Let me start off by saying a couple of things before I get into the protein powders I’ve tried that are out there…
1) Protein powders are a meal replacement. Something quick and easy. They should not replace all your daily protein needs because your body absorbs more & better protein from a real food source much easier (e.g. white fish, chicken, lean red meats and turkey).
2) These are just my takes on what I like and what I don’t like. If you have any suggestions please add them below in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!
Here we go!
NLA FOR HER PROTEIN POWDER [best expensive protein]
By far the BEST tasting protein powder out there as long as you buy their chocolate eclair version. Their cupcake flavor reminds me of banana flavored liquid penicillin. Maybe I’m weird. Anyway! Back to the Chocolate Eclair … It’s great tasting, strong in flavor and reminds me there’s a hint of coconut. Almost like a liquid version of a 3 Musketeers chocolate bar. The nutrition is pretty decent at 190 calories for 2 scoops, 3g of carbs, and 28g of protein. It’s jam packed with extra nutrients and vitamins, but if you’re taking your daily vitamins this shouldn’t matter too much. It also has a healthy dose of Glutamine, and if you don’t take that powder separately during the day then it might be the most well- rounded powder out there. (To the point, Glutamine helps heal your body after workouts.)
The only downside I have to it is it’s marketed to women so that really just means the price is jacked up compared to other brands. Unless it’s “bulking” protein powder or laced with testosterone (does testosterone protein powder even exist?) most powders are absolutely fine for all genders. Guys just tend to drink more scoops (2-3) at a time. So yes, boys, you can even drink this, but you’ll probably go through it in 2 weeks.
(You can find NLA’s whey here)
CELLUCOR COR-PERFORMANCE WHEY [best for baking with protein]
Once upon a time I bought this powder because I heard it was all the rage and everyone loved it. The first few times of drinking it, it was fine. A bit strong in flavor, but good. Over time (in a short timeframe), it became too much. Too much richness in the flavor to the point where it made me sick. It took me a year to realize what this protein powder is absolutely AMAZING for and that’s to cook with. It’s insanely strong in flavor so when made into protein waffles, pancakes or cake, the flavor shines through perfectly. I guess it helps that they make flavors like Cinnamon Swirl (tastes like a cinnamon bun!), s’mores, red velvet cake, birthday cake, chocolate mint, peanut butter marshmallow, etc. – all perfect for baking. Here’s the thing… I’m a sweet tooth person. I probably would eat every meal as cake and ice cream if I could. Richness and fake dessert flavorings never bothered me, but with this… it did. The nutritional facts (if you follow those) are 130 calories for 1 scoop, 4g carbs, 25g protein.
(You can find Cellucor’s whey here)
OPTIMUM NUTRITION GOLD STANDARD 100% WHEY [best for the money protein]
This is my everyday protein powder. Decent in flavoring, awesome in price and value, and just an all around good one to drink. There’s really not much to say about it because it is what it is. I get the 5 lb. containers (which is around 70+ scoops worth) and it usually lasts me anywhere from 3 weeks to a month and a half (depending on what my meal plan has me eating that month). I haven’t tried too many flavors… they have a lot, but most are rated terribly. So far the BEST flavor is Mocha Cappuccino, the okay-ish flavor is Extreme Milk Chocolate and a weird flavor (yet has better ratings then most) is Chocolate Coconut. Kind of tastes a bit sour. I hoped for the best with this one. I really wanted it to be as amazing as the NLA for Her one. The nutritional facts are 120 calories for 1 rounded scoop, 3g carbs, and 24g protein.
(You can find ON’s whey here)
GNARLY NUTRITION [best for the cleanest ingredients protein]
This is perfect for all you Paleo folks out there. It’s from grass-fed New Zealand cows and is the cleanest whey protein shake out there that I’ve come across. It’s gluten free, non-GMO’s, and has no artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors. The unfortunate bit is it’s lower in protein per scoop and higher in carbs, so you need to watch out for that… 95 calories for 1 scoop, 4.5g carbs, and 12.5g protein.
(You can find Gnarly Nutrition’s whey here)
I guess all in all, the best for content and added ingredients is NLA For Her, but if you take your daily vitamins & supplements you don’t really need those things in the protein powder. In fact, you probably don’t absorb as much from the shake as you would taking your vitamins throughout the day.
Other proteins I’ve had in the past are Designer Whey (which is another one marketed towards women and advertising that its low in calories — I don’t love this one at all), Egg Protein (kind of weird tasting and better for baking with), and Vega Protein (just gross, but if you’re vegan you don’t have much other options).