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Reviewing the Top 22 Best Protein Powder Supplements for 2022

Protein is a fundamental macronutrient that promotes muscle repair and growth while also surcharging athletic performance and strength. Although eating the leanest possible cuts of meat (i.e., chicken breasts, beef, turkey, and certain fish) or vegetarian options (i.e., edamame, lentils, and tofu) may help fulfill daily requirements, nothing beats adding a protein shake from time to time. They are convenient to make and typically consist of higher protein concentrations than whole foods. This is not to say that all meals and protein sources should be replaced. Instead, we believe that having such shakes can minimize the risk of underconsumption, consequently minimizing hindrances in weight management goals.

Naturally, individuals might wonder wherein the search for the best protein powders one would have to start. As it turns out, no two protein powders are made equally, so it isn’t a straightforward process as one would assume. For this reason, our editorial team decided it would be best to eliminate any conceivable guesswork. We went as far as scavenging through thousands of protein supplements and devising a ranking system to land on what we believe are the top contenders of 2022. Notably, we found comfort in 24 options worth assessing.

The Top 24 Protein Powders of 2022

Earlier, we hinted that a ranking system helped differentiate the good from the bad. Before diving into the qualified factors, we believe providing a glimpse into our picks is most sensical. So, without any further delay, here are our top picks of best protein powders in 2022:

Vanilla Bean Paleo Protein: It is made with healthier and purer ingredients
BRF Whey Protein powder: Boost your energy naturally after working out with the best post-workout supplements
Beast Protein: Produced by the world’s most popular sports nutrition company
Protein Breakthrough: Organic plant-based protein powder that is delicious and powerful
Low Carb Four-Protein Blend: Clean ingredients sourced from nature
COR-Performance Powder: Protein source that is optimal
Tri-Protein: A delicious, simple, and premium quality product
FitFreeze Ice Cream: Dessert blend that has a silky chocolate flavor to help you lose weight
Elite Protein: Plant-based protein powder made with 100% organic ingredients
Huge Whey protein powder: One of the best protein powders designed specifically for athletes
IdealLean Protein: One of the best protein powders for women
Whey Protein Powder: 100% pure whey protein isolate to enhance whole-body protein metabolism
Plant Protein: As a plant-based protein powder, it helps repair and grow muscle
Whey+: A protein solution backed by science
Organic Protein: Supports metabolism and muscle growth
MAGNUM™: Boost your fitness with this blend of pure proteins
Muscle Fuel: It helps you gain and recover in incredible ways
Milk & Egg Protein: An exclusive protein formula with 92% milk & eggs
Protein Grass-Fed: The best plant-based diet alternative
Protein Powder: The protein powder is made with plant-based and organic ingredients
ProMix: It is one of the best protein supplements made with natural ingredients
Whey Protein Powder: Produced with 100% grass-fed cows
Collagen Whey Protein Powder: Among the top collagen protein powder brands in the US
GROW: Isolate of grass-fed whey from New Zealand

Vanilla Bean Paleo Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Amy Myers MD
Key Ingredients: Each scoop contains 110 calories, of which counts protein, carbohydrates account for 5g, total fat accounts for 1g, and sodium accounts for 160mg
Quantity Received: 30 servings
Protein Per Serving: 20 grams
Assurance: 90-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $69.97

The Vanilla Bean Paleo Protein is the best protein powder, ranking first. It is a grass-fed, pasture-raised beef-derived protein shake that embodies pure ingredients, a high profile of amino acids and collagen, creaminess, and health consciousness. Custom-formulated by Dr. Myers herself, the solution can be perceived as one that delivers a lot of benefits but without any of the hassles of making it. The unique flavors it has are Strawberries, chocolate caramel sea salt, and Cream, chocolate peanut butter, Vanilla bean, and more.

As explained by Dr. Myers, each serving is trusted to curb cravings, support optimal lean muscle mass, and is free from any inflammation-causing components found in several protein shakes.

BRF Whey Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Wolfson Brands (UK) Limited
Key Ingredients: Protein from grass-fed cows, critical BCAA’s, Vitamin C, Selenium, and others
Quantity Received: 12 servings
Protein Per Serving: 28 grams
Assurance: 60-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $59.95

The Battle-Ready Fuel (BRF) Whey Protein, also referred to as “Military Whey,” delivers 90% whey protein isolate without any fillers, preservatives, or other components that may deteriorate the quality of protein itself. Why consider whey isolate? Isolate is generally preferred because it provides more protein and contains less lactose and fat. If the goal is to build muscles, promote maximum recovery, and gain lean weight, such a source is superior to whey concentrate. The BRF Whey Protein powder encompasses more protein and less than 1g of sugar and fat, respectively, offered in triple chocolate flavor with natural cocoa.

Beast Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Beast Sports
Key Ingredients: Each serving of this best protein powder contains high-quality protein that combines both fast- and slow-digesting types, ensures a sustained release of amino acids, and includes an added enzyme blend
Quantity Received: 52 servings
Protein Per Serving: 25 grams
Assurance: 60-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $44

The team at Beast Sports insists that the amount of muscle built depends on two crucial factors, i.e., training and recovery. What is the point of spending hours at the gym if our muscles aren’t undergoing critical recovery phases right? And so, Beast Protein took form as the best protein powder supplement that provides the ultimate blended protein essential for rebuilding and repairing torn down muscle fibers.

Beast Protein might be one of the best protein powders for people wanting a system that supports strong bones, reduces hunger, increases strength, lowers blood pressure, boosts the metabolism, and increases the lean body.

Protein Breakthrough

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Supplement Details
Company: BiOptimizers
Key Ingredients: Delivering 230 calories per serving, individuals can anticipate the equivalent of 7g of fat, 21g of carbohydrates, 67mg of calcium, 8mg of iron, 420mg of sodium, and 414mg of potassium
Quantity Received: 16 servings
Protein Per Serving: 23 grams
Assurance: 365-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $62

Protein Breakthrough is touted as an organic, plant-based, gluten-free, low-glycemic, high-protein meal replacement that can support lean muscle through pea, hemp, and pumpkin seed proteins. Ingesting this meal replacement is also believed to lower net calories with protein because the “body uses 30% of the protein calories it ingests through the digestive process.”

At first glance, the calories may seem alarming, but it is important to note that this isn’t a protein powder; it is a meal replacement. Anything lower than this will leave consumers hungry on several occasions. If one decides to treat Protein Breakthrough as a snack, one might be ideal instead of two scoops.

Low Carb Four-Protein Blend

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Supplement Details
Company: BioTRUST
Key Ingredients: With only 150 calories constituting 4g of net carbs per serving, and protein, this shake exemplifies gut-friendly prebiotics, protein-digesting enzymes, healthy digestion, and protein absorption, all while being artificial sweeteners-free and gluten-free
Quantity Received: 14 servings
Protein Per Serving: 24 grams
Assurance: 60-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $34

BioTRUST strongly believes that their Low Carb Four-Protein Blend is the best low-carb powder out there. Having carefully employed cold-processing, the team affirms that the result is an undenatured, bioactive protein source derived from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows.

If building lean muscle, recovering from exercise, improving strength, and attaining healthy muscle function are part of one’s goals, BioTRUST recommends taking this best protein powder blend.

COR-Performance Powder

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Supplement Details
Company: Cellucor
Key Ingredients: Each serving contains 120 calories, reflecting fast-acting whey protein concentrate and digestive enzymes to reach all protein needs within the day
Quantity Received: 14 servings
Protein Per Serving: 24 grams
Assurance: NA
Starting Price: $59.99

COR-Performance Whey Isolate Protein Powder is an optimal protein source that helps consumers maintain lean muscles, replenishes nutrients after a workout, and provides a guilt-free option for people with a sweet tooth. This best protein powder is desirable because it can be ingested as a snack or meal replacement and treated as a food ingredient in other recipes. Currently offered in molten chocolate and whipped vanilla flavors, COR-Performance Powder is also low in fat and carbohydrates – permitting different dieters a chance at a flexible source of protein.

Whether individuals plan to build muscle, lose weight, or improve sports performance, this team welcomes all with open arms to feel this gluten-free and organic protein powder!

Tri-Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: CrazyBulk
Key Ingredients: Six protein sources: Isolate, Concentrate, Micellar Casein Protein, Milk Protein Isolate, Hydrolysate, and Calcium Caseinate, and others
Quantity Received: One KG
Protein Per Serving: 21 grams
Assurance: 60-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $55.99

Tri-Protein is the best casein protein powder to manage your protein intake. It has been designed to release six protein sources in three phases. This has been done to guarantee maximum bodily absorption, fuelled muscles, and satiety. Additionally, the likes of DigeZyme® and Cocoa Powder have been included to reduce pain and tenderness and enhance one’s taste buds, respectively.

Regarding our reasoning for including Crazy Bulk in our top list, the best protein powder company all starts with their mission of creating legal steroid alternatives products. Simply put, individuals will neither get false hope from them nor will be tricked into believing that there’s a shortcut to wellness!

FitFreeze Ice Cream

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Supplement Details
Company: FITera Nutrition
Key Ingredients: Each serving contains 150 calories, of which total fat is 4.5g, total carbohydrates amount to 17g, dietary fiber amounts to 7g, sugar amounts to 6g, and whey protein concentrate
Quantity Received: 15 servings
Protein Per Serving: 15 grams
Assurance: 100% satisfaction guarantee
Starting Price: $10

Regardless of whether the goal involves weight gain or loss, the one concern that typically arises is food restriction. Although it takes time to ditch favorites deemed too sweet or unhealthy, why are we asked to drop them entirely? This is the question that the FITera Nutrition team asked themselves before creating their FitFreeze Ice Cream.

This innovative and best protein powder take on ice cream carries no trans-fat, artificial sweeteners and flavors, or preservatives.

Elite Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Green Regimen
Key Ingredients: Each serving contains completely organic plant-based proteins and an in-depth amino acid profile, 4g of fiber and digestive enzymes, and essential phytonutrient dense greens, minerals, and antioxidants
Quantity Received: 30 servings
Protein Per Serving: 25 grams
Assurance: NA
Starting Price: $52.99

One of the best protein powders in lost, Elite Protein rejoices in the power that plant-based nutrition can have on the body. Founder of Green Regimen, Tyshawn, knew he produced the best of the best when she was fully content with the texture, taste, and nutritious nature of his smoothies.

The reasons why Elite Protein is used to build and tone muscles with faster recovery can be taken as a meal replacement or help eliminate stomach irritation and boost digestive function. Another factor worth mentioning is their heavy metal testing done on a batch-by-batch basis.

Huge Whey

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Supplement Details
Company: Huge Supplements
Key Ingredients: By combining the likes of whey protein concentrate and isolate, cocoa powder, natural and artificial flavors, and select digestive enzymes, the team at Huge Supplements managed to create a shake that consists of 120 calories, 2g of fat, 2.5g of carbohydrates and 90mg of sodium among other electrolytes
Quantity Received: 30 servings
Protein Per Serving: 23 grams
Assurance: NA
Starting Price: $39.95

Offered in cookies and cream or chocolate peanut butter flavors, Huge Whey is one of the best protein powders designed with the hopes of supporting athletes in need of a clean source of protein.

Established in 2019, Huge Supplements insists that they only sell high-quality, potent, and well-formulated bodybuilding supplements “that can actually help you.” This company is still relatively new to the industry; however, they are convinced that they can be differentiated from many protein powders. For starters, their goal was to serve serious athletes meaning that they had to create proper formulas backed by science. Extensive testing and research have also been considered so that significant effects are felt.

IdealLean Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: IdealFit
Key Ingredients: Each serving of this best protein powder comes with 110 calories, of which makes up protein, and 1.5g reflects fat
Quantity Received: 30 servings
Protein Per Serving: 20 grams
Assurance: A complete satisfaction guarantee
Starting Price: $29.99

The IdealLean Protein shake has been created to support women that “play hard and never quit.” Sometimes the supplements industry forgets to factor in women and their bodily needs, and the frustration stemming from this exclusion naturally led the IdealFit team to step in. The union between natural and artificial flavors is what led IdealFit to launch the supplement in a smooth blending and tasting formulas (i.e., chocolate peanut butter, fruity cereal, marshmallow cereal, chocolate brownie, birthday cake, French vanilla, cookies and cream, spiced pumpkin, caramel mocha, cold brew, mint chocolate, etc.). Reviews from verified purchases speak mountains, as most women expressed admiration for the IdealFit take on protein powders.

Whey Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Ladder
Key Ingredients: The whey protein supplement contains 130 calories split between 1g of fat, 6g of carbohydrates, 2g of fiber, protein, a series of vitamins and minerals, and a probiotics blend (24mg or 2 billion CFUs) per serving
Quantity Received: Varied
Protein Per Serving: 26 grams
Assurance: 30-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $15.95

Ladder is the result of LeBron James, his trainer, Mike Mancias, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Seeing that two gurus in their respective sports fields have joined forces only means one thing: it’s finally time to launch a brand that offers both clean and effective solutions for athletes. Having Arnold on board this project is a big deal, as no one is likely to have mustered a deep knowledge of sports nutrition like him. When asked by LeBron what the brand should represent, Arnold was quick to point out “the need for a certified, trusted line of premium supplements that could not only be used by elite athletes but also be available to the public.”

Hence, Ladder prides itself on developing foundational supplements that focus on taste, performance, and quality.

Plant Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Ladder
Key Ingredients: The organic protein powder has 9g of essential amino acids, 4.5g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and 2 billion CFUs of probiotics
Quantity Received: Varied
Protein Per Serving: 21 grams
Assurance: 30-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $15.95

To ensure that vegans have a protein supplement of their own, the team at Ladder introduced Plant Protein. This best vegan protein powder rejoices the effects of vegan pea protein and pumpkin seeds, and essential probiotics on muscles, fat loss, and performance. More specifically, each serving of this best protein powder is trusted to deliver the body with fundamental nutrients that promote reparation, recovery, and a bounce-back like never before. Like the Whey Protein, this one is also offered in classic vanilla or chocolate flavors.

Whey+

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Supplement Details
Company: Legion
Key Ingredients: Each serving contains 120 calories, of which 22g makes up protein, 2g makes up carbohydrates, 1.5g makes up fat, and 5.6g makes up BCAAs
Quantity Received: 30 servings
Protein Per Serving: 22 grams
Assurance: NA
Starting Price: $39.99

Whey+ is a 100% natural and best protein powder made with milk from sustainable dairy farms in Ireland. It is also lactose-free, meaning that issues surrounding indigestion, stomach aches, and gassiness are unlikely to occur. Additionally, unwanted factors such as added sugars and artificial ingredients have been completely avoided.

The team made this best protein powder after selecting the ingredients backed by peer-reviewed scientific literature, developed solutions that offer good value per serving, delivered clinically effective doses, and introduced honest marketing. Interestingly, Legion has both a scientific review board and a scientific advisory board, which depicts their commitment.

Organic Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Live Conscious
Key Ingredients: With just 70 calories per scoop (either purchased in comic cocoa or vanilla bean flavors), individuals can anticipate consuming nine essential amino acids, 0.5g of fat, and 2g of carbohydrates, allowing those on a low-carbohydrate diet to reap its benefits
Quantity Received: 20 servings
Protein Per Serving: 15 grams
Assurance: 365-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $42.99

Live Conscious decided to go all organic and plant-based with their Organic Protein, which encompasses 15g of protein per serving, potentially aiding muscle and metabolic functions. Their unique take on a protein should be admired, as it brings together the likes of a pea, rice, sacha inchi, and pumpkin proteins.

Regarding Live Conscious, they “promise to remain curious in creating traditionally sourced, clinically proven offers to balance your mind, body, and spirit in the modern world.” Besides their mantra and promise, what drew us to this team is the importance placed on manufacturing and lab testing, which many best protein powders lack.

MAGNUM™

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Supplement Details
Company: MTN OPS
Key Ingredients: Whey protein, 1.5g of L-glutamine, 5g of BCAA, and others
Quantity Received: 30 servings
Protein Per Serving: 23 grams
Assurance: 30-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $44.95

One of the best protein powders, MAGNUM™, consists of high-quality ingredients which are trusted to feed the muscles, help reach satiety, and fuel lean muscle mass. Because of the cold-processed nature of the included protein, individuals are supposedly provided with a solution that increases absorption for optimal results. Not only does it contain proteins and essential minerals, but the makers ensured that MAGNUM™ is both low-glycemic and merely reflects natural sweeteners.

Muscle Fuel

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Supplement Details
Company: NSP Nutrition
Key Ingredients: Nutritionally, each serving contains 130 calories, of which 2g accounts for fat, 3g accounts for carbohydrates, and protein
Quantity Received: 28 servings
Protein Per Serving: 24 grams
Assurance: 30-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $34.99

Former professional bodybuilder Vince Gironda founded NSP Nutrition in 1972 to produce original formulations using Golden Era greats. Since its inception, pro bodybuilders, world-class athletes, and fitness enthusiasts have relied on NSP Nutrition; that’s close to 45 years now!

The best whey protein powder, Muscle Fuel, delivers a whey isolate blend and concentrates proteins and papain and protease enzymes for maximum protein absorption and BCAAs (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine). The immediate flooding of amino acids within the muscles makes this solution ideal right after a workout. Usually, sodium is exceptionally high in supplements, but that’s far from the case here, as Muscle Fuel sits at about 130mg.

Milk & Egg Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: NSP Nutrition
Key Ingredients: Each serving contains 120 calories, of which 1g accounts for fat, 2g accounts for carbohydrates, and egg and milk protein
Quantity Received: 28 servings
Protein Per Serving: 26g proteins
Assurance: 30-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $49.97

Brought to us yet again by legendary bodybuilder Vince Gironda’s experiences, we now have a protein supplement called Milk & Egg Protein. The team perceives this solution as one that can build muscle without gaining body fat, melt away belly fat by boosting the metabolism, slow the effects of aging by preventing muscle loss, achieve stellar definition by eliminating hunger and cravings, stabilize blood sugar levels, and halt muscle protein breakdown. Offered in cherry almond, vanilla, or chocolate flavors, this supplement is said to be formulated with slow-acting proteins – providing the body with a time-released steady stream of amino acids.

Protein Grass Fed

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Supplement Details
Company: Onnit
Key Ingredients: Each serving contains 110 calories, with protein and 3g of carbohydrates
Quantity Received: 30-day serving
Protein Per Serving: 20 grams
Assurance: 90-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $59.95

Onnit Protein Grass-Fed contains whey isolate protein derived from grass-fed cows. Interestingly, these cows are based in New Zealand and are known for their ability to graze pastures year-round while largely avoiding the need for feed supplements. What does this all mean? The dietary protein derived from these cows embodies humane treatment, feedlots-free growth, gluten-free, lactose, and sugar-free solution that makes digestion possible. That said, two flavors are up for grabs, either Mexican chocolate or vanilla, making it the delicious as well as the best whey protein powder on the list.

Orgain Organic Protein Powder

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Supplement Details
Company: Orgain
Key Ingredients: A plant-based protein solution that contains 150 calories equipped with vegan protein powder, 6g of prebiotics and fibers, and a complete amino acid profile free from sugar
Quantity Received: 10 servings
Protein Per Serving: 21 grams
Assurance: NA
Starting Price: $20.99

Orgain organic protein powder was created by Dr. Andrew Abraham, an integrative medicine specialist, cancer survivor, and self-proclaimed kitchen chemist.

The Plant-based protein powder flavors include peanut butter, chocolate caramel sea salt, vanilla horchata, chocolate, pumpkin spice, Creamy Chocolate Fudge, and chocolate coconut. Individuals can expect a lot from the Orgain Protein Powder. Likewise, this solution has been certified USDA Organic and Plant-Based, of course.

ProMix

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Supplement Details
Company: ProMix Nutrition
Key Ingredients: Protein along with 6.8g of BCAAs, and 14.2g of essential amino acids – all derived from grass-fed cows
Quantity Received: 54 servings
Protein Per Serving: 30 grams of protein per scoop
Assurance: 90-day money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $44.99

ProMix is a whey isolate protein powder best used for building muscle and improving recovery. Each bottle has supposedly undergone micro-filtering to reduce lactose content to under 1g for fast, easy digestion. Flavor-wise, individuals can choose between classic chocolate or unflavored, which is yet another thing to see. Usually, so much emphasis is placed on flavoring that its true nature is rarely considered.

Regarding the ProMix Nutrition team, no other company can match their level of transparency. From their website alone, we gathered their solutions have undergone testing; 97% of their products embody plastic-free packaging, 94% of their ingredients are sourced from North America, and 1% of their sales are donated to 1% for the Planet.

Whey Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Transparent Labs
Key Ingredients: The formula reflects grass-fed cows, 0.5g of fat, 1g of carbohydrates, and protein, totaling 120 calories
Quantity Received: 30-day servings
Protein Per Serving: 28 grams of protein per serve
Assurance: NA
Starting Price: $59

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate supplement is supposedly the first product in their ProteinSeries that can aid with building muscles and losing weight, whatever the goal may be. As a company, the team is dedicated to providing science-backed products and formulations, and hence, they rely heavily on their advisory board for clean and unbiased solutions. The board members range in designation, some of whom have MPH, Ph.D., RECP, CSCS, RD, M.S., CISSN, and CNC behind their names.

All products include certificates of analysis that can be accessed on their official website.

Collagen Whey Protein

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Supplement Details
Company: Vital Proteins
Key Ingredients: Individuals will be getting a combination of collagens and grass-fed whey protein, natural sources of hyaluronic acid, and probiotics, totaling 130 calories per serving
Quantity Received: 30 servings
Protein Per Serving: 25 grams of protein per scoop
Assurance: NA
Starting Price: $44

Collagen Whey Protein by Vital Proteins is the best collagen protein powder. It is perfect for anyone wanting to increase athletic performance, improve recovery and achieve a lean body. It has been deemed the best collagen protein powder formula that can either be purchased in chocolate or vanilla flavors. Not only are we talking muscle fuel, but also digestion and joints and bones fuels! Why are Vital Proteins so set on including collagen in all their products? As explained by the team, “collagen is the glue that holds everything together. As we age, production declines.” Therefore, the team sees vital proteins collagen peptides as a product that strengthens the glue described above while celebrating wellness.

GROW

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Supplement Details
Company: Xwerks
Key Ingredients: Each serving is said to deliver totally pure, micro-filtered protein, over 6g of BCAAs, 18 types of amino acids, vitamins (A, C, and D), sodium, magnesium, iron, and as little as 2g of carbohydrates and fats
Quantity Received: 30 scoops
Protein Per Serving: 25 grams of protein per serving
Assurance: 100% money-back guarantee
Starting Price: $49

Last but not least, we have the team at Xwerks, who devised a formula called GROW. GROW offers 100% New Zealand grass-fed whey protein isolate and enhances performance and recovery rates. Whether individuals are looking for muscle preparation and growth, a strengthened immune system, a bloat-free solution, or merely hoping to fuel the body with antioxidants, GROW is a trusted and budget protein powder to provide it all.

The Ranking Process That Led Us to Our The Top Protein Powders

The solutions mentioned above were carefully selected using a ranking system devised by our editorial team. A lot of time was invested in ensuring that the fundamentals were covered for each one of them. What were we particularly interested in seeing? Together, members of our team arrived at a consensus regarding:

Company Background & Transparency

To choose a protein powder, we wanted to ensure that the makers prioritize consumer wellness and are completely transparent and honest about the involved processes. Seeing how such supplements might replace whole food protein sources, it had to meet the necessary marks. For instance, if the makers fail to provide insight into the source of protein and dosage per serving, they are immediately crossed off our list. Additionally, failing to release a supplement’s fact outlining the fine details was a red flag that we simply couldn’t ignore.

Conventional & Unconventional Types of Protein

Most protein powders types are whey isolate, concentrate, hydrolysate, and at times, the combination of milk and eggs. However, people who have a milk allergy are likely to experience allergic reactions to whey, leading to unwanted side effects, including stomach pains, cramps, and nausea, among others. Therefore, we didn’t restrict our search to merely milk protein isolate options. So, for people hoping to familiarize themselves with plant-based protein powders, we were open to solutions that contain brown rice, pea, soy, sacha inchi, and hemp proteins, among several others.

Carbohydrates, Fat & Sugar Contents

Regardless of what one’s weight management goal and reason for protein supplementation may be, our search focused on high protein content while ensuring that the likes of carbohydrates, fat, and sugar are capped at a certain percentage. A piece by Men’s Health referenced Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D., R.D.N, who explained that carbohydrates increase insulin action, promoting amino acid absorption and enhancing muscle growth [3].

Flavor Profiles

Whether it’s vegan or animal-based protein powders, we considered the flavor profiles of each. Unflavored protein powder is trusted to taste like light powdered milk, at least in the case of whey protein. If one’s go-to is to add water, then you have something that resembles watered-down milk. This might not sit well with everyone; therefore, we wanted to ensure that at least basic flavors were available during our search.

Fulfillment of Diverse Goals

When reviewing a supplement, and the claims made by the makers, we wanted to see solutions that can tend to diverse goals. For instance, if a protein powder can assist in driving weight loss results for some and weight gain for others, we were sure to be drawn to it. Additionally, a solution should promote muscle growth, assist muscle recovery, enhance athletic performance and strength, provide added nutrition for healthy hormones and enzymic production, etc.

Money-Back Guarantees

Money-back guarantees were one of the last factors that helped to differentiate between protein powders that were almost identical in the formula, quality, and potency among the other listed factors in our ranking system. Many protein powders not clear about their return policy are excluded from this list.

Value for Price

If a supplement costs $70 and at least one of the above points has been satisfied, the purchase is perceived as highly reasonable. However, in what world would investing $70 in a protein powder that only fulfills one factor be a sensical action? Ultimately, the idea that high prices imply more perks has been shut down by society.

What are the Main Types of Protein?

Starting with whey protein, it is a by-product that stems from creating cheese. It commences as cow’s milk, and upon the addition of enzymes, heat and other crucial components will have formed, forcing the liquid nature of milk to witness traces of solids. In doing so, the separation between the duo takes place. The remaining liquid undergoes processing to retain its protein content. The three different types of protein reflect ongoing processing [5]. For instance:

Whey Isolate

Whey isolate is trusted to contain over 90% of highly concentrated protein, as it is primarily processed to remove as much fat, sugars (i.e., lactose), and carbohydrates as possible. For people in search of a pure source of protein, isolate is the one to stick by. Due to the intense nature of the processing, isolate – though it is highly potent – carries few beneficial nutrients [6].

Whey Concentrate

Next, we have whey concentration, which contains anywhere between 70 and 80% of protein while also encompassing traces of lactose and fat. Due to these additions, whey concentrate is said to taste the best. Compared to isolate, concentrate is also slower-digesting and ensures satiety over more extended periods. This is trusted to help those aiming for weight loss at a cheaper cost.

Pea Protein

Pea protein is extracted from yellow peas and is one of the popular plant-based sources we’ve come across. The primary benefit of pea is that it does not contain any common allergens, i.e., milk, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish, wheat, shellfish, or soybeans – making it very adaptable for various dietary restrictions. Pea protein is supposed to have advantageous properties including its ability to deliver all nine essential amino acids, a rich source of iron, possible lowering in blood pressure and cholesterol, and healthy heart function, to name a few [8].

Brown Rice Protein

Brown rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates, but it is equally potent as a protein source. The best rice protein powder formula can be game-changing. The Onnit team explained that brown rice protein powder contains over 5g of protein per cup, which is why it has been making an appearance in most organic plant-based protein powders. An enzyme is typically introduced to separate the former from carbohydrates to extract as much protein as possible. Why go brown rice? Well, it turns out that it is a medium-digesting protein, absorbs more slowly than whey (but faster than casein protein powder), and can help build muscles [9].

Egg white protein powder

Egg white protein powder is a food supplement that is made from egg whites. Unlike other protein powders, it has a high concentration of protein and is low in fat, which makes it an ideal source of healthy proteins for people who are on a diet or have dietary restrictions.

Hemp Protein

Aside from brown rice, hemp protein powder is celebrated as one of the most popular nutritional supplements athletes use, and bodybuilders write one source. Why is it an important one? Because it is the best hemp protein powder is the complete source of protein and has been compared on the same plane field as egg whites and soy. That said, it is essential to note that hemp protein powder, as compared to other protein powders, is often associated with an earthy, nutty, or grassy taste and has been criticized for its gritty texture [10].

The Scientific Narrative: Are Protein Powders Helpful?

Protein powders have been a hot topic of discussion for some time now, as there appears to be a clear divide between supporters and opponents. To be more precise, the former group of people usually tout protein powders as the ultimate way for inducing muscle recovery and increasing muscle mass. However, the latter group generally believes that protein powders are unnecessary and that whole food can consume many macronutrients. But where do we stand in terms of scientific evidence? This is precisely what our editorial team was curious to know, and here’s what we discovered in the process:

A 2013 study that looked at the effect of whey protein supplementation and carbohydrates on long-term resistance training decided to split previously untrained men into one of three groups: whey protein (n = 22), isocaloric carbohydrates (n = 21), and a protein plus carbohydrates combo (n = 25). Within these groups, participants were then split between two whole-body 12-week resistance training programs. The researchers found that whey protein alone did not have a significant effect on muscle size or strength when ingested two to three times a week, “however, whey proteins may increase abdominal fat loss and relative fat-free mass adaptations in response to resistance training when compared to fast-acting carbohydrates [13].”

Next, we have a review of protein hydrolysates in sports nutrition that referenced an interesting animal-based study. In particular, the researchers compared the effects of different proteins on post-exercise glycogen resynthesis. After the glycogen-depleting exercise, male Sprague-Dawley rats were given glucose alone, glucose with whey, glucose plus whey hydrolysate, glucose plus casein hydrolysate, or glucose plus BCAAs. By the end, it was the group that took whey protein hydrolysate that demonstrated “significant increases in skeletal muscle glycogen levels compared with other protein sources of BCAA,” adding that this type of protein can further enhance “the effect of carbohydrate ingestion on post-exercise muscle glycogen resynthesis [14].”

A 2019 study looked at the effects of whey and pea protein powder supplements on physiological adaptations following eight weeks of high-intensity functional training (HIFT). A sample of eight men and seven women were considered, where participants ingested either one of the protein sources.

It turns out that both groups experienced increased strength in 1-repetition maximum for back squat and deadlift; however, no effect was found for body composition, muscle thickness, isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) rate of force development, or performance in workouts. This led the researchers to conclude “that ingestion of whey and pea protein powder produce similar outcomes [15].” Again, the sample size was of concern to us, but this is a great preliminary study that warrants further investigation!

Another preliminary study that crossed our path involves the effect of brown rice protein on digestibility and nutrient balance in young men on low protein diets. Five healthy men followed diets that mainly consisted of polished rice for 14 days and brown rice for eight. Both diets contained 0.5g of protein per kg of bodyweight. In the end, nitrogen balance was negative on both diets, but phosphorus was significantly negative on brown rice’s side. The researchers argued that “brown rice reduced protein digestibility and nitrogen balance [16].”

Frequently Asked Questions About Protein Powders

Q: What is protein?

A: Protein is known as a type of macronutrient essential for building muscle mass. However, the term implies a sizable complex molecule found throughout the body (i.e., muscles, bones, skin, hair, and within every conceivable tissue).

Q: What is whey protein isolate, and how is it beneficial?

Whey protein isolate is a type of whey protein that has been processed to be free of fat and lactose. This means that it can be used in a variety of recipes, including smoothies, shakes, baking, and cooking.

The benefits of whey protein isolate are:

  • It provides an excellent source of complete proteins.
  • It is gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
  • It is high in bioavailable amino acids, which help promote muscle growth and repair tissue.

Q: Why is protein intake so critical for wellness?

A: One source explained that protein plays several critical roles in the body, the primary one being its effect on cells. Specifically, protein is needed to help develop and maintain body tissues and organs’ structure, function, and regulation. Twenty different amino acids can be combined to make a protein, each union resulting in a unique protein structure [19].

Q: What is the daily recommendation for protein intake?

A: According to the Dietary Reference, a sedentary adult should take 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight, amounting to roughly 56g of protein per day for men. As for the average woman, the daily dose comes out to about 46g [20].

Q: What is protein powder?

A: Protein powder can be viewed as a shake that embodies essential amino acids, appropriate doses of protein, and additional nutrients. The three common ones include whey, soy, and casein protein – all of which are also complete. The choice between these three sources largely depends on one’s lifestyle choices and preferences.

Q: What is the difference between protein powder and branch-chained amino acids?

A: Both protein powder and BCAAs are similar molecularly explained by one source; however, they are different in terms of composition. For instance, protein can contain any combination of 20 amino acids, whereas BCAAs only constitute three essential amino acids. If anything, BCAAs are proteins but in amino acid form [21].

Q: What does it mean when a protein source is complete versus incomplete?

A: A complete protein is when all nine essential amino acids are present. By essential, we mean those that the body cannot produce. That said, incomplete proteins lack the essentials. Some examples include nuts and seeds, whole grains, vegetables, and certain legumes [22].

Q: What are the perceived dangers of taking protein powder?

A: Protein powders may contain added sugars, calories, or even toxic chemicals. Given that the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements, it is entirely up to the manufacturer to evaluate safety and labeling. Additionally, scientific evidence is quite mixed. Hence, individuals need to review our selected picks and ranking systems before proceeding [26].

Q: Do protein powders contain any allergens?

A: It depends on the type of protein considered. In general, any of the common eight allergens can be expected based on the source. Since whey is milk protein, this is an allergen to consider. Likewise, soy protein contains soy, which is classified as an allergen as well.

Q: How much protein powder should I take?

There is no such thing as an optimal amount of protein powder to take. The key factor is your goal and how much protein you need in order to achieve it. There is no hard and fast rule to consume protein powder.

Q: Is protein powder a steroid?

A: No, protein powder is not a steroid.

Q: Can lactose-intolerant people have whey protein?

A: Lactose-intolerant people can have whey protein because the excess amount of processing lowers lactose levels. To be on the safe side, though, moderate uses are recommended, and in the event of side effects, it should be immediately halted.

Q: Can women take protein powders?

A: Yes, it is a myth that protein powders will lead to bulking in women. Certain protein powders are specially designed for women to work efficiently.

Q: If whey concentrate contains roughly 80% of protein, what about the rest?

A: The remaining 20% of whey concentrate protein consists of carbohydrates, fats, and milk sugars.

Q: Are grass-fed protein powders genuinely safe?

A: Grass-fed protein is healthier because it contains a richer source of omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and vitamin E. Another source argued that it is optimized for nutrient quality, and thus, can be suitable for everyone [27, 28].

Q: Do protein powders come with an expiry date?

A: Protein powders are believed to have a shelf life of nine to 19 months, but this may vary. Some manufacturers explicitly state that the expiration date is two years after production (especially if additives are included) [29].

The 24 High-Quality Protein Powders of 2022 Final Verdict

Protein is fundamental for our very existence, as our bodies are known to produce them to some level naturally. As with anything, we must seek healthy alternative sources that meet the daily recommendations. While there are several whole foods enriched with protein, having these shakes can drive results.

To get started, we encourage everyone to take the time to reflect on the ranking system of the best protein powders, which can be customized as needed. Furthermore, it is always a good first step to explore the endless options found in this very guide. On every occasion, our editorial team’s goal isn’t to merely showcase impressive solutions. At large, we want everyone to be equipped with knowledge on product selection and health-conscious decision-making. Until we update this guide again, we trust that consumers will resonate with at least one of the top 24 protein powder picks of 2022!

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