Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, the liquid part of milk that separates during the production of cheese. It’s commonly used for increasing strength and improving athletic performance and is a convenient way to add more protein to your regular daily intake. Whey protein powder is known for being the gold standard for building bigger and leaner muscles. In this article, we will be looking at the best whey protein options on the market.
There are three main types of whey protein powder:
- Whey protein concentrate: Contains about 25-89% protein, some lactose, and fat, and usually has the best flavor.
- Whey protein isolate: 90% protein or higher, and contains less lactose, fat, and carbs.
- Whey protein hydrolysate: It has been pre-digested, which means that it gets absorbed faster.
One of the key benefits of using whey protein is that it contains an array of amino acids not found in plant-based protein products, like hemp proteins or pea. It makes for a great supplement product for bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, as well as those who are looking to lose weight or are just lacking protein in their diet.
However, picking from the wide range of whey protein powders available can be difficult. It’s about more than just grabbing the first one you find at the store. While some are made with different additives, others contain more protein per serving or are formulated to maintain more of the protein’s natural nutrients. Whether you’re looking for the best organic whey protein powder or simply want a product containing the highest amount of protein, we’ve put together a list of the best whey protein powders for men and women.
What Is the Best Whey Protein Powder?
Every supplement company that sells whey products purchases raw protein from a dairy manufacturer, and there is only a handful of those. This means that multiple supplement companies obtain raw whey protein powder from the same few manufacturers.
Two of the main protein manufacturers are Glanbia, located in Ireland, and Hilmar Ingredients, in California. This is where the milk actually undergoes rigorous processing that incorporates various forms of filtering and purification to produce specific types of protein powders.
Supplement companies order raw protein powders, such as whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate, from manufacturers like Glanbia and Hilmar Ingredients. The raw, unflavored protein powders are shipped to supplement companies in huge containers. Then, each company adds its own proprietary blend of ingredients, including coloring, flavorings, and other ingredients (like extra aminos or enzymes) to produce the final blend.
So although most companies source their raw whey protein from the same place, finding the best protein powders (whey) is all about looking at additional ingredients and the amount of each type of whey protein present in the product.
Best Whey Protein Powder for Women
Typically, men and women have very different reasons for using protein powder, which is why we’ve divided the list of our top picks into a section for men and women. Below is our list of the best whey protein powder for women.
1. Thorne Whey Protein Isolate
Thorne’s whey protein for women is a clean product that’s low in calories, fat, and sugar. This product is NSF certified for sports and provides 21 grams of protein in bioavailable isolate with no artificial sweeteners. It’s classified as a complete protein because it contains all essential amino acids and has an optimal absorption profile. It can be mixed with water or a beverage or blended into a shake or smoothie.
2. Care/Of Whey Protein
Care/Of Whey Protein for women is a grass-fed whey protein isolate, which means that it’s the highest concentration of protein and contains very little sugars, fats, and carbs. It’s available in a chocolate and vanilla flavor and provides 18 grams of protein per serving. Add two scoops to 8-10 ounces of cold liquid – unsweetened almond milk is a good option – and shake thoroughly.
3. MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate
Made from whey protein isolate, the MyProtein Impact protein for women is unflavored and easily goes into whatever you’re making. From smoothies and overnight oats to lattes, this is a great way to increase your protein intake. It offers 22 grams of protein for just under 100 calories and provides the boost you’re looking for, without any frills.
4. Designer Whey Natural Protein Powder, French Vanilla
Every serving of the Designer Whey protein for women gives you 20 grams of natural whey protein, together with natural digestive enzymes to support protein absorption. It also offers 100% of the daily value of B-vitamins that convert protein to energy and supercharge the metabolism. Other ingredients include vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and electrolytes.
5. BiPro Whey Protein Isolate
The BiPro whey protein for women is also a solid natural choice. It contains only two ingredients, whey protein isolate and sunflower lecithin, and provides 20 grams of protein per serving. The company also has a clean label promise that guarantees it contains absolutely no sugar, only natural flavors, and sweeteners. Essentially, you get the highest quality protein void of any fillers.
Best Whey Protein Powder For Men
Now that we know which brands offer the best formulas for women, let’s check out the best whey protein powder for men.
1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
Voted bodybuilding.com’s protein powder and supplement of the year from 2005 – 2018, the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard protein for men earns a well-deserved spot on our list. Each serving provides 24 grams of rapidly digesting whey protein with low levels of lactose, cholesterol, and fat. The main ingredient is Whey Protein Isolate, along with premium ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate (WPC). It’s a very affordable option.
2. Naked Nutrition Whey Protein
Naked Whey protein for men contains just one ingredient: whey protein concentrate. This is truly the purest, simplest whey that you will find. It’s made with 100% grass-fed, pure whey protein and contains zero additives. It’s soy, GMO, growth, and gluten-free, with no artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors. Each serving boasts 25 grams of protein.
3. Raw Organic Whey Protein
Raw Organic protein for men contains only whey protein concentrate derived from grass-fed cows. These cows are not to be treated with growth hormones or antibiotics. This option is unflavored and can be used in several ways, including in baking, smoothies, or mixing into your breakfast cereal. Each serving contains 21 grams of protein and is free of added sugars, soy, and gluten.
3. Garden of Life Sports Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein
Garden of Life’s protein for men is perfect for anyone concerned about their gut. It’s certified organic, is sourced from grass-fed cows and contains probiotics to help with digestion. It comes in a vanilla and chocolate flavor – both are sweetened with erythritol and stevia and contain zero added sugar. Each serving delivers 21 grams of protein.
4. Bodylogix Natural Grass-Fed Whey
Bodylogix carries the coveted NSF certified Sport Seal, which means that what’s inside the product is exactly what’s advertised on the label. You won’t find many protein powders with this label, and you should trust the ones that do. The first ingredient of the Bodylogix protein for men is whey protein concentrate, then isolate, then hydrolyzed whey. Each serving provides 25 grams of protein.
Final Thoughts on the Best Whey Protein Powder
There is a wide array of whey protein powders on the market, and finding the right one can be a bit challenging. With several different factors to consider, including taste, ingredients, effectiveness, and the fact that different customers value very different qualities in their health supplements, it wasn’t easy to land on our top picks. But we’re confident that our list of the best protein powders containing whey offers something for everyone, no matter what reason you have for turning to protein powders.