Top Best 7 Protein Powders (2023) Most Effective Brands Reviewed
Protein is made of amino acids and is found in all living things. Amino acids are formed by combining sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. Research has repeatedly shown that it is an essential macronutrient because it provides you with everything your body needs to survive and thrive.
Since protein is found in all living things, humans have it too. Protein plays a significant role in creating and maintaining cells, as well as carrying out several functions, including:
- Muscle building
- Enzyme creation
- Hormone production
- Tissue repair
- Carrying oxygen through the bloodstream
As you can see, protein is essential for your overall health and well-being. While you can get the protein you need through your diet, many people are turning to protein powders to increase their protein consumption. Supplementation helps improve muscle mass, increase stamina and strength, and help with weight management.
Many protein powder manufacturers make big promises. Unfortunately, many of them do not live up to those promises. Whether you’re a serious athlete or you want to improve your health by increasing your protein intake, there’s a lot that you need to know about protein supplementation.
This article will teach you what you need to know about protein powders, including the various types of protein and the benefits associated with protein supplementation. Then, we’ll go over the top 7 protein powders of 2023 and explain the factors we used to create this list.
If you’re interested in adding a protein powder to your routine, we encourage you to start with one from this list. Take your time and experiment with several different ones until you find the one you love.
Below is a quick view of the top protein powders:
- XWERKS Grow
- Steel Supplements VEG-PRO
- Orgain Organic Plant Protein
- Transparent Labs 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein
- Ladder Whey Protein
- CrazyNutrition 100% Tri-Protein
- Ghost Lifestyle Whey
Protein Powder Benefits
Research has proven that your body requires protein to maintain the health of your skin, bones, and muscles. While you can get the protein you need through your diet, there are many benefits associated with protein powder supplementation, including:
- Improving nutrition
- Supporting recovery following a workout
- Increasing muscle mass
- Managing weight
Below, we’ll take a closer look at each one of these:
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the recommended daily protein intake for adults is 56 grams for males and 46 grams for females.
As we have mentioned, you should be able to get enough protein in your diet to reach this RDI. Unfortunately, many things can get in the way of achieving this goal- which is when a protein powder may be beneficial.
That being said, this RDI is for the average person. If you are a serious athlete or have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, you may need to increase the amount of protein you consume.
Supporting Recovery Following a Workout
One of the primary reasons protein powder is so popular among athletes is that it helps reduce muscle soreness that often follows a workout. It does this by facilitating the repair of damaged muscles/tissues. Research shows that protein powders speed up muscle protein synthesis, reducing damage and improving performance.
Increasing Muscle Mass
Health experts, serious athletes, bodybuilders, and workout enthusiasts agree that protein powders can increase muscle mass- mainly when used alongside a workout routine.
In fact, in 2018, researchers took the time to examine the results of 49 studies that indicated protein supplementation and resistance training increased the size and muscle strength.
The studies involved both males and females, with similar results in both populations. It is important to note that age does play a factor. Protein needs increase with age- which means more protein is needed to get the same results. However, the benefits stay about the same once you reach 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Protein fills you up quicker and leaves you feeling fuller for a more extended period- whether you get it from whole foods or supplementation. Therefore, when you include protein in your meals, you don’t eat as much at once, and you don’t snack as much between meals. Thus, increasing your protein consumption can help if you are trying to lose or maintain your current weight.
A 2017 study involving overweight and obese participants indicated that supplementing with whey protein reduced overall body weight and the risk of cardiovascular disease and problems with cholesterol and blood pressure.
The Top 7 Protein Powders for 2023
There are lots of protein powders on the market today. The average person can quickly become overwhelmed with all of the options. We’ve spent time researching and creating a list of what we feel are the top 7 protein powders.
Many of these are whey protein, which is the most popular type. However, there are a few plant-based options for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
If you are interested in a protein powder, we encourage you to use the following:
The number one protein powder on our list is XWERKS Grow. This is a whey isolate from milk sourced from grass-fed dairy cows raised in New Zealand. This powder is almost 100% pure protein because it has been through advanced filtration to remove fat, lactose, and carbohydrates.
Since XWERKS Grow is a whey isolate, it’s much easier to digest. This means you don’t have to worry about bloating and gas after consuming it. Plus, it’s free from soy and gluten.
Each serving of this top-quality protein powder contains 25 grams of protein and 6 grams of BCAAs, as well as zero fat and carbs. It is available in 4 flavors: vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, and strawberry.
Many protein powders have a chalky texture and leave a strange aftertaste. However, this isn’t the case with XWERKS Grow. Most people find it to be quite pleasant.
Product Name: XWERKS Grow
Type of Protein: Whey isolate
Nutrition Information: 25 grams protein, 0 fat, 0 carbs, 6 grams BCAAs
Available Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Peanut Butter
Important Facts: Zero fat and carbs, Soy-free, Gluten-free, No gas/bloating
Steel Supplements VEG-PRO
Steel Supplements VEG-PRO is our list’s first dairy-free, non-GMO, vegan protein powder option. According to the manufacturer, each serving provides 20 grams of protein and all nine essential amino acids. The integrity of the amino acids is preserved because the powder is produced at low temperatures with zero carriers or fillers.
As a general rule, plant-based protein powders are lower in fat and calories, which means they are best at helping with weight management. In addition, they are high in fiber, which helps with digestion.
In addition to being dairy-free and non-GMO, most VEG-PRO flavors are also gluten-free. The exception to this rule is the Cookies & Cream flavor. According to Steel Supplements, VEG-PRO is one of the highest-quality alternatives to dairy-based proteins.
Product Name: Steel Supplements VEG-PRO
Type of Protein: Plant-based
Nutrition Information: Nine essential amino acids
20 grams protein
Available Flavors: Vanilla Cream Pie, Hot Cocoa, Chocolate, Blueberry Muffin, Peanut Butter, Cookies & Cream, Strawberry Cheesecake, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Banana Pancakes, Snickerdoodle, Butter Pecan
Important Facts: Gluten-free (except Cookies & Cream), High fiber content, Non-GMO
Orgain Organic Plant Protein
Orgain is among the most well-known and respected names in the industry. They offer whey and plant-based protein powders, which are organic and contain superfoods. This means that you can use them as a meal replacement.
However, while they offer whey and plant-based protein powders, we have included their plant-based option as number 3 on our list. Each serving of Orgain Organic Plant Protein powder provides 21 grams of protein, 6 grams of prebiotics, and 0 sugars. It is made with clean ingredients and certified organic by the USDA.
Orgain offers several delicious flavors, as well as an unsweetened option.
Product Name: Orgain Organic Plant Protein
Type of Protein: Plant-based
Nutrition Information: 21 grams protein, 6 grams prebiotics, 0 grams sugars
Available Flavors: Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt, Vanilla Bean, Creamy Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Coconut, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Iced Coffee, Unsweetened
Important Facts: It contains vegan-sourced amino acids, Lactose-free, zero added sugars
Transparent Labs 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein
Transparent Labs 100% Whey Protein is the fourth protein supplement on our list, but the second whey isolate. This protein powder is made from milk from grass-fed dairy cows in the United States. Most health and fitness experts agree that this is one of the best protein powders because each scoop contains 88% protein. Each scoop is 32 grams, with 28 grams of protein.
In addition to 28 grams of protein, each scoop of Transparent Labs 100% Whey Protein contains up to 120 calories (based on the flavor), 1 gram of carbs, and under 1 gram of sugar.
Since this powder contains no added flavors, sweeteners, or other additives, you can be sure that you’re giving your body one of the healthiest supplements you can find.
This protein powder supplement has one of the best macronutrient profiles and price points, proving that you don’t have to spend much money to get a high-quality supplement.
Product Name: Transparent Labs 100% Whey Protein
Type of Protein: Whey isolate
Nutrition Information: 28 grams protein, 1 gram carbs, Less than 1 gram of sugar, Up to 120 calories
Available Flavors: Peanut Butter, Vanilla Peanut Butter, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Pastry, Cinnamon French Toast, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Strawberry, Mocha, Milk Chocolate
Important Facts: Gluten-free, No additives, Improves energy levels
Ladder Whey Protein
When Lebron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger discovered they could not find a top-quality protein powder to meet their specific training needs, they teamed up and founded Ladder. It is one of the industry’s newer fitness supplement brands, but it has quickly made a name for itself. Ladder also offers both whey and plant-based protein powder options. However, we have chosen their whey formula for the number five on our list.
This protein formula improves endurance, increases muscle mass, and decreases recovery time. Each serving of Ladder Whey Protein contains 26 grams of protein, 2 billion CFUs of probiotics, 7 grams BCAAs, and 14 grams of amino acids. This protein powder is available in two delicious, traditional flavors: vanilla and chocolate.
The National Sanitation Foundation, or NSF, has granted Ladder Whey Protein the coveted Certified for Sport seal. It has undergone rigorous testing, is free from banned substances, and is safe for competition.
Product Name: Ladder Whey Protein
Type of Protein: Whey isolate
Nutrition Information: 26 grams protein, 7 grams BCAAs. 2 billion CFUs probiotics
Available Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate
Important Facts: NSF Certified for Sport certification, Gluten-free, Zero artificial ingredients
CrazyNutrition 100% Tri-Protein
Number 6 on our list is CrazyNutrition 100% Tri-Protein. This company has been in the health and fitness arena long enough to become well-known, loved, and respected. We have included it on our list because research shows that it improves muscle gains and reduces the aches/pains that typically follow an intense workout.
This formula contains 21 grams of protein spread over six different types. However, instead of releasing it all at once like many other supplements on the market, it is released in 3 distinct phases. This controlled release makes it much easier for the body to absorb.
The six different types of protein found in Crazy Nutrition 100% Tri-Protein are:
- Whey protein concentrate
- Whey protein isolate
- Milk protein concentrate
- Calcium caseinate
- Whey protein hydrolysate
- Micellar Casein
This protein supplement also contains DigeZyme, a digestive enzyme that increases the absorption of the protein and decreases bloating. The flavor options are minimal, with only three available: chocolate, vanilla, or salted caramel.
Product Name: CrazyNutrition 100% Tri-Protein
Type of Protein: Six types: whey hydrolysate, whey concentrate, whey isolate, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, and milk protein concentrate
Nutrition Information: 21 grams of protein, DigeZyme
Available Flavors: Salted Caramel, Vanilla, and Chocolate
Important Facts: Improves metabolic rate, Soy-free, Non-GMO
Ghost Lifestyle Whey
Last but certainly not least, on our list of the top 7 protein powders of 2023 is Ghost Lifestyle Whey. As we researched the various products available, we discovered that many of them put a lot of thought into what should or should not be included in their formulas. However, Ghost Lifestyle Whey has made it simple. They use a 100% whey protein blend of a whey protein hydrolysate, isolate, and concentrate, along with a mix of digestive enzymes that make it easier to digest. Each serving contains 25+ grams of protein and is gluten and soy-free.
Ghost Lifestyle Whey is available in a wide variety of enjoyable flavors. These include:
- Milk Chocolate
- Cereal Milk
- Peanut Butter
- Coffee Ice Cream
Ghost Lifestyle is transparent and honest about the ingredients/dosages found in its products. They want you to see what is in their products, so you can be sure that there will never be a proprietary blend. The 25+ grams of protein is spread across three types:
- Concentrate: 10 grams
- Hydrolysate: 2.5 grams
- Isolate: 12.5 grams
Many of the protein supplements on the market are lecithinated with soy, which means those with allergies must be extra cautious. Additionally, soy has been proven to contain phytoestrogens, which decrease testosterone and increase estrogen levels. However, Ghost Lifestyle Whey is soy-free.
Product Name: Ghost Lifestyle Whey
Type of Protein: Whey protein hydrolysate, Whey protein concentrate, and whey protein isolate
Nutrition Information: 25+ grams of protein
Available Flavors: Cereal Milk (regular, fruity, cinnamon, peanut butter, and marshmallow), Coffee Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate
Important Facts: No proprietary blends, Soy-free, Gluten-free
How We Selected the Top Protein Powders
We used several factors to choose the top 7 protein powders of 2023:
About The 7 Types of Protein Powder
When we embarked on our journey to find the top 7 protein powders, we discovered many options on the market. Most of the products discussed here are whey protein-based. However, there are a couple of options for those who are vegan or vegetarian.
As you explore these options, you must remember that everyone has different health and fitness needs/goals. Therefore, there is no such thing as a “one powder fits all.” You have to evaluate your options and choose the one that fits you based on your personal needs, goals, and preferences.
Below, we’ll go over the seven most common types of protein powder you’ll encounter:
Whey protein is the most common, so 5 of the seven protein powders on our list include whey. It is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process and, for many years, was thrown out until researchers discovered that it could be used.
You will find that there are three types of whey:
- Isolate (90%+ protein, contains zero carbs, fat, or lactose)
- Concentrate (30% to 89% protein, low in fat and carbs, does contain some lactose)
- Hydrolysate (ultra-filtered, creating a “pre-digested” product that is easier for the body to digest)
Whey contains all nine essential amino acids (which your body does not produce), making it a complete protein. Many other options only have 6 of the 9- they are missing the 3 BCAAs.
Whey protein comes from milk. However, it has been processed to remove the lactose, so most people with lactose intolerance do not have any issues. Still, if you want to be on the safe side, you may want to choose a different protein source. On the other hand, if you have an allergy to dairy, you will want to avoid products containing whey.
According to health and fitness experts, whey protein can improve recovery, enhance strength, and increase muscle mass when used as a strength training regimen.
Casein protein is also sourced from dairy. When you consume casein, it turns into a gel-like substance in your stomach, slowing down digestion and keeping you feeling fuller longer. This allows more time for the amino acids to move into your muscles, reducing the rate of muscle protein degradation. Some research indicates that casein is one of the most effective proteins for improving muscle protein synthesis.
Egg protein hasn’t gotten as much attention as other options. However, it is ideal for those who prefer an animal-sourced protein but cannot consume dairy due to an allergy or sensitivity. After all, research has proven that whole eggs are a great meal, as they leave you feeling fuller longer.
Egg protein, however, is made from egg whites. This means that it is high in protein but contains zero fat. Therefore, it is essential to note that egg protein won’t give you the feeling of fullness you get from consuming whole eggs.
Like other animal-sourced proteins, egg protein contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is the second-highest source of leucine.
Research shows that soy is among the top-quality plant proteins. However, it contains phytoestrogens. It has been shown to increase estrogen and reduce testosterone when consumed in high amounts. Therefore, it should only be consumed moderately and may not be the best option for male bodybuilders.
It is also important to note that, while it does contain essential amino acids, the levels are much lower- especially leucine.
While men may want to avoid soy protein, postmenopausal women may find it beneficial. Finally, soy contains phytonutrients that may benefit older adults with a high risk of heart disease and low bone density.
Pea protein is a plant-based protein sourced from split yellow peas. Those who stick to a vegan or vegetarian diet have fallen in love with pea protein, as have those who have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy and eggs. This protein contains eight essential amino acids and is also high in fiber.
Preliminary rodent studies indicate that pea protein is absorbed by the body faster than casein by slower than whey, and satiety is comparable.
Hemp protein is among the newer option on the market. While it does come from cannabis plants, it only contains trace amounts of THC. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about getting high or testing positive on a drug screen.
Hemp is not a complete protein because it contains only some essential amino acids. However, it is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Since this is a newer protein source, much research hasn’t been dedicated to it. However, one thing is clear: this is a high-quality plant-based protein source.
Brown Rice Protein
Finally, there is brown rice protein, which has been around for some time. Unfortunately, we don’t have much information on it now, so it’s hard to determine if it’s a quality option.
Our limited research indicates that it may not be ideal for muscle growth. It is not a complete protein because it lacks lysine.
The Top 7 Protein Powders for 2023 Conclusion
As we stated, your body needs protein to survive and thrive. Most people should have little to no difficulty hitting their RDI of protein through their diet. However, there are times when this may not be the case, or you may need some extra help. This is when protein supplementation can help.
Unfortunately, many people start looking at all of the options on the market and give up because they become overwhelmed. So we researched and chose what we feel are the top 7 best protein powders of 2023.
If you want to start taking protein or if you’ve been using protein powders and want to find something new, we recommend starting with one from this list. We’ve offered five animal- and two plant-based options, so there’s something for everyone.
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