Protein powders/shakes are used by hundreds and thousands of bodybuilders, weight trainers and athletes around the world and with advertising campaigns that promise vast increases in muscle growth and strength, it is easy to see why they are so popular. The problem is that there must be hundreds, if not thousands of different protein powders on the market as every major health and fitness brand has jumped on the protein shake bandwagon over the past few years. Because of this, determining exactly what is the best protein powder from the huge choice available is now harder than ever but luckily, we’re here to help.
How Do We Determine What Is The Best Protein Powder?
There are a number of factors that we can analyse to help determine which is the best protein powder on the market but to some extent, the best protein powder is always going to be subjective. This is because it will often come down to taste. There are a lot of different flavours on the market from a variety of brands so it comes as no surprise that all of these protein shakes are going to vary slightly when it comes to taste.
However, taste is just one of the factors we take into account when trying to establish what is the best protein powder as there are a number of technical factors such as price, protein content and even digestibility to take into account. Here are a few of the factors we looked at to create our best protein powder list.
- Protein Content
- Ergogenic Nutrient Inclusion (e.g. Creatine)
- Amino Acid Profile
- Protein Powder Composition
What Is The Best Protein Powder?
As we said, it is very difficult to establish whether or not there is one particular protein powder that is the absolute best as there are just so many on the market. However, there are a handful of contenders out there which is why we have created our top 10 best protein powders list (in no particular order).
Gaspari; the company behind MyoFusion Probiotic sell a range of protein powders and other nutritional supplements and over the past few years, they have established a good reputation in the nutritional supplement market. MyoFusion Probiotic has to be one of the best, if not the best protein powder on the market today.
Each serving is packed with a massive 24 grams of protein, 9 grams of essential Amino Acids to aid in muscle recovery and absolutely no Gluten or Aspartame. It tastes great, mixes easily (you just need cold water and a spoon) and is composed from six Amino Acid packed sources of protein including Whey Protein Concentrate, Casein Milk Protein Isolate and Egg Albumin.
It also contains absolutely no artificial colouring and comes in a range of interesting flavours including Milk Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Strawberries & Cream, Cinnamon Roll and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Of course, you can get it in a regular Vanilla flavour too.
Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey Gold Standard protein powder has been created using Whey Protein Isolates as the primary protein source. Whey Protein Isolates are 90% pure protein in terms of their weight which makes them the most pure and costly form of Whey protein on the market. Because these Isolates are so densely populated with protein, 100% Whey Gold Standard contains 24 grams of pure, muscle building protein with every serving.
Not only this, but due to the purity of the protein, there is a lot less fat, lactose and cholesterol than a lot of the other protein powders on the market. It also contains over 5 grams of essential muscle building Amino Acids and over 4 grams of Glutamine and Precursors. Whey protein is extremely fast-acting, allowing you to get your protein fix almost instantaneously; there is only 1 gram of fat per serving too.
100% Whey Gold Standard has also been designed to instantly mix with only a spoon and comes in more than 15 great tasting flavours including Cake Batter, Cookies & Cream, Rocky Road, Double Rich Chocolate, Coffee, Tropical Punch and even Mocha Cappuccino.
#3 – USN Muscle Fuel STS
USN Muscle Fuel STS supplies the body with quality protein that has been obtained from five different protein sources, allowing muscle recovery time to be sped up and muscle stiffness to be eased. The formula also ensures that the body properly absorbs the quality protein using an advanced time release system making it perfect for accelerating the rebuilding of muscle tissue following an intense workout.
USN Muscle Fuel STS is also marketed by the company as a meal replacement shake that is highly suited to those with limited time to prepare meals or those with poor nutrition habits.
Unlike many other protein shakes on the market, USN Muscle Fuel STS is a relatively well-balanced meal replacement shake containing 44 grams of protein, 49 grams of carbohydrates and just 4 grams of fat per serving (2 scoops). It is also naturally high in BCAA’s and Glutamine as well as Biotin and a range of vitamins.
Although we would never recommend replacing a nutritious, healthy meal with any form of high protein shake (you can find out more about why a protein shake might be bad for you as a meal replacement here), if you really do insist on doing so, this is probably one of the best protein powders to opt for due to its high protein, carbohydrate, amino acid and vitamin content. It is also low in sugar and is great for increasing your metabolism. It’s pretty filling too.
USN Muscle Fuel STS comes in a few flavours including Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla. Unfortunately, it is currently quite hard to get hold of outside the UK (you can get it shipped to the US from LangtonInfo.com though). USN Muscle Fuel STS is one of the more expensive protein powders on our list.
If you’re looking for a high quality, anti-catabolic protein powder with a slow-absorption rate then look no further than Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Casein Protein Powder. Unlike whey protein, casein proteins are much slower in terms of their digestion rate which allows protein to be released slowly. Casein protein powders are perfect for those looking for a night-time protein source that will aid in muscle recovery and muscle protection.
Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Casein Protein Powder has to be one of the best casein protein powders on the market due to its high protein content (24g per serving) and anti-catabolic properties. It also contains over 9 grams of BCAA’s, Glutamine and Glutamine Precursors per serving.
Casein protein in its very nature is more expensive than whey protein as the cost of extraction is much higher. Casein protein powders are also notoriously poor tasting but Optimum Nutrition has done a great job with their 100% Casein Protein Powder as it tastes particularly great when mixed with a low-fat milk.
Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Casein Protein Powder comes in a variety of flavours including Banana Cream, Chocolate Cake Batter, Chocolate Supreme and Creamy Vanilla.
Boditronics Express Whey offers a blend of some of the best quality Bio-available proteins as well as high levels of L-Glutamine and BCAA’s, which are essential for overall muscle growth and mass gains. One of the main differentiating factors between Boditronics Express Whey and many of the other protein powders currently available on the market is the inclusion of Prebiotics to ensure that healthy digestion is actively promoted.
Although primarily a whey protein powder, Boditronics Express Whey also includes an optimum amount of Misceller Casein protein to ensure that many muscle-building amino acids are released slowly after the Whey digestion window. It is this that makes Boditronics Express Whey one of the best protein powders for consumption both post-workout and at almost any other time of the day.
High Glutamine levels in the Boditronics Express Whey formula ensure that muscle growth and recovery are promoted and that valuable muscle tissue does not succumb to the catabolic process that can often occur after intense resistance training. It also has a huge 34g of protein per 45g serving.
Boditronics Express Whey comes in Rich Chocolate, Strawberries and Cream, Banana Split, Peanut Toffee, Raspberry Ripple and a range of other mouth-watering flavours.
Here we have another great protein powder; IntraPro. Created by Gaspari, this protein shake offers one of the highest protein per scoop rations of any protein powder on the market today with a massive 25g per scoop. IntraPro has been designed to offer bodybuilders and athletes exactly what they want; a high protein, high quality, slow dispersing whey protein supplement that tastes great.
IntraPro has been designed to be anti-catabolic in its nature meaning that it is great for use at any time of the day; before/after a workout or even as a meal replacement if needed. IntraPro is packed to the brim with vitamins and minerals while still being low in carbohydrates and sugar. It has been designed to be used by both male and females, athletes and bodybuilders or anyone else with an active lifestyle with a requirement for a recovery-promoting protein powder.
Gaspari IntraPro is available in a number of flavours including Strawberries and Cream, Double Chocolate and Delicious Vanilla.
BSN Syntha 6 is one of the leading protein powders currently on the market and it is easy to see why. Syntha 6 is created from 6 different sources of protein, each with individual digestion rates and amino acid profiles. One of the great things about this combination is that it ensures your muscles have a great source of protein for up to 8 hours, making Syntha 6 a great protein powder for any time of the day; morning or night.
Syntha 6 is also rich in BCAA’s, Glutamine peptides and Aminogen which allows for increased digestion. It is also packed with essential fatty acids and contains 5 grams of fibre per serving for even greater digestion. With just 200 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving, Syntha 6 is great for anyone on a low-calorie, high-protein diet. Syntha 6 contains 22 grams of protein per 47.2 gram serving as well as 14 grams of carbohydrates, meaning that it can be used as a well-balanced meal replacement if you are really short of time.
Syntha 6 is also a great tasting protein shake and comes in a variety of flavours including Banana, Orange Smoothie, Chocolate, Caramel Latte and of course, regular Vanilla.
CytoSport is yet another well-known brand in the world of protein shakes and sports supplements and their Cyto Gainer protein powder is one of the few protein shakes suited to those hardgainers out there. Cyto Gainer is an extremely high calorie protein powder with 570 calories per serving, making it perfect for those that need to get their extra calories from the most high quality source they possibly can. It also contains a staggering 54 grams of protein per serving with 75 grams of carbohydrate too.
Cyto Gainer is made up of the most high quality Whey protein sources and complex-carbs whilst being extremely low in fat and sugar. Cyto Gainer is perfect for consuming after those high intensity workout sessions as it contains rapidly digestible protein and slow-release carbohydrates. Having said this, it is also a great choice for a high protein supplement with any meal, especially breakfast.
Cyto Gainer comes in Strawberries and Cream, Chocolate Malt, Vanilla Cream, Banana, Chocolate Malt and Cookies ‘n’ Cream.
One of the interesting things about protein powders and shakes is that they are not regulated. In fact, a lot of protein powders have been found to include traces of anabolics or prohormones which if used, can often lead to the failure of drug tests for the consumer. However, one protein powder that is NCAA compliant and is extremely pure in terms of ingredients is Met-Rx 100% Natural Whey Protein Powder.
Met-Rx 100% Natural Whey Protein offers a quality source of whey protein whilst also being 100% natural. The protein powder offers 23 grams of protein per serving as well as 5 grams of BCAA’s; great for consuming post-workout. It is also low in sodium and goes through a specialised filtration process that lowers total cholesterol, saturated fat, lactose and carbohydrates whilst maintaining the presence of natural proteins.
Met-Rx 100% Natural Whey Protein is available in two flavours, Chocolate and Vanilla.
Dorian Yates has previously held the title of Mr. Olympia a total of six times and is a highly respected, well-known name around the world. His knowledge of nutrition and training is second to none and he now has his own range of nutritional supplements, one of which is the Formass protein powder.
The name Formass pretty much explains itself; it has been created for anyone looking to increase their intake of high quality protein and carbohydrate in order to gain muscle mass, maintain their current body weight, improve recovery times or any combination of the three. Formass is packed with six, high-quality carbohydrates and contains a massive 50 grams of protein per serving as well as 88 grams of carbohydrate and a total of 680 calories.
Formass is designed for those looking for a high-calorie, high-protein and high-carb supplement for consumption after intense workouts. It is available in Chocolate, Vanilla, Banana and Strawberry.