The Best-Tasting Protein Powder


We tested nine highly rated protein powders to find the best tasting of the bunch. Optimum Nutrition – Gold Standard 100% Whey was the crowd favorite, with a winning combination of smooth sweetness and milky, frothy texture. Our pick for best-tasting vanilla is the BSN – Syntha-6 Whey protein powder, which boasts a vanilla-ice-cream flavor that actually lives up to its name. The best tasting protein powder for weight loss is the gluten-free, non-GMO RSP – TrueFit powder in chocolate, which our testers compared to a mug of creamy cocoa.

Our Top Choices

Best Tasting Overall


Optimum Nutrition

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Best Tasting Vanilla


BSN

Syntha-6 Whey

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Best Tasting Vegan


Vega Sport

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We tested nine highly rated protein powders to find the best tasting of the bunch. Optimum Nutrition – Gold Standard 100% Whey was the crowd favorite, with a winning combination of smooth sweetness and milky, frothy texture. Our pick for best-tasting vanilla is the BSN – Syntha-6 Whey protein powder, which boasts a vanilla-ice-cream flavor that actually lives up to its name. The best tasting protein powder for weight loss is the gluten-free, non-GMO RSP – TrueFit powder in chocolate, which our testers compared to a mug of creamy cocoa.

Our favorite vegan option is the Vega Sport – Premium Protein powder, which has a slightly salty vanilla-caramel flavor and a whopping 30 grams of protein. The best tasting sugar-free powder is the stevia-sweetened Muscle Feast – Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate, which our testers compared to a vanilla chai milkshake. Last but not least, our choice for best tasting egg white powder is the MRM – Egg White Protein, which has plenty of vanilla flavor without any eggy aftertaste.

Important features to consider

Complete protein is the best protein

One term you may have heard around the gym or juice bar is “complete protein.” A complete protein is made up of the 9 essential amino acids — protein building blocks — that the body can’t produce on its own (though it is capable of producing 11 other amino acids that can form a protein). These are: histidine, leucine, isoleucine, tryptophan, lysine, phenylalanine, methionine, valine and threonine.

When shopping for protein powder, look for those that contain at least these three essential amino acids: valine, leucine and isoleucine. Also known as BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), these three are especially important for recovery and muscle protein synthesis. For the vegans out there, sunflower seed, pea and soy proteins are all good choices for getting your BCAAs.

Protein powder types

With a range of protein powder types available, choosing the best one for you is a matter of matching your health goals to your dietary preferences. Here’s an overview of the most common types.

Whey

One of the most popular protein supplements, whey is a complete protein that’s ideal for gaining muscle. Whey is also the most thermogenic of all the proteins, meaning it burns the most calories after consumption. Whey protein is extracted from milk, and although most of the lactose is removed in the process, it may still affect those who are lactose intolerant.

Whey isolate

Whey isolate is processed differently than whey concentrate, with a lengthier filtration process that removes more of its lactose and fat content, making it gentler on the lactose intolerant. It also has a higher concentration of protein and can be absorbed by the body faster than whey concentrate.

Casein

Casein is also a complete protein extracted from milk. Because it digests more slowly than whey protein, it keeps the body feeling full for longer and can therefore lead to weight loss. However, it also slows the absorption of amino acids into the body. According to one study, a blend of whey and casein powder could be beneficial, combining quick absorption with a longer-lasting feeling of fullness.

Egg

If whey digests quickly and casein digests slowly, egg protein falls somewhere in-between, digesting at a steady, moderate rate. Egg protein is a good, complete protein option for vegetarians and the lactose intolerant. For those looking to lose weight, egg white protein is particularly low in calories, carbs and fat.

Plant-based

Ideal for vegetarians and vegans, these protein powders come from plant sources like pea, hemp, soy, alfalfa and brown rice protein — and sometimes a blend of several. Keep in mind, however, that only some plant-based proteins (often soy and pea protein, for example) form a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids.

Collagen

Collagen protein promotes joint, skin and nail health. Since it only contains eight of the nine essential amino acids, collagen doesn’t comprise a complete protein. Think of collagen powder as a supplement; don’t replace your regular protein powder with it.

For diabetics and sensitive stomachs

If you’re diabetic, look for a sugar-free protein powder with a low carb count. Those who suffer from lactose intolerance or IBS should opt for egg and plant-based powders rather than whey and casein protein powders, and also skip powders that contain artificial sweeteners (which can cause digestive issues).

1

Optimum Nutrition: Best Tasting Overall

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Our testers crowned Optimum Nutrition – Gold Standard 100% Whey as the best-tasting protein powder overall. The flavor we tried, Vanilla Ice Cream, is tasty with just the right amount of sweetness, and the shake has a milky, smooth texture. While some other blended protein powders seem to be about 50% air, our testers remarked that the Optimum Nutrition shake has a pleasant frothiness without being overly foamy.

Sweetened with sucralose, the Optimum Nutrition powder is a mixture of whey concentrate and isolate proteins, with a hearty 24 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat. At 110 calories per serving, this is one of the lower calorie options we tested.


2

BSN - Syntha-6 Whey: Best Tasting Vanilla

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Usually when a protein powder has a flavor like “Vanilla Ice Cream,” we don’t expect the taste to actually live up to the name. Not so with the BSN – Syntha-6 Whey protein powder, which does taste remarkably like melted vanilla ice cream.

The directions on the label recommend mixing one scoop of the powder with 4–5 ounces of water or milk, but we found the resulting drink to be overwhelmingly sweet. Adding a few more ounces of water diluted the flavor into a deliciously creamy shake with just the right amount of sweetness. Our testers also noted that this powder is quite filling.Read more…

Sweetened with corn syrup, sucralose and acesulfame (an artificial sweetener that simply passes through the body without being processed), the BSN powder contains a blend of whey concentrate, whey isolate, casein and egg proteins. At 200 calories per serving, it has the highest calorie count of any of the powders we tested, along with 22 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbs and 6 grams of fat.


3

RSP - TrueFit: Best Tasting for Weight Loss

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The RSP – TrueFit, which we tested in the chocolate flavor, impressed our testers with its cocoa-like taste. This powder is just sweet enough, and the flavor isn’t fake. The powder blends easily into a thin shake, without any dry chunks floating in the bottom.

Each serving of the RSP powder has 25 grams of hormone-free, grass-fed, pastured protein, 5 grams of BCAAs, 8 grams of fiber and 12 non-GMO fruits and vegetables, as well as 3.5 grams of fat that includes 1 gram of MCT oil. The powder is gluten-free and also includes probiotics and enzymes to aid digestion.


4

Vega Sport - Premium Protein: Best Tasting Vegan

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The Vega Sport – Premium Protein blends easily into a thick, filling shake that our testers described as “pumpkin-y” and “oat-y.” Sure enough, the powder’s first four ingredients are pea, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed and alfalfa protein. The powder’s vanilla flavoring has a salted vanilla vibe, and no wonder — along with its natural caramel and vanilla flavors, sea salt is listed in the ingredients as well.

Sweetened with stevia, the Vega shake is 160 calories per serving and contains an impressive 30 grams of protein per serving. It also contains 3 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, 5 grams of BCAAs and 2 grams of probiotics to help with digestion.


5

Muscle Feast: Best Tasting Sugar-Free

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The Muscle Feast – Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate, which is also our top protein powder pick for women, is also our top choice for the best-tasting sugar-free protein powder. The powder blended smoothly into a foamy shake that tasted authentically vanilla and wasn’t overly sweet. One of our testers compared the flavor to a vanilla chai milkshake.

The Muscle Feast powder is made of only four ingredients, including hormone-free, grass-fed whey protein isolate. The 88-calorie powder is sweetened with stevia and contains 20.5 grams of protein, 6 grams of BCAAs and only 88 calories, 2 grams of fat and .2 grams of carbs per serving, making it a great source of lean protein.


6

MRM - Egg White Protein

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We were pleasantly surprised by the MRM – Egg White Protein, which we expected to taste at least somewhat eggy. Although our testers could smell egg in the shake, the taste of egg was undetectable in its flavor. Instead, the shake has a smooth, subtly vanilla flavor that would taste great mixed with other ingredients.

Sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract, MRM is a paleo-friendly powder that’s free of gluten, antibiotics and hormones. Each serving contains 6 large egg whites, 23 grams of protein and 7.7 grams of BCAAs, and only 100 calories, 2 grams of carbs and zero fat. We also appreciate the vegan enzyme blend at the end of its ingredients list, which should give extra aid for sensitive stomachs.


7

Dymatize

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Out of all the powders we tested, the Dymatize – Elite 100% Whey powder tastes the most like a protein powder, with a strong vitamin-y, chemical-ish aftertaste. Our testers remarked that the shake is milky and smooth, with a vanilla flavor that’s decidedly fake. All in all, the Dymatize powder doesn’t taste bad, but it’s not great, either.

The Dymatize powder is made of both whey protein concentrate and isolate, and is 140 calories per serving. It contains a hefty 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat and 2 grams of carbs, and is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame.


8

Bluebonnet

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The Bluebonnet – Dual-Action Protein has a thin consistency and faint vanilla flavor that would make an ideal base for additional ingredients (like bananas or peanut butter) to be added to your protein shake. Our testers noted that this shake does have a slightly chalky texture, unfortunately.

The gluten-free, non-GMO Bluebonnet powder contains a whopping 26 grams of grass-fed whey and casein protein, delivering the benefits of both protein types (whey protein burns the most calories after consumption, while casein has a slower rate of absorption and will keep the body feeling full longer). The Bluebonnet powder is sweetened with stevia and has 130 calories, 3.5 carbs and only 1 gram of fat (which includes MCT oil) per serving.


9

Pro JYM

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The Pro JYM – Ultra-Premium Protein Blend in the Tahitian Vanilla Bean flavor tastes what one tester called “chemically sweet” and was chalky and grainy in texture. After adding a couple of ounces more water, the texture improved, but the chemical taste was there to stay. A couple of testers found that it left their throats dry, to the point that they needed a drink of water after tasting it.

The Pro Jym powder blends together casein, whey isolate, milk isolate and egg white proteins and is sweetened with brown rice syrup, sucralose and acesulfame. With 140 calories per serving, it contains 24 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat and 4 grams of carbs.


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