Whey protein shake with chocolate flavor.

Protein powder (© expressiovisual - stock.adobe.com)

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet for everyone. Our bodies use the amino acids in proteins daily to repair cells and build muscles or bones, produce hormones and enzymes, and make energy for the body. If you’re an athlete, protein intake is even more essential for you – exercise strengthens and enlarges muscles by using protein to repair minuscule tears in muscle fiber that occur as the muscle is challenged. Whey protein is derived from whey, the part of milk that separates from the curds when cheese is made, and is commonly used as a supplement in powder form to ensure proper protein intake. If you aren’t vegan, the best whey protein supplement could be a great way to ensure you get a full range of amino acids for muscle recovery.

A protein supplement can be a great addition to your diet regardless of how much you hit the gym. Besides providing the building blocks for necessary processes on a cellular level, protein consumption can assist you in maintaining a healthy weight and also helps to maintain basic muscle mass. A new study from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre finds that seniors who consumed protein consistently throughout the day had more strength than those who consumed the bulk of their protein during one time of the day. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to choosing the best whey protein, StudyFinds compiled a list of the top seven powders using the top recommendations from 12 expert sources. Let us know which brand you plan to try in the comments below!

The List: Best Whey Protein, According to Experts

1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey, 80 servings 

Looking for a protein powder that delivers on taste without overloading on sweetness? Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder in the “Double Rich Chocolate” flavor is light and natural tasting, according to Shape. With 24g of protein in one scoop, it mixes with a quick shake for just 10 seconds and you’re good to go, with no annoying clumps to spoil your post-workout drink.

This brand is also a crowd pleaser due to its affordability if you buy a larger bag, as well as the wide range of flavor choices. Extra carbohydrates, fat, and lactose have all been filtered out, leaving you with a lean, easy to digest serving of protein. The bigger the bag, the bigger the savings! While the price per serving might seem decent at first, opt for the larger sizes, Garage Gym Reviews suggests. For example, the 27-serving bag comes out to $1.66 per serving, but the real value lies in the 146-serving bag. This massive tub brings the cost down to just $1.08 per 31-gram scoop – a serious steal for protein powder that lasts.

It’s a flavor explosion with over a dozen delicious options to choose from, including classics like Double-Rich Chocolate and Strawberry, along with more adventurous choices like Rocky Road, writes Men’s Journal. Just grab a spoon and mix your protein powder with water or milk – any flavor you choose – and you’ll get a smooth, clump-free protein shake that tastes more like a decadent milkshake than a workout supplement. No more chalky aftertaste or frustrating clumps to ruin your post-workout routine.

2. Naked Whey Protein Powder

Naked Whey Protein Powder
Naked Whey Protein Powder

If you want a protein powder that really performs without any additives or extra ingredients, Naked Whey is a great choice. It’s a perfect option for athletes who prioritize clean, natural ingredients in their post-workout fuel, raves Sports Illustrated. This protein powder is all about keeping things simple. The unflavored version features just one ingredient: pure whey protein concentrate. 

Naked Whey is sourced from grass-fed, free-roaming cows raised without growth hormones on small farms in Northern California and Idaho. Free roaming cows typically produce higher quality milk. Each two-scoop serving (around 30 grams) packs a punch with 25 grams of protein – perfect for post-workout muscle recovery, explains Insider. It keeps things simple with a moderate three grams of carbs and just two grams of fat per serving. The calorie count sits at 120, making it a great choice for athletes watching their intake. This protein powder includes 5.9 grams of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids). These are essential building blocks for muscle protein and can aid in recovery after a tough workout.

Naked Whey offers three delicious flavors – Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry – to satisfy your taste buds. However, it’s important to note that these flavors do come with a small price tag: three grams (or ¾ of a teaspoon) of added sugar per 37-gram serving, writes Healthline. So, if you’re strictly following a no-sugar diet, the unflavored version might be a better fit. But for those who want a touch of natural sweetness without the artificial aftertaste, Naked Whey Flavored Protein Powder is a tempting option.

3. Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Forget skimpy protein content. Each serving of Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate boasts a whopping 28 grams of high-quality whey isolate – perfect for athletes who prioritize serious muscle recovery and growth, says Bar Bend. They keep carbs in check with only one gram per serving, and fat is completely eliminated. This makes it a great option for those who track their macros and want a protein source that won’t derail their goals.

Transparent Labs lives up to its reputation by clearly listing all ingredients on the label. No hidden ingredients or confusing blends here – just pure, high-quality protein, writes Men’s Journal. They also source their whey from grass-fed cattle without growth hormones, and includes no artificial sweeteners, fillers, food dyes, gluten, or preservatives.

It offers a variety of delicious flavors, including unique options like Cinnamon French Toast, adds Sports Illustrated. But the best part? They keep things sugar-conscious, so you can mix your protein with juice or blend it into a smoothie without feeling like you’re indulging in a sugary treat.

4. Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Whey

Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Whey
Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Whey

Dymatize uses hydrolyzed whey, meaning the protein has been broken down into its corresponding amino acids and peptides. This makes it easier to digest and faster to absorb. Recover faster and achieve peak performance! Dymatize goes the extra mile with ISO100 by using a meticulous hydrolyzation process. This translates to smooth digestion and minimal tummy troubles, so you can focus on feeling great, not uncomfortable (National Post).

ISO100 doesn’t mess around when it comes to protein. It combines all three whey protein types (concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate) to deliver a powerful 25 grams per serving, mentions Livestrong. Each serving keeps carbs in check at under three grams. This protein powder is gluten-free, skips added sugars (although it does contain artificial sweeteners), and is third-party certified by Informed Choice Trusted by Sport – a program that ensures the product is free of impurities and banned substances.

And if you’re looking for a lactose-free protein powder, Dymatize ISO100 is it. It’s the only option on their list specifically formulated to avoid lactose intolerance woes, Insider recommends. This is both easy on the stomach and efficient for post-workout recovery.

5. Thorne Research Whey Protein Isolate

Thorne Research Whey Protein Isolate
Thorne Research Whey Protein Isolate

Try Thorne Research if you want a high-quality whey protein powder that is NSF Certified for Sport, meaning it has been tested to verify label claims and contains no substances banned by major athletic organizations. Thorne Research is a delicious, easy-digesting protein for muscle support and snacking, shares Forbes. It contains added enzymes to aid digestion, promoting gut health and minimizing discomfort.

Ditch the artificial flavors and questionable sweeteners! This protein keeps it clean with natural flavors and plant-derived sweeteners, adds Men’s Journal. It uses a smart blend of cane sugar and stevia to keep the sugar content lower than many other protein powders on the market. It only comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors and is a little more expensive than most, but is a great choice if you want a no-frills protein powder with certified high-quality whey. Men’s Journal editors rave about the vanilla flavor, calling it thick, milkshake-like, and easy to blend.

Texture is a win! This protein powder blends into a smooth and thick consistency, almost like pudding, when using just water, describes Health. Beware of the chocolate aftertaste, which some testers found lingered for a while after consuming the drink. This protein powder might be better suited for smoothies or oatmeal, where the thicker texture and chocolate flavor can be complemented by other ingredients.

6. Xwerks Grow 100% New Zealand Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

Xwerks Grow 100% New Zealand Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Xwerks Grow 100% New Zealand Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

XWERKS sources their whey from grass-fed cows in New Zealand, ensuring a cleaner product because of the high standards the country has for its dairy. This way you know your protein won’t be passing any hormones or pesticides to you. XWERKS utilizes a special micro-filtration process, says Garage Gym Reviews. This removes most of the fat, sugar (lactose), and carbs from the whey protein, while keeping the important stuff – the amino acids (muscle-building blocks) and other essential nutrients – intact.

XWERKS Grow has 25 grams of protein per serving and over six grams of BCAA’s per serving with almost no lactose, carbs, or fats. The resealable Ziploc pouch, making it easy to store the protein powder in cabinets, raves Shape. The powder boasted a rich, cocoa scent that testers compared to a Hershey’s chocolate bar! The taste followed suit, offering a delightful surprise for those expecting a peanut butter flavor. It’s more like indulging in a treat than downing a protein shake. This could be a major perk for those who struggle with bland-tasting protein powders.

Forget battling with lumpy protein shakes! XWERKS mixes smoothly and easily with just water, leaving no clumps or residue behind. It also uses stevia for sweetness, which can be a turn-off for some, shares Health. However, their testers found it wasn’t overpoweringly sweet.

7. MyProtein Impact Whey Protein

MyProtein Impact Whey Protein
MyProtein Impact Whey Protein

MyProtein is not a whey isolate, but comes in a concentrate that is still easily absorbed and tastes great while being more affordable than most whey isolates on the market. The brand also has a whey isolate if that’s your preference! Easily mix this protein into any shake or meal and get over 90 percent protein per serving, states National Post. Don’t let the affordability fool you. MyProtein Impact Whey maintains high-quality standards, making it a smart choice for athletes who prioritize both quality and value.

MyProtein Impact Whey Protein delivers a powerful 21 grams of protein per serving. This sets the stage for muscle growth and maintenance, whether you’re a weight training enthusiast or a resistance training regular, mentions Glamour U.K. It’s also received official certification as one of the market’s best protein powders. You can rest assured you’re getting a high-quality product that delivers results.

Enjoy a variety of unique flavors (like Fruity Cereal and White Chocolate Peppermint) with less than one gram of sugar and three grams of carbs per serving, or opt for the unflavored version to mix into your food or drink, explains Men’s Journal. MyProtein is known for running frequent promotions with deep discounts, so you can grab your favorite Impact Whey flavor at an even better price. 

Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Elsa Lee

Elsa is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and marketer based out of the Los Angeles area. She has been writing for 7 years.

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6 Comments

  1. Adrian Cleymans says:

    Uprotein didn’t get a nention.

  2. Kol Martens says:

    JYM Whey protein is the BEST! Hands down.

  3. Joe says:

    Optimum Nutrition number 1?? This is much out of date. ON got busted for bsing their potency etc…I used to be a fan, not anymore for years now. My protein out of the UK that ships globally has been indepently tested for purity and the best all around. So far! The cleanest ingredients to boot. Garden of life would be second here. The list is fixed.

    1. Monty says:

      Agreed!
      Optimum Nutrition’s was my go to recommendation over 15 years ago. Then they decided to go with some nasty artificial sweeteners just over 10 years ago. Still can’t recommend it to this day for that reason.
      I found a great one on Amazon that has 1 ingredient: 100% natural grass fed whey

  4. Matt says:

    Most protein powders suck… they either don’t mix well, taste chalky, or have low protein content and too many fillers. I’ve found that Syntrax Nutrition’s Nectar whey isolate is the only protein that actually tastes good, mixes well and they prove their quality with actual reports that they willingly show on their website.

  5. Neil says:

    I find that a lot of protein powders are loaded with cholesterol. For some people, this is unacceptable. Check the labels before you start consuming the stuff in large quantities. They are some companies out there, which are a bit more difficult to find, which have very low to no cholesterol, that are good protein powders that mix well. Fitness is great, but you don’t want to clog your arteries along the way.