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8 Best Whey Protein Powders of 2023

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Whey protein is a popular nutritional supplement used for a variety of reasons, including promoting muscle gain and providing a quick source of protein on the go.

There are three main types of whey protein used to make protein powder supplements (1, 2, 3):

  • Whey protein concentrate: contains 25–89% protein
  • Whey protein isolate: contains more than 90% protein and is lower in carbs, fat, and lactose than whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein hydrolysate: is broken down to accelerate digestion and absorption rates

A multitude of whey protein supplements are available for purchase at grocery and specialty stores, as well as online. However, some whey protein powders are higher in quality than others and are therefore better options.

Plus, some people may choose a supplement based on the type of whey protein it contains.

The whey protein supplements on this list contain minimal ingredients and are tested for quality and purity.

Here are the 8 best whey protein powders.

  • Best unsweetened whey protein powders:
  • Best-tasting protein powders:
  • Best for weight gain:
  • Best whey protein isolate:

When shopping for the best whey protein powder supplement, it’s important to choose a high quality product from a trusted brand. We considered the following when choosing the best whey protein powders:

  • Product quality and testing: Most products on this list have undergone third-party testing to ensure they are free of heavy metals, mycotoxins, and substances banned in professional sports.
  • Certifications: Some companies on this list offer certificates of analysis (COAs) — documents that provide details regarding product quality and purity — for their whey protein products.
  • Ingredients: We tried to choose protein powder supplements that don’t contain certain ingredients you may want to limit or avoid, such as artificial sweeteners, high amounts of added sugars, and artificial colorings.
  • Brand trust: The supplements on this list are made by brands that healthcare professionals trust. They are made with limited ingredients, and most have undergone third-party testing and carry certifications verifying their quality and safety.

Many people prefer to use unsweetened, unflavored protein powders.

Unsweetened powders are not only free of added sugars, which should be limited in any healthy diet, but also suitable for smoothies, shakes, and other foods and beverages, as they don’t alter their taste.

Here are some excellent choices for unsweetened whey protein products.

Naked Whey

  • Price: $$
  • Flavors: Unflavored

Why we chose it

  • third-party tested
  • unsweetened
  • Informed Choice Trusted by Sport

Naked Whey protein contains just one ingredient: whey protein concentrate from cows raised on farms in Northern California. The cows spend at least 19 hours a day on pasture.

Naked Whey is available in other flavors as well, and the flavored versions are sweetened with coconut sugar:

  • Chocolate
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla

Naked Nutrition products are third-party tested, and Naked Whey is Informed Choice Trusted by Sport.

Informed Choice Trusted by Sport is a program that certifies that a product has been tested at least on a monthly basis for substances banned by LGC, a globally recognized sports doping control and supplement testing lab.

Naked Nutrition products are manufactured in a facility that adheres to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs), a set of regulations created by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the quality and purity of supplements.

Two scoops — 30 grams (g) — of Naked Whey protein provide:

NOW Sports Unflavored Organic Whey Protein

  • Price: $$
  • Flavors: Unflavored

Why we chose it

  • certified organic
  • Informed Sport
  • Informed Choice Trusted by Sport

NOW Sports Unflavored Organic Whey Protein is made with certified organic whey protein concentrate. It’s free of corn, soy, nuts, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

This protein powder has the Informed Choice Trusted by Sport certification and carries the LGC Informed Sport seal, which assures that the product has been tested for a number of substances that are banned in sports. NOW also adheres to CGMPs.

One scoop (24 g) of NOW Sports Unflavored Organic Whey Protein provides:

Raw Organic Whey

  • Price: $
  • Flavors: Unflavored

Why we chose it

  • whey protein concentrate from grass-fed cows
  • certified organic
  • third-party tested

Raw Organic Whey contains only whey protein concentrate from grass-fed cows. It’s organic and free of soy, added sugars, and gluten.

Raw Organic Whey is independently tested by third-party labs for heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, and mycotoxins. Testing results are available on the company’s website.

Five tablespoons (25 g) of Raw Organic Whey provide:

Flavored protein powders are favored by those who either don’t like the taste of unflavored whey or prefer to mix their powder with water or milk.

Here are some of the best-tasting whey protein products.

Garden of Life Sport Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein

  • Price: $$
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla

Why we chose it

  • certified organic
  • NSF Certified for Sport
  • zero added sugar

Garden of Life Sport Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein is made with whey protein isolate and milk protein and comes in vanilla and chocolate flavors. It’s one of the best sugar-free whey protein products, as it’s sweetened with stevia and erythritol instead of added sugars.

This product is NSF Certified for Sport — an independent third-party testing certification verifying that products are free of more than 270 substances currently banned by major athletic organizations.

One scoop (33 g) of Chocolate-flavored Garden of Life Sport Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein provides:

Naked Whey Flavored Protein Powder

  • Price: $$
  • Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry

Why we chose it

  • made with whey from grass-fed cows
  • Informed Choice Trusted by Sport
  • third-party tested

Naked Whey Flavored Protein Powder is naturally sweetened with organic coconut sugar. It comes in tasty flavors including Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry.

Remember that this protein powder contains a small amount of added sugar — 3 g or 3/4 of a teaspoon per 37-g serving — which some people prefer to leave out of their diet.

Two scoops (37 g) of the Vanilla flavor provide:

Simply Tera’s Whey Organic Bourbon Vanilla Whey Protein

  • Price: $$$
  • Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Bourbon Vanilla

Why we chose it

  • certified organic
  • sweetened with stevia
  • third-party tested

Simply Tera’s Whey Organic Bourbon Vanilla Whey Protein contains organic whey protein concentrate and is flavored with organic vanilla and stevia for sweetness.

Simply Tera’s Whey tests its products quarterly using third-party independent laboratories and conducts in-house product testing.

Simply Tera’s Whey Organic Whey Protein comes in Dark Chocolate as well.

Two scoops (28.4 g) of the Bourbon Vanilla flavor provide:

Some people use whey protein to gain weight and muscle mass. The following whey protein powder product is high in calories and makes a good choice for those trying to pack on muscle mass or body weight in general.

Note that if you’re using weight gainer supplements for weight loss related to a medical condition such as cancer, it’s important to talk with your healthcare team before adding a new supplement to your routine, to make sure it’s safe for you.

Naked Mass

  • Price: $$$
  • Flavors: Unflavored, Vanilla, Chocolate

Why we chose it

  • promotes weight gain
  • third-party tested
  • Informed Choice Trusted by Sport

Naked Nutrition Naked Mass is a high calorie weight gainer supplement that can promote healthy weight gain.

It contains organic tapioca maltodextrin, a type of food starch that works as a thickening agent, as well as whey protein concentrate and casein, another milk protein. Naked Mass comes in Chocolate, Vanilla, and Unflavored.

Note that this product is extremely high in calories and carbs and is inappropriate for those who don’t need to gain weight. Also, the very high carb content of this supplement makes it inappropriate for those with blood sugar regulation issues.

Smaller servings can be used so the calorie and carb load isn’t so extreme. Just one scoop provides 313 calories and 13 g of protein.

Four scoops (321 g) of the Unflavored supplement provide:

Whey protein isolate is lower in fat and carbs and higher in protein than whey protein concentrate.

Remember that whey protein isolate supplements tend to be more expensive than whey protein concentrates.

The product below is a great choice for whey protein isolate powder.

AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey

  • Price: $$
  • Flavors: Unflavored

Why we chose it

  • made with whey from cows raised on pasture
  • sustainable and animal-welfare certified
  • third-party tested
  • Informed Choice and Informed Sport certified

AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey is made with whey from cows raised in the pastures of sustainable family farms.

It’s the only grass-fed whey product that earned a spot on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Shop with Your Heart list, which links consumers to animal-welfare certified products.

AGN Roots products are third-party tested by LGC and carry the Informed Choice and Informed Sport certifications.

Two scoops (29 g) provide:

When shopping for a whey protein supplement, be sure to purchase products from reputable companies and websites. Wherever possible, opt for products with minimal added sugars and simple ingredients. That way you know exactly what you’re consuming.

As mentioned above, there are some differences among the types of whey offered in supplements. Whey protein concentrate is highest in fat and lactose, while whey protein isolate contains very little fat or lactose and is higher in protein.

Whey protein hydrolysate may be easier to digest for some people, and it may be more rapidly absorbed. However, it’s unclear whether this offers any significant benefit, as the difference in absorption between hydrolyzed and intact whey is minimal (3).

Additionally, whey hydrolysates and isolates are usually more expensive than whey protein concentrates, and hydrolysates may be less palatable and more bitter-tasting than the other types of whey.

Because there’s currently no convincing evidence that a particular kind of whey protein is significantly better than others, finding a high quality whey protein powder that you think tastes good and is fairly priced is your best bet.

However, competitive athletes and those closely monitoring their macronutrient intake may want to pay more attention to the amounts of fat, protein, and carbs in whey products.

Lastly, remember that most people following well-rounded diets get plenty of protein through foods. Yet, if you have difficulty getting enough protein through your diet or are trying to gain weight and build muscle, using whey protein powder can help.

Who should use whey protein powder?

People may use whey protein powder for a variety of reasons.

For example, some people prefer to use whey protein in shakes and smoothies to increase their daily protein intake, while others use whey protein to enhance muscle recovery and promote muscle growth after strenuous workouts.

You can use whey protein in the same way you would any other protein product. It’s delicious in smoothies and protein shakes but can also be added to meals and snacks such as oatmeal, Greek yogurt parfaits, and energy balls.

Is whey protein powder good for weight loss?

Protein is the most filling macronutrient, and adding protein sources to meals and snacks like protein shakes can help you feel full and more satisfied, which could help you consume fewer calories overall (5).

Studies have also shown that whey protein may be effective in promoting fat loss. A 2018 review that included 9 randomized control trials found that supplementation with whey protein helped reduce body weight and total fat mass in people with overweight or obesity (6).

While adding a whey protein supplement — along with other high protein foods — to your diet could help make you feel full and may help you lose body fat, your total dietary intake and activity level matter most when it comes to reaching and maintaining healthy body weight.

For example, if you’re currently overconsuming calories and leading a sedentary lifestyle, adding a whey protein supplement to your diet is unlikely to impact your body weight.

However, adding a protein supplement while also focusing on improving your overall diet quality, reducing your calorie intake, and being more active is a beneficial way to promote healthy weight loss.

The best whey protein powder for weight loss should be lower in calories and free from added sugar, like Raw Organic Whey.

Can you use whey protein powder daily?

Yes, you can use whey protein powder daily, but it doesn’t have to be a regular part of your diet.

Some people like to use whey protein daily in their protein shakes or smoothies, while others use it a couple of times a week as a pre-or post-workout snack.

It’s up to you how you choose to use whey protein powder.

If you’re not sure how to incorporate whey protein into your diet or how much you should be consuming, consider working with a registered dietitian.

They can help answer any questions you have about dietary supplements and can help with goals related to sports performance, weight loss, and more.

Which brand of whey protein is best?

There are a number of excellent whey protein products on the market. All of the whey protein brands on this list are high quality and are trusted by registered dietitians.

The best product for you depends on factors like your taste preferences and what you’re hoping to gain out of using whey protein.

For example, if you’re hoping to gain weight, a weight-gainer supplement like Naked Mass may be the best choice. If you’re hoping to find the best whey protein powder for muscle gain, you may want to consider a product like NOW Sports Unflavored Organic Whey Protein or Raw Organic Whey, which are both high in protein but low in calories.

In general, the best whey protein brands are made with limited ingredients and use third-party labs to test their product for contaminants as well as quality and purity.

It may be especially important for competitive athletes to choose products that carry the Informed Choice Trusted by Sport and the Informed Sport seal, which verify that a product is free of substances banned in professional sports.

Which protein powder is highest quality?

High quality whey proteins, like the products on this list, are made with limited ingredients and are free of artificial sweeteners, fillers, preservatives, and other additives that are frequently used in protein powder products.

AGN Roots Grass-Fed Whey and Raw Organic Whey are among the most affordable and high quality products on this list. Both of these products are:

  • certified organic
  • third-party tested
  • made with whey from cows raised on pasture

Does whey protein reduce LDL cholesterol?

Some research shows that using whey protein could help reduce blood lipid levels — including LDL (bad) cholesterol — in certain populations.

A 2020 review that included 22 studies found that supplementing with whey protein significantly reduced LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol and triglycerides in people with metabolic syndrome (7).

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptoms — including elevated blood sugar and blood lipid levels—that raise your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes (7).

Researchers think that whey protein may help reduce LDL cholesterol and other blood lipids by decreasing fat absorption in the digestive tract and stimulating enzymes involved in the metabolism of fats (7).

Even though these results are encouraging, more research is needed to understand how supplementing with whey protein may benefit people with high LDL cholesterol levels.

If you’re trying to reduce your LDL cholesterol, consider using whey protein in nutritious, low sugar protein shakes and incorporating them into a high fiber diet rich in plant foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts.

Research shows that high fiber plant-based diets are particularly effective in reducing LDL cholesterol and supporting heart health in general (8, 9).

There are many whey protein powder products on the market, and choosing the right one for you can be challenging.

Opting for a whey protein powder from this list can help ensure that you’re buying a high quality, safe product that can help you meet your protein needs and health goals.

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