Figuring out which whey protein is the best really comes down to your own definition of what “best” means to you. But even if you know what factors are most important to you, it can still be extremely difficult to decide which whey protein is best for you.
There are literally thousands of whey protein products to choose from and they all vary in quality, ingredients, cost and a number of other factors!
But because whey protein is such an essential ingredient in my health program I spend a lot of time researching, testing and comparing new whey protein powders whenever they fit my criteria.
What criteria is that?
I’ve written it up below so you can see how I go about selecting whey protein powders to test.
Hopefully this information will serve as a helpful guide to eliminating the confusion and help you to discover which whey protein powder is best for you.
Criteria #1: It Must Be All Natural
Optimizing my health is first and foremost for me so I do my best to avoid putting anything that is un-natural into my body.
So when I look at Whey Protein powders, I first look to see if it’s All Natural. This actually narrows the choices quite a bit. Most whey protein powders contains artificial ingredients.
Some people are looking for a quick results (muscle gain/fat loss etc.) and don’t care much about the long-term consequences of eating a product with artificial ingredients.
No thanks. Long term health is what is most important to me so it’s gotta be all natural.
Criteria #2: Whey From Grass Fed Cows
Once I find an All-Natural Whey I look to see if the whey is produced by Grass Fed Cows.
While everything on the label could be exactly the same on whey protein from grass fed cows and whey protein from non-grass fed cows, I prefer to use whey protein from grass fed cows.
I don’t believe there has been any research to indicate if Whey Protein powders from grass fed cows are superior to conventional whey protein powders but I prefer to consume products from animals that were eating what they were supposed to eat.
Animals that eat what they are supposed to eat are healthier.
And healthier animals produce healthier products.
Cows in pasture eat grass….not Soy, Corn, Grains etc.
So if I am going for optimum health, Grass Fed is the whey for me.
Criteria #3: Cost
If the whey protein powder is all natural AND from Grass Fed Cows, the next thing I look at is cost.
This is where selecting a whey protein powder can get really tricky.
Why is the pricing so tricky?
- Whey protein powders come with different amounts of protein in the jar
- The size of the jar does not necessarily indicate the amount of protein in the jar
- Different companies use different units of measurement to indicate the amount of protein in the jar
- Serving size varies from brand to brand so you can’t just compare how much protein per serving you get from one brand vs the other brand
- Sometimes the information the company provides on their website is not the same as what is on the label when you receive the product
So the bottom line is it’s almost impossible to pick up two jars of whey protein powder and be able to do an accurate cost analysis on them without doing some conversions and math calculations.
I was a knucklehead for many years and mainly compared protein powders by the amount of protein per serving and the total cost of the jar.
That’s a bad idea because if you don’t compare whey protein powder costs accurately, you could end up spending MUCH more money than you need to spend.
So to make things easier for myself to compare all of the whey protein powders I’ve tried and plan to try, I made a page HERE to compare all of the important criteria like brand, product name, type of whey protein (isolate, concentrate or both), cost, serving size, amount of whey protein per serving etc.
It is my goal to try every brand of all natural whey protein from grass fed cows because there is NO replacement for personal testing.
For example, as a result of personally buying and testing these proteins, I’ve discovered some “inaccuracies” between what manufacturers show on their website and the actual product label.
One product said the weight of the jar of protein was 2.2lbs when after closer inspection, the weight is actually 2.02lbs. Not a HUGE difference but it’s a difference and we as consumers deserve to have accurate information so we can make the right decision.
Another brand indicated that the serving size was 10g which provided 12g of whey protein, however, when I received the product the serving size was 11g and the amount of protein provided was 8g. That’s a BIG difference.
I don’t think these companies are trying to intentionally mislead us but accuracy is important to help us make the right decision. Maybe I’m just cynical but when companies make these kinds of errors it makes me trust their brand less.
As far as cost goes, cost per gram of protein (column P on the spreadsheet) is in my opinion the best way to accurately compare the cost of each whey protein powder.
CLICK HERE to check out my all natural whey protein comparison spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet allows you to sort the list based on various criteria like lowest to highest cost. As I continue to discover and try new products, I will continue to update the list accordingly.
Note: Most of the links on the spreadsheet are my affiliate links so I will make a commission if you purchase a product after clicking on one of those links. You DO NOT pay more by clicking on those links. The prices you see there are the prices everyone pays including me. I just receive a portion of the profit for referring you. Much of what I do on this site takes me a LOT of time so I hope you will use my affiliate link if you decide to purchase one of those products. It helps me cover some of the costs for what I do here and I really appreciate your support 🙂
Criteria #4: Convenience
Once I go through the above criteria the next thing that is very important to me is Convenience.
It has to be easy for me to get the protein but convenience also needs to be balanced with cost.
Retail stores (i.e. Health Food Stores, Grocery Stores) make it very convenient to buy whey protein but they typically charge MUCH more than online retailers.
As far as online retailers go, I like Amazon the best for several reasons.
- They sell almost every whey protein powder available
- They have the best pricing
- Standard shipping is free or very low cost
- Amazon Prime members receive free 2-day shipping and very low cost overnight shipping
I recently decided to use Amazon Prime because it is low cost and it includes free 2-day shipping and very low cost overnight shipping on most products (including most whey protein powders).
Why is shipping speed important?
The shipping time is important to me because heat can damage whey protein powder.
That’s why they tell you on the label to “STORE IN A COOL, DRY PLACE”.
OK so what does heat have to do with shipping?
I have worked in the shipping industry for 11 years so I’m very familiar with the way the shipping process works.
The slower the shipping option you choose and the further away from the shipping point you live, the longer your shipment will sit on trucks and in distribution hubs.
Some distribution hubs are air-conditioned and others are not and the hubs that are not air conditioned get HOT.
The trucks are also not air conditioned. So if your package is sitting in a hot truck, it’s most likely going to get hot.
So in short….
Faster shipping = Lower Chance Your Shipment will get hot
Slower Shipping = Greater Chance Your Shipment will get hot
There is one caveat to this rule. If you happen to live very close to the location your shipment is being shipped from, you can typically choose a low cost shipping option like ground shipping and receive the shipment one or two days later. But this is not always the case.
I don’t want my Whey Protein cooking in a hot cardboard box so I get it shipped overnight or 2-day express.
Criteria #5: Additional Ingredients
This one isn’t too much of a factor because if the whey protein powder is all-natural, typically there are very few ingredients other than whey protein.
The other ingredients are typically a sweetener (like Stevia for example) and then an emulsifier like Soy Lecithin which allows the powder to mix easily in liquid.
While I am not a fan of Soy and try to avoid it as much as possible, I’m not too concerned about the soy lecithin in the protein powder. Most companies use a very small amount and I believe that the potentially harmful properties in soy are damaged enough during the soy lecithin production process that they are not damaging to health.
Since most companies use Soy Lecithin as the emulsifier, the next step is to determine if they are using Non-GMO Soy Lecithin as GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) can potentially be problematic to health.
With that said, the best whey protein powder for me would not contain Soy Lecithin AND would meet ALL of the criteria above.
Fortunately, many whey protein powder manufacturers are now switching from using Soy Lecithin to Sunflower Lecithin, a much healthier option in my opinion. Ideally, you want to make sure the Lecithin is “Non-GMO” of course.
And some products do not contain Lecithin at all. If you use a blender to make your Whey smoothies then Lecithin really doesn’t matter because the blender which mix the product very well. However, if you use something like a blender bottle then you probably should use a product that contains Lecithin if you do not the protein to clump up.
Criteria #6: Taste
I usually blend my whey protein powder with power foods to create a power shake so taste for me isn’t as critical as the other factors above. I’m really more concerned with the quality of the product than taste.
However, I will say that out of all the vanilla whey protein powders I’ve tried so far (I stick to Vanilla or Natural flavors) I like the taste of BodyLogix Natural Whey Vanilla Bean and Blue Bonnet French Vanilla Whey the best.
Taste is very personal though so if you tried one brand of whey protein powder before but didn’t like the taste, you may want to try a few other brands. To me, they all taste fairly similar but each is slightly different.
I still haven’t tried every protein on my list and I’m always in the process of searching for new products to test. When I test them out I will put them on the All Natural Whey Protein Comparison Chart so I can keep track of the best all natural whey protein powders available.
Hopefully this article and my All Natural Whey Protein Comparison Chart will help you to make the best decision for you too. If it was helpful, please do me a favor and share it with someone!