The Best Protein Powders Of 2021
No matter if you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or just be healthier, there’s a protein powder to help you do it. Our team of fitness editors, athletes, and nutrition advisors chose the best protein powders for every goal based on nutritional quality, taste, value, and customer feedback.
High-quality protein powders are more popular than ever, but they’re also being used by a broader range of people than ever. A post-workout shake definitely isn’t just for athletes training for a competition or bodybuilders trying to build muscle anymore! Everyone on a fitness journeyâwhether you’re a beginner or you’ve been at it for yearsâcan benefit from adequate protein.
The only problem? There are also more choices than ever! To help you narrow down your options and match you up with the best protein powder for your needs and goals, we’ve created this list of our most popular proteins. Each one has been reviewed hundreds or even thousands of times by Bodybuilding.com customers and purchased again and again. And we can stand behind them, too, because at Bodybuilding.com, we drink protein shakes like it’s our job.
Meet the best protein powders of 2021, learn what makes them great, and see how much you should take to be ready to build muscle, burn fat, and feel great.
Ladder Plant Protein Powder
Ladders plant protein provides a complete essential amino acid profile , ensuring maximum bioavailability and nutrition for those who follow a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle.
The blend-ability is amazing, and the taste is completely smooth, without the use of artificial flavors and colors. If you are going to get a plant-based protein powder, this is the ultimate choice.
How We Choose The Best Protein Powders
Our team of fitness editors, athletes, and nutrition advisors helped select the candidates for the best protein powders for every goal based on nutritional quality, taste, value, and customer feedback.
To choose our top picks, we took it a step further and used the following criteria:
- Customer Ratings and Reviews: Our customers take their protein very seriously, and they let us know through their purchases, ratings, and feedback. Every protein on this list has thousands of enthusiastic reviews and top ratings backing it up.
- Formula: Sure, the amount of protein in a serving of a powder matters. But more important is how it’s produced, the macronutrient profile, and the track record of the manufacturer. It’s important to trust your protein!
- Flavor: If a protein doesn’t taste good, you probably aren’t going to stick with it regardless of how “good for you” it might be. Life’s too short to drink bad-tasting or chalky protein.
- Value: The lowest priced protein isn’t always the best value! All of our best proteins factor in the price per serving.
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Best Casein Protein Powder
Casein is digested and absorbed slowly, which can help you feel satiated for longer. As such, it may help reduce your appetite. The slower digestion and absorption rate may also help support muscle growth and recovery over longer periods (
Its also produced in a facility thats certified by NSF International. According to the companys website, BulkSupplement products also undergo third-party testing, but the name of the third-party lab isnt disclosed.
The powder is particularly a good choice for adding to smoothies or batters because it doesnt clump.
However, its not ideal if you prefer a flavored or sweetened protein powder.
Swanson Greenfoods Vegan Protein Powder With Probiotics
Why you should avoid it: It contains a significant amount of added sugar
Even plant-based products are not all good. Swanson combines two strains of bacteria with hemp, rice, and pea protein to create their tub of scoopable nutrition. In theory, this all sounds like a good thinga terrific two-for-one option for smoothie and protein shake lovers alikebut unfortunately, the makers behind this blend also packed in tons of brown rice syrup solids, which ups the sugar count to a whopping 20 grams in a standard three-scoop serving. Skip it.
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Eat This, Not That!
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Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder
Protein source: Hemp
We love the post-workout highno, not that kind of hemp highwe get with this hemp-based, organic protein powder. Hemp protein is derived from the less-fun parts of the hemp plant, offering a substantial amount of fiber that’s easy to digest, making it a great pre-workout powder to keep you from cramping up at the gym. On top of 15 grams of complete protein per serving, hemp also boasts heart-healthy doses of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. This option is an ideal mix-in for oatmeal or smoothies the fiber will make you feel fuller longer, and it contains eight essential amino acids to build muscle.
Who Shouldnt Buy Fitmiss Delight
- Those who like vanilla. FitMiss only has a Vanilla Chai flavor, which has a more pungent taste.
- People avoiding soy or artificial sweeteners.
- Dont expect many vitamins and minerals because there are powdered greens theres a ton of B12 but very few other micronutrients.
Your caloric intake will always dictate which way the scale tips, but this protein can help curb hunger so youre less likely to indulge in unnecessary calories.
Related: Read our full review on FitMiss Delight Protein Powder
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The Best High Protein Dog Food
Topping our list as the best high protein dog food on the market today is Wilderness by Blue Buffalo. Created with meat meal from salmon and chicken, protein is certainly the top ingredient for this dry dog food. And, with no meat by-products, no corn, no wheat, no soy and no artificial colors, preservatives or flavorings, you can be sure that this is the highest quality, high protein dog food available.
This is a meat-rich diet designed to use natural ingredients only, in order to give your canine companion the best diet imaginable- including all the fruits, veggies and antioxidants your dog could need. Available at a great price, its no surprise that this is a brand loved by customers across the US.
This brand is slightly more expensive than our top option, although clearly just as popular as ever with over 5,000 confirmed happy reviewers. Many of whom praise how much happier their active dogs were after using this. Just be aware that this isnt a dog food designed for naturally lethargic dogs!
Made from 100% natural ingredients
No1 ingredient is de-boned chicken
Added fatty acids for healthy skin and brain
Being rightly proud of their ingredients, is Merricks grain-free dry dog food. Based on 70% protein and 30% being natural sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals, this food is 100% delicious and loved by dogs. Made in the US, Merrick have worked hard to create a premium dog food that works well for dogs who need a high-protein diet.
Designer Protein Totally Egg
4.4 out of 5 stars
If you want to build muscle, then this protein powder will help you get there. Shakes are great after your intense workout at the gym and this powder comes in a delicious vanilla cream flavor, but there are others like milk chocolate and strawberry to choose from. Give your light shakes a boost of flavor and protein by adding a scoop of powder.
The powder is naturally flavored, so you dont have to worry about unnatural chemicals and additives, and theres also no sweetener, so you know exactly whats in your shake without having to worry about unnecessary calories.
This product will give you the protein boost you need to help you build lean muscle, which has 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own and are an integral part of increasing strength.
Next time you hit the gym, take a dose of this egg white protein powder with you.
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Myprotein Impact Whey Protein Isolate
Myprotein makes an athlete-focused protein powder that uses only whey protein isolate , flavored with cocoa powder, artificial flavoring, and sucralose.
It blends up in a shaker bottle easily thanks to the soy lecithin included as an emulsifier, so if you dont mind the artificial flavoring, its a top pick for athletes.
If You Wonder Which Protein Bars Are Not Good For You Here Are The 7 Worst Protein Bars:
Even though these low-sugar protein bars meet the same low-sugar, high-protein requirements as our best protein bars, they don’t meet other important nutritional marks.
The following worst protein bars landed a spot on our list of bars to avoid for numerous reasons:
- They contain more than 10 grams of sugar alcohol, which can have laxative-like effects.
- The protein is from highly-processed sources rather than whole foods.
- The higher fat content is from inflammatory vegetable oils rather than healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
- They contain artificial flavors and/or sweeteners.
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Benefits Of Protein Bars
Of course, protein bars are formulated to provide our body with protein, a macronutrient that helps the muscle grow stronger and healthier.
However, that is kind of basic. So, let us go further and see what are the other benefits of protein bars:
- Protein bars help in controlling weight
- Increases the energy of the patient
- Protein bars help in muscle repair and re-grow
- Provide the body the minerals and vitamins it needs
Who Shouldnt Buy Legion Whey+
- People who want to avoid maltodextrin at all costs. This is a common additive in many whey proteins to help with flavor, and Legions Whey+ does contain some.
- If youre avoiding soy, you may want to look elsewhere. Whey+ contains a tiny amount of soy lecithin to help with mix-ability.
For people who are environmentally-minded, Legion+ Whey ensures that their whey is sourced sustainably from American cows, with a protein-by-weight ratio of 88%.
Related: Read our full review on Legion Whey+ Protein
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Uncut Bars By Transparent Labs
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Stats may vary slightly depending on the flavor of the bar
Topping off our list, we have a great all-around protein bar with the new Uncut Bars from Transparent Labs.
The Uncut Bars are high in protein at 16 grams per bar and have a 2:1:1 ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Some of the key ingredients they use are a high-quality whey protein isolate, honey, roasted almonds, chocolate chips, cocoa butter and chocolate liquor.
You wont find artificial sweeteners, fatty creamers, soy protein, palm kernel oils or sugar alcohols.
The Uncut Bars come in 2 flavors, and we tried both of them. The two flavors are Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Coffee.
Just by the name alone, you would think the Chocolate Chip would be better, but it wasnt. The Chocolate Coffee was clearly better, and it was easily one of the best-tasting bars we tried. The Chocolate Chip flavor was still decent, though. We thought the texture was good for both bars, not too chalky or gooey, just as it should be.
The bars are a little on the small side, not puny but slightly smaller than average.
Overall the Uncut Bars checked all the boxes. Solid ingredients, tasted great and none of the BS you find in other bars out there.
One negative some may not like is the calories from the chocolate and honey. We didnt think it was too much, but thats a matter of personal preference.
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Stats may vary slightly depending on the flavor of the bar
Garden Of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder
Protein source: Organic sprouted protein blend
This complete protein showcases 13 raw and organic sprouts, with 17 grams of protein per serving, all the essential amino acids your body needs, plus tea and cinnamon extract. Just make sure you whip up a smoothie using a healthy fat like nut butter or avocado. The makers of this powder load it with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which can only be fully absorbed by your body when paired with a healthy fat. Their original unflavored powder works in any post-workout shake, but we’re suckers for slimming, satisfying chocolate versions.
When you’re looking for an option with rice, make sure the brand uses sprouted brown rice , not just “rice protein.” Sprouting the rice reduces the amount of carbs and heightens the amount of protein, which lowers the glycemic effect and increases the nutritional profile. Plus, when rice protein is sprouted, it changes in genetic makeup to make its nutrients more bioavailable to the body, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.
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Q: How Can I Tell If My Food Has Enough Protein
Its likely that, if your dog isnt getting enough protein, youre probably going to need to visit a vet straight away. The symptoms for protein deficiency in dogs include:
Weight loss abnormal behavior Excessive urination Uncharacteristic lack of energy
These are a little extreme of course, but if you notice that you dogs coat has become a little dry or brittle, and that your dog has become more lethargic, its very likely that theyll be suffering from a protein deficiency. If this happens take your dog to your local vet immediately and try to swap your dogs diet for a high protein dog food.
Q: Why Do Dogs Need Protein
All mammals need a certain level of protein as part of their diet, as we rely on these proteins to help us rebuild and create strong, healthy muscle mass. Without this protein, the muscles would waste away, as the energy required to keep their muscles going simply wouldnt be there. Once the muscles have gone, your dog would be unable to move.
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Who Should Buy Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are generally safe for most people and help to improve muscle mass, weight loss, and metabolism. Its exceptionally good at improving satiety on a diet as well.
People currently taking prescription medications should speak to a doctor before taking a protein shake, to be on the safe side. Diabetics, pregnant women and children should also be cautious when taking a protein shake supplement, as the safety is unproven in this population.
Which Is Better: Whey Or Plant
Pros and Cons of Whey Protein
Whey protein is derived from cows milk, which makes it a dairy product. During cheese production, whey is separated and isolated. Most dairy milk contains two types of protein: casein and whey . After that, whey protein goes through some processing to make it whey powder, and this is where it can get unhealthy.
Most whey protein alone tastes pretty terrible, so many manufacturers add sugar and ingredients to make it more palatable. To keep it clean, look for powders where the whey is either an isolate or hydrolysate form.
There are three main types of whey protein powders:
Historically, animal proteins have been considered the superior protein source. Thats because animal proteinpoultry products, beef, pork, and dairy foodsis complete, meaning it provides all nine essential amino acids, and is most similar to the naturally occurring proteins found in the human body. Humans are able to digest, process, and use animal protein very efficiently.
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John’s Killer Protein Nighttime Blend
Protein source: Grass-fed, minimally-processed milk protein concentrate from U.S. dairy farms
If you’re looking to repair and regrow muscle overnight, the best protein powder to take before bed is JKP’s Nighttime Blend. The majority of the protein in this blend comes from casein. As opposed to whey, casein digests more slowly and stays in the system longer to nourish muscles.
This makes it a good option if you need a nighttime snack on workout days: It’ll help kick-start recovery and build fat-burning muscle. A small study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that active men who consumed either casein or whey protein at night increased their next-morning metabolism by over 5 percent compared to a placebo.
Studies have shown that casein protein also contains various bioactive peptides, which have various health benefits that range from acting as an antimicrobial to providing immune support.
However, because researchers found that whey provides a better rate of protein synthesis than micellar protein alone in both young and older men, we opted for this blend of casein and whey rather than a 100% casein blend. We also picked it because JKP is extremely transparent about their protein quality, and has released their heavy metals testing so you can feel confident in purchasing their products.
Mass Gainer By Transparent Labs
Mass Gainer by Transparent Labs is what all protein powders for muscle building should be.
Transparent Labs is a well-known supplement company that time and again produces excellent results, and the Mass Gainer is no exception. The purity of protein, added nutrients, and a reasonable price tag makes it the best protein powder for building muscle, bar none.
You wont have to buy several protein powders to get what youre looking for. ProteinSeries Mass Gainer has everything- 750 calories packed with a large 53g of protein, 109g of carbs per serving, 12g fat for serious muscle building. The whey protein is super high quality and is sourced from 100% grass-fed cows in New Zealand and they use sweet potato, oats and organic tapioca for a well-rounded approach. You also get healthy MCTs and coconut milk powder for added strength and definition. On top of that this bad boy also uses creatine monohydrate, which is one of our favorite muscle and strength building supplements.
You can choose from two flavors- Chocolate and Cookies & Cream, and both taste great. Mass Gainer should be your choice, whether youre just starting out or if youre looking for a replacement to your old protein powder. The price tag is the icing on the cake, not too expensive for and the value is exceptional for a product this good.
You can also save money when you buy in bulk with this product. Buy 2 bags and you get $10 off, buy 3 bags and get $25 off.
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