10 Best Protein Powders | April 2017

10 Best Protein Powders
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Whether you are looking for a supplement to aid in dieting, a way to boost muscle growth, or something to help with post-workout recovery, one of these whey protein powders may be the ticket. Most of our top picks make great-tasting shakes, but we have included some unflavored, all-natural options as well. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best protein powder on Amazon.
10
Pure Protein is good for bodybuilders looking to boost muscle production, or for those looking for a meal replacement to aid in slimming down. It is available in a rich chocolaty or vanilla flavor, both of which taste good whether mixed with water or milk.
  • helps maintain immune health
  • high per pound price
  • requires thorough shaking to mix
Brand Pure Protein
Model pending
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
9
EAS 100% Whey is a protein concentrate and isolate blend that helps support muscle growth for more effective training. It contains 26 grams of pure protein for better lean muscle mass building without causing you to gain any unwanted weight.
  • good source of calcium
  • only 150 calories per serving
  • is often chunky when drinking
Brand EAS
Model 59205
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
8
Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate is 100% pure, unflavored powder without the extra frills. It contains no aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame-K, so those who are sensitive to artificial sweeteners can drink it, but as you can imagine, it doesn't taste very good.
  • simple but highly effective
  • all natural ingredients
  • gets really foamy when mixed
Brand NOW Foods
Model 733739021748
Weight 5.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
7
If you are more concerned with sticking to your budget while building muscle and don't mind a little extra fat and sugar, then Body Fortress Super Advanced is a suitable choice. It is about half the price of many other brands, and contains 20 grams of protein per serving.
  • comes in unique flavors
  • leaves you feeling full
  • mixes up with no leftover clumps
Brand Body Fortress
Model 55368
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
6
You'll find CytoSport Muscle Milk for sale in nearly every gym, and for good reason. It was created to emulate a human mother's milk, so it easy on the stomach and contains a number of important nutrients and vitamins, plus, of course, a lot of protein.
  • over 15 amino acids and bcaas
  • contains no trans fatty acids
  • 100-percent gluten-free
Brand Muscle Milk
Model 56944
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
5
BSN Syntha-6 has a rich and creamy texture much like a milkshake, and won't leave a chalky aftertaste in your mouth like many others do. It helps to promote muscle protein synthesis so you see results faster and keep up your motivation to hit the gym.
  • contains medium chain triglycerides
  • one jar lasts nearly two months
  • designed for post-workout use
Brand BSN Sports
Model 4500
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
4
Nature's Best Isopure is an easy-to-digest, zero carb, zero sugar option that still tastes great and is one of the highest quality protein powders on the market. It contains 50 grams of protein per serving in just 210 calories, helping you to achieve your goals quicker.
  • 100-percent lactose-free
  • high quality whey protein isolate
  • enriched with glutamine
Brand Nature's Best
Model 2115
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard is a consistent favorite among the fitness crowd due to the ingredient purity and the fantastic results it produces. It is 100% whey, making it a good choice for those looking to cut excess soy.
  • dissolves quickly in liquids
  • more than 25 flavors to choose from
  • only 1 gram of fat per serving
Brand Optimum Nutrition
Model 1054618
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
Tera's Whey Organic is a guilt-free protein powder that only uses the best ingredients and milk from grass fed cows. It is made with real bourbon vanilla and contains at least 20g of protein per serving, making it both tasty and beneficial to bodybuilding.
  • no artificial sweeteners
  • low in carbohydrates
  • will not spike your blood sugar
Brand tera's
Model 850628002548
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
1
Cellucor Cor-Performance supplies your body with much-needed BCAA’s and natural digestive enzymes to increase protein synthesis. It's a good choice for those looking to stay lean as it only has 1.5g of fat and 130 calories per serving.
  • thick consistency curbs hunger
  • great for use in baking
  • doesn't feel chalky in the mouth
Brand Cellucor
Model CE-CW-220-01
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

NOT Just For Body Builders

From a first look at a GNC window, you might assume protein powders are only for weight lifters and body builders. But the average Joe and his underweight or ailing cousin can get just as much out of the substance.

Protein powders can be used as meal replacements, especially if they also include vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and probiotics. The more complete, the better.

Folks who want to gain weight have also been known to indulge. This can be a fun process because unless you have restrictions, you can mix high-calorie formulas into higher-calorie juices or full-fat milk. You can even blend the powder into meals and desserts if you so choose.

In case you didn't know, your muscles require good nourishment just after exercise. Working out breaks down muscle and they require fuel and nutrients to add in the rebuilding process. Downing a protein shake directly afterward helps you recover quicker and get the most results from your workout.

Similarly, if you're injured, indulging in this kind of nourishment will be a plus, as it can help reduce soreness. Mixed into coconut milk or a smoothie, the powder also makes for a nifty bedtime snack, to help your whole body recover as you sleep.

Vegans and vegetarians often struggle to take in enough protein to maintain a healthy level of muscle mass. Luckily, there are now many protein powders made from vegetable protein as well.

For certain medical procedures that interfere with digestion -- like gastric bypass -- doctors sometimes prescribe protein powder. Just to be sure patients get enough essential nutrients.

Get The Lowdown On Protein Primers

Proteins are the building blocks of our muscles. Doesn't it then follow that we have to be careful of what kind of protein we put in our bodies? Is it a one-size-fits-all proposition? Or does the source of the stuff matter? Here's the lowdown on proteins and how easy they are for the body to use:

Whey protein is the hands-down fav for protein powder makers, as whey is a complete protein.

If you scan the labels of the most popular powders, you'll see the terms whey concentrate and whey protein isolate. Both are really easy for the body to absorb. Pretty funny for a by-product of the cheese making process. (Little Bo Peep was "eating her curds and whey" probably because her folks were home cheese makers.) Anyway, these days, after the separation, the whey is filtered and reduced to powdered solids. Et voila! A great muscle recovery tool.

Soy used to be all the rage in protein powders. But lots of folks have an allergic reaction to it. It can also be hard on the body in other ways. Still, soy is quality protein and is the major component of both tofu and tempeh.

Brown rice protein is among the easiest to digest. It's processed at low temps to keep enzymes alive. And also contains two key amino acids.

Pea protein is another type that's easy to absorb and digest. If you put it together with rice protein, you get a product with a complete amino acid profile. Which puts it on a level with whey and adds up to powerful nutrition for muscles.

Egg protein (also known as albumin) also offers a complete profile. But some folks are also allergic to eggs.

Hemp protein is growing in reputation and popularity. It's quality stuff. But is better at boosting immunity than building muscle.

Whip It, Blend It, Stir It

One of the best things about protein powder is that it presents so many...well, not exactly culinary possibilities, but...let's just call them chances to be creative! Least among them is the sheer variety of liquids to mix powder into:

Dairy Milk - It's almost like overkill for most of our top 10 choices (since whey is derived from dairy). But milk has an amazing mouthfeel that just can't be beat. Plus, it has its own natural sugars and fat, that might help mask any artificial flavors in our selected powders. If you're not afraid of fat or cholesterol, you could even consider adding heavy or whipped cream to your drink for satiety.

Coconut Milk - A close second in mouthfeel -- yummy-creaminess -- to dairy milk, coconut milk also boasts MCTs, that is, fats that heal at the cellular level. 'Nuff said.

Nut & Seed Milks - are on the spectrum with dairy, but might not be quite as creamy. Still, most contain some form of sugar that should blend well with flavored or unflavored powders. Try almond, hazelnut, cashew, hemp seed or flax seed. You can also find blended milks, of almond, cashew and hazelnut, or coconut and almond, for example.

Grain Milks - Yep, there's rice milk, but there's also oat milk and quinoa milk. These typically offer a somewhat more watery texture, but a decent flavor with or without chocolate or vanilla added.

Soy Milk -- If you're not allergic, it's a way to add even more protein to your drink. Soy milks are typically lower in fat that many nut milks, but have a full-bodied texture just the same.

Most non-dairy milks include added vitamins -- A & D, for example -- and minerals, like calcium and magnesium. Sugar-free and flavored varieties are usually available.

Juices - You can use commonly bottled juices like apple or grape. But why not go all the way live and add protein powder to a fresh-squeezed, refrigerated fruit or veggie juice.

Smoothies - Skip the juices, and just blend together fruits -- berries, peaches, plums, bananas -- with some kind of. milk and some ice. It's chilled, it's refreshing and it will help repair your muscles.



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Last updated on April 17, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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