Some protein powders taste like soil. Expensive soil too.
Don’t make the costly mistakes we’ve made in the past and buy disgusting, sickly, sandy sludge that doesn’t mix well.
Stick to the top protein powders that we’ve tried and tested…
Top Protein Powders For 2018
In this section, we’ll look at five of the best protein powders on the market and rate them based on taste and flavours available, mixability, value for money, and how much protein they provide per 100g.
- Dirt cheap
- High quality
- Many flavours to choose from
- Low calorie, low fat, and low sugar
- Mixes easily
- Doesn’t contain any vitamins or minerals.
- Flavours aren’t exceptionally good.
- May not mix into drinks with manual stirring.
- Comes in a pouch rather than a jar, so it’s easier to spill than alternatives.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate
The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard powder is a prototypical protein powder derived from whey and intended for mainstream bodybuilding use. While pricey, if you’re looking for a whey protein based protein powder the Gold Standard has a lot to offer.
This powder also contains calcium, iron, carbohydrates, and fat. For athletes, having fat and/or carbohydrates is important for resisting training pre-exercise and for upping glucose stores post-exercise.
Aside from coming in many different tasty and strong flavours (including unflavored), the Gold Standard powder also contains electrolytes. Note that it also provides 10% of your percent daily value of cholesterol, which you should watch out for if you are at risk of high cholesterol levels.
Finally, Optimum Nutrition includes a couple of easy recipes for shakes on the back label. These tricks and recipes won’t blow your mind, but it’s still nice to have a reference card to make sure you are consuming the right proportions of protein powder into your shakes.
- Nutrient mix helps pack on muscle pounds
- Many flavours to choose from
- Mixing guide
- Comes with scoop
- Contains cholesterol
- Flavours may be too strong for some users
MusclePharm Combat Powder
The MusclePharm Combat Powder is a unique product that caters to advanced bodybuilders who are interested in combinations of proteins that are released over time.
To accomplish this, the Combat Powder contains instant-release whey protein and a slower releasing protein surrounded by fat bubbles. The idea behind the Combat Powder is that your body will have a continuous supply of protein over the course of your training session.
The Combat Powder also contains some calcium, potassium, and sodium, which are electrolytes important for staying hydrated. It also contains carbohydrates for energy.
Like other protein powders derived from animal products, the Combat Powder contains a whopping 46mg of cholesterol per serving—you’ll have a hard time finding many other food products with that much cholesterol aside from powdered eggs. Again, this isn’t necessarily problematic unless you are at risk of high cholesterol.
You can pick from a few flavours, all of which are of average potency, so they aren’t overpowering.
- Time release
- Contains potassium to fuel muscle contraction.
- Contains dietary fats and sugars for energy.
- Average value
- Significant amount of of cholesterol
- Contains egg products which are allergens.
- Unimpressive flavors
THE PROTEIN WORKS Whey Protein 80 Concentrate Shake, Chocolate Silk
THE PROTEIN WORKS Whey Protein Concentrate Shake is a basic protein powder that will please anyone looking to build muscle while satisfying a sweet tooth.
While its candy-like flavours aren’t for everyone, anyone can take advantage of the inexpensive and high-quality powder.
It’s clear that this powder’s main appeals are its flavour and its value. The powder’s sweetness will overpower anything with which it is mixed. This might be perfect if you’re just interested in making a shake. The powder easily mixes into water, and you may be tempted to dilute it more than usual to sip on over a longer period.
Despite its sweetness, this powder is lower in calories than many competitors. The sweetener in the powder is sucralose, which is an artificial sweetener. Note that some people do not like the taste of sucralose, so this may be a con for you. If you find yourself looking for chocolate after pumping iron, this shake is a great option.
- Great value
- Good documentation on shake preparation
- Low in fat and carbohydrates
- Average value
- Extremely sweet
- Contains sucralose
- Taste will overpower any other shake ingredients
MyProtein Impact Whey
MyProtein Impact Whey is a power-packed product which can serve many of your dietary needs as an athlete
With 4.5g of BCAA’s and 21g of protein per serving it not only provides you with the essential amino acids but, together with your specialized training routine, will also help with your muscular development.
Rated Grade A by Labdoor, Myprotein is a tried and tested, and it is a weight lifter favourite.
One of the best things about MyProtein’s Impact Whey is their wide variety of flavours, from classic strawberry, chocolate and vanilla – all the way to – blueberry and rhubarb and custard. Thanks to these varieties, you can ensure your favourite post- or pre-workout supplement never gets boring.
With regards to ingredients, there’s not much in the way of fillers. The unflavored variety, for example, contains 100% Whey Protein Concentrate. Some of the flavours may contain sucralose sweeteners, but you can also opt for their stevia varieties.
- 90% Protein content
- Wide variety of flavours
- AMAZING value
- Low Fat & Carbohydrates
- Easy to mix
- Flavours won’t be enjoyable to everyone
What Should I Look For In A Protein Powder?
Three things to consider when looking for a protein powder are source of protein, flavor, and value.
Source / Quality
The issue of quality in protein powders has two main elements to consider. : sourcing and manufacturing processes.
Source of Protein
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, this first division will rule out quite a few options, so pay attention. Even if you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan, you shouldn’t think of the vegetable-derived powders as of worse quality.
The largest section of the protein powder market uses whey protein or common vegetable proteins like from soy, peas, hemp, or rice. When mixed together in the right manner with other ingredients, they do form complete proteins, which is a common criticism of plant proteins.
Animal-derived powders are typically more concentrated, which means that you’ll have to tolerate less of the powder’s flavour to accomplish the same amount of supplementation. Some people claim to be able to tell the difference by taste or texture, too. They also come with significantly more cholesterol than plant-derived powders, which may be relevant depending on your nutritional and health status.
Animal-derived powders tend to dissolve into other foodstuffs more easily because of their chemical composition. There are many exceptions to this, however, so you could still end up with a lumpy smoothie while using an animal derived powder if components in the powder interfere with smooth mixing.
Try sampling a couple of vegetable-derived powders and comparing them to a few animal derived powders. If you typically find the powder’s flavour or texture palatable regardless of the amount you supplement, vegetable powders should always be an option on the table for you.
Make sure to consider the brand reputation before making a final decisión. While it is nearly impossible to determine the content of heavy metals in protein powders unless you take them to laboratory to be tested yourself. Poor quality protein powders sometimes have trace amounts of cadmium and lead, which are toxic to the human body in any quantity. Be sure to check the news releases about your protein powder manufacturer of choice to make sure there are no manufacturing issues linked to your favorite brand.
Flavour / Mixability
Protein powders can come flavoured, or flavourless. As bodybuilders know, even the “flavourless” protein powders have a detectable taste that can sometimes get in the way of enjoying them when mixed into smoothies or drinks. Some flavourless powders are bitter, whereas others taste sweet, or slightly medicinal.
You might want to choose a flavourless powder if you prefer versatility rather than a powder which adds a commanding flavour to whatever you blend it into. For example, if you plan on blending your protein powder into pancakes or crepes, a flavourless powder is typically the right choice because it’ll be invisible to your tongue once it’s locked inside the batter and potentially smothered in maple syrup.
As far as the flavoured powders go, most will agree that despite a variety of flavour choices, few genuinely taste natural. Basic flavours like vanilla and chocolate are extremely popular and tend to taste closest to their natural flavor.
More unusual flavours like cake batter, banana cream, orange creamsicle, or graham cracker might suit your palate, but there’s no way to know before you try.
The main issue with the flavour of your powder is that flavours can either disrupt or complement your attempts to mix the powder into another food or beverage. It’s easy to mix in vanilla or chocolate flavours into an after-workout shake, but the more complex flavours won’t blend as easily.
You don’t necessarily get what you pay for when it comes to protein powders. Some powders are vastly more expensive, yet offer a smaller volume or a lower quality of protein.
More expensive powders typically have flashier marketing and more outrageous flavours, but remember that your muscles can’t tell the difference between an expensive protein source and a cheap one if the protein quality, and that of additional nutrients, is the same.
That wraps up our overview of what to look for when you’re checking out protein powders. Click through to the hyperlinks to read our reviews about the best protein powders on the market.
Remember, powders can vary in their content, but your muscles can’t tell the difference between the source of protein that they get after a hard workout, as long as they have the same quality of protein. It might come down to taste, in the end.
Don’t underestimate the mixability and digestibility of powders, either. The easier your protein powder is to consume and the less your body and tongue complain during consumption, the more likely you’ll be to supplement using the powder when you need to.