Best protein powder 2022: Boost your nutrition (2023)

By Patricia Carswell

Contributions from

Anna Gora

published

Looking for the best protein powder to support your health and fitness goals? Find out which supplement takes the crown in our ultimate round-up

Best protein powder 2022: Boost your nutrition (1)

The best protein powder can provide you with a host of tangible benefits, regardless of whether you are an athlete laser-focused on performance, or an average Joe just trying to stay fit and healthy. But which one should you invest in? In the not-so-distant past, you could only find a limited number of protein supplements, and mostly in niche sports shops. But with protein powders becoming much more commonplace, there are way more products to choose from these days.

The best protein powder comes in a wide range of flavors, contains countless additional ingredients, and addresses many different issues. But if you don’t know much about the nitty-gritty of sports nutrition, you may end up feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options. That’s why the Live Science team has spent countless hours researching and testing a variety of products so you can find the best protein powder for your needs and preferences.

What the experts say

"A safe level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram [2.2 lbs.] of body weight, up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram for very active athletes… Most Americans truly need to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight," says Jessica Crandall, a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified diabetes educator and national spokesperson for theAcademy of Nutrition and Dietetics (opens in new tab).

Getting good quality protein, with the right ratio of essential and non-essential amino acids, is crucial to sports performance, effective muscle building, and sustainable weight loss. But even if lifting weights is not on your agenda, it is always a good idea to get enough protein. Among many other crucial roles, it ramps up your metabolism, keeps your appetite at bay, boosts your immune system, and balances your hormones.

Although it is always best to get your essential nutrients from food, sometimes it may not be feasible. We may struggle to get the right amount, or the right type of protein, for many different reasons. But that is where supplements can come in handy. With the best protein powder, you can get 20g to 30g of this nutrient in a single serving. All you need is the best protein shaker and a bit of water or milk, and you have a tasty shake that you can easily sip on-the-go.

Here, we’ve ranked the best non-vegan protein powders on the market to help you select a product that will tick all your boxes. If you’re plant-based, we have a separate guide that's solely focused on the best vegan protein powder too.

Best protein powder

Best protein powder 2022: Boost your nutrition (2)

1. Myprotein Impact Whey Protein

Best protein powder on a budget

Specifications

Protein per serving: 0-21g (depending on flavor)

Carbs per serving: 1 - 3.2g depending on flavor

Calories per serving: 95 - 104kcal depending on flavor

Protein source: whey protein concentrate

Sweetener: Most flavors: sucralose; chocolate smooth: sucralose and acesulfame K; stevia flavors: stevia

Available flavors: more than 40 including chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cream

Reasons to buy

+

Good value for money

+

Huge range of flavors

Reasons to avoid

-

Whey concentrate not isolate

-

More unusual flavors not to everybody’s taste

If it’s just a solid, reliable, no-frills product you’re after, this could be the best protein powder for you.

WHAT USERS SAY

This protein powder scores 4.2 stars out of 5 on Amazon, with enthusiasts praising it for its value, range of flavors and ease of mixing, and many feeling reassured by its ranking in independent tests, "I like this brand because you know what you're getting, based off independent lab testing". The main criticisms revolve around taste, particularly in the more unusual flavors which some find too sweet.

Myprotein prides itself on providing an all-round, value-for-money product. It is ranked Grade A by independent tester Labdoor for both quality and value.

The protein comes from whey concentrate, which some people find causes bloating. There are few ingredients, although some of the flavor options include artificial flavors. It comes in more than 40 flavors and a range of sizes. We found the 250g bag really useful for a weekend away or bringing into the office, but you can also purchase a 5kg bag to store at home.

If you’re bewildered by the choice, consider buying the sample pack which contains up to eight flavors to try before you commit to a larger size. We tried the chocolate smooth, which worked well when stirred into porridge. Although, if you’re after more of an intense chocolate taste, the chocolate brownie may be more to your liking. Our testers with a sweet tooth also liked the sticky toffee pudding flavor, whilst those who liked something a bit more simple favored the vanilla and the strawberry.

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2. Bulk Natural Pure Whey Isolate

Best protein powder for sensitive stomachs

Specifications

Protein per serving: 24g

Carbs per serving: 1.5g

Calories per serving: 108kcal

Protein source: whey protein isolate

Sweetener: Stevia

Available flavors: Chocolate, strawberry

Reasons to buy

+

Gentle on stomach

+

Small number of ingredients

Reasons to avoid

-

Only two available flavors

-

Stevia flavor rather overpowering

Made with just whey isolate, with no whey concentrate, and sweetened only with stevia, which is a natural substance made from the leaves of the stevia plant, this is the best protein powder for anyone who suffers from a sensitive stomach.

WHAT USERS SAY

It scores 4.5 stars on Amazon, with reviewers commenting favorably on the natural ingredients and the fact that it doesn’t leave them bloated. The negative reviews mostly relate to the flavor. "The stevia is so strong it leaves a nasty tangy aftertaste", complains one. If you don’t mind the taste of stevia, you may love it, though.

A reassuringly modest list of ingredients means you can be sure what’s in the powder. It’s low in carbs and pretty modest on calories, too, for the amount of protein per serving.

The downside is that stevia can be rather overpowering, and this powder scores less well than some of the best protein powders for flavor. The taste is somewhat thin and it’s very sweet. There are only two available flavors - strawberry and chocolate.

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3. Gold Standard Whey Protein

Best unflavored protein powder

Specifications

Protein per serving: 24g

(Video) Best protein powder 2022: Boost your nutrition!

Calories per serving: 112kcal

Protein source: whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate and hydrolyzed whey protein isolate

Sweetener: none

Available flavors: N/A

Reasons to buy

+

Neutral flavor

+

Small number of ingredients

Reasons to avoid

-

Not the cheapest

-

Black tub hard to recycle

Many protein powders come complete with a range of flavors – some more palatable than others.

WHAT USERS SAY

The main objection to this product among reviewers (and there aren’t many who give it a low rating - it scores a solid 4.6 on 5 on Amazon) relates to price, and especially to recent price rises in the product. "I think it’s a quality product overpriced", says one. Unless you have a great recycling service, you may find that you can’t recycle the black tub, either.

However, if you want the flexibility to add your own flavors, or you dislike the sweeteners found in flavored whey products, this is a great choice. It’s not entirely flavor-free, but the taste is neutral enough (a mild, milky taste) that it won’t come strongly through your own flavors.

In common with most protein powders, it has added soy lecithin as an emulsifier, which is the only added ingredient beyond the whey products (which are a mixture of whey isolate, hydrolyzed whey isolate and whey concentrate). It mixes well, without too many lumps.

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Best protein powder for getting shredded

Specifications

Protein per serving: 25g

Carbs per serving: 3.1g

Calories per serving: 116kcal

Protein source: Whey protein isolate, hydrolyzed whey protein isolate

Sweetener: sucralose, stevia

Available flavors: Gourmet vanilla, smooth banana, strawberry, cookies and cream, gourmet chocolate, fudge brownie, birthday cake, orange ice cream, chocolate peanut, chocolate coconut

Reasons to buy

+

High quality ingredients

+

Large range of flavors

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Tub hard to recycle

A super-refined protein product, this is the best protein powder for anyone serious about building lean muscle.

WHAT USERS SAY

With an impressive 4.7 of 5 rating on Amazon, it’s clear that customers rate it highly. Many praise it for not causing digestive discomfort and for the quality of its ingredients. "Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed protein powder means you get a super fast digesting and absorbing whey protein isolate that's had the sugars, carbs and lactose removed from whey concentrate for nothing but pure muscle building protein."

With the protein all coming from whey protein isolate, it’s great for anyone who struggles with whey concentrate, and it’s low in carbohydrates and calories. The inclusion of hydrolyzed whey protein isolate means you absorb the protein even more quickly.

The flavor is good without the temple-aching sweetness you get in some protein powders - we tried the birthday cake flavor, which can be notoriously sweet, and even this was pleasantly tasty but not overly synthetic. It mixes pretty easily too, although it's worth noting that whilst some protein powders mimic the action of thickening agents when stirred into porridge, we found Dymatize actually had the opposite effect, and made the porridge slightly runnier.

A draw is that there’s a large variety of flavors to choose from, though it’s a pity you can’t buy it in sample sizes to try before committing to a large tub - the tub sizes are 900g or 2200g which is a lot of powder to get through if you don't like the flavor.

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5. Orgain Organic Protein

Best organic protein powder

Specifications

Protein per serving: 21g

Carbs per serving: 15g

Calories per serving: 150kcal

Protein source: Organic pea, organic rice and organic chia seed

Sweetener: Stevia

Available flavors: Creamy chocolate fudge, chocolate coconut, chocolate caramel sea salt, chocolate peanut butter, peanut butter, natural unsweetened, vanilla bean, iced coffee

Reasons to buy

+

Healthy ingredients

+

Good range of flavors

Reasons to avoid

-

Stevia not to everyone’s taste

-

Contains salt

Some protein powders can contain processed ingredients that you might not recognize.

WHAT USERS SAY

This protein powder scores an overall rating of 4.6 stars. Enthusiasts praise it for its taste and texture and find it easy to digest. "I have tried a LOT of different plant-based protein powders and this one wins, hands-down", reports one happy customer. Not everyone likes the flavors and the distinctive sweetness and aftertaste of stevia divide opinion. There are a handful of reports of stomach pains and even, alarmingly, of bugs found in the tub, though these are a tiny minority of reviews.

However, if you're keen on finding a protein powder filled with natural ingredients, the Orgain Organic Protein Powder might just be the one for you.

Founded by a cancer survivor and integrative specialist who wanted to create a product with natural, food-based ingredients, Orgain makes products with ingredients that, whilst perhaps not exactly familiar, are at least recognizable foodstuffs, and the powder is certified organic and non-GMO.

Be aware that the calorie count is 150 per serving which is a little higher than most non-mass-gainer powders and the carbohydrate count is 15g, so it’s not low carb. It contains sea salt so if you’re trying to keep your sodium levels down this may not be for you.

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6. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Best protein powder for low calorie / low carb

Specifications

Protein per serving: 18g

Carbs per serving: 0g

Calories per serving: 70kcal

Protein source: Bovine collagen

Sweetener: N/A

Available flavors: N/A

(Video) TOP 5: Best Protien Powders 2022 | Boost Your Nutrition!

Reasons to buy

+

Low in calories, no carbs

+

High in collagen

Reasons to avoid

-

Not suitable for vegetarians

-

Lower in protein than most protein powders

Beloved of celebs such as Jennifer Aniston, this is principally a food supplement aimed at boosting collagen.

WHAT USERS SAY

Fans of the product (78% of Amazon reviewers give it five stars) rave about its positive effect on their hair, nails and skin. "Vital Proteins has been a night and day difference", says one. There are a few less satisfied customers who claim to have suffered adverse effects such as skin break-outs and low moods, but these are very much in the minority.

It has the added bonus of providing a decent 18g of protein without any carbohydrates, though, so with only 70 calories per serving, it’s a useful way of adding some easy protein into your diet without acting as a meal in itself. Many users stir it into coffee or other drinks or smoothies.

Unusually for a protein powder, it’s a bovine collagen product, made from cow hides from grass-fed cattle, so obviously isn’t suitable for vegetarians. It is unflavored and really does taste of very little indeed. It doesn’t mix very easily into cold liquids (it stirs easily into hot liquid), so you’ll need a whisk if you’re taking it cold.

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7. Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed

Best protein powder for high protein, low carb

Specifications

Protein per serving: 28g

Carbs per serving: 1g

Calories: 120kcal

Protein source: Whey protein isolate

Sweetener: Stevia

Servings: 30

Serving size: 32.8g

Flavors: Chocolate peanut butter, cinnamon pastry, milk chocolate, mocha, salted caramel, strawberry, vanilla, cinnamon french toast

RRP: $59.99 for 1kg

Price per serving: $2

Reasons to buy

+

High protein, low carb

+

Tasty range of flavors with natural sweetening only

Reasons to avoid

-

Not suitable for vegans

If you’re looking for a low-calorie protein powder that packs in protein without the carb overload, this is a perfect choice. Transparent Labs whey protein isolate lists minimal ingredients but maximizes on flavor, with a range of tasty choices and no chalky aftertaste. The cinnamon french toast flavor, in particular, is a must-try – we found it moreish, without being sickly sweet, and we didn’t feel sluggish or uncomfortably full after drinking it either.

The powder feels clean which is unsurprising, as it’s made using dairy products of 100% grass-fed and hormone-free cattle and is also gluten-free with no preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or coloring.

The downside to this protein powder is that it’s not vegan-friendly (although Transparent Labs have a vegan alternative). It’s also worth mixing with milk alternatives, or food, to pad out the texture a little, although we found it holds its own with water.

Often protein powders clog when mixed, but we found you don’t need to worry with this powder; it mixes really well and drinks smoothly. If you’re looking to go easy on your stomach, the minimal lactose, fat, and cholesterol content makes this feels like a well-rounded and nourishing protein powder to add to your diet.

8. BSN True Mass 1200

Best protein powder for building mass

Specifications

Protein per serving: 53g

Carbs per serving: 216g

Calories per serving: 1,271kcal

Protein source: Whey protein concentrate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, casein

Sweetener: Acesulfame K, sucralose

Available flavors: Chocolate milkshake, strawberry milkshake, vanilla ice cream

Reasons to buy

+

>1,200 kcal per serving

+

Good value for money

Reasons to avoid

-

Only three flavors available

-

Doesn’t mix easily

If gains are your goal, this will most definitely be the best protein powder for you.

WHAT USERS SAY

Although in Amazon reviews it scores a healthy 4.5 on 5, there are some complaints of sore stomachs and bloating, and a few gripes about the flavor (although we found it pretty palatable). The main complaint is that it doesn’t mix easily - most reviewers recommend using a blender to mix it. The majority of reviewers are just delighted by their weight gains. "It gives me a noticeable boost in strength and size".

With a whopping 1,271 calories and 53g of protein per serving, not to mention 216g of carbohydrate (partly coming from ground oats), this is a protein powder for anyone who is serious about gaining mass. Dieters beware! Unlike BSN’s other mass gainer, it doesn’t contain creatine, so you can control whether or not you want that in your diet plan.

It is true that part of the reason for the huge number of calories and mighty helping of protein is down to the serving size, which is large (two big scoops). Even allowing for this, though, it still makes for good value for money.

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9. Kin Nutrition Whey Less

Best protein powder for gut-friendly ingredients

Specifications

Protein per serving: 23g

Carbs per serving: 4.7g (0.2g sugars)

Calories: 125kcal

Protein source: Whey isolate (90%)

Sweetener: Stevia

Servings: 17

Serving size: 30g

Flavors: Vanilla, Strawberry, Cookies and cream, choc mint

RRP: $32.50 for 500g + shipping (4-pack bundles start from $103.99)

Price per serving: $1.91

Reasons to buy

+

Great taste

+

Natural ingredients

(Video) 10 Best Protein Powders 2022 | Boost Your Nutrition

Reasons to avoid

-

Not vegan-friendly

-

Expensive

The KIN Nutrition Whey Less protein range is made with natural ingredients, including added bacteria cultures and fiber that support gut health and digestion. This powder only contains 10 ingredients overall; the result is a super tasty protein powder that doesn’t cause the bloating often associated with whey, and there’s no nasty aftertaste either.

Each 30g serving of Whey Less is packed with 23g of protein and only 125 kcals. We loved the smooth and silky taste of the vanilla flavor, which mixed well with both food and water and didn’t taste powdery. Vanilla is often labeled as the boring choice among protein powder flavors, but this tasted deliciously rich and felt like a treat (without being overbearing), despite containing no hidden nasties.

Whey can sometimes catch a bad rep, but we didn’t feel at all nauseous or weighed down after a scoop of this powder in a protein shake or added to oats. This is likely down to the powder being soy, GMO, and gluten-free, as well as low in sugar and lactose. Another nice little addition is the injection of matcha green tea extract into the ingredients list.

Unfortunately, this protein powder isn’t suitable for vegans and retails at a pretty expensive $32.50 for just 500g, before shipping. You can pick up a good deal by purchasing a 4-pack though. It’s a great addition to your diet if you’re looking to hit your protein target while being kinder to your gut.

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10. Science in Sport Whey Protein

Best protein powder for competitive athletes

Specifications

Protein per serving: 22g

Carbs per serving: 1.8g

Calories per serving: 117kcal

Protein source: Whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate

Sweetener: sucralose

Available flavors: Chocolate, strawberry, vanilla

Reasons to buy

+

Competition friendly

+

High quality ingredients

Reasons to avoid

-

Limited flavor range

-

Taste not universally popular

Anyone who competes in athletic events will know how important it is not to take any banned substances, either deliberately or inadvertently.

WHAT USERS SAY

Reviews are mostly positive, with no one star reviews on Amazon at all and a very respectable 4.7 star rating. The flavors are not to everyone’s taste and there are a few niggles over the price, but most people rate it as a reliable, straightforward choice. "I would recommend this shake to people who are looking for something simple for recovery purposes."

With this protein powder you can be confident that you’ll not breach any doping regulations. All SiS products are tested under the Informed Choice Certification program against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list.

Beyond that, it’s a fairly unremarkable product, with a reasonably standard amount of protein per serving and a low carbohydrate content. The flavors are reliable favorites - chocolate, strawberry and vanilla - though we found the taste and texture of the vanilla one somewhat cloying. The chocolate flavor was pleasant mixed into porridge, although if you’re after a richer, chocolatey taste then you may want to add some cacao powder to the mix as well. We thought the spoon (which is plastic) was an usual shape, but it actually picks up the protein powder well, since it is quite a sandy texture.

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11. Huel Protein Powder

Best protein powder for complete nutrition

Specifications

Protein per serving: 20g

Carbs per serving: 3.1g

Calories per serving: 105kcal

Protein source: Pea, faba pea and hemp seed

Sweetener: Sucralose

Available flavors: Vanilla fudge, banana milkshake, chocolate fudge brownie, strawberries and cream, salted caramel, unflavored

Reasons to buy

+

Highly nutritious

+

Good taste

Reasons to avoid

-

Minimum order of two tubs

-

Relatively expensive

Huel has come a long way from its early days of the rather grainy and flavorless complete food that it started with.

WHAT USERS SAY

Reviewers are impressed with the taste - "by far the best tasting protein drink I’ve tried," says one reviewer who normally uses a whey protein powder. The main objection in the reviews is the price, especially when compared to non-plant-based protein powders. At the same time they mostly acknowledge that the nutritional profile and ingredients are of a quality that justifies the price.

Although it still produces the same meal replacement powders (although with an improved texture), it has branched out into flavored products and nutritionally balanced snacks, including this impressive protein powder.

It’s not intended as a meal replacement or for your sole source of nutrition, as it has a lower calorie and carbohydrate profile than would be recommended for a complete meal, but nevertheless it is nutritionally complete high protein snack, containing all 26 recommended vitamins and minerals and meeting the UK and EU recommendations for macro- and micronutrients. If that weren’t impressive enough, it manages to achieve this with purely plant-based ingredients and without compromising on flavor or texture.

Unusually, there’s a minimum order of two tubs, which will be off-putting to some, especially if you’re ordering for the first time and haven’t tasted the protein powder before, and the protein powder doesn’t come in sample sizes.

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12. Form Performance Protein

Best plant-based protein powder

Specifications

Protein per serving: 30g

Carbs per serving: 2g

Calories per serving: 150kcal

Protein source: Organic pea, brown rice, pumpkin seed

Sweetener: Stevia, thaumatin

Available flavors: Chocolate peanut, tiramisu, vanilla, banoffee, chocolate hazelnut

Reasons to buy

+

High in protein

+

Sustainable ingredients and packaging

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Few plain flavors

(Video) TOP 5 BEST Protein Powders of [2022] - Pro Jym, Optimum Nutrition, Dymatize and More

There’s much to love about this protein powder.

WHAT USERS SAY

It’s not surprising it’s won awards. Reviewers are enthusiastic about the protein to calorie ratio and the flavors. It’s not to everybody’s taste - there are grumbles from some about the flavor, powdery texture and excessive sweetness - but most of the reviews can be summed up in the words of this reviewer: "The taste is great, it is a quality product with added extras like probiotics, it has responsible eco packaging and whilst it is pricier than others on the market, all of the before mentioned make this worth it."

Packing a powerful protein punch from high quality, plant-based proteins, you might expect the flavor and texture to be disappointing, but you’d be in for a pleasant surprise. The texture is smooth, it’s easy to mix and the flavors are fun (though some plain ones might be nice for more traditional types, and it’s too sweet for some tastes). The addition of curcumin to combat inflammation is a nice touch.

It’s not cheap, but most flavors are available in smaller sample sizes, and you are getting a product that is kind to the environment in every way (the omission of the plastic scoop in favor of amounts suggested in tablespoonfuls - after all, we all have a spoon! - is particularly welcome, and the packaging is compostable).

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13. MuscleTech Nitro-Tech® Ripped

Best protein powder for weight loss

Specifications

Protein per serving: 30g

Carbs per serving: 4g

Calories per serving: 160-170 kcal (depending on flavor)

Protein source: Whey peptides and whey protein isolate

Sweeteners: sucralose and acesulfame K

Available flavors: Chocolate fudge brownie and French vanilla swirl

Reasons to buy

+

Low in calories and carbohydrates

+

Added functional ingredients to support metabolism

Reasons to avoid

-

Fairly expensive

-

Only two flavors available

While there are many protein powders designed specifically for those who want to shed unwanted pounds, it’s not as common to find a quality product that comes with a range of metabolism-boosting ingredients. In that sense, MuscleTech Nitro-Tech® Ripped definitely stands out among competitors.

One serving of MuscleTech Nitro-Tech® Ripped protein powder contains a whopping 30g of whey protein, and it is enriched with vitamin C, calcium, iron, iodine, sodium and potassium. It also provides 500mg of l-carnitine. According to the Pharmacological Research journal, this compound has been shown to significantly decrease the body weight and fat mass in overweight individuals. One scoop of Nitro-Tech® Ripped protein powder also delivers 250mg CLA. However, it is worth noting that there is no convincing evidence that CLA can notably change your body composition, as stated in the European Journal of Nutrition.

WHAT USERS SAY

This protein powder scores 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon, with reviewers praising it for its great taste, ease of mixing, and high quality ingredients. Many confirm that it helped them lose weight. As one user said, “Since having my daughter it has been slow going losing weight. I started doing a workout program and was losing about 1-2lbs/week. Adding one serving of this protein a day got me to losing 3-6lbs/week”. The opponents tend to mention the high price as a main issue.

Lastly, this supplement is enriched with 200mg of Canephora Robusta (Robusta coffee extract) which, according to the brand internal research, can supercharge your weight loss efforts. Although there are no human studies published that would confirm their findings, there is one 2014 study (opens in new tab) done on rats that has shown the fat burning abilities of this ingredient.

MuscleTech Nitro-Tech® Ripped protein powder is low in calories and carbohydrates, and contains less fat and lactose than similar products on the market.

Nonetheless, there are few downsides. It is not a cheap supplement — you will have to fork out $34.99 for a 2lb container (21 servings), or nearly $62.99 for a 4lb container. It also comes with artificial sweeteners and flavors.

How do we test protein powder at Live Science?

All of the protein powders in this guide have been tried and tested by the Live Science team. Firstly, we disregarded any products that had excessive levels of artificial sweeteners, additives or preservatives. We also looked at the texture of the powder, including how well it mixed into water, milk, and foods such as oatmeal or smoothie bowls. Finally, came the taste test, where we determined whether the taste was reflective of the flavor, unusually bitter or particularly sweet. Packaging was also noted, based on sustainability and convenience, as well as value for money.

Expert

Best protein powder 2022: Boost your nutrition (15)

Julie Stefanski, MEd, RDN, CSSD, LDN, CDCES, FAND

Julie Stefanski is a certified diabetes care and education specialist and a certified specialist in sports dietetics. Stefanski owns a private practice focused on writing and social media, children with special needs and athletes. She graduated from Messiah College and earned a master's degree in adult and distance education from Penn State University. Below, she gives her advice on how to choose a protein supplement.

What should you look for in the best protein powder?

If you've not included protein powder in your diet before it can be a little tricky to know where to start. To work out which protein powder is the best option for you, begin by looking at how much exercise you do and what type. If you're a powerlifter your needs will be different from that of a committed runner, pounding away on a treadmill every day. Do you train in a gym or do you like to mix it up with your own home workout ideas?

If your main goal is to gain large amounts of muscle, perhaps as a weightlifter, body builder or other power-focused athlete, then you will likely want to maximize your protein intake, but it's important not to overdo it.

"In recent years, there have been high levels of heavy metals found in certain protein powders," says Julie Stefanski, a registered dietitian nutritionist. "It's important to research the company’s testing for these contaminants."

And, if you're competing in any kind of event you’ll also need to ensure you don’t accidentally consume a banned substance, which means you’ll need to comb through the ingredients list with utmost care. You can find a list of approved protein powders at Informed Sports.

If you're looking to lose body fat, then you may want to choose a protein powder lower in carbohydrates and calories. Not all protein powders are equal in terms of the macronutrients and calories they provide, so make sure you read the nutritional information on the label carefully, as a single serving can vary between 70 kcal and 1,000 kcal.

Stefanski says it's important to know what your aims are and how protein powder genuinely contributes to them. She adds "The macronutrient content [the amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats] depends on why you're using the product, such as for a meal or post-workout, and your individual protein and energy needs."

Traditionally, protein powder has been made using whey powder – a by-product of cheesemaking. However, if you are looking for plant-based options you can choose from alternatives, including hemp seeds, soy and peas. For more on non-dairy options check out our list of the best vegan protein powders available.

When choosing your protein sources, it's worth knowing that different proteins affect the body in different ways. "Protein sources are ranked by how well they are absorbed by the intestine and utilized by the body," Stefanski explains. "This ranking is known as protein digestibility. Whey protein and other cow's milk sources rank highest. Animal protein sources such as egg [and] beef rank higher than plant protein sources such as soy, pea, oat and rice. While collagen has grown in popularity, it lacks some of the amino acids you'd find in the same amount of whey protein."

The amount of protein in whey powder can vary dramatically, from 29% to 90%, depending on how it has been processed. The highest concentration powders may contain very little fat, lactose (milk sugar) and cholesterol, while the powders with lower protein levels will have these components in higher concentration. So, you will find whey isolate powders, which have been filtered several times, will have much higher protein percentages, but will be more expensive as well.

If you're weighing up the benefits of different protein powders it's worth thinking about how easy they are to digest, as some are kinder on the body than others. Stefanski advises: "If you're looking for the best quality protein, you can see if the protein powder offers a digestibility score called PDCAAS." She added: "The higher the value, the better the amino acids will be absorbed and used by your body."

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What are the benefits of using the best protein powder?

When it comes to convenience and versatility, protein powders are unrivalled. If you find it challenging to consume enough protein, or have a diet that is naturally low in this crucial nutrient, then protein powders can easily help bridge the gap. You can sprinkle them on other foods, blend them with countless other ingredients, or simply mix them with water — the options are endless.

What’s more, protein powders will not go off quickly, so you can keep them on your kitchen shelf for months on end. And they are extremely portable — it is much easier to carry around a bag of protein powder than a heavy bottle of pre-made protein shake or a food container.

How to achieve the best results? Stefanski says that, although it can be eaten whenever you like, for optimum results, make sure you consume your extra protein within an hour of training: "For maximal muscle repair and growth, protein should be accompanied by carbohydrates within one to two hours. The amount of protein and carbohydrates is dependent on overall energy needs as a person. If total calories aren't met, amino acids will be used as an energy source rather than a building block of structures in the body."

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.

Best protein powder 2022: Boost your nutrition (17)

Patricia Carswell

Patricia Carswell is a freelance journalist specializing in health and fitness. She has written for a huge variety of national newspapers, magazines and websites, including Healthy, Top Santé, Women's Fitness and fitandwell.com (opens in new tab), and writes a monthly column for British Rowing's content hub. She's the founder and host of rowing blog and podcast, Girl on the River, where guests have included Sir Matthew Pinsent and multiple Olympian Frances Houghton MBE. She keeps fit by rowing, walking, and wild swimming, and is at her happiest when on or in the water.

With contributions from

  • Anna GoraHealth Writer

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(Video) What's The Best Protein Powder (2022)? The Definitive Guide!

FAQs

Which is the No 1 protein powder in world? ›

Best Overall: BioSteel 100% Whey Protein Powder.

Which is the most effective protein powder? ›

As the nutritionists told us, powder made with pea protein is generally seen as the most effective plant-based alternative to whey. And they say a pea protein isolate, like a whey protein isolate, is even better, because it has the highest amount of protein per scoop.

Can you get all your nutrients from protein shakes? ›

Missing Nutrients

Protein shakes don't usually contain the other nutrients that come with whole protein sources, such as B vitamins, iron and essential fatty acids. Even if the shakes are supplemented with these nutrients, you may not absorb them as effectively as you would from whole foods.

Which Protein shakes are healthiest? ›

The 8 best protein shakes in 2021, according to registered dietitians:
  • Best Taste: Premier Protein 30g Protein Shake.
  • Best Protein Powder: NOW Sports Nutrition Pea Protein.
  • Best Sugar-Free: Iconic Protein Drinks Chocolate Truffle.
  • Best for Muscle-Building: Soylent Complete Protein Shake.
4 Aug 2021

What protein powder do doctors recommend? ›

Whey protein and whey isolates are your best options. Lose weight — For weight loss, choose shakes with no added sugars or dextrins/maltodextrins (sweeteners made from starch). Don't choose those with added branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as they help promote muscle growth and weight gain.

What are the best protein powders for 2022? ›

  • Best Protein Powders Of 2022.
  • NOW Whey Protein Powder.
  • Orgain Organic Protein Powder.
  • Garden of Life Sport Grass-Fed Whey.
  • Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein + Superfoods Powder.
  • KOS Organic Plant Protein.
  • Vega Protein and Greens.
  • Our Methodology.
5 days ago

Which brand whey protein is best? ›

Summary Of The Best Protein Powders With Price List
  • MuscleBlaze Biozyme Performance Whey. ...
  • Bigmuscles Nutrition Premium Gold Whey 1Kg Whey Protein Isolate Blend. ...
  • AS-IT-IS Nutrition Whey Protein. ...
  • MuscleBlaze Biozyme Whey Protein. ...
  • Optimum Nutrition (ON) Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder. ...
  • Abbzorb Whey Protein.

Is protein powder actually healthy? ›

So, is protein powder healthy? Yes, if it is a good quality third-party tested product with minimal sugar and void of harmful additives. Protein powders can fit into most eating patterns and help you meet your health goals. Remember, protein powder is a dietary supplement.

Does protein powder actually work? ›

When used correctly, protein powders can be effective to build muscle mass and provide more protein in your diet. However, the use of protein powder alone won't magically increase muscle mass, Bonci says. "It's a combination of eating protein and carbs, as well as strength training," Bonci says.

Can you live on Boost or Ensure? ›

Following a protein shake diet encourages weight loss by curbing appetite and reducing the total calories a person consumes in a day. Although these diets can be effective in the short term, healthcare professionals do not recommend living solely or primarily on meal replacement shakes.

Can drinking too much boost be harmful? ›

Safety and precautions. Both Ensure and Boost shakes may cause side effects, such as constipation, nausea, and flatulence. However, user reports indicate that most of them go away when consumed consistently. Other reported side effects include muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath.

Is it OK to drink protein shake everyday? ›

It is safe to drink protein shakes every day, but be sure to obtain the majority of your protein and other foods from whole food sources. Without whole food sources, you'll be missing out on other valuable nutrients that are vital for health and supporting your workout performance and recovery.

Are boost shakes healthy? ›

Most of these commercial shakes are high in sugar, which can lead to excessive weight gain if consumed daily. More importantly, the vitamins and minerals in these supplements can quickly exceed recommended daily amounts if ingested in conjunction with regular food.

What should I drink for protein? ›

25 Best Protein Drinks in 2022
  • Elm & Rye Protein Supplement.
  • Tri-Protein by Crazy Nutrition.
  • Peak Performance Protein Powder.
  • Cellucor Whey Sport.
  • MomentousEssential.
  • Garden of Life Organic Vegan Sport Protein Powder.
  • Vital Proteins.
  • Orgain Organic.
31 Aug 2022

Do protein drinks cause kidney stones? ›

Unfortunately, there is a lack of good-quality research on this issue. So, it is unclear whether protein powder specifically impacts stone formation. That said, some studies have found that exceeding recommended protein intake can adversely affect the kidneys.

What are the side effects of taking protein powder? ›

High doses can cause some side effects such as increased bowel movements, acne, nausea, thirst, bloating, reduced appetite, tiredness, and headache.

What does a protein deficiency feel like? ›

And over time, a lack of protein can make you lose muscle mass, which in turn cuts your strength, makes it harder to keep your balance, and slows your metabolism. It can also lead to anemia, when your cells don't get enough oxygen, which makes you tired.

How much protein do I need a day? ›

The recommended dietary allowance to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 165 pounds, or 75 kilograms, should consume 60 grams of protein per day.

What protein powder do bodybuilders use? ›

For bodybuilders, whey protein provides amino acids used to aid in muscle recovery. Whey protein is derived from the process of making cheese from milk. There are three types of whey protein: whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate.

What is the best protein for fat loss and muscle gain? ›

Whey protein is the most widely used weight loss protein today. It's one of two milk proteins, with casein being another. This protein powder by Optimum Nutrition is one of the best whey protein for weight loss. It has 24 g of protein per serving (30 g) and may help you gain muscles and lose fat.

How do I choose a clean protein powder? ›

Choose a protein powder that's ideally unsweetened with as few ingredients as possible, protein as the first listed ingredient, and the NSF seal. If you can tolerate dairy, opt for whey-protein isolate. A ratio of about 150 calories per 25 grams of protein is good for muscle building and fat loss.

Which is the No 1 whey protein? ›

MuscleBlaze 80% Raw Whey Protein Supplement

With 24g protein and 5.2g BCAA per serving, this MuscleBlaze Raw Whey Protein is ideal for your bodybuilding goals.

Which whey protein has the highest protein content? ›

Whey protein isolate: contains more than 90% protein and is lower in carbs, fat, and lactose than whey protein concentrate.

How much protein do I need to build muscle a day? ›

To increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, it is recommended that a person that lifts weights regularly or is training for a running or cycling event eat a range of 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.

Does protein powder affect kidneys? ›

03/13Kidney problems

Whey protein consumption can hamper the regular functioning of your kidneys by increasing the plasma urea content, urinary calcium excretion, and urinary volume. This overburdens the kidneys and can lead to kidney stones.

Are there any FDA approved protein powders? ›

Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, no dietary supplements, including protein powders, are regulated by the FDA to make sure they are safe or effective. There is also no requirement that supplements be tested to make sure they contain what the labels say they contain.

What is the disadvantage of protein powder? ›

It may be high in added sugars and calories.

Some protein powders have little added sugar, and others have a lot (as much as 23 grams per scoop). Some protein powders wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories. The risk: weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.

Does it take 3 years to digest one scoop of protein? ›

No, it does not take 3 years to digest 1 scoop of protein powder. The protein digestion process for liquid protein takes approximately one and a half hours, at which time, our bodies can absorb up to 10 grams of protein, such as whey protein.

What happens if you drink protein shakes without working out? ›

Protein shakes may make you put on weight if you are not exercising. High-calorie drinks increase the number of calories going into your system. If you do not work out or put those calories to use, it gets stored in your fat cells and result in fat gains.

Is it OK to drink BOOST everyday? ›

BOOST® drinks may be consumed with meals, or as a snack or mini-meal, and may be consumed more than once a day. A general guideline is up to three bottles per day so that you may enjoy a variety of other choices in your diet.

Is BOOST good for seniors? ›

Benefits of Nutritional Supplement Drinks for Seniors

For example, the aptly named Boost Very High Calorie product boasts 530 calories in an 8-ounce serving. Seniors who need to stop unintended weight loss or gain weight may benefit from easy access to a significant source of calories.

What is better Ensure or BOOST? ›

Although Ensure is higher in calories, Boost is higher in protein. One 8-ounce serving of Boost Original contains 10 grams of protein, while one serving of Ensure contains 8 grams of protein. Most Americans get more than enough protein eating a regular diet, says Berkeley Wellness.

Is boost actually healthy? ›

Boost is inexpensive, nutritious, tasty, free of artificial sweeteners, and contains a hit of prebiotic fiber. The downsides are it's pretty high in sugar, not particularly high in protein, and it has artificial flavors. It's also safe for people with celiac disease, though it does contain GMOs.

Are protein shakes good for seniors? ›

However, older adults should not routinely drink protein shakes instead of meals, Gallo cautioned, adding: “That's a bad idea that can actually result in reduced protein and calorie intake over the long term.”

How much protein does a senior need? ›

What's the Right Amount? Because of the factors above, research supports increasing the recommended intake of protein for older adults by up to 50 percent. That means people over age 65 should strive for 0.45 to 0.55 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily, or about 68 to 83 grams for a 150-pound person.

Is water or milk better for protein shakes? ›

When building mass and muscle, mixing your protein with milk will yield better results. For lean builders, trimmers and toners, water is the way to go. It comes down to nutrition, as that's exactly why you are drinking protein shakes in the first place.

Do you really need protein powder? ›

Protein powders are convenient, but unnecessary for most

For those looking to enhance the muscle growth that typically occurs with exercise, evidence supports consuming 20 to 40 grams of protein at a time (roughly the amount found in a can of tuna).

Is it OK to just have a protein shake for breakfast? ›

Is It a Good Idea to Drink a Protein Shake for Breakfast? Protein shakes can be an easy breakfast option for those short on time in the morning. In addition to being quick, portable, and nutritious, protein shakes are highly versatile and can be tailored to fit your specific tastes and preferences.

Can Boost be used as a meal replacement? ›

BOOST® Original Chocolate Meal Replacement Drink (6 x 237 ml) is a convenient and delicious way to help you get your nutrition when you're on-the-go, or not getting enough in your daily diet.

Why do people drink Boost? ›

To gain or maintain weight, the calories and nutrients you're getting through regular food / normal diet alone might not be enough. A supplemental drink can help fill in the gaps with extra calories, vitamins, and minerals.

Is boost good for diabetics? ›

BOOST Glucose Control® Drinks are designed to provide supplemental nutrition as a nutrient-packed mini-meal or snack, and are clinically shown to produce a lower blood sugar response vs. a standard nutritional drink in people with type 2 diabetes.

Which food has the most protein? ›

  • Top 10 Foods Highest in Protein.
  • #1: Turkey Breast (and Chicken Breast)
  • #2: Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Halibut)
  • #3: Cheese (Low-fat Mozzarella and Cottage Cheese)
  • Protein in 100g 1oz Slice (28g) Protein to Calorie Ratio. 32g. 9g. 1g protein per 4.7 calories. ...
  • #4: Pork Loin (Chops)
  • #5: Lean Beef and Veal (Low Fat)
  • #6: Tofu.

What milk has the most protein? ›

According to the SFGate, the ranking for protein in milk goes as follows: Sheep milk — 5.98g per 100g serving, cow or goat milk — 3.56g per 100g serving, and then soy milk – 3.27g of per 100g serving. As you can see, sheep milk far outpaces the others when it comes to protein, but obtaining sheep's milk is difficult.

Does protein shakes cause liver damage? ›

Some experts suggest that too much protein could lead to liver damage in healthy people, while others say there is no reason for concern. However, people with liver disease or other health conditions should check with their doctor about whether whey protein is safe for them.

Does whey cause hair loss? ›

There is no evidence that consuming whey protein will cause you to start losing your hair. This is especially true for people who weren't experiencing any kind of hair thinning or receding hairline prior to beginning to use protein regularly.

Does protein powder cause hairloss? ›

You may have heard that protein powder causes hair loss. This is simply not true. Protein powder DOES NOT cause hair loss. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that your protein powder is causing your hair to fall out.

What are the top 10 protein shakes? ›

20 Best Protein Shakes in 2022
  • Muscle Milk.
  • Naked Whey.
  • Amazing Grass Protein.
  • ALOHA Organic Plant Based Vanilla Protein Shake with MCT Oil.
  • ISO100 Clear 100% Whey Protein Isolate Drink.
  • Pure Protein Shake Rich Chocolate.
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Shake.
  • ICONIC Low Carb High Protein Drinks.
24 Aug 2022

Which brand whey protein is best? ›

Summary Of The Best Protein Powders With Price List
  • MuscleBlaze Biozyme Performance Whey. ...
  • Bigmuscles Nutrition Premium Gold Whey 1Kg Whey Protein Isolate Blend. ...
  • AS-IT-IS Nutrition Whey Protein. ...
  • MuscleBlaze Biozyme Whey Protein. ...
  • Optimum Nutrition (ON) Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder. ...
  • Abbzorb Whey Protein.

Which country whey protein is best? ›

Whey Production
#28 CountriesLast
1#1 Germany2019
2#2 Netherlands2019
3#3 Poland2019
4#4 Turkey2019
24 more rows

Which country has best whey protein? ›

Therefore, if you're looking to put the highest quality whey protein in your body, seek out New Zealand whey. This whey protein is derived from the purest milk on the planet.

Are boost shakes healthy? ›

Most of these commercial shakes are high in sugar, which can lead to excessive weight gain if consumed daily. More importantly, the vitamins and minerals in these supplements can quickly exceed recommended daily amounts if ingested in conjunction with regular food.

How do I know if my protein powder is good quality? ›

3)The mixing test: Add a scoop of your protein powder to some water at normal temperature. Now, shake in a shaker for 30 seconds. If you notice any lumps, clumps or residue, your supplement is fake. “No good protein will cost less than Rs 2,500 for a 1kg pack.

Is protein powder actually healthy? ›

So, is protein powder healthy? Yes, if it is a good quality third-party tested product with minimal sugar and void of harmful additives. Protein powders can fit into most eating patterns and help you meet your health goals. Remember, protein powder is a dietary supplement.

Which is the No 1 whey protein? ›

MuscleBlaze 80% Raw Whey Protein Supplement

With 24g protein and 5.2g BCAA per serving, this MuscleBlaze Raw Whey Protein is ideal for your bodybuilding goals.

What's the best whey protein to gain muscle? ›

Whey Hydrolysate

Hydrolyzed whey is a form of whey protein that is 95 percent protein by weight, and is usually low in carbs and fats. Whey hydrolysate has been shown in studies to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and may be beneficial for muscle gains due to better recovery time and high-protein content (13).

How much protein powder should I take daily? ›

Most active people drink one protein shake per day, which contains a single scoop of protein, meaning that you are receiving nearly half of your daily recommended protein intake from this shake. It's recommended that you try to only consume somewhere between 25 to 50 grams of protein from protein powder each day.

What is the No 1 selling whey protein in world? ›

1) MuscleBlaze Whey Protein

MuscleBlaze Whey Protein has got the pure muscle-building protein and BCAAs for quick muscle recovery and added digestive enzymes to support the absorption rate and improve gut health. Overall, it is a perfect package for people looking to build lean muscle mass.

Is isolate better than whey? ›

If you have lactose intolerance, whey isolate is a better choice than whey concentrate. Much of the lactose and sugars are removed from whey isolate during processing. But if you have a dairy allergy, both whey and whey isolate may upset your stomach. In that case, look for plant-based protein instead.

When should we take whey protein? ›

The best time to take whey protein is within 1 hour of finishing your workout to help the recovery of your muscles. However studies show the repair and regrowth of the body can take up to 48 hours. This is why it's seen as optimal to take between 20g to 30g of whey protein at any time of the day.

How much whey protein should I consume? ›

Amounts and Dosage

26 grams per pound of body weight. This is the minimum amount of protein you should get daily. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should be getting about 55 grams of protein every day. Whey protein can be added to a variety of foods.

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