The 7 Best Organic Protein Powders, According to a Dietitian

Garden of Life SPORT Grass Fed Whey provides 24g of protein and is NSF certified

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Best Organic Protein Powders

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

Organic protein powders may help people meet their daily protein needs. Whey, a protein found in milk, is one of the most popular types of protein powder. More recently, plant-based protein powders that are derived from various foods, like soy, hemp, pea, nuts, rice, and other plants, have increased in popularity. Many varieties of organic protein powders also have additional nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, or probiotics. 

It’s possible to meet all your protein needs through food alone, but those who exercise regularly, consume a plant-based diet, or don’t eat enough protein on a daily basis may find protein powders helpful and convenient. Organic protein powders are not likely different nutritionally than conventional protein powders, though organic foods may lead to a lower risk of exposure to pesticide residue. In terms of the environmental impacts of organic versus conventional protein powders and other products, organic agriculture cultivates better soil quality and is better for biodiversity, while conventional agriculture produces higher yields and less pollution per product.

When choosing a protein powder, Angie Asche MS, RD, CSSD author of “Fuel Your Body: How to Cook & Eat for Peak Performance,” recommends looking for a minimal ingredient list, at least 20 grams of protein, and additional third-party testing labels, like NSF Certified for Sport or Informed-Choice for Sport Certified. A third-party testing label, like USP or NSF, ensures the product has been tested by an outside company to verify that it contains what it says on the label without unsafe levels of contaminants. In addition, check the source of the protein before investing in a protein powder. For instance, you may not want a whey protein if you are lactose intolerant or vegan.

Verywell Fit Approved Organic Protein Powders

  • Best Overall: Garden of Life SPORT Grass Fed Whey is our top choice because it is NSF Certified for Sport and Informed-Choice for Sport Certified and contains beneficial whey protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and a probiotic that may support immune health. 
  • Best Plant-Based: Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein is NSF Certified for Sport and Informed-Choice for Sport Certified, and it’s made from a blend of organic peas, beans, lentils, and organic cranberry protein for 30 grams of plant-based protein per serving.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Best Overall: Garden of Life SPORT Grass Fed Whey Vanilla

Garden of Life SPORT Grass Fed Whey Vanilla

iHerb

Pros
  • Third-party tested

  • Contains BCAAs

  • Contains a probiotic that may support immune health

Cons
  • Cost

Who else recommends it? Healthline, Forbes, and The Strategist all picked Garden of Life SPORT Grass Fed Whey.

What do buyers say? 91% of 3,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Garden of Life SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey is our top pick because it’s NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Choice Certified and provides 24 grams of high-quality whey protein. It’s also sustainably sourced—the whey comes from milk produced by grass-fed cows on sustainable Irish farms. According to the Garden of Life website, this method of dairy products produces half the average global environmental footprint. Its third-party label credentials ensure the powder does not contain any substances that are banned from sport.

One serving delivers 24 grams of protein from a combination of whey protein isolate and milk protein. There is an abundance of research on the benefits of whey as a protein source for muscle protein synthesis. In addition, the milk protein provides beneficial immunoglobulins—antibodies that produce an immune response in the body.

Garden of Life SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey delivers all the essential amino acids, with 6 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and 4 grams of glutamine, both of which aid in muscle recovery and repair. In addition, the two billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of the probiotic B.lactis BL-04 may support immune health.

Protein Source: Organic whey protein isolate, organic milk protein | Vegan: No | Gluten-Free: Yes | Protein Per Serving: 24 grams

Best Taste: Ora So Lean & So Clean Vanilla Chai

Ora So Lean & So Clean Vanilla Chai

Lucky Vitamin

Pros
  • Great taste

  • Contains vegetables

  • Vegan

Cons
  • Not third-party tested

Ora So Lean & So Clean Plant-Based Protein Powder contains over twenty plant-based ingredients, including pea protein, rice protein, cranberry, blackberry, blueberry, kale, turmeric, and more. Each serving has 21 grams of plant-based proteins, as well as 33 percent of the daily value of iron, which vegans and vegetarians may struggle to get enough of. Besides vanilla and chocolate, it also comes in vanilla chai. 

On top of the vegetables added to the ingredient list, this organic protein powder also contains organic Jerusalem artichoke inulin, which is a prebiotic, and five digestive enzymes—amylase, neutral protease, lactase, lipase, and cellulase. The research on digestive enzymes is limited, but they may only be helpful if you take one that is specific to your condition, such as taking lactase for lactose intolerance.

Protein Source: Organic pea protein, organic rice protein | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-Free: Yes | Protein Per Serving: 21 grams

Best Unflavored: NOW Foods Organic Whey Protein Powder

NOW Foods Organic Whey Protein Powder

Amazon

Pros
  • Third-party tested

  • No added sugar

  • Contains BCAAs

Cons
  • May not be suitable for those with lactose intolerance

NOW Certified Organic Whey Protein is an unflavored whey protein that comes from organic milk. The milk used to create the powder is free of synthetic growth hormones (rBGH), antibiotics, and pesticides. “Whey protein is highly bioavailable and easily digested, making it an ideal choice in the post-workout time frame,” says Carroll. Whey protein also contains all the BCAAs, and Carroll notes that it’s a particularly good source of the amino acid leucine, which plays a role in recovery after exercise.

There are different types of whey to look out for on product packaging. Whey concentrate is 25 to 89 percent protein and has some lactose and fat. In comparison, whey isolate is made up of at least 90 percent protein, with less lactose and fat.

“This powder's only ingredient is organic whey protein concentrate (concentrated from organic milk), with no flavors, sweeteners, or additional added ingredients—making it a great product to mix into smoothies or add to baked goods,” says Carroll. Asche also notes that it contains the NSF Certified for Sport label, meaning that athletes routinely drug-tested can feel extra safe using this product.

Protein Source: Organic whey protein concentrate | Vegan: No | Gluten-Free: No | Protein Per Serving: 19 grams

Best Budget: Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder Creamy Chocolate Fudge

Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder Creamy Chocolate Fudge
Pros
  • Vegan

  • Gluten-free

  • Complete protein

Cons
  • Not third-party tested

Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Protein Powder is a great choice for those who can’t have dairy. “I prefer plant protein blends, like this one made of peas, brown rice, and chia seeds, since you tend to get a better variety of amino acids compared to one plant protein ingredient alone,” says Carroll. Amino acids are what make up proteins, and some amino acids are limited in certain plant-based proteins. For example, lysine is present in very small amounts in grains, and methionine and cysteine are low in legumes. That’s why Carroll recommends plant-based proteins that come from a variety of food sources.

This organic plant-based protein powder has 21 grams of vegan protein, no added sugar, and no artificial sweeteners. The flavored variety is sweetened with stevia and erythritol, but you can also select a plain unsweetened flavor if you prefer.

Protein Source: Organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic chia seed | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-Free: Yes | Protein Per Serving: 21 grams

Best Plant-Based: Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein Vanilla

Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein Vanilla

Walmart

Pros
  • Third-party tested

  • Contains BCAAs

  • Vegan

Cons
  • Cost

Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein is a vegan version of the top overall pick. Again, it is NSF Certified for Sport and Informed-Choice for Sport Certified, ensuring there are no banned athletic substances in the powder. Made from a blend of organic pea protein, organic sprouted navy bean, organic sprouted lentil bean, organic sprouted garbanzo bean, and organic cranberry protein, one serving has 30 grams of protein.

It also includes an organic recovery blend with multiple antioxidant sources, such as organic tart cherries, organic apples, organic turmeric, organic goji berries, and organic blueberries. Antioxidants help prevent the inflammation associated with exercise, which may aid in recovery. Lastly, this protein powder contains probiotics that may support immune health.

Protein Source: Organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic chia seed | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-Free: Yes | Protein Per Serving: 21 grams

Best with Greens: Vega Protein & Greens Plant-Based Protein Powder Chocolate

Vega Protein & Greens Plant-Based Protein Powder Chocolate

Vega

Pros
  • Contains vegetables

  • Good for dietary restrictions

  • Contains additional nutrients

Cons
  • Not third-party tested

Vega Protein & Greens Plant-Based Protein Powder is a protein powder with a wide variety of plant-based ingredients. The protein comes from organic peas, brown rice, and a seed called sacha inchi

It also contains multiple green veggies, including organic alfalfa powder, spinach powder, broccoli powder, and organic kale powder. All of these ingredients combined make up 20 grams of plant-based protein, 25 percent of the daily value (DV) of vitamin K, and 25 percent DV of iron. 

Vega Protein & Greens is sweetened with zero-calorie stevia and has no added sugar. Some people prefer products sweetened with zero-calorie sweeteners, and others note that they do not like their flavor. Others may find these sweeteners, which have a more intense sweetness compared to sugar, increase their preference for very sweet things and may not ultimately be beneficial.

Protein Source: Organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic sacha inchi powder | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-Free: Yes | Protein Per Serving: 20 grams

Best Flavor: Kos Organic Plant Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter

Kos Organic Plant Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter

Amazon

Pros
  • Contains veggies and five plant-based proteins

  • Good source of vitamins and minerals

  • Vegan

Cons
  • Not third-party tested

Kos Organic Plant Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter is a simple yet satisfying flavor combination. It’s made with Peruvian cacao, Himalayan salt, organic coconut milk, a dash of stevia and monk fruit, as well as a five-protein blend including pea, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds; this creates a protein powder that has 20 grams of complete protein per serving. The ingredients also include a fruit and veggie blend with apple, carrot, orange, cranberry, mushroom, and tomato.

In addition, the powder has a vitamin and mineral blend that creates an impressive nutrient profile. One serving of Kos Organic Plant Protein has 30 percent DV of iron, 45 percent DV of vitamin E, 35 percent DV manganese, 45 percent DV vitamin B12, 20 percent DV zinc, 90 percent DV copper, 60 percent DV chromium, and 70 percent DV molybdenum. It also incorporates a proprietary digestive enzyme called DigeSEB, but there is little to no research on this exact blend of enzymes. Therefore, it’s impossible to say whether or not it adds any value to the protein powder.

Protein Source: Organic pea protein, organic flax seed, organic quinoa, organic pumpkin seed, organic chia seed | Vegan: Yes | Gluten-Free: Yes | Protein Per Serving: 20 grams

Final Verdict

Garden of Life's SPORT Grass Fed Whey is our top pick because it's NSF Certified for Sport and includes BCAAs, which may support immune health. The brand's SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein is made from a blend of organic fruits and veggies and has 30 grams of protein per serving.

Are Organic Protein Powders Beneficial?

We recommend trying to meet your daily protein requirements through foods such as chicken, fish, meat, dairy, soy, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The average person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams per pound) per day. With a well-balanced diet, most people consume plenty of protein and do not need protein powders. Splitting protein intake among meals and snacks is an easy approach to taking in enough protein. 

That said, protein powder in general may be beneficial for the following people, and, if consuming organic foods is important to you, you may want to specifically choose an organic protein powder:

  • Athletes or very active individuals: According to Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, LDN, ACSM-cPT, USAT Level I Triathlon Coach, and RRCA Certified Running Coach, protein powders can be useful for active individuals, particularly in the post-workout time frame. “Protein plays a role in muscle repair and recovery, and folks undergoing intense workouts or two-a-day workouts may benefit from eating something with protein (and carbohydrate) after their sweat session,” says Carroll.
  • Those with dietary restrictions, such as vegans or vegetarians: “[Protein powders] can absolutely be beneficial for people who struggle to meet protein needs daily through food sources alone,” says Asche. Those on a plant-based diet with limited protein options may find protein powders a quick and convenient way to take in protein. 
  • Those trying to lose weight for health reasons: Carroll notes that a higher protein intake may be beneficial for people trying to lose weight. “If an individual is struggling to achieve a higher protein intake through food alone, protein powders can be a good adjunct strategy alongside a balanced diet,” says Carroll. However, those with kidney issues should avoid a very high protein diet and discuss it with a registered dietitian before adding in a protein powder. With that being said, focusing on weight loss might not work long-term, and many of our dietitians recommend focusing on changing health behaviors rather than fixating on the number on the scale.

Who May Not Benefit from Organic Protein Powders

Organic protein powders are not necessary for those who are comfortable using standard protein powder. Protein powders in general are not beneficial for the following people:

  • Those who are already meeting or exceeding their protein needs. “Many adults (including casual gym-goers) get enough protein in their diet, and adding extra protein through a powder can be expensive and unnecessary,” says Carroll. “When people start relying on protein shakes for meals instead of whole foods, they may miss out on key nutrients and phytochemicals,” she adds. 
  • Young athletes. “While not necessarily bad, I also personally don't recommend them to youth athletes,” says Asche. She encourages younger athletes to get their nutrients through whole food sources rather than relying on supplements.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here. 

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third-party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. When relevant, we also prioritize non-GMO, organic, and products free of unnecessary and potentially harmful additives.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look for in an Organic Protein Powder

Third-Party Testing 

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  1. Third-party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  2. Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  3. The third-party certifications we can trust are: ConsumerLab, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  4. Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  5. Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies does not mean it’s a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer and calling up the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

Many people are concerned about protein powder and heavy metal contamination, but this is only a risk if the heavy metal levels exceed certain levels. In fact, tons of foods have some levels of heavy metals, especially those grown in soil. But there is little risk to human health from the heavy metals found in protein powders since the levels are very low. Therefore, third-party testing isn’t especially important for protein powders.

Form 

Protein powders come in powder form, which can be mixed into a liquid of your choice. The most popular protein sources for organic protein powders include whey, soy, and pea. Many new plant-based protein sources are being produced from nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. 

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Some organic protein powders include other ingredients, like vitamins, minerals, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and BCAAs. If you are taking any additional supplements, check with your doctor to make sure you are not consuming a large harmful dose. 

Whey protein may reduce the absorption of certain drugs, like Albenza, Fosamex, and certain antibiotics. If you are taking these medications, check with your doctor before starting a protein powder regimen.

Some people complain of gas or bloating after consuming a protein powder. If you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, avoid whey protein and opt for plant-based protein powders.

Organic Protein Powder Dosage

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram (0.36 grams per pound) of body weight per day. However, research indicates that athletes engaging in intense training may benefit from ingesting anywhere from 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram (0.45 to 0.9 grams per pound) of body weight per day to maintain muscle mass.

Although each athlete is different, higher intakes are generally recommended for shorter periods of intense training. A recent review found that most athletes benefit from a protein intake of around 1.6 grams per kilogram (0.72 grams per pound) per day.

It is of the utmost importance to make sure you take in enough calories, particularly carbohydrates, to make up for how much energy you are using. If an athlete burns more calories than they consume, their body will start to break down lean muscle for use as fuel. Over time, this may lead to muscle wasting, injuries, illness, and training issues.

Most protein powders have at least 20 grams of protein per serving. Consider your own protein needs before choosing a protein powder. 

How Much Is Too Much?

There is no set upper limit for protein intake. Some research indicates that healthy adults can consume as much as 2.0 to 3.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight without any negative side effects. However, those who consume excessive amounts of protein for a long period of time may experience digestive, renal, and vascular issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I use organic protein powder?

    Carroll suggests adding organic protein powder to smoothies or baked goods. It also mixes well into oatmeal, overnight oats, chia seed pudding, homemade energy bites, and more. Each company provides suggestions for use and recipes on its website.

  • Is organic protein powder better than non-organic?

    There is no nutritional advantage to choosing organic protein powder over non-organic. The ingredients in an organic protein powder must be certified organic. According to the USDA, organic foods are grown on soil that has no prohibited substances, such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, for at least three years prior to harvest. In addition, organic protein powders cannot contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

  • Will organic protein powder help me lose weight?

    “For some people, protein powders may also be helpful during efforts to lose weight,” says Carroll. “A recent review concluded that higher protein intake may be beneficial in preserving lean muscle mass during periods of weight loss, particularly when combined with resistance training.” That said, weight loss also requires a well-balanced, healthy diet, exercise, and adequate sleep. Consuming protein powder is not necessary for weight loss, but it may be beneficial. 

    Keep in mind that most people who diet to lose weight regain the weight they lost over time. Therefore, it may be beneficial to shift your focus away from weight and toward health, focusing instead on eating and exercising to support feeling better, getting stronger, improving sleep, reducing stress, and increasing your energy levels.

  • Does organic protein powder help you build muscle?

    While protein intake is linked to muscle protein synthesis, organic protein powder is not necessary to build muscle. One of the criticisms of protein powder is taking in a high dosage of protein all at once is not necessary.

    Research suggests that ingesting 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram (0.18 grams per pound) of body weight at each meal may optimally stimulate muscle growth. For a 150-pound individual, that equates to 27 grams of protein or the amount of protein in 4 ounces of chicken (about the size of a deck of cards) or 9 ounces of tofu (⅔ of a block) per meal.

    In addition, ​​evidence suggests a daily total intake of 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram (0.72 grams per pound) of body weight leads to muscle gains in resistance-trained athletes. This means that as long as you eat a good source of protein in three or four meals per day, there is typically no need to supplement with protein powder.

    If you struggle to get in a good source of protein at a particular meal, that meal might be a great time to use protein powder. If consumption of protein powder falls within these ranges, it may promote muscle growth.

  • Does organic protein powder expire?

    Organic protein powders are low in moisture and are not likely to spoil or grow harmful bacteria or microorganisms. Therefore, most do not have an expiration date. Instead, a protein powder may showcase a “use by” date, which indicates how long the product will be of acceptable quality. A “sell by” date indicates how long the product should sit on store shelves.

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