Top Ten Protein Powders

Protein powders are the most widely used supplement available on the fitness market.

Now, because protein powders are so important for the body, they’re extremely vital when it comes to performance, growth, and progression with bodybuilding and fitness. Many supplement companies have become privy to this fact and created their own special protein powder that they believe to be the best.

As with all supplements, protein powders are never quite straightforward. They can include a variety of added ingredients, differing amounts of protein, and varying sources of the protein included.

Yet, obviously, not all powders can be the best. That’s why we’ve narrowed down the ridiculous amount of options to just ten – the top 10 protein powders available on the market today.

Best Protein Powders – 2017 Top 10 List

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1. Transparent Labs Protein Series 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate
2. NowFoods Whey Isolate
3. Dymatize ISO-100
4. Myprotein Impact Whey ISOLATE
5. Garden of Life Raw Protein
6. SunWarrior Warrior Blend Raw Protein
7. HPN Pro Zero
8. Nature’s Best Zero Carb ISOPURE
9. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
10. Vega Sport Protein

best protein powders

10 Top Rated, Protein Powder Supplements, And Shakes For Men And Women Review

1. Transparent Labs Protein Series 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Transparent Labs Protein Series 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Transparent Labs are trying to change the game by creating all-natural supplements based upon the highest-quality ingredients.

That means they use no artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, gluten-containing ingredients, GMO ingredients, or artificial preservatives in their protein shake.

Their name stems from the fact that they like to be completely open about all of their products, and their Protein Series is no different.

Though, the health-benefits don’t just stop there. Transparent Labs use 100% grass-fed whey protein isolate sourced directly from American cows. Cows that are fed their natural diet and allowed to graze open pastures produce milk with a much higher amount of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.

Whilst many companies haven’t acknowledged this benefit, Transparent Labs always try to go one step further with their products to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

As the powder is a protein isolate opposed to concentrate. It contains a substantial amount of protein with negligible amounts of carbohydrate and fat. In fact, per scoop, you get 0 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of sugar, but 24 grams of protein! This means that it’ll be absorbed much more rapidly than higher-fat, higher-carb containing powders.

We always like to make sure that you get the full-picture and so, the two main-drawbacks are that it only comes in two flavors – chocolate and vanilla – and comes at a higher price due to the high-quality ingredients.

However, as with any supplement, you get what you pay for, and with Transparent Labs, you’re certainly getting a lot.

2. NowFoods Whey Isolate

NowFoods Whey Protein Isolate

NowFoods is another brand who opted for the more natural side of protein powders.

Their protein once again contains no artificial ingredients as well as no flavorings. This might be an issue for some, but you can naturally flavor and sweeten the powder with ingredients such as stevia and cinnamon.

As well as this, the unflavored aspect means that it’s much easier to mix into smoothies, bakes, and other shakes without compromising the overall taste.

Per serving, there’s 0.5 grams of fat, <1 gram of carbohydrate, <1 gram of sugars, and 25 grams of protein. This makes for just 110 calories per scoop which is almost 100% from protein.

NowFoods have also gone the extra mile by including an amino acid breakdown due to the fact that the product has a high amount of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids).

Each 28 gram scoop contains 2.716 grams of leucine, 1.568 grams of isoleucine, and 1.288 grams of l-valine. Not to mention 4.788 grams of glutamic acid. The product only contains two ingredients: microfiltered whey protein isolate and soy lecithin (<1%).

Now, the lack of flavoring can make it impractical for some people who just want a quick, tasty shake immediately after the gym before they go on with the rest of the day. Though, high-quality unflavored powders can be useful to keep around the house when baking or creating other mixes which don’t need an overbearing flavor.

It also means that the product contains zero artificial flavorings, something many people look for when purchasing supplements.

3. Dymatize ISO-100

Dymatize ISO-100

Dymatize is a reputable brand who have repeatedly knocked out fantastic, high-quality products year after year.

The effort they put into their supplements can be shown by the fact that they’re IS0-100 hydrolyzed whey protein isolate was the world’s best-selling isolate from 2013-2016.

Hydrolyzed powders have been partially broken down in the creation process so that they can be digested and absorbed even faster than usual whey. Heat, acid, or enzymes are added to the powder to break down the bonds between the amino acids.

This means that the protein can rapidly boost MPS levels in the muscles and allow the recovery process to start even sooner. Dymatize have combined hydrolyzed whey with whey protein isolate so that you get a high quantity of protein that’s absorbed faster than normal.

Each scoop contains just 0.1 gram of fat, 2.3 grams of fat, and 0.5 grams of sugars, whilst also delivering 25 grams of protein and best of all, a whopping 2.7 grams of leucine! One serving contains 5.7 grams total of BCAAs to support performance and muscle growth with the other 3 grams coming from 1.5 grams of isoleucine and valine each.

One of the best features of this product is that it comes in 7 different interesting flavors: gourmet vanilla, cookies & cream, smooth banana, gourmet chocolate, strawberry, fudge brownie, and birthday cake.

To top it all off, the product is tested for banned substances so that you can rest assured you’re only getting what’s listed on the label.

4. Myprotein Impact Whey ISOLATE

Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate

One of the biggest brands on the market right now, Myprotein are offering a high-quality, low-cost whey isolate that really packs a punch when it comes to its nutritional value.

In order to make sure their powder can fight its corner, Myprotein has used expert purifying processes to ensure that their supplement maintains maximum protein integrity. With just 0.1 grams of fat and 0.6 grams of carbohydrate per serving all the while boasting a tremendous 23 grams of protein.

This particular protein has been independently tested by Labdoor for both quality and value. Being ranked Grade A and officially certifying it as one of the best protein powders available on the current market.

As well as this, after 2400 reviews, the product holds an impressive 4.5/5 star rating on their website with 1646 5 star reviews.

Myprotein is known for two main features: superior value for money and extensive flavor ranges. Their impact whey isolate comes in a ridiculous 22 different flavors including favorites such as vanilla and chocolate as well as more adventurous options like matcha, rocky road, and salted caramel.

There really isn’t a whey isolate that can quite compare to Myprotein in terms of price, quality, and flavor options. Not to mention, if you do become a fan, then they offer 5kg packages to save you even more money through purchasing in a bulk; something rarely any other company is doing.

5. Garden of Life Raw Protein

Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder

Transitioning away from the dairy-based proteins for a second.

Garden of Life is delivering a raw organic protein that’s entirely vegan, and non-GMO.

The product utilizes 13 raw sprouted proteins to deliver a massive 22 grams of protein per serving.

As well as this, they’ve made sure that the protein features the full essential amino acid profile alongside added whole food fat-soluble vitamins, probiotics, and enzymes.

This helps your body to digest and absorb the protein to make sure that it’s all used to maximal effect.

Garden of Life has brought together 3 blends all for different uses: a protein blend, a flavor blend, and a raw probiotic and enzyme blend. Included in the protein blend is a range of different sources to give various benefits and digestion rates.

These include pea protein, brown rice protein, amaranth sprout, buckwheat sprout, millet sprout, chlorella, quinoa sprout, chia seed sprout, garbanzo bean sprout, lentil sprout, adzuki bean sprout, flax seed sprout, sunflower seed sprout, pumpkin seed sprout, and sesame seed sprout.

How many other powders can say they give you 13 different protein sources in one single powder?

By now you’ve probably noticed that the product uses a lot of raw ingredients. This is because many people believe that cooking foods releases the nutrients and therefore, they won’t reach the body to be absorbed. By keeping the ingredients raw, all of the nutrients are locked in.

For those who are worried that they won’t get the same level of amino acids as whey, casein, or egg proteins, you needn’t be worried. Per 32 gram serving, there’s 3.7 grams of glutamic acid, 1.02 grams of isoleucine, 1.8 grams of leucine, and 1.1 grams of valine. That’s very hard to come by for a vegan protein powder!

The product also comes in a much wider flavor range than usual with unflavored, vanilla, chocolate cacao, and vanilla spiced chai all as options.

6. SunWarrior Warrior Blend Raw Protein

SunWarrior Warrior Blend Raw Protein

SunWarrior are offering another great option for vegans or those who prefer a plant-based protein with their Raw Protein blend.

The blend is 100% free of soy, gluten, and dairy, making it free from almost all common allergens.

They’ve also used processes that don’t include solvents, GMOs, radiation, herbicides, pesticides, or artificial colors and preservatives. It’s clear to see that they’ve taken great care with their production process in order to create the best vegan protein powder they can.

The formula consists of only 8 ingredients: organic pea protein, organic hemp protein, organic goji berry, organic vanilla flavor, organic guar gum, sea salt, organic stevia extract, and organic whole ground coconut.

You may think that 8 ingredients is quite a lot, but in actuality, all of the ingredients serve a purpose and add something to the blend. There are no fillers or unwanted extras which can be very common in the supplement industry.

Alongside several high-quality protein sources, they’ve included MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides) from coconuts. MCTs have been shown to help increase brain power and fat loss when in a caloric deficit.

Protein powders are already a great addition to a cut as they help to keep you satiated as well as preserve your muscle mass. By including MCTs, they’ve created a powerful formula to both boost MPS levels and drop unwanted fat.

Per 25 gram serving, there’s 100 total calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber, and 18 grams of protein (1.7 grams of leucine, 1.05 grams of isoleucine, and 1.04 grams of valine).

This makes the protein total slightly on the low side. However, when you’re getting so many benefits from the high-quality blend, the protein is really just an added bonus.

The product comes in vanilla, berry, mocha, natural, and chocolate flavor.

7. HPN Pro Zero

HPN Pro Zero

High Performance Nutrition (HPN) is really raising the bar on plant-based protein powders with their Pro Zero.

Often, vegan powders can feature all-manors of added ingredients, fillers, flavorings, and sweeteners to try and get them as similar to whey as possible. Yet, HPN has shown that this is completely unnecessary.

The powder is naturally sweetened with a combination of stevia and monk fruit. Pro Zero is designed to give you everything you need and make sure you’re not getting anything you don’t.

Per serving there’s just 100 calories with 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of carbohydrate but a massive 20 grams of protein.

This is because the powder is centered around high-quality organic brown rice and pea protein. They’ve even included SunBCAA fermented amino acids which come in the proven 2:1:1 ratio of leucine: isoleucine: valine to make sure your MPS levels are increased as much as possible.

Due to the plant-based formula and effort put in by HPN, the supplement also contains a high amount of micronutrients to support your mental and physical health; especially those that are often missed out by vegetarians and vegans, such as B12.

Each 29.8 gram scoop contains 30% of your RDA of vitamins A, C, D3, E, K-1, B6, and B12 as well as magnesium and selenium to name just a few of the full 27 vitamins and minerals. Not to mention, as there’s no dairy-whatsoever it’s entirely lactose-free.

The powder doesn’t just come in your ordinary flavors, either. There’s vanilla frosting, chocolate frosting, chai latte, strawberry jam, cinnamon roll, blueberry scone, and pumpkin spice latte all to choose from so you never get bored.

8. Nature’s Best Zero Carb ISOPURE

Nature’s Best Zero Carb ISOPURE

Nature’s Best are another company delivering an ultra-pure protein powder without any of the unwanted carbohydrates and fats.

Their company is founded on the creation of highly nutritious products which deliver exactly what you want them too. At 201 calories per serving, the powder is a lot higher than many other companies.

However, that’s because each serving packs in a massive 50 grams of protein. Whilst delivering 0 grams of carbohydrate and just 1 gram of fat.

If you understandably don’t want such a high volume of proteins, you can easily half the serving for 25 grams of protein and just 0.5 grams of fat.

What separates Nature’s Best from the rest of the market is the fact that they’ve included additional micronutrients to support natural bodily function and overall health.

Each full serving delivers 50% of your RDA for a wide range of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, C, E K, B6 and B12, niacin, magnesium, and folate, alongside a whole host of other micronutrients.

The product comes in a 0 carb and a low-carb variety with a wide range of flavors such as alpine punch, cookies and cream, mango peach, and toasted coconut.

9. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

Optimum Nutrition has been at the head of the game for many years now and is often the first choice of many gym-goers when it comes to supplements; especially for protein powders.

Their Gold Standard whey has long peered over the supplement industry, sitting in its throne as the king, and you don’t get to the top for no good reason.

First off, it boasts an impressive nutritional profile. Per scoop, there’s 24 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 120 calories.

However, as you well know, there’s more to protein powders than just their macronutrient ratio. Gold Standard 100% Whey mixes incredibly easily into a smooth, flavorful beverage that tastes more similar to milkshake than a protein a shake.

There’s no compromising on flavor or texture whatsoever with 0 clumps, grittiness, or grains. Plus, there’s something for everyone with birthday cake, chocolate peanut butter, french vanilla crème, and rocky road all as flavor options.

There’s no compromising on flavor or texture whatsoever with 0 clumps, grittiness, or grains. Plus, there’s something for everyone with birthday cake, chocolate peanut butter, french vanilla crème, and rocky road all as flavor options.

As well as this, ON’s whey comes at a very reasonable price. Whilst other companies may bolster their prices up at the first sign of success, ON have kept their prices low to deliver an effective, efficient, and practical product.

10. Vega Sport Protein

Vega Sport Protein

Last, but definitely not least, we have another vegan protein blend from a company called Vega.

Vega Sport Protein boasts an enormous 30 grams of protein per serving with 6 grams of BCAAs – 2943mg of leucine, 1710mg of isoleucine, and 1836mg of valine.

One amino acid that vegan blends can never quite match dairy-based powders on is glutamic acid.

However, Vega has clearly taken this on board as their formula includes 6354mg of glutamic acid – similar levels to that of most whey and casein based supplements.

The product is based on four main protein sources: pea, pumpkin seed, organic sunflower seed, and alfalfa.

This allows for a range of benefits and digestion rates. Alongside this, they’ve included 1 billion CFU probiotics (Bacillus coagulans) to improve your gut health and maintain proper digestion.

As Vega has included so many different healthy ingredients. It doesn’t just make it useful for vegans or those who can’t handle dairy. Anyone and everyone can find some use in this powder as it’s not just a protein powder, but almost a multivitamin, too!

Each scoop contains 150 calories, 3 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), and a whopping 30 grams of protein. That’s very impressive for a plant-based formula! There’s also no added sugar whatsoever.

The product comes in four different flavors: berry, vanilla, chocolate, and mocha to keep its use versatile for adding into shakes and smoothies.

FAQ

1. How do I choose the best protein powder?

When it comes to supplements, you really do get what you pay for. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a high-quality powder for a reasonable price.

Look at the price per serving, not at the total cost. This will give you a much more accurate description of how much you’re getting for the price. One powder may be cheaper but contain half the servings as another.

Also, if you’re someone who’s on a tight schedule and doesn’t have time to continuously eat, you might want to pick a powder with slightly more protein. This will reduce the need for you to cook or prepare meals. Therefore you can get by with minimal hassle with your diet.

The nutritional information will also be important. Those who are bulking needn’t worry about excess calories from carbohydrates or fat. Yet, those who are cutting might want to opt for a purer powder which has a higher percentage of protein.

There are some universal factors that everyone will want to keep in mind, too. These include the quality of the ingredients, the taste/mixability, and the brand reputation. Each of these will need to be kept in mind by everyone when looking to purchase the right protein powder.

We’ve scrutinized all of the protein powders available to whittle the options down to just 10 of the best protein options. So, from here you can make an educated choice based on your personal preferences and situation.

2. What are the best protein powder blends?

The best protein powder blends will be dependent on the factors like your bodybuilding or fitness goals, lifestyle, and budget. Rest assured that all of the options on our list are high-quality and extremely effective.

We believe our top ten to be the best protein powder blends available on the current market.

3. What are the best protein powder companies/brands?

There are new and emerging companies and brands coming out every single year. Though, some of the tried and tested best are Transparent Labs, Dymatize and Myprotein as well as any others listed on above.

4. What is the best protein powder source?

Each protein source has its benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the fundamentals of each powder, such as where the protein’s come from, allows for you to make an informed decision.

Whey Protein

First of all, whey protein is the most widely used and common source of protein when it comes to protein powders. This is because the body digests and absorbs the protein relatively quickly at a rate of 8-10 grams per hour. That means a whey-based powder with 30 grams of protein will be fully absorbed after 3 hours. As we analyze other powders, you’ll realize how quick this is.

Whey protein comes in two forms: isolate and concentrate. Isolate contains a higher amount of protein at around 90% whilst concentrates can be much lower, sitting at 30-80%. Though, it’s normally in the higher range. As isolate are higher in protein, they’re lower in fats and carbs, too.

This makes them perfect for those who have a lactose intolerance as there’s far less (and sometimes not even any) lactose sugar. Because of this, isolates tend to be more expensive whilst concentrates are much cheaper.

Casein Protein

Casein is another milk-derived protein source that’s collected when whey is separated from the rest of the milk.

It clumps together in the stomach. Which causes it to digest at a much slower rate than whey protein at around 6 grams per hour. So, using a 30-gram protein shake as a comparison, it would take around 5 hours to digest, two more than whey.

This makes it useful for periods when you’re not going to be eating for a long time, such as when sleeping. Therefore, you can spike MPS in a period where levels would normally be flat and further increase your gains. On the other hand, whey is much more suited to the post-workout period to kick-start recovery as soon as possible.

Egg Protein

Egg protein has a digestion time that sits in between whey and casein for a medium release.

This makes it perfect for blends that utilize a combination of all three for elevated MPS levels that are sustained and spiked for a higher period of time. It’s also well-suited for those who have dairy or lactose issues.

Vegetarian/Vegan Plant Based Proteins

Possibly the members of the population who will get the most from protein powders are vegetarians and vegans. Those who have excluded meat, dairy, and all animal-derived products from their diet.

The two main options for these individuals are pea and soy. Pea is an incomplete protein. Meaning that it doesn’t contain all of the 9 essential amino acids which the body cannot synthesize itself.

Plant based proteins tend to have the longest digestion time due to their fiber content and can typically be low in amino acids such as glutamine and leucine.

However, they can frequently be bolstered by additional ingredients which help increase their amino acid levels.

They also tend to contain a high amount of micro nutrients than whey, casein, and egg for a much more advantageous effect on your overall health. Also, as they’re composed of completely plant-based ingredients, they’re perfect for both vegetarians and vegans.

PDCAAS

All sources of protein are also subjected to a PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score). Simply put, this is a universal method of evaluating protein quality in terms of a human’s ability to digest it and therefore, its eventual effect on the body. The score ranges from 0 as the lowest to 1 the highest.

Cow’s milk, eggs, casein, soy protein and whey all score a perfect 1. Pea protein comes in slightly lower at 0.89. Other scores for common protein sources include mycoprotein at 0.99, beef at 0.92, soybeans at 0.78, cooked peas at 0.597 and peanuts at 0.52.

There is no one best protein source. Whey may be the best option for most people in most situations. But understanding the features and qualities of each powder allows for you to use the right powder at the right time.

References:

  1. Soenen, S; “Relatively high-protein or ‘low-carb’ energy-restricted diets for body weight loss and body weight maintenance?”; Department of Human Biology, Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht (NUTRIM), Maastricht University; 2012; Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22935440
  2. Hoffman, Jay R., and Michael J. Falvo; “Protein – Which Is Best?”; Journal of Sports Science & Medicine; September 2004: 118–130; Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905294/
  3. Sindayikengera, Séverin, and Wen-shui Xia. “Nutritional Evaluation of Caseins and Whey Proteins and Their Hydrolysates from Protamex”; Journal of Zhejiang University; Science; B 7.2 (2006): 90–98; Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1363751/
  4. Soop, Mattias et al; “Coingestion of Whey Protein and Casein in a Mixed Meal: Demonstration of a More Sustained Anabolic Effect of Casein”; American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism; 303.1 (2012): E152–E162; Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404559/
  5. Joy, Jordan; “The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance”; Nutrition Journal; March 2013; 12:86; Retrieved from http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/86

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