There are definitely good reasons to have a protein powder supplement in your diet. Because there is a use, even a need, there are a TON of protein powder options out there. I investigated in depth, to help sort out and give you the best protein powder review.
Uses for Protein Powder
There are three main reasons to add a protein powder to your diet. One is to add needed protein after a hard workout, to build lean muscle mass. For that you want a fast absorption protein drink.
For those looking to lose weight and belly fat, a protein powder drink can be a way to add protein and other nutrients to your diet while keeping the calorie count down. In this case, you will want a meal replacement protein powder that is filling and absorbs slowly, so you keep a more full feeling.
The third use is to maintain your weight and health as you age. People who are older require more nutrients, including protein, but the metabolism is slower, so a good protein powder is a good way to keep a proper nutritional balance. For this group, a slower acting protein source works best.
Recommended Whey Protein Powders
For these rankings, I used this scale:
0-5 Protein quality
Proteins may get higher rankings for any of the following: independently verified, have Branched chain amino acids, have full range of amino acids, have good protein combinations for both quick and lasting action
Based on a broad range of reviews, to reflect many opinions, not just mine
0-5 Additives and Sweeteners
If there are additives they contribute to nutrition to get a higher ranking. I gave anything with sucralose or fructose or aspartame a low ranking, while low-glycemic natural stevia got higher rankings. Organic flavors gets high rankings too.
Price per Serving
I used 20 grams of protein as the serving size in determining the price per serving, even though each product has its own recommended serving size.
This means that the highest possible ranking is a 15, while zero is the lowest. In picking my top picks, I considered the cost factor. The least costly options have not proven to be the best, nor have the most expensive ones. The ones I like best cost $1.23 to $1.29 a serving.
BEST IN CLASS
Tera's Whey is my number one rated whey protein. It is produced from local farmers in Wisconsin. The company has the product periodically tested for content and purity by independent 3rd party labs. The whey protein is very good quality Concentrated Whey. They also make both an organic and an isolate whey powder, but with the independent testing, I do not recommend paying extra for that. It is non GMO, and has all natural ingredients. The sweetener used is stevia. It gets about a perfect ranking for a pure best protein powder review.
I give this one a ranking of 15. What tips it into first place for me is the independent testing and obtaining product from small Wisconsin farms.
The cost is $1.29 per 20 g. Each serving is 110 calories.
2 scoops=20 g protein
The Next Two are Also Very Close
My next two favorites are very close. They cost almost the same as Tera's Whey and both get a 15 on the ranking.
How do you choose? I believe your choice will depend on whether the product is in stock more than anything. If you try all of them, you will probably find one that is your favorite for texture, or packaging, or taste. It can be individual. What I can tell you is all three of these are delicious, are sweetened with stevia, not artificial sweeteners, and have high quality ingredients. The calorie counts differ and that may have an impact on you.
Also, the scoop sizes are different. I standardized the grams of protein at 20 for the rankings, but how many grams you want in a serving may help you decide which of these three products is best for you.
Whey Factors is a combination of concentrate and isolate, and that qualifies for both post-workout and for meal replacement. It also contains added BCAA's. It has no artificial ingredients, tastes good, and is non-GMO with good fats.
Protein Taste Additives Price Calories/20grams protein Scoop size
The cost is $1.27 per 20 grams, with 100 calories.
1 scoop = 16g protein
The other one I like a lot is Jay Robb Whey Protein. It is 100% Isolate, so especially good for workouts. It is immensely popular, and there is good reason for that. It has good flavor, is non GMO and non-gluten, with natural ingredients.
Protein Taste Additives Price Calories/20grams protein Scoop size
The cost of a 100 calorie, 20 gram protein serving is $1.23.
1 scoop = 25 g protein
Runners Up in this Best Protein Powder Review
The top value pick is Myotein Whey Protein Complex. Myotein has created this one with a combination of 6 different whey proteins. It is really a marketing ploy, because they are not needed to be effective. It also uses artificial sweeteners.
But it is less costly than the ones that are the top-rated, and it is a decent value for the money. The cost per 20 grams is only 73 cents, and the calories are 96. A scoop is designed to give you 25 grams of protein.
This one gets a 13.
One runner-up is 18 Shake, which is a combination of whey, but not as many as six. It is sweetened with stevia and contains an appetite suppressant. It better suppress appetite at a cost of $4.72 for 20 grams of protein! It has good quality, although not better than the lower cost options I recommended earlier. This gets a 12.
Herbalife is another higher cost good quality protein powder that costs a lot at $3.15 per 20 gram serving. In my opinion, there is no reason to buy either one of these. With a ranking of 12, I recommend you go with one of the first three here.
I want to mention a few products that sell way more than they should in my opinion. I think when we talking about a best protein powder review, we need to look at the ones that fail to measure up, too.
Naked Whey sounds really good as being 100% un-denatured grass-fed whey concentrate. The price is about right at $1.20 for grams of protein. But it can have variable quality and taste, so why do it?
BSN Syntha-6 is a combination of multi-whey but also contains Soy. It is not gluten-free.
Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder comes in 14 flavors and has 50% of the minimum daily requirement of many vitamins and minerals, but contains sucralose.
LaBrada Lean Body have some lower quality additives and contain both fructose and sucralose. It has 290 calories per serving. and/or fructose.
Muscle Milk has added vitamins and minerals, but contains sucralose , magnesium oxide (ineffective and cheap) and acefulmine sulfate.
Slim Fast is a milk protein concentrate, has a thickening agent that has been shown to be a bowel irritant, and has high sugar. You find it everywhere, and with so many sweet and sugar addicts, it gets bought a lot.
GNC Total Lean is similar. I used to buy this, until I learned about all the better ones that are out there.
Garden of Life, an organic soy-free, dairy-free product with no artificial flavors or sweeteners, tastes gritty and smells bad.
I am not saying these are awful. I am saying there are better choices you can make.
What It's All About
Why do we buy a protein powder? It is for our health! Does it not make sense to buy one that gives you the best ingredients, for the best price, and avoids artificial sweeteners and other additives?
REMEMBER please, do not overdo your protein intake while getting that sleek physique. It is not healthy for you. Parents, watch what your teens and even young adults are consuming as they workout. There is a lot of advertising out there designed to entice them to buy and use more than they need or is good for them.
Make your choice and enjoy responsibly.