Protein powder is an extremely convenient and lean way to increase your protein intake. But did you know that not all protein powders are created equally? While you may be selecting one of the best protein powder brands, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the right one to suit your needs, whether they be dietary needs, taste or even ones that prevent digestive issues developing. It can be a minefield trying to determine which protein powder suits your needs.

Fortunately for you, this article provides you with a guide to effortlessly identify which brands and types of protein powder will cater to your needs and desires. So whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, if you suffer from intolerances, such as gluten or lactose, if you’re on a weight loss or bulking diet, or if you’re simply someone who struggles to find a protein powder that doesn’t have that horrible artificial taste to it, then you’ve come to the right place.

Best protein powder brands - Scoop of chocolate protein powder

Best for quality

Optimum Nutrition: Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder

This is an all-round solid favourite of the masses who consume protein powder; it has achieved the accolade of best-selling sports nutrition powder brand in 2019, and it’s no wonder why. This product packs a powerful protein punch along with some added benefits; check out the below average nutritional value of a single scoop serving:

  • Calories: 120
  • Calories from fat: 10
  • Protein: 24g
  • Total fat: 1g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5g
  • Total carbohydrate: 3g
  • Sugars: 2g

In addition to that, it boasts 5.5g of naturally occurring BCAAs in every scoop. The protein consists of a mixture of whey protein isolates, which are the purest form of whey protein available, along with whey protein concentrate and whey peptides.

It also comes in 18 delicious flavours:

  1. Banana cream
  2. Cake batter
  3. Caramel toffee fudge
  4. Chocolate coconut
  5. Chocolate malt
  6. Chocolate mint
  7. Coffee
  8. Cookies & cream
  9. Double rich chocolate
  10. Extreme milk chocolate
  11. French vanilla cream
  12. Mocha cappuccino
  13. Rocky road
  14. Strawberry
  15. Strawberry and banana
  16. Vanilla chai
  17. Vanilla ice cream
  18. White chocolate

I personally think my first choice would be cake batter, what would yours be?

This product is ideal for those looking for a trusted lean protein source which is high in quality, low in sugar, fat and calories, and provides BCAAs along with a variety of flavours. Be warned though, it’s not the cheapest brand, but you do get what you pay for, which is a top-tier product.

Best protein powder brands - Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey protein container

Best for budget buyers

Myprotein: Impact Whey Protein

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that this protein powder features under the budget buyers section. It is still considered one of the best-selling protein powders on the market. The product is comprised of 91% whey protein concentrate, and many people will be relieved to hear that the number of ingredients listed is limited to approximately 5; this is rather low compared to other manufacturers who often have double that amount of ingredients.

The nutritional value depicts a product that is rather lean in calories, fat, carbohydrates and sugar. A 25g scoop of Myprotein chocolate flavour offers:

  • Calories: 100
  • Protein: 19g
  • Fat: 1.9g
  • Saturated fat: 1.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.9g
  • Sugar: 0.9g

For those of you interested in BCAA content, a single scoop serving provides 4.5g BCAAs.

Did you know? Myprotein offers a complete range of protein powders, so whether you’re looking for vegan-friendly products, creatine or high-quality protein powder, Myprotein has loads to offer.

This product is an excellent choice of protein powder and it has been one of my go-to products for years. It’s an ideal investment for those who are seeking to increase their protein consumption with a lean product. Fussy eaters, elite athletes and bodybuilders may seek preference in some of the other products listed above due to the elevated nutritional performance that they attain; however, for the majority of people, this should tick the box perfectly.

Best protein powder brands - MyProtein Impact Whey Protein Powder

Best for digestive issues

People who suffer from gastrointestinal issues, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), may experience issue with certain protein powders, particularly ones that contain lactose, artificial sweeteners, dextrins or maltodextrins. When choosing a protein powder for a sensitive stomach, choose ones that possess hypoallergenic properties and contain little or none of the above ingredients that have tendencies to instigate irritation. If you’re following the FODMAP diet, then be observant of ingredients that are considered high-FODMAP and avoid them where possible.

Did you know? FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. These foods consist of carbohydrates which are prone to eliciting digestive issues, such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and gas. Foods categorised as high-FODMAP should be eliminated or avoided to minimise digestive issues.

Some common choices of protein powder for those seeking a hypoallergenic protein powder include pea protein powder and brown rice protein powder. In addition, hemp protein powder is likely to be a low-FODMAP item. Hemp protein itself has not been tested to ascertain whether it’s a low-FODMAP item or not, but hemp seeds and hemp milk both achieve that categorisation. Below I have reviewed pea protein powder.

Bulk Supplements: Pea Protein Isolate Powder

This product will tick a multitude of boxes for individuals seeking a protein powder to minimise digestive issues. This product has limited ingredients and is free of these 7 ingredients, many of which instigate digestive irritation:

  • Additives
  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • Yeast

What’s ideal about this product is the range of sizes it comes in. You can opt for as little as 100g container if you fancy a trial, or opt for as much as 20kg if you know you enjoy it; let’s not forget to mention that there’s a range of other sizes in between these! You can also choose from 250g, 1kg and 5kg, whatever suits your preference and your budget.

The nutritional value is also admirable and one of the leanest and lowest in sugar, fat and carbohydrates that I’ve seen. A 30g serving offers:

  • Calories: 110
  • Calories from fat: 11
  • Protein: 24g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Sugar: 0g

With the limited ingredients present and pea protein powder classified as a low-FODMAP item, this product would certainly benefit many people who have sensitive stomachs. It’s also an ideal product for vegans and vegetarians.

Best protein powder brands - Bulksupplements.com pea protein powder

Best for taste

BSN Syntha 6 Whey Protein Powder

If a quality protein powder that is also a great-tasting product takes precedence for you, then look no further than the BSN Syntha 6 whey protein powder. It is recognised as one of the best-tasting products on the market today! I’m sure we’ve all experiences a bland protein powder, or worse still, an artificial-tasting protein powder that leaves you gagging at the thought of finishing it! This product will not disappoint you in terms of quality or flavour, and that goes for the fussiest of eaters too.

The protein powder blend consists of a conglomerate of ingredients, including: whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, egg albumen and glutamine peptides. This assortment of proteins offers fast, intermediate and slow-digesting proteins to cater for all needs. It’s particularly useful for people who won’t be able to access protein for a period of time, as it can release protein for up to 7 hours after consumption. So say goodbye to depleting protein levels.

In terms of the nutritional value provided, a 47.2g rounded scoop offers:

  • Calories: 200
  • Calories from fat: 50
  • Protein: 22g
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 14g
  • Sugar: 2g

It’s worth pointing out that the nutritive value of this product is slightly inferior to the other products listed above. You can see that even with a larger serving size, the protein content is lower than the other brands. Additionally, calories, fat, carbohydrates and sugar are all higher. This may mean that people on a ketogenic diet or on a weight-loss diet who are regimentally following their food plans may be better off opting for one of the other protein powders listed above or below.

Chocolate peanut butter has been reviewed as one of the best flavours, but Syntha 6 also comes in a range of other mouth-watering choices:

  • Banana cream
  • Chocolate cake batter
  • Chocolate milk shake
  • Chocolate peanut butter
  • Cookies N cream
  • Strawberry milk shake
  • Vanilla ice cream

There’s not many products that can combine both quality and flavour to provide a nutritive, tasty drink.

Best protein powder brands - Syntha-6 Protein powder container

Best for low carbohydrates and low fat

Dymatize ISO 100 Hydrolyzed Whey

This product could arguably slot into almost all of the categories above. It’s renowned for being an excellent quality protein with great tasting flavours that mix well and also has a high degree of purity associated with the protein powder. The product is a blend of hydrolyzed whey protein isolate (best-quality whey protein available) and whey protein isolate. This makes the product a fast digesting and fast absorbing product.

A 30g serving will provide you with a very lean source of protein in addition to low carbohydrates, low sugar and no fat:

  • Calories: 110
  • Calories from fat: 0
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Sugar: <1g

In addition, it offers 5.5g BCAAs, which is comparable with the Optimum Nutrition: Gold Standard product.

Flavours include a nice range of some household favourites along with some unique flavours that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere:

  • Birthday cake
  • Cookies & cream
  • Chocolate coconut
  • Cinnamon bun
  • Fudge brownie
  • Gourmet chocolate
  • Gourmet vanilla
  • Orange dreamsicle
  • Peanut butter
  • Smooth banana
  • Strawberry

Best protein powder brands - Dymatize ISO 100 Hydrolyzed Whey

Summary

  • Protein powders all vary based on cost, composition, ingredients and quality
  • People with digestive issues should choose protein powders free of lactose, artificial sweeteners, dextrins or maltodextrins
  • Protein powders that contain low-FODMAP ingredients is preferable for those with sensitive stomachs
  • The quality of protein blends will vary depending on the price

The type of protein powder you choose is up to you, whether you’re looking for something to enhance your workout performance, if you suffer from IBS or you’re simply seeking a protein powder that fits your budget requirements. The bottom line is that all protein powders work in a similar way, regardless of ingredients, price and brand. Don’t be fooled by the price tag, just because a protein powder costs astronomical amounts doesn’t quantify it as a high-quality product.

Are you curious as to what the different types of protein powders available are and which one would cater to your dietary needs? Fortunately for you, there’s a cheat-guide to assist you in deciphering what all the different protein types area: What are the different types of protein powder?

I personally use Myprotein Impact Whey, but if money was no object and I was opting for a top-quality product, I’d choose Dymatize ISO 100 Hydrolyzed Whey. What protein powder do you use? Have you tried any of the above brands? Have you found any brands or flavours that taste particularly good or bad? I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions below.

Sources

Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. 2020. How To Choose The Best Protein Powder For You. [online] Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-tips-choosing-best-protein-powder/ [Accessed 22 August 2020].

Scott, A., 2020. What Protein Powders Are Low FODMAP? – A Little Bit Yummy. [online] A Little Bit Yummy. Available at: https://alittlebityummy.com/what-protein-powders-are-low-fodmap/ [Accessed 22 August 2020].

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8 Comments

Jeff · 23/08/2020 at 12:20 PM

Thank you for sharing the best protein powder brands, I have always wanted to start using protein powders but I never did becoming confused which brands to buy. I am partial to protein bars, so are these good alternatives instead of protein powders or are protein powders better?

Jeff

    Sharon · 23/08/2020 at 7:30 PM

    Hi Heff,

    You are most welcome, thank you for commenting! I love protein bars too, they do add some extra calories as they have to include some ingredients to bind the bar and give it some flavour. They are a good alternative, provided you choose ones that are good quality and have a good nutritional profile. If you need help picking good ones, my go-to protein bar is the Biotech Zero Protein Bar.

    Sharon

Habib · 23/08/2020 at 5:40 PM

Bulk supplement and Impact whey protein powder is one that will be suitable for me for my digestive issues. I am also conscious about having minimal ingredients and as less additives as possible. Which one would you recommend the best?
An amazing read once again.

Many thanks for educating us all on best protein powder brands.

    Sharon · 23/08/2020 at 7:35 PM

    Hi Habib,

    That’s good to hear, glad to hear you have found a few from the list that suit you. In terms of minimal ingredients, the Bulk Supplements: Pea Protein Isolate Powder only has 1 ingredient, which should mean that it ticks the box for you. It’s not many protein powders that can boast having only one ingredient! Hope this helps, feel free to revert with any other questions you have.

    Sharon

Pablo · 24/08/2020 at 7:04 PM

I have personally tried and used Gold Standard and I can tell the quality is worth the price. Is actually a great value.
Your choice of flavor is great :), I personally prefer the Caramel Toffee Fudge flavor. With this brand there are flavors for every taste anyhow.
Thanks for this great article.

    Sharon · 24/08/2020 at 7:30 PM

    Hello Pablo,

    Welcome to the site and thank you for your feedback. I’m glad you and I agree on the ON Gold Standard protein powder being high-quality. I haven’t tried caramel toffee fudge but I’ll have to add it to my list. That’s true, some brands only have a few flavours; fortunately that’s not the case with Optimum Nutrition.

    If there’s anything I can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out!

    Best wishes,
    Sharon

Matt · 25/08/2020 at 5:09 PM

Hi Sharon,

I also tried the ON-Gold Standard one, and it’s not very expensive & worth the price. My favorite is chocolate & mint, but I didn’t know they have so many different flavors that I can choose next time. I think the rest options look nice too, and I will check them out when I finish my current one.

Thanks for sharing,
Matt

    Sharon · 25/08/2020 at 7:58 PM

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you so much for your comment. I’m happy to hear we both are advocates of ON protein powder, it’s certainly worth the investment. Chocolate and mint sounds delicious. They certainly do, I have intentions of trying other flavours too.

    Best wishes,
    Sharon

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