Protein

Weight loss supplements and protein supplements are two different product categories. The first is designed to supply nutrients which help you lose weight and suppress your appetite. The second is made to help individuals build muscle which means gaining or maintaining weight and at the same time shedding fat.

Many popular protein supplements are cheap, low-quality items containing about ½ protein and lots of fillers or sugars. They are high-carb products of little use to serious athletes or those who need to gain weight. The top 10 protein supplements contain high-quality protein, low carbs, and little or no sugar.

Examine the Top Ten Protein Supplements

Scientists have conducted independent studies to determine if the best protein supplements contain what containers say they contain and have come up with some alarming answers. It’s not uncommon for even the best products to be a little off in their calculations about how much protein or sugar is found inside.

There are concerns about the quality of proteins and also the presence of artificial sugars. The top 10 protein supplements do not contain aspartame, contain high levels of protein, and are low in carbohydrates and fat. Some contain large amounts of other important nutrients and most of them are available in multiple flavors.

Number 10: Garden of Life Raw Protein 

I’ll start the countdown with a vegan offering containing plant-based proteins but no soy. Flavors are vanilla, vanilla spiced chai, and chocolate plus an unflavored option. With every serving, you receive 33% of your daily protein intake, and the price is right: just $35 for 622g.

Number 9: Quest Shake Powder

Several of the flavors here sound like ice cream: peanut butter, banana cream, strawberries and cream, not to mention standard styles. A 500g pot costs around $40 and each 28g serving contains 22g of protein. Calcium is high — 25% of your daily allowance — but iron, magnesium, and fiber are low. You don’t expect a lot of fiber from a protein drink (that’s for weight loss) but there should be more iron. The blend of Whey Protein Isolate and Micellar Casein isn’t as impressive as just straight-up whey.

Number 8: Vega Sport

Here’s another vegan choice with a little more fiber than usual (6%), filled with BCAAs plus glutamine for strong immunity, and 3g of sugar per 36 serving (less than 1%). An 822g container costs around $40: good value. The sodium level is a little high at 9% but 2% carbs is good with 25g of protein per serving. That works out to 69%: not the best out there, but pretty good considering this is plant protein.

Number 7: Sun Warrior

With the addition of flavoring this is a palatable vegan choice once again made without any dairy and using Stevia to sweeten the deal. Consider trying a 500g format for just $30: not bad value and you aren’t committing to a huge canister. Sun Warrior protein powder contains all of your essential amino acids, easily digested, and will leave you feeling full with more energy. It’s only got 38% of your daily protein, but 32% of the daily recommended amount of iron which is high compared with many others.

Number 6: My Protein Impact Whey

While the addition of Sucralose results in just 1g of carbohydrates per serving, Stevia would be better. The protein content is excellent at 82%, all whey, in several chocolate flavors such as mint, caramel, or a creamy style. A 2-pound container is priced about $40: good value from 100% undenatured whey.

Number 5: Nature’s Best Zero Carb

Actually, zero-carb and low-carb options are listed so be careful: they aren’t separated into their own categories. A few flavors contain some carbohydrates but most don’t and there are lots of choices: Apple Melon; Banana Cream; even Toasted Coconut. Each serving of this 100% whey supplement contains 50g of protein and very little fat but only 6% of the iron you need. With flavors like Mango Peach and Cookies & Cream, you’re bound to want this three times a day which means your iron intake will naturally rise.

Number 4: Jay Robb’s Protein

For 25 years Jay Robb has been perfecting his product line to include assorted protein drinks and other supplements. His protein powder contains no artificial sweeteners, colorants, or flavors; no lactose, soy, or GMOs; and no sugar. It’s made from whey isolate derived from grass-fed cows. Dairy-intolerant individuals can sometimes consume this product even if they can’t usually tolerate whey. A 12-oz container is priced $23.75 in styles like Tropical Dreamsicle and Pina Colada. Jay Robb uses Stevia to sweeten his concoctions.

Number 3: MRM Natural Whey

This next product is made with micro-filtered whey and about half of the protein content consists of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) which contribute to muscle retention. Glutamine in the mix promotes the body’s natural production of good hormones for muscle building. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry varieties aren’t eye-catching, but those are the most popular flavors anyway. Buy one pound for $30 or try a 2-pound canister and save money.

Number 2: Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate

This high-quality product is widely available in stores and online at affordable prices. Each serving contains micro-filtered whey without artificial ingredients or flavoring. A 28g serving contains 15% of your daily calcium intake, 25g of protein (89% of the content) plus 135 mg of potassium. There’s less than a gram of fat per serving. In fact, all you get is whey protein isolate and soy lecithin. It’s not great for people with soy or milk allergies but perfect for just about everyone else. Sweeten with Stevia, fruit, or fruit juice. A 1.2-pound canister costs about $30 and none of that accounts for flavoring or filler.

Number 1: Integrated Supplements Whey Isolate Protein

The winner is another whey product, considered the top protein for weight lifters, body builders, and people who need to gain weight. Integrated Supplements refers to their product as “the Planet’s Purest Protein”: filtered whey, authentic flavors, and natural Lo Han Extract plus fructose to sweeten the mixture. Fructose is just sugar, but the flavor is excellent and there isn’t too much. Gluten is absent and sodium is minimal.

Protein
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Todd Stohrdahl

Todd Stohrdahl keeps a close eye on fitness topics and will never turn down an opportunity to play competitive sports. He's a fierce competitor and brings his "hustle and muscle" mentality to our editorial team.