The 7 Best Protein Powders for Men, According to a Dietitian

How to choose a protein powder that is right for you

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If you’re hitting the gym regularly, you might be looking for a way to sneak more protein into your day. Although protein powder supplements are a quick and easy way to fuel up pre and post-workout, they aren’t “needed” for muscle building. In general, a protein-rich meal consumed three to four hours before or after a workout will suffice. However, if you’re trying to pack on a significant amount of muscle, you may require more protein.

In that case, consider supplementing with a high-quality protein powder. “Men have more muscle mass than women in general. And the more muscle mass you have, the more protein you need” says Dr. Kathryn A. Bohling, MD, a family medicine specialist at Mercy Medical Center. “Protein shakes are not absolutely necessary for building muscle and strength, but they are a low carbohydrate, low calorie option to increase protein intake”.

Evidence suggests that protein supplementation may boost performance and recovery in resistance and endurance training. A recent study showed that resistance-trained men had improved power and strength after consuming a protein drink post-workout when compared with a carbohydrate-filled beverage. There are a wide variety of protein powders available on the market, depending on your taste preferences and individual lifestyle considerations.

What to Look for in a Protein Powder for Men

Goals:

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a protein powder is your goals. Some powders are low in calories and designed to help you lose weight, while others aim to build muscle mass by providing a higher amount of protein and calories per serving. Make sure the one you choose is in line with your goals, or you could end up sabotaging your efforts.

Flavor:

Protein powders come in a wide range of flavors, from basic chocolate and vanilla to mocha and even birthday cake. Depending on the ingredients, some may taste more chalky or artificial than others. Note that we generally recommend unflavored or naturally flavored products, as we do not recommend dietary supplements with artificial flavors. If you want to boost the flavor of your protein powder, consider mixing the protein powder into a smoothie packed with tasty ingredients like frozen banana, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and almond milk.

Dietary Restrictions:

When choosing a protein powder, you want to consider any dietary restrictions or food sensitivities you may have. There are protein powders to accommodate most diets, including dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options, as well as those that have no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. If you have any questions about adding a protein powder to your diet, talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you determine if a protein supplement is right for you. 

Dosage for Protein Powder for Men

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.

The Daily Reference Intake (DRI) for protein for men is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, and it’s widely accepted that protein needs increase with activity level. In terms of protein supplementation, research shows no safety concerns at daily recommended intakes up to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I avoid protein powders that contain soy?

    According to the National Institutes of Health, soy is considered a safe food to consume as part of a balanced diet for individuals that do not have a soy allergy. Soy is considered a quality plant-based protein in that it contains all nine essential amino acids our body requires, which are needed for protein muscle synthesis. Soy may also reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, especially when replacing red meat in the diet.

    Soy contains phytoestrogens that have a molecular structure similar to that of estrogen, which has raised concerns about the safety of soy consumption, particularly for men. High intakes of phytoestrogen compounds may result in higher estrogenic activity, but the overall effects that activity has on the human body are inconclusive in current research.

  • Which protein powder is best for men over 50?

    As we get older, our muscle mass begins to break down, so it is important for aging populations to get adequate protein in their diet. Protein supplementation may help to ensure individuals are meeting their protein needs. 

    We recommend Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder Original Flavor (view at Amazon) for men over 50.

    One serving of this organic, plant-based protein powder contains 26 grams of protein and 20 percent of the daily recommended intake of fiber. It also contains cranberry seed, which adds a nutrition boost by providing antioxidants and polyphenols to support cognition, mood, and a healthy urinary tract.

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, as well as clinically tested and approved for use in humans. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. These attributes include non-GMO, Organic, and allergy-friendly products that are free of most artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. When possible, we recommend products that are third-party tested and certified.

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.

Here, the best protein powders for men:

Best Overall: Garden of Life Certified Organic Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder Vanilla

Garden of Life Certified Organic Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder Vanilla
Pros
  • Provides probiotics for gut health

  • Derived from grass fed cows

Cons
  • Sugar alcohol erythritol may not be well tolerated by some

Garden of Life's Certified Organic Whey Protein takes the top spot among protein powders for men because of its high-quality, pasture-raised, grass-fed protein. With 21 grams of easy-to-digest protein in each serving, the creamy vanilla flavor adds a delicious taste and a protein boost to your post-workout beverage.

The USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified protein is sweetened with stevia and is free of added sugars. Each serving contains 4.7 grams of branched-chain amino acids to help you refuel and repair muscles post-workout. It provides 130 calories per serving with only 7 grams of carbohydrates. It's also good for the digestive system, as each serving contributes 2 billion CFU probiotics from Bifidobacterium lactis.

While it is not third-party tested, we like this protein powder for its other notable certifications—USDA Organic (rBST and rGBH free), Non-GMO Project Verified, Humane Certified, and Certified Gluten-Free.

Key nutrients: Organic whey protein concentrate | Vegan: No | Gluten free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: Gum acacia, erythritol

Best Budget: NAKED Nutrition Naked Whey

NAKED Nutrition Naked Whey
Pros
  • Single ingredient protein source

Cons
  • Unflavored powder may not be palatable to some consumers

There’s a good reason Naked Whey is our pick for the best budget protein powder: it’s 100% grass-fed pure whey protein with zero additives and comes with an affordable price tag. Additionally, it’s free of artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors. Plus, it’s free of GMOs, growth hormones, and gluten.

Each serving contains 25 grams of whey protein and 5.9 grams of BCAAs. 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. Naked Whey also claims not to use acid or bleach in their processing. 

Key nutrients: Whey protein concentrate | Vegan: No | Gluten free: Yes | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: None

Best Low Calorie: LEGION Athletics Whey+ Protein Powder

LEGION Athletics Whey+ Protein Powder
Pros
  • Made with milk from grass fed cows

  • Zero grams of added sugar

Cons
  • Some consumers may not enjoy the stevia-sweetened taste

It’s not just the low calorie count that makes Legion’s Whey + Whey Isolate Protein one of the best low-calorie protein powders for men. It’s also where the protein comes from—Legion only uses protein from 100% grass-fed cows. Plus, it’s high in protein, gluten-free, and low in carbohydrates, which makes this a great protein powder for anyone following a keto-style diet.

Each serving of Legion’s protein powder has 22 grams of protein, zero grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbohydrate in just 100 calories. Using Legion’s protein powder after a workout can help to build and preserve lean body mass. The natural vanilla flavor mixes easily with your favorite liquid, and it's sweetened with stevia. This product is Labdoor certified and tested for sport.

Key nutrients: Whey protein isolate | Vegan: No | Gluten free: Yes | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: Xanthan gum

What Experts Say

“Although many Americans meet their protein needs over the course of the day, many men can benefit from adding protein powder to their diet to assist with muscle repair post-workout and to provide satiety throughout the day.”—Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN

Best Vegan: Sunwarrior Warrior Blend

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend
Pros
  • Provides 6 grams of BCAAs to support recovery

Cons
  • Not third party tested

When vegan protein powders use a combination of plant protein sources, the overall nutritive value increases because each plant has its own unique nutrient profile. Sunwarrior Protein Powder features a mix of three proteins: fermented pea, goji berry, and hemp. Each serving of the vanilla protein powder provides 18 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbohydrate in only 100 calories.

Sunwarrior's Warrior Blend powder is USDA Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free. The low-carb, high-protein vegan powder is perfect for men who avoid animal products, as well as for those looking to add more plant-based proteins to their diet.

This protein powder is not third-party tested, but we trust all Sunwarrior products for their dedication to creating high-quality plant-based dietary supplements. It’s also certified for Good Manufacturing Practices.

Key nutrients: Organic fermented pea protein, organic hemp protein | Vegan: Yes | Gluten free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: None

Best for Men Over 50: Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder Original Flavor

Sprout Living Epic Protein Powder Original Flavor
Pros
  • Zero grams of added sugar

  • Excellent source of dietary fiber

Cons
  • Small package, only 13 servings in a bag

Preserving the integrity of musculature by consuming adequate protein throughout life is critical for maintaining movement while we age. Adequate fiber intake is also important for maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal system as well as aiding in satiety.

One serving of this organic, plant-based protein powder contains 26 grams of protein and 5 grams of dietary fiber (about 20% of the daily recommended intake). Sprout Living’s Epic Protein powder also contains cranberry seed, which adds a nutrition boost by providing antioxidants and polyphenols to support cognition, mood, and a healthy urinary tract. 

While Sprout Living Epic Protein is third-party tested, we appreciate that this product is certified USDA organic, certified vegan, and free of fillers and gums. 

Key nutrients: Organic pea, organic sunflower seed, organic pumpkin seed  | Vegan: Yes | Gluten free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: None

Best Organic: Nutiva Organic Plant Protein Powder

Nutiva Organic Plant Protein Powder
Pros
  • Provides all nine essential amino acids from plant-based sources

Cons
  •  Not third party tested

Combining organic pea, pumpkin, hemp, and sunflower proteins, Nutiva’s Plant Protein Superfood is an excellent complete plant-based protein source. Each serving provides 120 calories, 23 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of dietary fiber, and just 1 gram of added sugar. Gluten-free, certified organic, and non-GMO, this powder is also free of stevia.

For a bonus, Nutiva includes digestive enzymes such as papain and bromelain from papaya and pineapple, which helps ease digestion. Plus, unlike many other protein powders, Nutiva also contains fiber. Diets high in fiber have been associated with lowering cholesterol levels, preventing and treating constipation, and even reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.

This product is not third-party tested, but we like it because it is certified USDA  Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and also provides 1 billion CFU probiotics per serving from Bifidobacterium Longum.

Key nutrients: Organic pea protein, organic sunflower protein, organic pumpkin protein, organic hemp seed protein  | Vegan: Yes | Gluten free: Yes | Organic: Yes | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: Organic acacia, organic natural flavors

Best-Tasting: NAKED Nutrition Less Naked Whey

NAKED Nutrition Less Naked Whey
Pros
  • Made with just three ingredients

  • Certified by Informed Choice

Cons
  • Small - just 12 servings per container

It can be challenging to find a great-tasting—and palatable—protein powder that is free of artificial flavors and sweeteners. NAKED Nutrition's Less Naked Whey Protein Powder combines their high-quality, grass-fed whey protein with natural vanilla and organic coconut sugar to create a simple and delicious supplement.

Each serving contains 25 grams of protein (with 5.9 grams of BCAAs), 8 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of added sugar, 2 grams of fat, and 150 calories. The rBGH and rBST-free protein is also Non-GMO, soy-free, and Certified Gluten-Free. It's cold-processed to retain the integrity of the protein and uses acid and bleach-free processing. 

This protein powder is certified by Informed Choice, which ensures products are not contaminated with substances banned in sport.

Key nutrients: Whey protein concentrate | Vegan: No | Gluten free: Yes | Organic: No | Non-GMO: Yes | Additives: None

Final Verdict

For a high-quality, great-tasting whey protein powder for men, try Garden of Life's Organic Grassfed Whey Protein (view at Amazon). Each serving provides 21 grams of highly bioavailable whey protein concentrate, plus probiotics for digestive health.

If you prefer a plant-based protein, consider Sunwarrior Warrior Blend (view at Amazon). It’s made from a blend of plant-based proteins.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

The products listed in this roundup are items that Sydney Greene, as a registered dietitian and avid home smoothie maker, would recommend to her clients, friends, and family. Each protein powder has been vetted for quality. She has also read through reviews and product comparisons to choose items that stood out for price and likability. 

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7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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