Best Whey Protein Review – Top 5 Fittest List for February, 2024
It has been pretty well established that whey protein is the most effective protein supplement you can buy. It’s particularly rich in BCAAs, the source of the critical amino acids which lead to muscle growth.
It contains key protein microfractions which boost the body’s immune system and antioxidant levels, and help in muscle growth and recovery. And whey protein delivers its benefits much faster, because it’s digested quickly.
You may already know most of that information, if you’re looking to find the best whey protein on the market. But you may be here because you’ve hit the roadblock that so many others have: how on earth do you choose between all of the bottles of whey powder on the shelves at your local GNC or the listings online? Lots of manufacturers are hoping you’ll choose based on their oversized, muscle-bound bottles, their cool packaging with bright colors and lightning bolts, or their powerful-sounding brand names.
You’re smarter than that, though. You’ve found our best whey protein list to guide you.
1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
One of the most important qualities of a whey protein is the amount of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) it provides per serving, for the reason we alluded to when we started this discussion. BCAAs are what athletes look to load up on when they use a protein supplement, because the amino acids they contain are crucial for the growth and maintenance of lean muscle.
Optimum Gold Standard whey powder contains a whopping 5 ½ grams of BCAAs in each serving, plus four grams of natural glutamine and glutamic acid to aid in muscle recovery after workouts.
That’s possible because unlike many competitors, Gold Standard doesn’t fill their whey powder up with a lot of junk. They combine whey protein isolates with ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate, to give you 24 grams of whey powder in each serving without all of the common additives that basically contribute nothing but cholesterol, fat and lactose. Naturally, there has to be some artificial flavoring in any whey powder (otherwise, it would be undrinkable) but 100% Whey keeps it to a minimum.
On the subject of drinkability there are more than 20 flavors of this supplement to choose from, and since taste is subjective it’s hard to tell what flavor you might like best. But all are at least “pretty good” to “good” while the extreme milk chocolate, double chocolate and mocha cappuccino are delicious from this viewpoint. The powder is created to dissolve almost instantly when mixed with water or milk, or making a smoothie.
Optimum Nutrition has been producing quality supplements for many years, winning awards each year from prestigious sites like bodybuilding.com for Gold Standard Whey and many other products. It manufactures all of its supplements in America, in labs that are both GMP compliant and NSF certified for sport. That history plus the quality of this product ensures Gold Standard 100% Whey tops our best whey protein top 5 list.
Key facts about Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey:
2. Isopure Whey Protein Isolate, Unflavored
You’re probably not going to be able to mix Isopure’s whey protein in water and just drink it, unless you know how to suppress your gag reflex. But if you’re into protein smoothies, this product provides even a little more raw benefit than the one from Optimum Nutrition. We rank it just a little lower only because most people we know prefer a flavored powder over an unflavored one.
The numbers and ingredients certainly make this a top-level product, though. The Isopure whey protein isolate is microfiltered and 100% pure without carbs, fat, sugars or lactose, with no added ingredients except for the soy lecithin that keeps the powder separated and helps it dissolve. The result: 26 grams of protein and 5.67 grams of BCAAs per serving, along with more than 2 ½ grams of natural L-glutamine. (One important note – Isopure also makes several flavored whey powders, which do have sucralose and artificial flavoring in them. The product we’re reviewing here is the unflavored one.)
Isopure is well known for its quality supplements, and this is just one more in that long line. Just don’t try to drink it straight unless you’re a sucker for palate punishment.
The numbers behind Isopure Whey Protein Isolate, Unflavored:
3. Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate
This supplement from Now Foods is quite similar to the Isopure unflavored whey protein we’ve just discussed – it’s just more expensive. That’s one reason we’ve ranked it lower; the other is that the manufacturer doesn’t disclose exactly how much BCAAs you get per serving of the product (other than saying “a high concentration”). We assume it’s similar to Isopure, but there’s no way to know for sure.
Putting that aside, this is a solid product with the pros and cons of Isopure. You get 25 grams of protein per serving, it’s made simply from pure whey protein isolate with only soy lecithin added, and it’s unflavored so there’s no sugar or artificial sweeteners or flavorings – but you’re going to have to add the powder to a smoothie or other beverage, or suffer the taste consequences. One thing you may notice that’s different, though, is that the Now Foods Isolate mixes up “foamier” than Isopure, although we’re not quite sure why.
The other thing that’s different is the price; this supplement is more expensive than Isopure. So while it’s still a good choice, we can’t say it’s the best.
A closer look at Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate:
4. EAS 100% Whey Protein – Chocolate
We like what’s in the EAS Whey Protein a lot but there are few things we weren’t as crazy about, which is why it shows up in fourth place. First the good: there are 6.3 grams of BCAAs in the 26 grams of protein per serving, along with 1.6 grams of naturally-occurring glutamine. As for the bad, there’s more fat in the chocolate whey powder than in the other choices we’ve mentioned so far; there are also several additives, including sucralose for sweetening. There’s nothing really “bad” in the EAS product, it just isn’t quite as “good” when it comes to ingredients.
We also wish there were more flavor choices available. The chocolate tastes good (with most of the flavor coming from the cocoa that’s included), but the vanilla product they offer has a lot more carbs and fat, so if you want EAS but aren’t partial to chocolate, you’re either out of luck or will have to settle for a less-healthy whey supplement.
Details of the EAS 100% Whey Protein:
5. Six Star Pro Nutrition Elite Series Whey Protein Powder
We include this final option for those who want to maximize their protein intake, even if it’s by means of a supplement which has a lot more than whey in it – there’s 60 grams of protein in each two-scoop serving of this Six Star powder (The company’s directions vary between recommending one and two scoops per serving.) In addition to 97% pure (and not 100%) whey protein isolate, there’s also partially-hydrogenized whey protein concentrate, a sunflower supplement mix that includes sunflower oil, sucralose, and a bunch of other stuff, including a list of warnings that the product shouldn’t be used if pregnant, nursing or using blood thinners. There are a lot more carbs than in the other products we’ve looked at, too.
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Our choice is for a more natural whey protein product without all of the extras. If you’re looking for extra protein in a whey-based supplement, though, the Six Star Elite Series may be up your alley; a number of pro athletes endorse the brand. There are several flavors, including triple chocolate, cookies and cream, salted caramel, strawberry smoothie, and vanilla cream.
Facts and figures for Six Star Pro Nutrition Elite Series Whey Protein Powder:
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