The 8 Best Protein Powders, According to a Dietitian

The right formulas for your goals and needs

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Our Top Picks
"You can add this unflavored powder to items such as coffee, oatmeal, and soups for a protein boost without a lingering aftertaste."
"Organic and made from a single ingredient, this protein powder is paleo, vegan, and keto diet-friendly."
"An excellent option for those who have allergies to soy or legumes or are following a grain-free diet."
"This unflavored supplement contains 8 grams of fiber per serving as well as a host of other nutrients."
"This company goes the extra mile and goes through a quality assurance program for sports nutrition products."
"This plant-based powder is soy-free and contains ingredients like Ashwagandha and green coffee extract for additional benefits."
"Ditch the artificial stuff and get a delicious protein powder that's only made with one ingredient—organic peanuts."
"This pick has 20 grams of protein per serving and is made with sunflower lecithin to make it easier to mix into your smoothie."
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Best Overall: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder Supplement

We’ve all been there before. You add beautiful fruits and vegetables to a smoothie, blend in protein powder, and all you taste is chalk—that's not the case with Vital Proteins. This protein powder has almost no taste, whether you're adding it to cold liquids, like smoothies or iced coffee, or to hot items, such as coffee, oatmeal, or soup. It also dissolves instantly, so you don't have to worry about getting an unappetizing clump of powder in your latte.

Versatility aside, Vital Proteins puts extra care into the sourcing of their protein. Each serving of Vital Proteins contains 18 grams of protein, as well as 20 grams of collagen peptides for joint, skin, and hair health. The cows they use for their collagen peptides were raised in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership 5-step animal welfare rating standards.

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Best Hypoallergenic: Sprout Living Watermelon Seed Protein Powder

It turns out that if you swallow a watermelon seed, you won't actually grow a watermelon in your belly. In fact, Sprout Living has turned these nutrient-dense seeds into an excellent hypoallergenic protein powder.

Organic and free of any additives, Sprout Living’s Watermelon Seed Protein Powder is paleo, vegan, and keto diet-friendly. One serving contains 12 grams of protein and 5% of the recommended daily intake of iron.

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Best Vegan: teraswhey Organic Pumpkin Protein Powder

This single-ingredient, vegan protein powder packs 23 grams of protein as well as 12% of the suggested daily value for potassium and 44% of the suggested daily value for iron into just one serving.

Tera’s pumpkin seed powder is organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free. It is an excellent option for those who have allergies to soy or legumes or are following a grain-free diet.

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Best with Fiber: Nutiva Cold-Pressed Hemp Seed Protein Powder

Most American adults are consuming about 50% of the fiber they need each day. Consuming a diet rich in fiber (around 30 grams per day for most adults) has been shown to protect against heart disease, weight gain, and more. Nutiva’s hemp protein powder isn't just high in protein; it also contains about 8 grams of fiber per serving.

In addition to being high in protein and fiber, this vegan powder is low in calories and certified organic. It's also packed with magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc, in case you're concerned about other nutrient gaps in your diet.

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Best Single Ingredient: NAKED nutrition Naked Whey Unflavored Protein Powder

The supplement industry is like the Wild West at times. Supplement manufacturers do not have to obtain FDA approval before selling their products, which is why it's always a bonus when brands participate in third-party testing for quality assurance. Naked Whey goes through Informed Choice testing, a quality assurance program for sports nutrition products, suppliers to the sports nutrition industry, and supplement manufacturing facilities.

The unflavored variety of Naked Whey's powder is made from whey proteins that are produced with an acid-free and bleach-free process. The cows producing the whey are grass-fed throughout the year, and they are not given growth hormones.

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Best Soy-Free: Garden of Life Raw Organic Fit Powder, Vanilla

Garden of Life’s Raw Fit Powder offers a soy-free, plant-based protein with broad-spectrum nutrient density. Featuring high amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as antioxidant-rich Vitamin E and mood-boosting Vitamin D, there are also 8 grams of fiber per serving and multiple probiotics and digestive enzymes to help curb hunger and optimize digestion.

This powder contains Ashwagandha, an herb used for stress management, and green coffee extract, which has been reported to improve weight loss. If you're taking any prescriptions, check in with your health care provider to prevent supplement-medication interactions. 

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Best Flavored: Source Organic Norcal Organic Peanut Butter Powder

Many flavored protein powders rely on artificial sweeteners or flavorings to enhance flavor. Norcal peanut protein leaves out the artificial stuff and relies on its single ingredient for its delicious flavor—peanuts. Norcal sources organic peanuts from Texas and relies on mechanical processing without the use of solvents, which keeps the dietary fiber from the peanuts intact.

This powder offers 11 grams of protein per serving, as well as significant amounts of magnesium and fiber. You can even re-hydrate this powder to substitute it for peanut butter in recipes when you'd like a little extra protein without the calories and fat.

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Best Low-Carb: Realist Lifestyle Real Whey Protein Isolate

Realist Whey Protein Isolate powder is low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat, but high in protein–just one serving packs in 20 grams! Realist prides itself on using purposeful ingredients, without highlighting any truth-stretching benefits, and their powder lives up to this with only two ingredients: whey protein isolate and non-GMO sunflower lecithin.

While this powder isn't an option for anyone with wheat, dairy, soy, or tree nut allergies, it is a great option for people looking for a straight-forward powder to add to smoothies or shakes. The sunflower lecithin makes the powder easier to dissolve, so you'll barely even notice that it's there.

What to Look for in Protein Powder

Taste: Some protein powders can have a somewhat chalky consistency and an unappetizing aftertaste, while others taste almost like a milkshake you look forward to drinking. Many formulas come in a wide variety of flavors though, so if one isn’t your thing, another might be—you may just have to try a few before you find your favorite.

Purpose: While some protein powders are designed to help you lose weight, others are meant to bulk you up. Make sure you choose one that’s in line with your goals instead of one that thwarts them. Consider not only the amount of protein in any given powder but also the type of protein it contains. Protein powders are derived from a variety of sources, including whey, pumpkin seed, hemp, and more; each has varying nutritional benefits.

Ingredients: Beyond the type of protein in a certain powder, you’ll also want to consider its additional ingredients. Some formulas are fairly simple, while others include more nutrients, sugar, or fillers. If you like to keep things clean, there are a variety of protein powders that are free of artificial ingredients and sweeteners.

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Article Sources
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