21 Oct 2021 8:27 AM +00:00

Best Protein Powder 2021: Whey, Vegan, And More Top Picks

There's a lot to consider when searching for the best protein powder, especially as there are so many different kinds of protein and flavours available in today's market.

Protein is essential for the growth and repair of your muscles which is why many people turn to protein powder as well as additional supplements like the top BCAAs to support their diet when they workout and exercise.

To help your search for the best out there right now, we put together this list, based on nutrition, price, and reviews, highlighting some of the key differences that we think make each of these supplements stand out.

So, whether you're looking for a protein-packed blend, like this MyProtein THE Whey, or searching with a unique, squash-like flavour, like this MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate, we've got you covered in this guide.

Best Protein Powder

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Best Protein Powder – Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein

Best protein powder Optimum Nutrition product image of black and red container of Gold Standard Whey
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Image Credit: Optimum Nutrition

Brand: Optimum Nutrition | Protein: 24g | BCAAs: 5.5g | Carbs: 1.4g | Sugar: 0.7g | Calories: 118*

*Per 30g Serving

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Optimum Nutrition is at the very top of the supplements game, making some of the best BCAAs as well as one of the world's best-selling protein powders with its Gold Standard Whey.

One of the reasons it has claimed this top spot is because Optimum Nutrition boasts its whey is comprised of three different types of protein: whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides.

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It also contains the three most valuable BCAAs in Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine which help with muscle growth and recovery, and has a few nutritional extras like Glutamine which assists our body in producing proteins and plays an important role in intestinal health.

In terms of taste, the Gold Standard Whey comes in 15 different flavours and should dissolve in water or milk relatively easily, leaving no clumps once you've finished shaking.

Best Premium Protein Powder – MyProtein THE Whey

Best protein powder MyProtein product image of a dark grey container of chocolate protein powder
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Image Credit: MyProtein

Brand: MyProtein | Protein: 25g | BCAAs: 6.5g | Carbs: 1.8g | Sugar: 0.7g | Calories: 114*

*Per 30g Serving

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MyProtein is featured in our list of best creatine supplements so it is no surprise they also manufacture one of the best premium whey protein powders around.

MyProtein's THE Whey is another supplement made by combining three different types of protein; whey isolate, whey concentrate, and hydrolysed whey, meaning it provides a great amount of protein per calorie in one serving.

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THE Whey boasts an impressive 6 different digestive enzymes which you don't often find with protein powders, meaning this particular supplement should improve digestion and even absorption which might suit those with a more sensitive stomach.

Ultimately, this supplement, despite being slightly more expensive than some competitors, offers you excellent nutritional value and benefits to help you build muscle as progress through your fitness journey.

Best Vegan Protein Powder – Orgain Plant-Based Protein Powder

Best protein powder Orgain product image a white a green container of organic, vegan protein
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Image Credit: Orgain

Brand: Orgain | Protein: 21g | BCAAs: Unspecified | Carbs: 15g | Sugar: 0g | Calories: 150*

*Per 46g Serving

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One of the clear benefits of Orgain protein powder is that it is plant-based and therefore would suit anyone who is looking to reduce or has completely cut out dairy products from their diet.

Being a vegan supplement, the protein blend is slightly different than the previous entries on this list as it contains a combination of pea, brown rice, and chia seed protein; but don't worry, it still contains all 9 essential amino acids which are vital for protein synthesis, tissue repair, and nutrient absorption.

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Moreover, chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which have a whole range of health benefits including curbing the stiffness of joint pain and lowering blood fat levels.

This supplement does contain slightly more carbs than the average blend, but one of their key benefits is that they are your body's main source of energy, therefore this protein would benefit someone who is looking to fuel themselves before a day of heavy lifting with their top squat rack.

Best Clear Protein Powder – MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate

Best protein powder MyProtein product image of its orange mango clear whey protein powder
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Image Credit: MyProtein

Brand: Orgain | Protein: 20g | BCAAs: 4g | Carbs: 0.7g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calories: 83*

*Per 30g Serving

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Your average protein powder tends to come in a variety of dairy-related flavours like chocolate, vanilla, or even cookies and cream.

MyProtein's Clear Whey Isolate breaks this trend with its variety of whacky fruity flavours which you typically find in pre-workout, meaning this supplement is ideal if you don't enjoy the creamy taste of the regular product.

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This supplement has been made using a high-quality hydrolysed whey protein isolate which makes up 94% of the total serving, thus giving it an impressive 20g's of protein in just 83 calories so it would benefit anyone looking for a lower-calorie protein blend.

It also comes with 4g's of BCAAs to support your muscles, and 3g's of Glutamine to aid intestinal function as well as your immune system; so overall the Clear Whey Isolate is a pretty unique, yet nutritionally beneficial product to add to your diet.

Best Hemp Protein Powder – Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder

Best protein powder Nutiva product image of a white container with green details
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Image Credit: Nutiva

Brand: Nutiva | Protein: 15g | BCAAs: 4.5g | Carbs: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Calories: 110*

*Per 30g Serving

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Like Orgain, Nutiva has produced a vegan protein blend that offers those who are mostly or fully plant-based an alternative to the standard whey supplements on the market.

The Nutiva Organic blend has been made with cold-pressed, organic hemp seed protein, to offer you 15g's of protein per serving, plus all the essential amino acids it is vital we get in through our diet.

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The difference in hemp protein is that, due to its less refined nature, it often contains more fat per serving, but this can be of benefit to you if you're looking to add more unsaturated fats to your diet because, research suggests, they help lower cholesterol as well as the risk of heart disease.

It also contains 5g's of fibre, which aids digestion, and 2.5g's of omega-6 and omega-3 which both play vital roles in the brain functioning along with providing additional heart-related benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions About Protein Powder

People tend to have a lot of questions regarding protein powder, especially as there are a lot of common misconceptions, but we're here to clear up some of the more typical queries you may have.

What Is Whey?

Whey is one of two proteins found in milk, the other being casein, and is the most common form of protein found in powdered supplements.

Whey protein is essentially a by-product of the cheese-making process, hence the high number of dairy-related flavoured powders, and it provides significant amounts of the essential amino acids that are needed to carry out the functions that proteins perform in the body.

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What Are BCAAs?

To understand BCAAs, you must first know that there are 20 different amino acids that make up the thousands of different proteins in the human body.

9 of the 20 are considered essential amino acids, all contained within whey protein, as they cannot be made by your body so have to be obtained through your diet.

Of the 9 essential amino acids, 3 of them are branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, which refer to their chemical structure and are used to improve muscle growth and decrease muscle soreness and fatigue.

This is why the number of grams of BCAAs found within your protein supplements is important to look at if you're into your fitness and exercise.

How Much Protein Powder Should I Take?

Firstly, protein powder should only be used to supplement your protein intake and never act as your primary source of protein as you would be missing out on key elements found in whole foods such as fiber which is important for digestion.

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With that being said, according to leading specialists, most adults require 0.75g per 1kg of body weight, which works out to be around 45g's and 55g's for the average female and male respectively.

If you are more serious about you weight lifting then you might be inclined to consume slightly more protein in your diet, however, a good way to calculate how much protein powder you should take is by tracking how many grams of protein you consume on an average day and supplement the remaining protein with your powder if you fall short of your recommended daily intake.

When Should I Drink My Protein Shake?

There really isn't a 'best time' to take a protein shake, but it has been suggested that an ideal time would be directly after exercising.

Directly after is when you're body is seeking protein to help in your muscles recovery process, so the quicker you can supply protein, the quicker your muscles can begin repairing themselves.

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