteners and is not as cheap as some comparable competitors, it still offers excellent value and an effective product.

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4. Integrated Supplements Whey Isolate Protein

Integrated Supplements Whey Isolate Protein

This whey protein isolate from Integrated Supplements is one of the best on the market, delivering a high-quality product and some of the best flavors available. It features 20g of protein per serving while simultaneously eliminating all cholesterol, making it a very healthy and pure source for high quality protein.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Delivers 20g of protein per serving
  • Uses ceramic filtered manufacturing (CFM) for the highest possible quality
  • Absolutely zero artificial sweeteners, flavorings, dyes, or other fake ingredients.
  • Uses real dutch chocolate, strawberries and vanilla in their flavoring, one of the best tasting proteins on the market.
  • Relatively affordable, no overly priced

Company Profile:

Founded in 2006, Integrated Supplements has a mission to redefine expectations, education and quality of fitness and nutrition supplements for their customers. They hold themselves to a high standard of manufacturing in NSF, GMP, and FDA regulated facilities, ensuring a high-quality and effective product every time.

Why We Recommend It:

This whey isolate protein from Integrated Supplements is an excellent product of the highest quality. Their ceramic filtered manufacturing process helps to ensure this protein powder is of the purest quality possible and contains zero artificial flavors or sweeteners, using real flavoring from dutch chocolate or strawberries. It is not the cheapest product on the market but delivers a solid value.

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5. NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate

Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate

This whey protein isolate from nutrition industry giant NOW Foods is a quality product that delivers a strong 22 grams of protein per serving. Backed by a strong and respected brand, this is a safe and quality choice for a whey protein isolate product

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 22 grams of protein per serving
  • Comes from a well-respected and established brand
  • Comes in a variety of flavors and blends well with other drinks.
  • Is a trusted product from informedchoice.org and informedsport.com
  • More expensive than most on a per serving basis

Company Profile:

NOW Foods is the maker of this product, and they are considered to be one of the companies in the greater supplement industry. For decades, they have produced products that are very high in quality yet also specialize in simplicity. They have a wealth of products, over 1,000 in fact, and are a major player in the industry.

Why We Recommend It:

This whey protein isolate is a safe choice from a well-established brand.  It delivers a solid amount of protein per serving at 22 grams and comes in a variety of flavors. Combined with its easily mixed texture and it is one of the more convenient protein options. It is a bit more expensive than some of its competitors but is overall a safe and effective choice.

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6. Muscle Feast Whey Protein Isolate

Muscle Feast Whey Protein Isolate

Muscle Feast’s Whey Protein Isolate is an excellent product in the whey protein isolate product category. One of its key differentiators is that it uses an unflavored product, so that you know it contains absolutely zero artificial flavors or sweeteners. In addition, it delivers a solid dose of protein per serving and is reasonably priced, making it a great option for a pure protein powder with no extra’s or superfluous ingredients.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Delivers 26 grams of whey protein isolate per serving
  • Is lactose free and fat free
  • Contains zero artificial flavors, sweeteners and so on.
  • Cold filtered for improved quality.
  • Includes 5 grams of naturally occurring BCAA’s per serving

Company Profile:

Muscle Feast is an up and coming company founded by the parents of a young bodybuilder who made it their goal to produce high quality supplements for aspiring lifters and athletes. They take pride in their standards of high quality, and pure products that are manufactured to the highest standards.

Why We Recommend It:

Whey Protein Isolate from Muscle Feast is one of the best all-natural, unflavored options on the market from a well-known and reputable brand for protein supplements. It delivers high quality protein with no extra’s or artificial sweeteners and coupled with 5 grams of naturally occurring BCAA’s it is one of the highest quality protein products for those looking for strictly protein.

7. Jay Robb’s Whey Protein

Jay Robbs Whey Protein

Jay Robb’s Whey Protein is a high-quality protein that delivers a strong dose at 24 grams per serving, one of the larger per serving amounts of protein on the market. Furthermore, it uses grass-fed cows as the source of their whey protein, making a clean and hormone free product that, while more expensive than most, delivers a high-quality protein powder option.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 24 grams of protein per serving
  • Whey source comes from grass-fed cows, ensuring a hormone free product
  • Microfiltered for an easy to mix compound
  • Minimal sugar and fat content
  • One of the more expensive options available

Company Profile:

Jay Robb has been a pioneer in the sports and fitness nutrition industry, starting his journey for improved nutrition over 30 years ago. After officially forming Jay Robb Enterprises in 1988, he has grown his company to one of the most well-known products on the market, being featured in numerous media outlets.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a very high-quality protein product, evidenced by Jay Robb’s use of grass-fed cows as their source of whey to remove any potential hormones or other contaminants. They deliver a strong product that is more expensive than most, making it a premium product for those looking for the highest quality protein.

8. Garden Of Life Raw Protein

Garden Of Life Raw Protein

This protein powder comes from one of the most respected names in the organic supplement industry, Garden Of Life. It is unique on this list as the only plant-based protein to make the top 10 protein powders. It offers 22 grams of protein per serving from all-organic and plant-based sources, making it one of the most natural, clean and healthy protein options available.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 22 grams of protein per serving, grown from peas and 13 different organic sprouts
  • Also includes fat-soluble organic vitamins for vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • Includes probiotics, over 3 billion CFU for improved digestion and gut health
  • Has absolutely no sugar or allergens and is gluten free, non-GMO, and certified organic.
  • Reasonably priced

Company Profile:

Garden of Life, the maker of Raw Protein, is a popular manufacturer of health and fitness supplements, along with health foods and related products. They have been a leader in the health supplement industry and specialize in utilizing raw whole foods and organic sources for their products.

Why We Recommend It:

This protein product does not deliver the highest possible amount of protein per serving at only 22 grams per, but it does offer the cleanest form of protein and one of the highest quality plant-based protein options on the market, making it an ideal choice for vegetarians and those with an aversion to whey.

9. Muscle Feast Whey Protein

Muscle Feast Whey Protein

Muscle Feast has yet another winner and excellent product with their whey protein option. While this option is not as pure or stringent as their grass-fed or isolate options, it still delivers 18 grams of protein per serving and is one of the most affordable options on the market.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 18 grams of protein per serving
  • Comes from an excellent brand and product line of proteins
  • Very affordable and one of the best values on the market
  • Non-GMO and gluten free

Company Profile:

Muscle Feast is an up and coming company founded by the parents of a young bodybuilder who made it their goal to produce high quality supplements for aspiring lifters and athletes. They take pride in their standards of high quality, and pure products that are manufactured to the highest standards.

Why We Recommend It:

This is arguably the best bang for your buck option for protein on the market. While this product is not quite as pure or stringently manufactured as the isolates or grass-fed options, it still delivers a solid amount of protein per dose at an extremely affordable rate per serving, making it one of the best values on the market.

10. Myprotein Impact Whey Protein

Myprotein Impact Whey Protein

Another fine protein product from Myprotein out of the UK, this is an excellent whey protein product that is one of the most affordable on the market at only $0.34 per serving. It delivers just under 20g of protein in each serving and while it is not as pure as some of the isolate options on the list, it delivers excellent value for a simple whey protein product.

Product Highlights and Ingredients

  • Just under 20 grams of protein per serving
  • Very affordable
  • Is appropriate for vegetarians but is not gluten free
  • Comes in a variety of flavors

Company Profile:

Myprotein is based out of the United Kingdom and is emerging as one of the top sports nutrition companies in Europe. They have recently begun expanding into the USA and have an ambitious goal of becoming the largest sport nutrition brand in the world by 2020.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a solid protein choice, especially if cost is an issue or you are looking primarily for an affordable protein choice. It is not as stringently manufactured as the isolate products of whey protein but is still a very safe choice for an effective protein that delivers a great bang for your buck.

Final Take

Different types of protein from different sources can benefit you in different ways. The good news is that, as long as you don’t go completely overboard, all protein is good protein.

When you reach for a snack or prepare a meal rich in protein along with other important nutrients, you can be confident that you are putting only good things into your body; confident that you are utilizing the building blocks of success.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that protein from animal sources if often accompanied by fat. You’ll want to ensure that any protein sources you consume do not cause you to overindulge in the wrong types of fat.

References:

[1] Osterweil, Neil. The Benefits of Protein. Webmd.com, 2015.

[2] Tipton, KD and Wolf,RR. Exercise, Protein Metabolism, and Muscle Growth. National Library of Medicine, 2001.

[3] Nierenberg, Cari. How Much Protein Do You Need? Webmd.com, 2014.

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Carl Putman

Written by Carl Putman

Carl Putman is a strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level and writer on fitness, health and supplements. Over the past decade, he has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from professional athletes and world champions to youth and general population, as well as tactical practitioners. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. Based in Florida, he continues to train and coach as well as write with a passion for making a positive impact for his clients and readers.