6 Best Whey Protein Powders for 2022
If you're looking to build muscle, boost your performance, and make the most out of all your hard work in the gym, whey protein is the way to go.
Research suggests that using whey protein powder along with resistance training can help maintain lean body mass and increase upper and lower-body strength. But walk through the aisles of any supplement store, and you'll see a wide variety of different protein types.
So why whey? One of the major benefits of using whey protein is that it contains a wide range amino acids not seen in plant-based protein products, like pea or hemp proteins, says Marie Spano, M.S., sports nutritionist for the Atlanta Hawks, Braves, and Falcons.
There is also an abundance of essential amino acids in whey protein, one of which is leucine. Leucine is needed to 'turn on' muscle building at a cellular level, according to Mike Roussell, Ph.D., author of The Meta Shred Diet.
But keep in mind — you need to put in the work in the gym for your whey protein powder to actually help you build muscle. “It is important to note that whey protein alone won't lead to muscle building," Roussell notes. "In order to build muscle you need to be in a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you are burning) and consuming ample total protein (1g/lb body weight).”
There are three types of whey protein:
- Whey protein concentrate (WPC): This is a concentrated protein that keeps more of the nutrients. Most non-isolate proteins are comprised of WPC.
- Whey protein isolate (WPI): This is similar to WPC but most of the carbohydrates, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins have been removed, so the powder has a higher percentage of protein. Typically, isolate is digested more quickly and, therefore, more agreeable for some. For that reason, most trainers and registered dieticians recommend opting for WPI, though it’s often more expensive.
- Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH): WPH is considered pre-digested since it breaks down peptides – the building blocks of proteins – to help with quicker absorption.
Here are the best whey protein powders (by category) you can shop online on Amazon.
1. Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder - Best Gluten Free Whey Protein
- IMPROVED TRAINING RECOVERY: Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder is enhanced with creatine and other critical amino acids, allowing you to train harder and rebuild lean muscle faster, because tomorrow's workout starts with today's recovery
- CUSTOMIZE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS: Body Fortress provides a variety of pre, intra & post workout supplements to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts. Add Super Advanced Whey Protein to your mass building regimen to maximize your workout routine
- AFFORDABLE SUPPLEMENTS: Body Fortress is committed to the idea that your gains should be a result of the level of your Dedication & Commitment, not the size of your budget, so our supplements are always the highest quality without being the highest price
2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein - Best-tasting whey protein powder
The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein is their best-selling variant which is available in 8 delicious flavours: double rich chocolate, strawberry banana, milk chocolate, strawberry, cookies & cream, french vanilla, mocha cappuccino and vanilla ice cream.
The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder gets its sweetness from a little bit of sugar (1 gram per serving) and acesulfame potassium, which is an artificial sweetener also known as Ace-K.
Pros: Tastes good, relatively affordable, safe ingredients and third-party tested.
Cons: Complaints about the formula changing, contains an artificial sweetener.
3. Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey Protein - Best Sugar and Lactose Free Whey Protein Powder
A single serving of Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydro Whey yields 140 calories, 30 grams of protein, one gram of fat, 3 grams of carbs, and no sugar. It’s made of hydrolyzed whey protein, which breaks down the protein into smaller pieces for better absorption and easier digestion.
You can choose from seven flavors: cookies and cream overdrive, chocolate mint, velocity vanilla, chocolate peanut butter, supercharged strawberry, turbo chocolate, and red velvet cake, which was the highest-rated flavor on Bodybuilding.com.
There is no sugar in this product but Optimum Nutrition does use artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and high-fructose corn syrup.
If you are lactose-intolerant, the Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey Protein would be perfect for you. It uses ingredients which are suitable for vegetarians and is completely lactose-free. The whey protein in this protein powder is also processed differently compared to other options. It is broken down through hydrolysis, which makes it easier for our bodies to process and digest. Faster digestion means that our body can benefit more from taking this whey protein.
The Optimum Nutrition Platinum Hydro Whey Protein is an excellent choice if you want more protein per gram that is easily digestible as well.
Cons: Contains high-fructose corn syrup
4. Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder - Best Digestion Friendly Whey Protein (Amazon's Choice)
The Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder is the only lactose-free option on our list but it’s not the only one that uses hydrolyzed isolate protein-the Optimum Nutrition’s Platinum Hydro Whey does, too-which is supposed to help with digestion and absorption.
Each serving has 25 grams of protein, less than a gram of fat, 120 calories, and 2 grams of carbs, including less than 1 gram of sugar. There are 13 flavors to choose from, including cinnamon bun, fudge brownie, gourmet chocolate, and chocolate coconut.
Labdoor recommends the Dymatize ISO 100 as one of the best whey protein powders. In its tests, the powder had high scores for nutritional value and product purity, including less than one part per million of six harmful substances. Around 91% of the calories in this powder come from its protein content.
Pros: Lactose-free, 91% of calories are from protein, less than a gram of sugar and fat, third-party tested.
Cons: Contains an artificial sweetener, 160 mg sodium per serving.
5. Whey Protein for Weight Loss - MuscleTech Nitro Tech Ripped 4lbs
Why buy this:
- Good for weight loss
- Scientifically tested weight loss ingredient
- Superior peptides
- Advanced L-Carnitine and CLA formula
6. Myprotein Impact Whey Protein - Best fat-free whey protein powder
It does this with little or no fat or sugar and only 90 calories per serving. The sodium content is also low at 25 mg per serving.
Labdoor independently tests dozens of whey protein powders, and the site recommended the Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate because it scored high in Labdoor’s ingredient safety, nutritional value, and product purity tests. The testers found there were 21.9 grams of protein in every 25-gram serving.
Pros: Safe ingredients, excellent product purity, a high concentration of bound protein, fat-free, low in sodium.
Cons: Concerns about quality control, contains artificial sweetener.
a. Whey vs Casein ProteinWhey is the “faster” protein because its amino acids are quickly absorbed by out body. As a result, it serves as a good source of protein for a pre- or post-workout snack. While casein is the “slower” protein since it’s digested more slowly. Therefore, people might choose to consume casein before fasting or sleeping.
b. Is Casein or Whey Better for Weight Loss?A study compared weight loss diet with either whey or casein supplements on overweight men for 12 weeks, showed that those taking casein supplements lost an average of 8% of their body weight. Those taking whey lost an average of 4%.
However, another study showed no significant difference between whey and casein for weight loss, making them equally as good for weight loss.