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15 Best Whey Protein Powders of 2023, According to Experts

Mar 16, 2023Mar 16, 2023

By Anya Meyerowitz

For years, whey protein shakes were disregarded as a protein supplement only consumed by bodybuilders, post-workout, ahead of some sort of competition. But we were wrong, because the best whey protein powders can help anyone to build muscle and aid in muscle recovery. You just need to know exactly how to use them.

Whey protein has been shown to help increase strength, gain muscle, and adjust body weight measurements (should you wish it to). It also contains many other nutrients paramount for good health; the proteins in whey have been shown to be of a very high quality. They’re loaded with essential amino acids - including leucine and cysteine - which play a number of important roles in the body, from helping to repair bodily tissue and maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails to boosting the immune system and helping to break down food effectively.

However, not all whey protein is created equal, so we’ve done a deep dive into the best-tasting (and most effective) whey protein powders – with the help of the experts. After something else? Shop the best protein powders of all kinds, the best vegan protein powders and the best probiotics for women.

What is whey protein? | What is the difference between whey protein and casein protein? | What are the different types of whey protein? | How often can I take a whey protein? | Our full whey protein powder reviews.

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By Anya Meyerowitz

"Whey protein comes from cows milk, so it contains lactose. It is a supplement used to help boost muscle protein photosynthesis and to increase lean muscle mass," Penny tells us. "The most common reason for taking whey protein is to increase strength, but there are people that take it to increase nutrients in their diet.

"There are lots of benefits of whey, not all gym-related. There have been studies to show it helps with asthma, can prevent cancer and also lower blood pressure. Of course, it does need to be taken in moderation - as taking too much can have negative impacts such as nausea, headaches, acne and weight gain."

Having so many different kinds of proteins on the shelf can be quite intimidating, but there are two main types, whey and casein.

"Casein protein powders are the best choice of protein shake to drink in the afternoon or evening, simply because they are absorbed by the body at a much slower rate than traditional whey powders. Casein powders also contain bioactive peptides, which can help encourage a healthier digestive system, and also improve your immune system," David explains.

"Casein protein also comes from cows milk, but is digested slower than whey. Due to a more prolonged release of amino acids, casein is best to take before going to bed - whereas we would take whey prior to a workout. I would recommend using both proteins in combination with each other - but always check the serving advice," says Penny.

The frequency with which you should use whey protein depends on your specific reasons for taking it in the first place. A commonly recommended dosage is 1–2 scoops (around 25–50 grams) per day, usually after workouts, however most experts will recommend that you follow the serving instructions on the packaging.

"Protein shakes are convenient as they can up the amount of protein in your diet which is important for a number of bodily processes. Protein shakes also contain amino acids, which are known as the building blocks of protein which is essential to ensure our bodies function optimally," David says.

"I would recommend 1-2 scoops per day, but make sure you follow the serving instructions. You should take your whey protein after your workout for the best results, as it is there to help you recover quicker so there is not much point taking it beforehand," Penny advises. "I personally would not take it more than 3 times a week. It is important to bear in mind what you are eating as well, as whey could replace your daily snacks and work to keep you full in between meal times."

David adds: "Taking whey protein shakes is most effective in your anabolic window, which is essentially when muscle synthesis is at its highest. This can vary from person to person, but normally happens around 20 minutes after your workout, and can last for an hour after your workout."

It is important to note though, that if your protein intake is already high, adding whey protein on top of your current intake may not be necessary on such a frequent basis. Especially as an intake of too much protein can actually be detrimental rather than beneficial. However, generally speaking, whey protein has an excellent safety profile and most people can consume it without problems.

From one of the most well-known protein brands in the UK, the MyProtein Impact Whey Protein is packed with 21 grams of protein per serving and is ranked Grade A by independent tester Labdoor for both quality and value. In fact, it is officially certified as one of the best protein powders on the market. It provides your body with convenient, high-quality protein which contributes to muscle gain and the maintenance of muscle mass, whether you enjoy resistance training or weight training. It's suitable for vegetarians, has low amounts of added sugar and can be added to a milkshake as a breakfast meal replacements. The full ingredient list is available on the MyProtein website.

Flavours: The powder comes in an impressive 40 (!) flavours of great taste, including unflavored, from Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry Cream.

Sizes available: 250g, 5006, 1kg, 2.5kg, 5kg

This vegan protein blend imitates whey and was developed for people who regularly push themselves further than most, but don't want to let that compromise other aspects of their lives. Formulated to rehydrate and restore energy, and support muscle growth and repair. In fact, 84% of users recently surveyed said their fitness had improved, while 85% said they felt better after their usual workout when doing so in combination with the Innermost protein. We think that's a big win.

Flavours: Smooth chocolate, creamy vanilla

Sizes available: 520g

This award-winning formula is the original from the Free Soul brand and includes an industry leading protein to serving ratio, including 20g of lean protein per 30g serving. This lean, plant-based protein blend includes premium quality pea protein isolate and white hemp protein, blended with key nutrients, vitamins and minerals to support hormone balance, mood and energy. The protein is blended with Peruvian Maca to promote hormone balance; the entire B Vitamin Complex for hair, skin, and nails; high levels of Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, and L-Carnitine for energy and bone density, and Flaxseed for Omega-3.

Flavours: Chocolate or vanilla.

Sizes available: 600g

This Raw Cacao & Maca Organic Whey Protein is made using whey protein from organic grass-fed cow's milk, raw organic cacao, raw organic maca and unrefined organic coconut sugar, with no additives. Raw organic Criollo cacao is known to be high in magnesium, sulfur, and flavonoids that are believed to boost good cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, while the Maca root can help in improving your mood and energy.

Flavours: Chocolate

Sizes available: 400g, 1.2kg

By Chloe Laws

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By Emma Howarth

You might have seen Form on the Instagram stories of some of your favourite influencers, and that's because it has become to protein powder what Roxie Nafousi's orange manifestation manual has become to books: a fashion statement. Aside from that though, it actually does have some pretty purchase-worthy attributes: it's 100% plastic free, the packaging is completely compostable and the powder itself is plant-based. Many reviews highlight how simple it is to use, given that it tastes good even just mixed with water, it means you can pop a sachet in your bag and have it wherever you are.

Flavours: Chocolate peanut, tiramisu, vanilla

Sizes available: 520g

PE has cooked up a simple whey protein powder that's full of high-quality fuel for your body, and zero sweetener. It's a straight-forward formula that can be used daily, or in-line with your fitness goals, and is ideal for shaking or blending with milk and cold water. Or, why not try using it to make protein-packed cupcakes, energy balls, muffins, pancakes or breakfast bowls? It's also a brilliant option for those new to whey protein shakes as it's super-easy to mix (leaving zero lumps, thank goodness), though, do be warned, if you’re more of a savoury gal, the powders do tend to taste on the sweeter side.

Flavours: Strawberry, vanilla, banana, unflavoured and chocolate

Sizes available: 600g

Bulk released that finding a whey protein that delivered on cost, convenience and quality was a bit of a challenge, and so they created their Essential Whey Protein blend, which can be stirred in smoothies, added to porridge or pancakes or just kept simple and added to water. It includes all the essentials you need in a simple-to-use food supplement. With at least 19g of high-quality whey protein and 9g of essential amino acids (EAA).

Flavours: Banana, chocolate, chocolate cookies, strawberry, vanilla, salted caramel

Sizes available: 500g, 1kg, 2.5kg and 5kg

If you recognise the name Foodspring, it's because they do all sorts of sports and fitness products and you’ll find them everywhere. However, this particular product of theirs - the Whey Protein Powder - is one of their most popular, purchased millions of times across 39 countries since our company was founded in 2013. Their whey is based on three fundamental principles: giving customers the highest quality protein available, with the fewest ingredients, for visible results. Whey Protein instantly provides your recovering muscles with everything they need to come back stronger and combines the optimal mix of whey protein isolate and concentrate. 69% whey protein concentrate: the gold standard of protein powders.

Flavours: Chocolate, vanilla

Sizes available: 750g

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Batch tested for compliance with WADA standards, Kinetica are members of ESSNA (the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance) and so you can always be sure that their products comply with best practice and do exactly what they say on the (pretty chic) tin. Their whey powders contain only natural colours and flavours and they only include ingredients that have a direct benefit to the user, nothing is added to simply just enhance flavour or texture without it having another use. Plus, many users who reported experiencing "bloating" as a side effect of using other protein powders, found that they did not suffer from uncomfortable trapped gasses or bloating with the Kinetica powder.

Flavours: Banana, chocolate, chocolate mint, strawberry, unflavoured, vanilla

Sizes available: 1kg, 2.27kg, 4.5kg

This premium whey protein powder is a lighter version of your bog-standard, daily protein shake, with many reviews dubbing it "refreshing". Perfect for anyone seeking a high-protein, low sugar shake, without the milky taste and texture, each powder sachet provides 20g of high-quality protein per serving to contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass and is easily mixed with added antifoam compound to help bring the foaming down quickly.

Flavours: Apple & Blackcurrant, Blue Raspberry, Cherry Bomb, Passionfruit, Peach Iced Tea, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry & Watermelon, Summer Fruits and Tropical.

Sizes available: 100g, 500g

Ok, something a bit different for you, this pure whey protein is, as you might have guessed from the picture, flavoured like those retro Fruit Salad sweets that we all love. That's right, take your protein shake tropical with the exotic pineapple and raspberry flavour, still packed with 22g of protein in each serving, The only difference is the fun and familiar flavour to get those taste buds tingling. Bulk also does various other sweet-inspired flavours, including Flump (hello, sweet, sweet marshmallow taste), Refreshers and even DibDabs. Honestly, is this the stuff dreams are made of? We think so.

Flavours: Fruit Salad, Flumps, Backjack, Dib Dabs, Refreshers

Sizes available: 20 servings

This organic whey protein powder by TheHealthyTree Company is made using organic milk from well-bred, grass fed, free range cows, and doesn't include any sugar, sweetener, soy or thickener (hence the name). It's also gluten-free. Instead, their product - which is organically produced in Germany - is high in naturally occurring amino acids including BCAAs and tastes delicious when blended with fruit as part of a thicker smoothie (ideal for anyone who isn't keen on the sweeter flavours that whey protein powder can often come in). The texture is smooth, meaning this particular whey protein can also be added to recipes like cookies, flapjacks, pancakes and overnight oats.

Flavours: Unflavoured

Sizes available: 300g, 600g

By Chloe Laws

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If a shake isn't your style, don't worry, because there are various products out there that incorporate your dosage of whey protein into something that isn't a shake at all. Like these chocolate whey balls from Bulk, which come in three different flavours. These premium whey protein balls are made from the same protein source as their standard Pure Whey Protein, except smothered in chocolate and easily portable to make them an easy snack to enjoy throughout the day. They’re also a great alternative if you’re tired of typical protein bars but still want something rich in protein with a balanced measure of carbs and fat.

Flavours: Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate

Sizes available: 500g

Muscle Food's whey is micro-filtered and does not undergo any form of heat treatment on its journey to your kitchen, so what you end up with is a super pure form of whey that includes no artificial colourings and, rather rarely, no soy. Many reviews rave about the unflavoured version for baking - including pancakes and cakes - while those who preferred more of a taste to their protein, felt that the other flavours tasted good without being overly sweet. And, those of sensitive stomach will be pleased to hear that this one is also gentle on the digestive system and so is unlikely to cause bloating or any other, erm, unwanted side effect.

Flavours: Chocolate milk

Sizes available: 750g

It's likely that you recognise the hefty, rather intimidating-looking, black tubs of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard protein from seeing them around the gym, the office and most health food shops. And that's because they are a real go-to for those looking for a high-dosage of naturally occurring BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), plus, the whey protein undergoes a series of sophisticated filtration processes to ‘isolate’ out excess fat and sugar. A portion of this Whey Protein Isolate is then hydrolysed – broken down into smaller chains of amino acids - and so the final product is a complete protein, containing no more than 0.3g of sugars, 0.4 g of fat and 83% of pure protein per serving. We know that's a lot of numbers and techy speak but basically, it's a good’un.

Flavours: Chocolate, peanut butter, chocolate hazelnut, cookies & cream, strawberry and vanilla

Sizes available: 930g

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What is whey protein? | What is the difference between whey protein and casein protein? | What are the different types of whey protein? | How often can I take a whey protein? | Our full whey protein powder reviews. Meet the experts: Penny Weston, David Weiner, In a rush? The best whey protein powders at a glance: MyProtein Impact Whey, £6.86, MyProtein: The Organic Protein Co, Organic Whey Protein Raw Cacao & Maca, £22.80, Amazon: Bulk Clear Whey Isolate, £22, Amazon: FreeSoul Whey Protein Blend, £22.49, Amazon: Organic Whey Protein Powder, £17.04, Amazon: What is whey protein? What is the difference between whey protein and casein protein? What are the three types of whey protein? Whey Protein Isolate: Whey Protein Concentrate: Whey Protein Hydrolysate: How often should I use a whey protein and when? Ahead, the best whey protein powders to add to your checkout in 2023. MyProtein Impact Whey Protein is Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: Flavours: Sizes available: