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Best and Worst Whey Protein Powders

Whey Protein

grass-fed whey protein

Have you found it difficult and confusing to choose a whey protein powder? You’re not alone because choosing a whey protein powder now requires the skill of a wine connoisseur. The taste, types of cows used, grass-fed vs. grain fed, heavy metal testing, artificial colors or sweeteners, cold processed vs. high heat, isolate, concentrate, hydrolyzed or ion exchange, etc. As you can see, it has become a science of its own to determine the best whey protein product for you beyond the amount of grams of protein.

The Differences Between Whey Concentrate and Whey Isolate

What are the biggest differences between whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate?

1) Whey protein concentrate costs less to produce than whey protein isolate and therefore should cost less money for you. This is usually a sign that a product has inferior quality, however, it isn’t true in this case.

2) A good whey protein concentrate usually has 80% protein compared to 90-96% protein in whey protein isolate. This is because concentrate contains small amounts of fat, cholesterol, and lactose, and isolate requires more processing to eliminate these further and increase the protein content. As you will see from the labels, we are only talking a difference of a few grams. However, if you are sensitive to lactose, isolate is going to be the better choice.

3) Whey protein concentrate’s distinct advantage comes containing more bioactive compounds found in the fat that positively influences hormones and immunity. Dietary fat and cholesterol is needed for testosterone production (and estrogen for women) and improves absorption of key vitamins and carotenoids. The IgG immunoglobulins are a source of glutamine and cysteine needed for glutathione (master antioxidant system) and are bound to fat. CLA – while in a modest amount in fat and higher in grass-fed animals – is an important compound for burning fat and fighting cancer.

Do You Even Need Whey Protein Powder?

Are protein powders really necessary? I’ve grappled with this question for a while, and after reviewing hundreds of sports nutrition food diaries, I’ve concluded that a large percentage of the athletes I have seen do not get enough protein for their activity level. This is especially true post-recovery. Liquid protein post-workout is extremely effective and efficient for amino acids, protein, and minerals quickly to the muscles.

From my own experimenting, I have continually gone back to using whey protein because I can physically see the difference in my body. While you can maintain and repair with proper protein from fish, meat, and eggs, my opinion is that grass-fed whey protein gives you a distinct advantage for recovery and results. Plus, it is incredibly convenient for a quick breakfast or when you need something that digests quickly before your workout. Here are the best and worst whey protein powders.

How to Choose a Whey Protein

Here are your code words and phrases: Cold processed, whey concentrate or isolate depending on allergies or fat preference, tested low for heavy metals, hormone free, grass-fed (more important for concentrate, and has an environmental bonus), affordable, and does not contain sucralose or any artificial color, artificial flavor, artificial sweetener or natural flavor that contains MSG.

All whey protein in the United States is flash pasteurized. The process that follows is where the difference in retaining certain compounds changes. In one study comparing cold processing to standard heat treatment, lactoferrin, transforming growth factor (TGF-β2), BSA and immunoglobulins were all found in higher levels in the cold processed whey. Some companies will provide testing for their levels of immunoglobulins and lactoferrin.

The Best Whey Protein Powders

1. Promix Grass-Fed Wheywhey protein (76 servings, $1.00 per serving, 25 grams protein)

whey protein

When I first wrote this article, there were not nearly as many grass-fed whey protein options as there are now. So as of July 2015, consider the ranking system updated. ProMix has taken the new number #1 spot due to its excellent pricing in bulk. Currently, for 5 lbs. and 76 servings it is $75.99. That is roughly $1.00 for 25 grams of protein per serving. Compare that to some grass-fed whey protein powders that are 1-2 lbs. and more than twice that cost per serving.

It follows all the parameters of being grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free, non-GMO and cold processed without any unnecessary or problematic additives. I reached out to the company, and they generously sent me a heavy metals report proving that it is exceedingly low in all those tested.

2. NorCal Organic Whey (36 servings, $1.80 per serving, 21 grams of protein)

NorCal Organic Whey is a very high-quality whey from Jersey cows in Humbolt and Del Norte counties in northern California. It would be great to get a comparison of whey protein powders based on the breed. Maybe I’ll get on that. I have been to these regions, and the pasture is very lush and healthy. This company is also very mindful of winter feed. “When harvested grasses are not enough to meet the cows increased nutritional and energy needs during winter months they are given an organic Non-GMO Project Verified blend of barley, alfalfa, corn, and minerals.” It is cold-processed, organic, antibiotic free, does not use any bleaching or acid processing, tested for both heavy metals and all impurities, and is about as pure as it comes.

3.  Vital Whey 2.5 lbs (56 servings, $1.06 per serving, 16 grams of protein)

This is a great economical deal for grass-fed whey from year round pastures, but the protein content is little lower at 16 grams. The company (Well Wisdom) performs testing annually to ensure that the highest amounts possible of the fragile immune fractions are retained in their native forms. These values are listed on the label (Immunoglobulins, Lactoferrin, and Serum Albumin).

4. Mt. Capra Products Double Bonded Goat Milk Protein (30 servings, $2.14 per serving, 20 grams of protein)

whey protein

Mt. Capra was the protein powder of choice for the 2014 Superbowl winners, the Seattle Seahawks. According to Mt. Capra, “At the beginning of the season, we were approached by the certified nutritionist for the Seattle-based team and were informed that currently the team was being fed a GMO-laden soy protein powder at every team meal. This, of course, had to stop. The NFL’s premiere team couldn’t settle for a protein powder (soy) that was highly allergenic, filled with dangerous phytoestrogens, and literally a frankenfood (GMO).

The teams forward thinking nutritionist inquired if Mt. Capra would be willing to start supplying our clean and digestible protein powders to the Seahawks. We, of course, were thrilled to partake in the success of our favorite NFL team and eagerly began sending large 40-pound boxes of protein to the team.”

There are multiple protein powders available through Mt. Capra. My favorites include Double Bonded Protein, Deep230 and Goat Whey protein that is only available through health care practitioners. I have talked with this company many times, and each time I’m very impressed with their process and attention to detail. They having been making goat products since 1928, and continue to churn out superior products.

All of the criteria is matched including the milk being grass-fed, organic, no artificial colors or flavors, GMO-free, they use refractance window drying for cold processing and own their own goat herd in my favorite place, the Pacific Northwest.

Ingredients of Double Bonded Protein: Goat milk protein, fermented goat milk protein, organic cocoa powder, natural chocolate flavor, guar gum, xanthan gum, and stevia.

*If you do not like the taste of goat products and do not have cow dairy sensitivities, stick with the cow.

5. Wild Whey Grass-fed Whey Protein (30 Servings, $1.67 per serving, 15 grams of protein)

Wild Whey concentrate comes from grass-fed cows in south Australia, ensuring pasture year round and purity from pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins. Wild Whey claims to test for the highest levels of immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and serum albumin. It is sweetened with stevia, making it a good choice for people who like their protein shake a little sweeter. I have found that the stevia sweetened whey powders go best mixed with plain yogurt.

6. Antler Farms Whey Protein Isolate (30 servings, $1.63 per serving, 26 grams)

If you are looking for a whey protein isolate instead of a concentrate due to lactose intolerance, Antler Farms from New Zealand provides an exceptional product. It provides 26 grams of cold processed protein from cows fed on grass year round with a clean ingredient list. This one is pretty sweet, so I recommend mixing it with plain yogurt.

The Worst Protein Powders

The standard formula for many whey protein powders (especially big companies) will include feedlot dairy fed GMO corn, GMO soy (from some reports even candy or turkey manure is thrown in!) treated with growth hormones and antibiotics, GMO soy lecithin, artificial sweeteners and possibly unhealthy levels of heavy metals. I’ve highlighted the main things to avoid on the label. Heavy metals will be hidden and need 3rd party testing, which also makes me wonder what else is hidden.

One of the main sweeteners you will see used is sucralose. Sucralose is an organochlorine. It has been found to wreak havoc on intestinal bacteria (up to 50% destruction) and express two p-450 enzymes, which activate carcinogens. Your beneficial bacteria is responsible for up to 80 percent of your immune system, your ability to lose fat, maintain selenocysteine levels present in the catalytic center of enzymes to protect the thyroid from free radical damage, and emerging research is connecting anxiety and depression to low beneficial bacteria populations. You will see online forums try to downplay the issues with artificial sweeteners, but my question is if it doesn’t benefit you, why use it?

I’ve added the popular brands here, however, you will find the label pattern is the same for the majority of these type of whey protein powders.

1. Muscle Milk

If you can buy it in a can at a 7/11 or Rite Aid, you should probably be suspicious. I am still shocked to read that athletes are drinking this product. If you think that “cold processing” and “grass-fed” are just some fancy schmancy talk, then I’ll explain why this is so important. Here is an example of using heat for processing and getting milk from feed-lot cows. What happens with this combination? You make number #1 on the list from Consumer Reports for toxic heavy metal contamination and get called Metal Milk. I don’t know about you, but I prefer a drink without excessive levels of cadmium, arsenic, mercury and lead. They have also felt the hot breath of the FDA on their neck for mislabeling their products, apparently because their product isn’t milk.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients:

Muscle Milk Chocolate: Calcium and sodium caseinate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, whey peptides, lactoferrin, L-glutamine, MCT, sunflower and/or safflower oil, canola oil, L-Carnitine, cocoa powder, maltodextrin, resistance maltodextrin, fructose, natural and artificial flavor, vitamin mineral blend, fructo-oligosaccharide, potassium chloride, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, soy lecithin.

Here you have a combination of heavy metals, GMO’s, artificial sweeteners, harmful vegetable oils and allergenic dairy from feedlot cows. What is acesulfame potassium aka acesulfame K? It’s often blended with other artificial sweeteners to yield a more sugar-like taste, which is why it gets less attention. Methlyene chloride is a solvent used in the beginning step of creating Acesulfame K. What is methylene chloride? According to the EPA, it is predominately used as a solvent in paint strippers, removers, and pharmaceutical drugs, and as a propellant for insect sprays and aerosol paint sprays. Exposure from the inhalation of methylene chloride has been linked to headaches, nausea, memory loss, liver and kidney issues, visual and auditory dysfunction, cardiovascular problems and an increased rate of cancer.

According to this FDA 2003 document, “methylene chloride, a carcinogenic chemical, is a potential impurity in ACK resulting from its use as a solvent in the initial manufacturing step of the sweetener. In the past, FDA has assumed that methylene chloride is present in Acesulfame K at the LOD of 40 ppb (worst-case scenario) and has evaluated its safety by performing a risk assessment for methylene chloride based on this level. No new information has been received to change FDA’s previous risk assessment for methylene chloride.” You know how much of this should be considered safe for human consumption? Zero parts per billion.

2. EAS Myoplex

In the same study from Consumer Reports, EAS Myoplex had the highest amount of the toxic metal arsenic. According to the EPA, arsenic causes thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; blindness and cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate.

Here are the ingredients:

Water, Milk Protein Concentrate, Pea Protein Concentrate. Less than 2% of the Following: Corn Maltodextrin, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkali), High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Potassium Citrate, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbate, Salt, Magnesium Carbonate, Zinc Gluconate, dl-Alpha-tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Manganese Gluconate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Chromium Chloride, Folic Acid, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin D3, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Phytonadione, Cyanocobalamin), Calcium Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Cellulose Gum, Cellulose Gel, Acesulfame Potassium, Gellan Gum, Sucralose, and Carrageenan.

3. BSN Syntha-6 Protein

BSN Syntha-6 Protein is the second highest selling whey protein on Amazon. All of the reviews are spent raving about the taste, that’s it. What people don’t realize is that companies use artificial sweeteners because they are addictive and send a signal to the brain to keep drinking or eating without an off switch. Studies have repeatedly shown that people who drink diet drinks or use artificial sweeteners actually gain fat because it increases carbohydrate cravings, worsens insulin sensitivity and stimulates fat storage. So while you are using a protein to gain muscle, it contains artificial sweeteners to make you crave sugar and carbohydrates to pack on some fat with it, not to mention the other list of side effects they can cause.

Aspartame has finally received the bad publicity it deserves, but many companies are still resorting to using the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium and sucralose or Splenda as it’s known. Don’t be fooled by the politics and flawed studies involved with artificial sweeteners. They are big business like anything else and are subject to corruption. Both should be avoided.

Ingredients: A Sustained Release Ultra-Premium Protein Matrix Comprised of (Ultrafiltered Whey Protein Concentrate [Milk] Rich in Alpha-Lactalbumin, Microfiltered Whey Protein Isolate [Milk] Rich in Whey Isolate Peptide Fractions, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Alpha and Beta Caseins and Caseinates [Milk], Milk Protein Isolate [Milk], and Egg Albumen [Egg], Glutamine Peptides), Richmix Sunflower Powder Consisting of (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate [Milk], Mono- and Di-Glycerides, and Dipotassium Phosphate), Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder, Litesse II Polydextrose, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Nutrisperse MCT Powder Consisting of (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Non-Fat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, and Silicon Dioxide), Ticalose Cellulose Gum, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Lecithin [Soy], Aminogen, and Papain.

4.  TastyWhey by Adaptogen Science

The first step is correct using a cold process for their whey concentrate, however, there is no mention of the source of the dairy. I was really surprised to see a product still using partially hydrogenated oils. In this case, it is partially hydrogenated coconut oil in the form of coconut powder, that also contains corn syrup solids, sugar, soy, and carrageenan. You may better know partially hydrogenated as synthetic “trans-fats,” the kind that the FDA has now banned in U.S. processed food within the next three years. Now we have soy and canola oil being used in processed foods and restaurants which really isn’t better at all, but that’s another story. Isolated fructose, artificial flavors, and sucralose are also combined in the protein, making this whole formula problematic on so many different levels.

Ingredients: Cold filtered processed whey protein concentrate, coconut powder (partially hydrogenated coconut oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, sugar, dipotassium phosphate, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids, mono and di-glycerides, sodium silicoaluminate, soy lecithin, carrageenan), cocoa, fructose, natural and artificial flavors, potassium chloride, guar gum, sucralose.

5. IsoPure Zero Carb 

IsoPure is a whey protein isolate, which if that’s all it was I would have no problem with it. While it makes a claim to be “aspartame free,” it follows the same formula of adding artificial flavors and sucralose as the other formulas. This product tries to differentiate itself by adding vitamins and minerals to the profile. Upon first glance, you may not think much about it. But when you break down the forms of the vitamins and minerals, you see some shortcuts in the form of folic acid (best as methylfolate and certain people may need to avoid folic acid), cyanocobalamin (best as methylcobalamin), and magnesium oxide (worst form, only 4% absorbed). “Natural flavor” also always needs to be confirmed by the company that it isn’t MSG, which spikes glutamate levels.

If people are using multiple vitamin and mineral fortified powdered products, bars, and supplements, they can start getting higher doses of certain minerals like copper, selenium and manganese that can be problematic. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the collective totals in conjunction with your diet.

Ingredients: Whey protein isolate, vitamin and mineral blend (dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, sodium chloride, zinc sulfate, d-alpha tocopheryl acetate, niacinamide, calcium d-pantothenate, copper sulfate, manganese, sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, vitamin a acetate, chromium chloride, folic acid, d-biotin, potassium iodine, sodium molybdate, sodium selenite, phytonadione, cyanocobalamin, soy lecithin, l-glutamine, natural and artificial flavor, sucralose, xanthan gum.

6. TwinLab Protein Fuel

Twinlab uses a blend with whey concentrate that is not from grass-fed cows. As you can see, it has a lot of fillers shared with the other formulas.

Ingredients: Whey protein blend (whey protein concentrates, whey protein isolate), glycine, natural and artificial flavors, non-dairy creamer (sunflower oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, silicon dioxide), cocoa, xanthan gum, guar gum, papain, bromelain, fructooligosaccharides, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, soy lecithin.

7. Quest Vanilla Milkshake Protein Powder

Quest uses sucralose and carrageenan. There is research showing that “exposure to the common food additive carrageenan may lead to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance,” therefore contributing to the development of diabetes in mice. There has also been some concern in studies looking at human intestinal cells that may translate to a pro-inflammatory response on the digestive system.

Ingredients:  Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Micellar Casein), Natural Flavors. Contains less than 2% of the following: Cellulose Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Steviol Glycosides (Stevia), Salt, Carrageenan, Sucralose.

Submit Your Whey

If you have other whey protein powders that you like me to analyze, feel free to share. In the meantime, avoid the hyped up whey protein powders from guys with shaved chests and giant man nipples. Choose the companies with a smaller marketing budget that are using their resources for the highest quality whey, not man nipples. Making this switch will increase your results in health and strength.

See also:

Best Plant-Based Protein Powders
Best and Worst Electrolyte Drinks
Best and Worst Multivitamins and How to Design Your Own

326 Responses to Best and Worst Whey Protein Powders

  • consider a Fish Protein – it is new since this article was written – available in USA under AminoMarine brand. Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Wild Caught fish source so its hormone and antibiotic free, also small south pacific anchovy source – so no bio-accumulation issues that larger gamefish have.

    and Lastly – it tastes GOOD ! you won’t believe it, but its true – perfect addition to a smoothie.

    • Sounds completely disgusting! But I said the same about cricket protein and I tried it.. not bad at all. Psychologically I couldn’t keep taking it though.

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  • AllMax Nutrition IsoNatural
    Ingredients: Whey Protein Isolate

    That is all.

    • According to the company, IsoNatural contains soy lecithin even though it is not on the label. Their support team did not know if it was grass-fed, however if it’s not advertised as grass-fed, then it probably isn’t.

  • Formulx – 100% grass fed protein. Best source, process & ingredients.

    Beats all the others hands down. If anyone is interested in learning more, e-mail me and I can tell you more about it and get you a discount.

    It is recommended and sold at various crossfit gyms. Highly regarded in the Paleo community.

    • I have looked on many sites about protein However, I get the feeling you are the most knowledgable to recommend a protein to me.

      Than You

      • Hi,

        Could you explain a little more on what type you are looking for? The ones I have listed are grass-fed whey protein, and I recommend any of the ones on the best list.

  • I’m a big fan of Syntha-6 to be honest.

    Feel free to check out for a big list of flavors and brands of all the best protein supps.

  • We made a True Paleo Protein without milk

  • I am just can’t seem to find a great whey that is non-denatured, cold pressed, grass-fed BUT NOT including stevia or any soy or sunflower lecithin.

    Scouring the internet and so many ingredients list. If anyone knows of any please do let me know! Thanks so much!

    • Hey Cat,

      I actually just discovered one. I was approached by Designs for Health regarding their grass fed whey, and agreed to meet with them. I sampled it and told them that the xylitol was way too sweet. I just noticed that there was a formula change where they have it with just whey, no sweeteners or lecithin. I’m not sure if it is advertised online, but I’ll look for it.

    • I’m not sure if they had this formula before, but I definitely didn’t see it until recently. I have added it to the article. It is Designs for Health Unflavored.

      • In their most recent practiioners catalog it looks like the ‘whey cool’ vanilla contains ONLY natural vanilla flavor (they do not specify sourced from vanilla beans).

        The Chocolate is a bit more ambiguous; “natural flavors, certified organic stevia leaf extract powder, vegetable celluose

        The unflavored/unsweetened ” Proprietary why protein concentrate (proserum). I’m not sure why this is listed in the ‘other ingredients’ for the unflavored…it is the proprietary whey used in all three formulas.

    • Cat, Whey Natural! USA’s All Natural Plain Whey Protein (Mother Nature’s best: Biologically active, raw, Chill-Right® cold-processed WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE from Amish pastureland dairy cows) is free of binders, sweeteners and more. It is not cheap($100/2.5 lb) but they are offering 20% off through 17 August.

    • This one is non-denatured and they do have a non-flavored version:

      • One problem though, they have admitted to mislabeling in the past and refused to refund peoples’ money. I just don’t trust them. Also, to avoid denaturing from pasteurization, it’s using radiation to kill bacteria. It’s not legal to sell raw.

  • Interesting articles you have, thumb up!! I have never pay attention to all this ingredients when i was taking MusclePharm combat protein powder but after i read your website i do see all of them are using the same thing.


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  • Alex, very solid information on your site. In reference to BEST/WORST protein powders have you any information on the meal replacement product from IDLife… I appreciate your knowledge and feedback, Thank you!

    • Hey Matt,

      Everything appears to check out in terms of their processing method, including both whey isolate and concentrate, and not using any suspicious fillers or sweeteners. It doesn’t say if their whey is grass-fed, which is what I would ask. I couldn’t find a contact us on their website.

      • Great article Alex! I have been using protein powder for many years now but only recently became aware of all the potential issue and the need for “clean” protein. I do love the IDLife Shake product and have been using for about a year now. I found this on the website :”Whether your goal is to lose weight, tone up or just feel better and healthier, the IDLife Shake is the answer to what you’ve been looking for. Through a combination of organically derived, high-quality, cold-filtered Whey Protein from hormone free grass fed cows and micro-milled chia seeds, which are known as a great source of healthy omega 3 fatty acids and Fiber, the IDLife Shake delivers the absolute best tasting shake possible designed to stimulate metabolism, feed lean muscle, and curb your appetite. One taste and you’ll know why we call it the most nutritious and with great-tasting meal of the day!*” IDLife is adamant about having only the highest quality of anything and their protein is derived from grass fed cows in New Zealand as they are very strict regarding GMO’s, pesticides and the like. I also enjoy having the micro-milled chia seeds for the extra omega 3’s and for adding a smoothness to the product. I love it! They are also very big on not putting “label paint” in their products, ingredients that do not have well studied benefits and a good safety profile. Thanks for putting out this well written article!

  • How do you rate isagenix?

    • Hi John,

      Is there a certain product from them you have in mind? Usually with companies like these, there will be some high quality products and others that are not.

      • The have a pure protein powder and a meal replacement (hi protein) mix. Botherwise are good and come in multiple flavour’s.

      • Hi, Alex-
        I was wondering about your thoughts on the Isagenix Isalean protein shakes. How do they stack up on the best/worst list?

        • Hi Debra,

          Do you have one specifically in mind that you want me to analyze?

          • Please do a review on the IsaLean Dutch Chocolate. Thanks!

          • Hi Chelsey,

            Isalean is technically a meal replacement shake and contains an added vitamin, mineral and carbohydrate profile. It uses the wrong form of B12 and synthetic folic acid, and uses isolated fructose for a total sugar count of 11 grams.

            The issue with these types of shakes is that it is very easy for people to get high amounts of poorly made vitamins when combining sources from multivitamins and fortified foods.

            Isolated fructose is a problem because it negatively affects sex hormone binding globulin, and therefore hormones.

  • What are your thoughts on creatine? If you think it is beneficial to supplement for muscle gains what particular products do you recommend and dosages/cycle?

    (My goals being to increase reps and strength as efficient as possible without concern for weight gain/loss).

    Note: I am vegetarian as in no meat/fish. My protein comes from legumes, soy, at most 2 eggs daily, whey, casein. Since I’m aware meats are a source of creatine.

    • And do you have any other recommendations for weightlifting supplements?
      I already obtained upon recommendation from your blogs multivitamins, vitamin c, magnesium citramate, and cordyceps.
      Some weightlifting supplements that are suggested I found on are beta alenine, bcaa, and glutamine.

    • A lot of the concerns about creatine’s lack of long term studies – especially when I first start practicing sports nutrition – have been debunked and there is actually quite a bit of research showing its safety. I’ve seen people get great results, and others not see any change. It may not be necessary for those who eat enough red meat and fish, but for lacto-ovo vegetarian weight lifters it could be beneficial. The typical loading does is 5g 4x a day for 7 days, then 5g daily as a maintenance dose. You can skip the loading dose and start with 5g daily. Many people feel that it works faster with the loading dose. I recommend using creatine monohydrate with carbohydrates post-workout and avoiding caffeine. I currently do no have any particular products I recommend, but look for ones with guaranteed purity testing.

      • I had good results with it. Basically it loads your body with what it needs to recover but your body responds to it based on what it needs. This is a layman’s perspective but it’s precisely what happens, and what happens is probably not only what keeps it legal in sports, but also why it isn’t necessarily bad for you, unless the substance later turns out to be. No long term study conducted by a company focusing on “safety” is looking at anything other than extreme health, and the FDA isn’t monitoring it so that means the gate is open. So, who knows if there are changes, such as in the brain, as a result. In terms of dice rolling, at least you know you aren’t likely to roll a losing combination because no losing combination is even known to exist!

        Caffeine after a workout isn’t an issue. Before a workout it is. Combined with creatine in any stage, the argument is that they cancel out each other. Or could. op might know something I don’t.

  • Has anybody used Whild Whey by Wild Foods? It seems like a great protein if everything the lable says is true. Ive been using it a couple weeks and really like it so far. I feel a big difference using a good whey post workout instead of trying to get all of my protein from food alone. Id like to see an independent lab review of these proteins to see if the lables are accurate.

  • How would you evaluate Optimum Nutrition”s 100% Whey Gold Standard? My 14 year old son tried a sample at Costco, and believes it’s absolutely the best, and their website claims that they are the standard, and have won the Top Whey prizes. How would you explain to him the difference? He generally does not want to listen to me, his Mom. He is small and want to gain weight and muscle. HE also needs protein to help heal post TBI (traumatic brain injury) and recent tests show that he is not getting enough protein in his diet. HE thinks that anything organic tastes awful (I always buy and feed him organic food).


    • Hi Theresa,

      Optimum Nutrition’s Whey Gold Standard is a very popular whey protein, possibly due to its price point and advertising in the body building community. It is on the lower end of heavy metal contamination according to Consumer Reports. However the label I have reviewed shows that it contains artificial flavors and colors and acesulfame K (and according to customer service sucralose is used as well in most of their products). The artificial flavors and colors are a propriety blend, so therefore they are not obligated to say what exactly they are. I think this should be disclosed to the consumers. Sucralose is a synthetic organochlorine, in the same family as Agent Orange, DDT, PCB’s, pesticides and insecticides. Acesulfame K contains questionable amounts of methylene chloride, a classified carcinogen. The company said that the 90 percent of the dairy comes from the US, and 10 percent from the European Union. They cannot claim non-GMO because the cows are eating GMO corn and soy. This fact may or may not be important to some people. But for health (the cows and ourselves) and environmental reasons, these animals should be on grass.

      I don’t know the age of your son, but what he needs to know about gaining muscle and weight is that it starts with his diet and type of lifting program. He should really read the article I wrote on testosterone to understand the importance of eliminating pesticides, herbicides and other toxins that harm testosterone levels and therefore muscle gain. It gives great diet and supplement tips for gaining mass. Whey protein is a convenient adjunct to the diet, but it won’t put on muscle without a solid protein centered whole foods diet low in toxins and sugar. In terms of the brand of whey protein, 20-25 grams of whey that is cold processed and without the harmful additives/heavy metals are all going to perform well with a good diet and lifting regime, despite what claims or marketing awards are given out.

  • Thanks for sharing. Not everyone realizes that whey protein shakes are not all the same. I am a fan of the cold pressed chocolate protein shake by Xocai healthy chocolate. It uses whey protein isolate is gmo free and has over 56,000 ORACfn in antioxidant. Each serving is 21 grams of protein which is why it is recommended for weight loss and popular with body builders. I would be happy to send you a sample if you would like to try it. I used to be a customer of this product but it was cheaper to become a distributor and buy it wholesale.

  • Are any of these ‘best’ options available in th UK?

    • Hi Tracy,

      The UK equivalent that I know of would be The Organic Protein Company grass fed whey from northern Germany.

  • What about lifesource vitamins whey concentrate or isolate?

    • Yes the Lifesource whey looks excellent.

      • What about good old Designer Whey and or Shakeology

        • Hi Michelle,

          Here is my reply about Designer Whey from a previous comment: Designer whey does not use grass-fed whey, and the dairy comes from the midwest. It has tested low in heavy metals. If this was just an isolate, it would be fine. While it doesn’t appear to have anything overly negative that stands out, since it is an isolate and a concentrate, it is my opinion that any concentrate should be grass-fed.

          Shakeology uses a whey protein isolate instead of a concentrate, and uses dairy that is antibiotic free. Their adaptogen and probiotic blend is impressive and combining it with whey is a smart move. They use isolated fructose as their sweetener and add cheap forms of vitamins and minerals including magnesium oxide, zinc oxide, folic acid and cyanocobalamin. I explain a little more in depth in my multivitamin article why these forms may need to be avoided, and why methylfolate and methylcobalamin should be used. If they removed the fructose and cheap vitamins and minerals, it would be a good product.

          • Designer Whey has a new grass fed protein,how does it look to you? My brain hurts from trying to search a powder that is good, but won’t send me to the poor house.

          • Hi Bev,

            The Designer Whey product looks well formulated and doesn’t have any potentially harmful ingredients. The whey source is from Wisconsin, which means the batch may or may not be grass-fed depending on the time of the year it was processed. Whey protein powders that use this source typically are less expensive. If you look at the cost of Promix in bulk, it is the same cost per serving as the Designer Whey.

  • Hi,
    I have started hitting the Gym for the Past 3 months but am not able to see much results. Now am planning to go for the Whey Protein. My trainer instructed me to go for the ISO 100. After much result am totally confused. Please guide me to this. Shall i go for it ???????

    • Hi Sid,

      No I wouldn’t recommend ISO 100 due to the use of soybean oil, artificial flavors and sucralose. Any of the above options will give you the same results without the additives.

  • Hey. I really had high hopes for Promix but it taste incredibly bad! I even tried my usual method of adding fruit to an almond milk protein shake. It just became a blue glass of nastiness.

    Any other comparable options that are tastier?

    • Hi Darius,

      I am shocked you didn’t like the taste. I have had nothing but positive feedback with Promix. Were you using a whey protein before that used sucralose or stevia before? I would double check with the company that you didn’t get a bad batch because the taste is very faint. That is the best one in the lower price range. Any of the grass-fed options on the list will be comparable in quality. Mt. Capra and Pure Power in particular are a little sweeter.

  • Hi Alex,

    Thank you for the valuable information. I am trying to build upper body muscle so I can lift myself (pull-ups, chin-ups, dips), but I have never had a strong upper body though I look lean and muscular. Men make it look so easy…

    I was wondering if/what you know about the Trader Joe’s (Trader Darwin’s) Whey Protein Powder Quick Dissolve, with 21 vitamins and minerals (low fat, low sodium). I like that it has all the added vitamins and minerals, but I also noticed that it contains some soy lecithin. Plus, I could take the vitamins and minerals separately, so I am more interested in the protein and muscle recovery agents.

    Also, one of my friends highly recommends Formulx Whey Protein Isolate. Do you know anything about that one? Thanks!

    • Hi Ariadna,

      I am a big proponent of bodyweight exercises, so I’ll do what I can to help! The Trader Joe’s Whey protein doesn’t claim cold processing – which means it could use higher heat – and this creates toxic compounds. It uses isolated fructose, which works against you for building more muscle in multiple ways. It doesn’t appear to be grass-fed, which means in the concentrate form it may contain some undesirable contaminants. The vitamins and minerals are in a poor form, very low and essentially useless. It uses a synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol) which is the form that has been found in studies to cause negative health effects.

      The Formulx looks like a good product, but be aware that the vitamin profile is only 10% of the RDA, which doesn’t fill the need of any vitamin and mineral, if you were wondering about supplementing separately. The cost is $2.30 per serving. Compare that to Promix which is only 88 cents per serving.

  • I used BioChem natural whey protein for many years and when the scare was out that protein powders contained high levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, I wrote to the company asking if their protein powder contained levels of those toxins but I never received a reply. Does anyone know if BioChem contains high levels of those toxins? I really loved this protein powder. No sweeteners, no fat, low calories. Thanks.

    • Hi Mag,

      I can’t find a contact email or phone of BioChem. If you have it, I’ll reach out to them and find the answer for you.

      • Alex,

        BioChem is owned by Country Life vitamins. You shoud be able to get a solid response from them. They do have certified organic options that I believe are from pastured animals. They say ‘ultra filtration’ but do not make any reference to heat processing/cold processing.

  • We’ve been using Naked Whey for about a year. Great results. Usually mix it with almond milk, cacao powder, almond butter & honey. What do you think about their product?

    • Hi Rachel,

      Yes, excellent product like Promix. Naked Whey may even be from the same supplier(s) in California as Promix. Promix is $10 cheaper for the same 5 lb. quantity. That protein shake sounds delicious by the way!

      • Thanks! In the morning, I make it with 4oz almond milk & 4oz strong coffee. Yum! I’ll give Promix a shot…sounds great!

  • I have been usinf sfh whey protein formseveral years, taste,excellent, label states it is very best . Product is not on your listings are you familiarmwith it.

    • Hi Bruce,

      SFH is a good grass-fed whey protein, using the same methods and sources as the others I have listed. It will be a little sweeter due to the stevia than Promix, which is personal preference. But if you are looking for the best deal at the same quality, a 2 lb. bag of SFH is $44.99, compared to $79.99 for a 5 lb. bag of Promix.

    • SFH is non certified grass fed from new Zealand (ultra high temp short time pasteurization, like all proteins you can by from New Zealand on, and have you noticed they do not disclose their sugar content. This is a dietary supplement, not a food.

      By definition, Whey Protein Concentrate contains 80% protein, and 20% lactose (simple sugar) & fats. Bottom line, how con you trust a company who wont disclose the sugar content?

      Most bovines are exposed to some grass, and without a proper certification you wont know if that pasture/grass exposure is 1% & 99% grains, or 85% grass-fed & 15% grains… WPC sells for 3$ / lb from most suppliers. Don’t waste you’re money.

  • Any thoughts on Whey Natural?

    • Hi Becky,

      Whey Natural is grass-fed, however I would prefer that dextrose is not added. I would choose one with stevia only or without a sweetener.

  • Hi Alex,

    Can you please tell about Summit nutritions pure whey protein isolate

    Is it from grass fed cows?…I also cannot find 2lb in promix whey.


  • How about Now Foods Whey? What are your opinions on the quality of their product? They are supposed to be GMO free, gluten free, etc. They do use soy lecithin, but I figured since they are GMO free, it would be ok. Thoughts?

    • Hi Clayton,

      Now Foods Whey has a concentrate, an isolate and a concentrate, and a pure isolate. The concentrate is the only one that is organic. It is free of growth hormones and antibiotics, uses low heat, tested low for heavy metals and does not contain artificial sweeteners. I called the company, and they said the dairy comes from Wisconsin cows that feed on grass most of the year except for winter. The cost comes to $1.32 a serving, and compare that to 88 cents a serving for Promix. You would be correct that GMO free would mean that the soy used isn’t GMO, however I do prefer sunflower seed lecithin over soy for something you may be using daily.

      If you wanted to use NOW Foods Whey, I would choose the certified organic concentrate, but Promix is a better deal.

  • Anyone have any info or opinion on “The Natural” brand grass fed whey protein from ? thanks

  • Hi Alex, I got to this list from the link in your article about the best supplements for concussions. My 16 year old son just got his second concussion. I have been using Source Naturals True Whey for years for myself. Could you please tell me if you agree that this is a quality product. I have not checked with them regarding heavy metal intent though. Also, should I let him mix it with organic milk? I always though milk caused inflammation in the body, but it doesn’t mix that well with water and he doesn’t like the taste. Thanks for any help you can give me.

    • Hi Sandi,

      So sorry to hear about your son. Source Naturals True Whey is grass-fed, and the company is mindful regarding chemicals and heavy metals, although I haven’t seen a verified test. However, it has a low protein content (8g per scoop), which means you really need two scoops to get 16g. So the 41 servings should really be 20.5 servings. For your son, I would recommend a higher protein content per serving like Promix which has 25g per serving. Milk can be inflammatory, but it depends on the individual. If he gets stuffed up after drinking milk, it is causing inflammation. Fermentation can help, and sometimes people do better on kefir, or goat’s milk or goat kefir.

  • What about Teras whey? I just started working out and want to use whey. My bf INSISTS on using Muscle Milk but after researching i refuse. I have been looking for a clean protein powder and i found Teras on amazon. Nothing but great reviews. What do you think? Great artice btw solid info would really appreciate a response! 🙂

    • Hi Audrina,

      Tera’s Whey comes from Wisconsin, similar to NOW. This means that the cows have access to grass most of the year, while being fed grain during the colder months. The non-organic whey may come from small farms that farm organically but aren’t certified, but you may want to choose the certified organic version to ensure purity. As for pricing, it is $25.99 for 12 servings in a 16 oz. container. That is $2.17 a serving compared to 88 cents a serving for Promix.

  • I use to drink slim fast for two meals a day but can’t have that much vitamin k, what would you recommend for a good weight loss protein meal replacement powder that isn’t full of bad ingredients or vitamin k? I did find organized organic protein from Costco, thoughts?? Thanks!

    • Orgain Organic Protein

    • Hi Lynn,

      The Orgain Organic Protein looks good for a plant based protein powder. The only time you will find vitamin K in protein powder is in weight loss shakes with added vitamins, or with an added greens powder. The one you chose or any of the whey protein choices in this article will work well for your goals in accordance with the rest of your diet.

  • Hi Alex,
    My 16 year old boy would like to use a Whey powder but I’m very concerned about pumping my child with all the wrong ingredients.
    We live in SA and there is a product Nutrismart Whey powder which is “100% organic” – please advise these are the ingredients:
    Amino Acids, Alanine, Arginine,Aspartic acid, Cysteine, Glutamic acid, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Tryptophan,Tyrosine, Valine

    Please Note: This product contains naturally occurring glutamic acid, and is free of added MSG.

    It states cows are grass fed.

    Thank you for your assistance.

  • Hi Alex
    Just noticed Alanine, Arginine,Aspartic acid, Phenylalanine, are found in Nutrismart product aren’t these found in Aspartame and isn’t Aspartame dangerous.

    Thanks, sorry I sound paranoid.

    • Hi Rolene,

      No worries, it is important to ask these types of questions. Those listed are naturally occurring amino acids in the right ratios with the other amino acids. Aspartame breaks down to isolated and elevated levels of aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. These higher isolated levels lead to toxic effects and block the transport of other amino acids, along with the issues of methanol metabolites.

  • Thank you – I am going to be buying this product for my child so want to make sure I make the most informed decision.

  • Are there still lead concerns in Mt Capra?

    • Hi Char,

      I have spoken with Mt. Capra and their heavy metal testing shows exceedingly low levels of all heavy metals.

  • Hi Alex,
    Just wondering what your thoughts are on Isagenix Isalean Shakes?

    • Hi Caroline,

      I think there are better options at lower prices. This is a meal shake, so it is a little different than a pure whey protein powder due to a multivitamin profile and added fiber/carbohydrates. There are pros and cons on the ingredient label. It is grass-fed and has some decent ingredients, but the cons are isolated fructose, sunflower oil, zinc oxide (poor form), cyanocobalamin (should be methylcobalamin) and folic acid (should be methylfolate). It is $50 for 14 servings, putting it at $3.57 a serving. I think a superior approach is a pure grass-fed whey with 1/2 banana, blueberries and flaxseeds or chia seeds if you want a higher fiber intake. This will give you vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbohydrates in the optimal form and ratio.

  • Are you saying Shakeology is bad for you? I used to take Shakeology but now I’m trying TastyWhey by Adatogen Science. What are your thoughts on that product?

    • Hi Tee,

      The Shakeology protein powder tested high for lead, so no I wouldn’t recommend it. I also do not recommend Tasty Whey by Adaptogen Science, which contains partially hydrogenated coconut oil (the bad kind), corn syrup, soy, carrageenen, fructose, artificial flavors and sucralose.

    • Hi Tee,

      I followed up on Shakeology. As of their last testing, Shakeology updated their formula and passed the test lead free. I will be removing it from the worst list.

  • Any thoughts on BioTrust Low Carb?

    • Hi PJ,

      This is a new one to me. I sent them an email with some inquiries. I’ll let you know when they get back to me.

    • Hi PJ,

      I received an email back, however it was an automated reply asking me to sign up for their forum and look for answers there. So they are not getting any points for customer service. I read through their literature on their site and watched their videos.

      First, they don’t use any artificial sweeteners, hormone free whey (but doesn’t claim to be grass-fed) and low-temp processing. It is a 25% blend of whey protein concentrate, isolate, micellar casein and milk protein. This is similar to the Mt.Capra Double Bonded product. They also added prohydrolase, which is an enzyme that helps breakdown protein. I have seen this marketed as a separate supplement before. Their main marketing pitch is that their protein is time released, so allegedly you absorb more protein compared to other whey products. I can’t confirm if this is actually true without proper clinical testing of the product itself compared to other products. While I think the integrity of the product is good, I think it may be overhyped for its price when you can buy high quality whey that delivers results for a lower price.

      • I’ve been using it for a while now and really like the taste without being gritty. I always get it “on sale” so never pay what they advertise as full price. Was just wondering where it fell in your scheme of best/worst. Thanks for the reply.

  • Do you think the Mt Capra is better than the Promix in price point and quality? My boyfriend is a Chiropractor. Just wondering if I could use him to get the Mt Capra for me. Thoughts?

    • Do you mean if you get the Mt. Capra at wholesale cost? The Mt. Capra Double Bonded is $2.17 per serving, so say you were able to get it at cost and it was 40-50% less, Promix would still be a better deal. I think they are on par with each other quality wise, but goat is preferable if there is any sensitivity to cow dairy.

  • What about the Vega brand?

    • Hi Diane,

      I have used the the Vega Sport Performance, and if you are looking for a plant based alternative to whey for working out, this would be a good choice. Only complaint I had and other clients who have used it was that it seemed a little heavy on the digestion.

      • Thank you! I haven’t used the sport performance one, just the regular vanilla. I like the flavor and haven’t had any digestive issues myself.

  • Great info thank you. I have used Healthy-N-Fit Whey Pro Amino for l5 years. I am very curious to hear your opinion about it. They were the first whey isolate i ever heard of back then. The ingredients have changed very little all this time and has allways been artificial free. The source of the lecithin is soy but, why you don’t like lecithin? I shop around each time i order and get it for around $55 after shipping for 5 lb. which has sixty 30g servings.

  • Your link for promix not working.

  • I found the promix chocolate on amazon and it is $80 for 73 servings that have 21g protien. That is more than a $1 per serving. HNF Whey ProAmino has 80 servings with 22.5g of protien at less than $1 per serving. The promix has concentrate instead of isolate. concentrate slower to digest and causes protien farts if your lactose intolerant or not. HNF adds back the good stuff missing from most isolates and enhances the amino acid profile in favor of building muscle. I have never looked into the source of whey or heavy metals so I still look forward to your opinion.

    • Hi James,

      You are right. It looks like the packaging may have been updated. The 5lb for unflavored is 76 servings, and chocolate is 73. The unflavored is the one I have been recommending, and it comes to $1.05 per serving. Still over half the cost per servings of other grass-fed whey powders in comparison. I will do some research on HNF Whey ProAmino and get back to you. Also, Promix unflavored has 25 grams of protein per serving.

    • Hi James,

      I just received an email back. The diary is not grass-fed and is from conventional milk (also not growth hormone free). In terms of heavy metals “random checking of heavy metal content of raw materials is performed to ensure that our suppliers are providing materials which meet the specifications that have been set forth – this may be done by a third party lab or may be done internally.”

      The source of the dairy may not be as important for whey protein isolate since the fat is removed, and isolate is a better choice if you are sensitive to lactose (as mentioned in the article). However it is my position that a grass-fed whey concentrate – if tolerated – is preferable for the reasons described in the article.

  • What about Plexus P96? I read that they do not use artificial sweeteners. How does it compare to some of the others you have recommended?

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I am waiting to hear back regarding a few questions I had, but overall I am not impressed by the profile and pricing of Plexus P96. From what I can see, it is 32.95 for 12 packets, with minuscule amounts of added vitamin and minerals, some of which are in the wrong form. Glad to see they don’t use artificial sweeteners, but also not standing out over other whey protein powders.

  • Hi Alex. What do you think about Z Natural Foods goat whey?
    Thank you.

    • Looks good!

      • I purchased 5lbs of Z Natural Foods Goat Whey. I reacted to it like I do Cow Whey. Since I am allergic to Cow, it wasn’t good. They balked, but gave most of my money back. After I threatened to have it lab tested to see if it really was Cow.

        It just sounds fishy. It’s cheap. I was just wondering what you would recommend doing about from here if they really are switching packages, and reselling it for a higher price? They just sound a bit shady over the phone.

        • Hi Patrick,

          Have you reacted to other goat whey protein powders before? Or notice a difference between using an isolate vs. a concentrate? You could inquire who their supplier is and get their contact information to verify.

  • Wow…this information is great. I honestly did not realize how much there is to know about Proteins powders. I did find one a while ago, and it seemed to be good. Now that I know that cold processing is important, I read that this protein powder uses a low temp process…is that bad as well?
    The product is BlueBonnet Whey Protein…doesn’t sound all high tech, but I like the way it taste…however, if it’s garbage for my body, I can move on. I appreciate if you could tell me if the product is any good. Thank you!!

    • Hi Angela,

      Everything for BlueBonnet looks good. Cold processing and low temperature processing is essentially used interchangeably. The important thing is that high temperature is not used. Price per serving is $1.61, so it is priced right in the middle range. It is an isolate, so if there is any lactose sensitivity it is preferred over a concentrate.

  • What about now whey protein

    • Hi Joel,

      I recently answered this one in the comment section. I’ll post it here again.

      Now Foods Whey has a concentrate, an isolate and a concentrate, and a pure isolate. The concentrate is the only one that is organic. It is free of growth hormones and antibiotics, uses low heat, tested low for heavy metals and does not contain artificial sweeteners. I called the company, and they said the dairy comes from Wisconsin cows that feed on grass most of the year except for winter. The cost comes to $1.32 a serving, and compare that to $1.05 a serving for Promix. You would be correct that GMO free would mean that the soy used isn’t GMO, however I do prefer sunflower seed lecithin over soy for something you may be using daily.

      If you wanted to use NOW Foods Whey, I would choose the certified organic concentrate, but Promix is a better deal.

  • I would like to hear your thoughts on preserage grass fed whey protein

  • Hi Alex,

    How does Source Organic Classic Whey rate in relation to the options you listed?

  • How about Kaizen Naturals Whey Isolate (New Zealand). No artificial Flavours or colours. “Cold processed cross-flow microfiltration undenatured whey protein isolate sourced for grass-fed cows. Gluten-free. Third party tested to meet safety levels required for heavy-metals and pesticide residues.” Wondering about it, in general, and also do you think the 40mg sodium in 29 g of powder is a problem?

  • I just purchased Naked Whey. It looked really good to me, but then I saw that it was not listed among your top Proteins. Do you have any knowledge on Naked?

    • Hi Dominic,

      Yes it is a good one. It appears to be sourced from similar (if not the same) farms in California as Promix. Both have 76 servings and 25 grams of protein for the 5 lb, but Promix is $10 cheaper.

  • What about the following:

    1) Vital Whey
    2) Garden of Life Raw Protein and Greens
    3) Designs for Health WheyCool

    • Hi,

      1) Good, I have it listed on the best list.
      2) Has been questionable due to heavy metal concerns in the past.
      3) Good.

  • Interesting information, I’ve arrived here looking information for a protein called ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate from a Company called Transparent Labs, would like to hear from an independent source like yourself.

    Best regards

    • Hi Nehemoth,

      I like that it is grass-fed and from New Zealand, which yields a very clean product. However, they use artificial flavoring in their product. If they take this out, they have a good product.

  • Hi, I’ve been using” One World Whey” vanilla for a while ,I like it, tastes good, just wondering if you know anything about it ?
    I was also thinking about switching to a grass-fed goat based protein powder, like “Swanson grass-fed goat protein” , ”Naked goat ”or ”Grazing Goat Whey Protein” by LUVBYNATURE nutrition (this one looked good) ,any info on these powders would be greatly appreciated ,thanks.

    • Hi Matt,

      One World Whey uses artificial flavors, so it is not one I recommend. Grass-fed goat whey is an excellent choice. Out of those three, Grazing Goat Whey Protein looks like the best, and then Naked Goat.

  • Hi

    I’ve been using Dymatize ISO 100 and ON Gold Standard.
    how are these? Thanks in advance

    • Hi Fezz,

      I do not recommend the Dymatize ISO 100 due to the use of soybean oil, sucralose and artificial flavors. I also do not recommend ON Gold Standard due to the use of acesulfame potassium and artificial flavors.

  • Hello! I was wondering if you know anything about Unicity and how it compares to other shakes. Right now I’m using Isagenix as a meal replacement. Thank you!

  • Hi Alex,

    MyProtein and Integrated Supplements ranks 1 and 2 in

    What are your views of the company? Also, I’d like to know the effects of sucralose in the human body.
    If you can guide me to a link somewhere, that would be helpful.


    • Hi Krishna,

      It looks like Labdoor doesn’t exclude products that use artificial sweeteners, flavors, food dyes or preservatives. “Controversial artificial sweeteners, including Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium, preservatives (Benzoic Acid), and artificial colors (FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Blue 1, and FD&C Red 40) were commonly found in tested protein supplements.” This is where our lists are different.

      I went more in detail regarding sucralose and food dyes in my best and worst electrolyte article. The studies for sucralose are found under Powerade Zero in the worst section.

      MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate contains artificial flavor and sucralose, which makes it similar to most commercial whey protein powders. It is cheap at .60 cents and 21.9 grams of protein a serving, but I wouldn’t recommend it due to these additives. The Integrated Supplements Whey Protein Isolate does not use these, and instead uses Lo Han Guo which is a safe sweetener. I’m not crazy about crystalline fructose however, which is 99% fructose. High fructose corn syrup is about 55% fructose to give you an idea. It is unnecessary since Lo Han Guo is so sweet. It has 19.2 grams of protein and is $1.35 a serving. Better than MyProtein, but I still wouldn’t personally use it due to the crystalline fructose.

  • Promix is not available in India 🙁 can you find a cheap organic whey protein available in India? I want 5 lbs for 80$

  • Hi Alex,

    What is your take on Athletic Greens? Is it absolutely necessary to take them or if one is getting a varied amount of fruits and veggies in their diet, that should take care of the multi vitamins?

    Not sure if this is your area of expertise but I was wondering if you’re aware of any grass fed whey protein/companies which ship their products internationally to countries like India (that is where I reside)


    • The Athletic Greens product looks well designed. You should know that the vitamin and mineral content is not just from greens, but many of these are added. That’s not a bad thing when they are in the right form like methylfolate, methylcobalamin, magnesium glycinate etc.

      In terms of getting enough through vitamins and minerals in your diet, that would depend on how good your agricultural system is, and if you have access to may freshly picked foods. In the US, a lot of our soil has been depleted, not everyone has access to freshly picked foods, and many people are on medications and consume many chemicals that cause deficiency. You can read more about this in Best and Worst Multivitamins and How to Make Your Own Multivitamin with Diet.

      I think that possibly companies in the UK may ship to India.

  • I purchased NUUN Active Hydration after reading kelly Starrett’s book Ready to Run. He had mentioned NUUN in his top list of recommended electrolytes.

    I am confused as to how much misinformation is out there regarding food for us.

    I have stopped using them after reading your article. I wasn’t expecting such recommendations from Kelly Starrett.

    As a layman who doesn’t understand the in depth of nutrition, what is a good way to go about on finding which foods are safer for us and which aren’t?

    Appreciate all your response.

    Thanks again.

  • What can you tell me about Swiig they have various protein shakes. I have diabetes so I need high protein good cholesterol. Low trans fat. Low carbs, low sugar. Plus I want a quality drink don’t want to waste my time like I was with muscle milk. Thanks for that by the way. Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Wyatt,

      While the most of the product looks good, I wouldn’t use Swiig due to the use of isolated fructose. There are plenty of whey protein powders without any sugar that will fit the bill for diabetes listed on this page.

  • Please recommend a good goat milk or vegan protein powder. Allergic to cows milk. Looking for something that provides a high amount of protein per serving and none of the nasty ingredients. Thanks

    • Hi Minnie,

      Mt. Capra has a variety of goat whey protein powders to choose from. Vegan protein powder can be a tricky due to the taste, or the high fiber content can be rough on the digestion. Vega and Sun Warrior are the most well-known vegan protein powders, but you may also want to try organic pea protein.

  • Hello Alex , Can you tell me about Swansonvitamins Grassfed whey concentrate . I cant seem to find anything negative about it and its cost is about the same or better if you go on Automatic delivery compared to Promix . Being that cost is about the same which is a better product and why ? Thank you

    • Hi Anthony,

      The major differences would be that Promix has 25 grams and Swanson Vitamins has 17 grams per serving. It also includes extra vitamins and minerals in very small amounts, however, some are in the wrong form including folic acid and cyanocobalamin. I have gone in detail about why these may need to be avoided in my multivitamin article.

      I called the company, and they didn’t have the information regarding where the whey is sourced. I ask this question because sometimes the places they source the whey have limited access to grass for a good percentage of the year like Wisconsin. If I can track that information down, I will let you know.

  • Thanks again Alex , especially for your prompt response . I think ill check out Promix

  • Hi Alex,
    I am in awe of your knowledge on protein and health. Will be subscribing your your newsletter. For now, would like your opinion on the following:
    1. Orgain Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder (vanilla bean). I am concerned that it has 350 mg of sodium per serving and 5g of Sugar Alcohol. Ingredients include: Grass Fed Whey Protein Concentrate, Organic Erythritol, Organic Creamer Base (Organic Acacia, organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Organic Inulin, Organic Rice Dexttrins, Organic Rice Bran Extract, Organic Rosemary Extract) Natural Flavors, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Potassium Chloride, Organic Stevia.

    Lots of organic stuff …..but is it good for you? Should I watch out for any of these “organic” ingredients?

    2. Have you heard of and energy drink called Zeal from a company call Zurvita. I have been using it and it give me an energy boost. But from reading some of your other comments, the second ingredient is Crystalline fructose. If this product is not good for energy, what do you recommend.

    Thanks so much for your time and expertise?

    • Hi Tina,

      1. Yes, the sodium content does seem unnecessarily high. The sugar alcohols appear to be okay in low amounts, but there is no need to add them to whey protein. While it is all organic, there just seems to be a lot of unnecessary fillers here. I would go with another whey protein.

      2. I haven’t heard of it, but I took a look at the ingredients. Yes, I don’t recommend products with crystalline fructose. This product also uses folic acid which may be an issue for certain people. Methylfolate should be the form of folate used. If you look at the ingredient list, it is the caffeine from the guarana seed extract, green tea extract and yerba mate powder, b-vitamins plus the ashwagandha and maca that is responsible for energy.

      I have written two articles for energy and athletic performance. The first is titled The Best Energy Alternatives to Coffee. The second is titled Adaptogens: The Secret Weapons for Athletes. If you felt good on Zeal, you would probably do well with a combination of Yerba Mate tea, a B-complex and an adaptogen like ashwagandha, discussed in these articles.

      • What about Zurvita’s Protein Products? Zeal is their functional food product but their protein is being recommended by Peter Nielsen. Interested in your opinion on the Protein.

  • Max Muscle Sport Nutrition – MAXPRO
    NO sugar/artificial sweetner
    Cold pressed isolate
    Please comment

    • Hi Rosalee,

      Could you provide a link to the product you are viewing? The MAXPRO protein powders that I’m seeing contain sucralose and artificial flavors.

  • Whey Protein Concentrate [Contains Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin] (Milk), Soya Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Concentrate, Skim Milk Powder, Reduced Fat Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Flavouring, Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder, Whey Protein Isolate [Contains Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin] (Milk), Green Tea Extract, Magnesium Citrate, Thickener (Xanthan Gum), Sweetener (Sucralose), Chromium Picolinate. ANY OF THESE BAD PLEASE ????

  • How about Reserveage nutrition? has cancer warning but when I called they said it was the lead in the cacao.

    • Hi Jamie,

      I think Resvereage is a little overpriced ($1.99 per serving) without providing any advantage over similar grass-fed whey powders. If choosing Reserveage, you could pick the vanilla to avoid the excess lead from the cacao.

  • Hi Alex,
    Your information is beneficial. What does your research reveal about Jay Robb Whey Protein? It’s delicious (mixed in plain yogurt) but there’s a statement on the package has me concerned .. (Paraphrasing) There is a limited supply of rBGH-free whey available and the company “may choose to procure the highest quality domestic whey protein”.

    I have negative reactions to rBGH and rBST.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Valerie,

      Jay Robb takes me back because I remember using his whey and protein bars about ten years ago. They claim to be a grass-fed whey isolate without any harmful additives, but as you have pointed out, they also seem to have allowed some leeway for sourcing and you don’t really know what batch you will get. I have heard of companies having difficulty sourcing grass-fed whey during certain times of the year, but this is surprising since they are sourcing from all over the world. I would recommend another grass-fed whey that has a better supply chain for year round rBGH-free grass-fed whey. If you like the taste, choose one sweetened with stevia and it should be pretty close.

  • What are your thoughts on swigg chocolate whey protein? My gym uses it and now my son has me buying it for home too.
    Anne Marie

    • Hi Anne Marie,

      Swigg has two whey products. One is grass-fed, and the other is grass-fed under 60% of the year and GMO-free grain the rest of the year. All they would have to do is take out the crystalline fructose of their grass-fed whey – which is a higher percentage of fructose than high-fructose corn syrup – and they would have a good product.

  • Hi I wanted to know what you think of biPro whey protein isolate. Ingredients: whey protein isolate(milk), natural flavored, sunflower lecithin and stevia. I asked about heavy metals and hormones. They said an ion exchange is used to pull out heavy metals and that there is no estrogen. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks David

    • Hey David,

      I called the company and they gave me the source of their dairy which can be found here: The cows are not grass-fed and are fed a mixture with soy and corn. This isn’t something I support, but I also recognize that for isolates this may not change the final product. Testing looks good including NSF certification. The price per serving is $1.45. I would say this is on par with other whey isolates that do not have additives or sweeteners.

  • Hello,
    I see your responses about ON Gold Standard. How do you feel about their Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard “Natural” line? Claims no artificial flavors or sweeteners?
    Thanks in advance,

    • Hi Ian,

      I spoke with ON, and they do not use grass-fed dairy. Since they include a concentrate with the isolate, this is a relevant point. To their credit, they are considering a grass-fed line because they have been getting so many calls requesting it. “Natural flavor” can sometimes be MSG in disguise. Since it is considered a protected propriatory blend, companies do not have to tell what the natural flavor is. It is has been my experience however that companies will tell you if the natural flavor contains MSG or not. Optimum Nutrition could not make a claim that it is MSG free, which means it likely has it. It also contains sugar in place of the artificial sweetener. A small amount, but unnecessary.

    • Hi Linda ta,

      Once I got the German translated to English, I was able to understand what was in it! Looks like a great whey protein. Germany appears to have some high quality diary products. There is a butter in Whole Foods from Germany that I get sometimes that is bright yellow. A good sign of quality pasture.

      • I really appreciate much your feedback. I was initially hesitated to opt for this Primal State brand (as i still prefer Promix & Naked Whey but they are unavailable in my hometown and shipping fee is unimaginably high), due to its relatively low protein content (only~ 80%). And it still contains a considerable large amount of lactose and has a slightly sour taste (based on some comments).

  • Cheers to the great article on whey protein, very informative. I was wondering if you had any information or thoughts on the Orgain brand grass-fed whey protein powder, sourced from New Zealand. Thanks!

    • Hi Rachel,

      New Zealand is a reliable source for grass-fed dairy. My issue with this formula is that the 5g of erythritol (sugar alcohol) may cause some digestive issues in some. The sodium is also fairly high (350mg). I also prefer a formula that doesn’t use sunflower oil or any other seed/vegetable oil. I think there are better options.

  • Hello Alex,
    I found this amazing article in my search for more information on Grass-Fed Proteins. First of all, thank you for the very helpful and informative analysis and information! I was looking at a different powder and was wondering if you have any input on the company or this product:

    BulkSupplements – Pure Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate Powder? (

    • Hi Sadie,

      You are very welcome! Thanks for the comment. Regarding Bulk Supplements, they are not able to tell me where the grass-fed whey is coming from in the US, but that it is grass-fed 80-85% of the time. Since this is an isolate however, the percentage doesn’t change the final product. They have a certificate for heavy metal testing which is great. The only additive is soy, which depends on whether or not you want to avoid soy. I personally do. Otherwise, it looks like a viable choice.

  • Hi Alex, Could you please tell me if Swanson’s goats whey protein powder is free from “Acid Bleach” ? Also what’s your opinion of the quality of this prodcut

  • Hi Alex
    I meant ‘product’

  • Hi Alex,
    I hope I just didn’t miss it, but what about Jay Robb Whey protein? Also, post workout Hammer Recoverite?

    • Hi Laura,

      No worries. Here is my response for Jay Robb: They claim to be a grass-fed whey isolate without any harmful additives, but they also seem to have allowed some leeway for sourcing grain-fed as well and you don’t really know what batch you will get. I have heard of companies having difficulty sourcing grass-fed whey during certain times of the year, but this is surprising since they are sourcing from all over the world. I would recommend another grass-fed whey that has a better supply chain for year round rBGH-free grass-fed hormone-free whey with clean ingredients.

      As for Recoverite, Hammer uses a grass-fed antiobitic free whey isolate with clean ingredients. However, the protein content is very low (10 grams) and their carbohydrate source is high (33 grams) from maltodextrin. The protein content should be 15 grams to 25 grams based on protein requirements. Maltodextrin is a superior source of fuel during endurance exercise (like Heed), but I think post-recovery carbohydrates should come from nutrient dense vegetables and fruit.

      • Thanks for the reply!! I’m loving all this info!

      • I used to use Jay Robb’s but switched to Antler Farms because of this exact reason. They switched from being 100% grass fed whey protein isolate to “sometimes we use grain fed”. Not good enough for me and VERY misleading on Jay Robb’s part.

  • Hi Alex

    Which protein powder would you recommend for 12 & 13 year old boys who play soccer? Also what you suggest the per serving ounce recommendations should be for them?

    • Hi Pete,

      Any of the recommended protein powders will work for your boys. If they prefer something sweet and taste might be a barrier, you will probably want to choose one with stevia like the Pure Power or Wild Whey. The protein amount per serving is based on weight and activity, but will most likely be in the 15-20 gram range for that age in soccer.

  • I was wondering about TwinLab Protein Fuel. I have been using quite a bit of it and have indeed gained muscle from it. However, It was purchased at Rite Aid in bulk during a sale. Do you have any information about the healthiness and quality of this supplement?

    • Hi Jon,

      Unfortunately based on the label, it shares all of the ingredients of the worst list including artificial flavors, asulfame potassium, soy, sucralose and a concentrate from grain-fed cows.

      • Thank you for you’re answer. I suspected as much but I just wanted to hear it formally. Oh well, I feel like many people just buy whey protein from Walmart shelves without putting any thought into the ingredients. I will probably buy ON supplements next time. ON is supposedly a good brand, correct?

        • Hi Jon,

          You are right. Many people assume all these extra additives wouldn’t be in there. ON also uses sucralose, food dyes, asulfame potassium, artificial flavors and colors in many of their protein powders. They do have a “natural” version that uses sugar and stevia exract, however they could not confirm or deny that the natural flavor used was MSG. I would go with Promix, it is worth it.

  • What do you think of Protein 17 grass fed organic whey protein powder? It comes unflavored (which I like) and It has just one ingredient. I am looking for just plain & pure grass-fed organic, unflavored, unsweetened high quality whey protein powder with no added ingredients.

    Thank you

  • Alex, Appreciate you taking the time to reply…Is there any other brand that you’d recommend that is equivalent or better but less expensive?


    • Hi Kalpesh,

      Promix works with small farms in Northern California where the cows are 100% grass-fed. The cows graze year round on pastures of clover, rye and other native grasses, and the grazing fields have always been grazing fields, and have never been used for crops or commercially with pesticides or other chemicals. It is also tested by independent third parties for soy, gluten, heavy metals, and other additives or chemicals. So if you want a very pure product at a good price, Promix is the best deal.

  • Hi Alex,
    What is your opinion of Garden of Life, Raw Fit High Protein for Weight Loss. Is is a Non GMO product. I like that it has a probiotic and enzyme blend that helps me with digestion. I have been using Reserveage. It is a bit expensive. Your thoughts on Raw Fit please. Thanks!

    • Hi Tina,

      Looks excellent. I like that it uses sprouted forms, high in magnesium (350mg) and uses ashwagandha. I think this is an excellent plant based formula for women.

      • Thanks Alex for responding so quickly!!
        I read your Article on how to calculate the amount of protein that you need daily. Sorry,….I guess I am a bit slow on the uptake, but I think it was a bit complicated. You talk about knowing your body fat as a percentage of how much you weigh and then multiplying by your exercise exertion level. Whew!!! Do you have a simpler approach? I know everyone is different and this is a very relative question, but any help you can give will be greatly appreciated!

        • Hi Tina,

          Yes, it is a little complicated! That is what I use to be very precise for athletes training hard. Here is a shortcut. Get your weight in kilograms by dividing by 2.2. That is your target protein intake in grams if you are working out moderately 3-5x a week. The need for less or more will depend on your training.

  • Thanks a ton, Alex. Really appreciate it!

  • Im diabetic so my. Concerns are carbs and also the effects on my liver.

    • Hi Jim,

      The whey protein powders with little to no carbohdyrates will not affect your diabetes. Combine it with a little fat like a nut butter or yogurt, small about of blueberries and fiber like chia or flax seeds for blood sugar stabilization.

  • I am a big fan of Antler Farms grass fed whey protein isolate. It is from New Zealand pasture raised cows. No hormones, antibiotics, artificial sweetners. Only 4 ingredients. Taste is light and clean. I recommend it for anyone looking for a product without all the gunk in it. It’s very high quality and reasonably priced. You can get it at Amazon for $49 (30 servings, $1.63 a serving, 26 grams).

  • I would appreciate your take on Muscle Feast Premium Blend Unsweetened Protein.

    • Hi Mark,

      It does not have any harmful additives, which is a bonus. If this was just a pure isolate, I would say it is an okay choice. The dairy farms in Wisconsin do not have access to grass a large percentage of the year, and since it contains a concentrate, 100% grass-fed is preferable.

  • Hi Alex,

    That was a great article. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. Can you please evaluate the Progenex More Muscle and Progenex Recovery products. Looking forward to hearing your analysis. Thanks and have a great day!

    Best Regards,

    Levi Randall

  • Hi Alex,
    I noticed that all the whey proteins listed above are whey concentrate. I have a lactose intolerance and I am trying to find a whey isolate to use for supplementing after workouts. I was wanted to know which whey isolate proteins you recommend. Thanks.

    • Hi Brittney,

      I like the one Jennifer mentioned by Antler Farms. I added it to this article in case other people who are lactose intolerance are looking for an isolate.

  • Hi! I hope I didn’t miss this one, but am very curious about your thoughts on Quest brand products. They seem to have become commercialized, but I tend to go with this brand due to macronutrients. I am sure there is a better product but am curious of your thoughts!

    • Hi Nicole,

      I do not recommend the Quest whey protein powder due to the use of sucralose. Carrageenan may also be a problematic additive.

  • Hey Alex,

    Can you check out, wondering about their protein. A friend recomended it, and the ingredients look clean, but would like your professional opinion.



  • Looking at there site they have a MAG supplement if you could look at that also.

  • learn more about new Zealand whey protein concentrate from a2 cows here

  • Please review: Nutrabio Classic (non-denatured concentrate) good price, no frills and publishes protein content percentages of each.

    • Hi Ronald,

      In small letters under “Flavoring,” you will find sucralose. A tricky way to avoid putting it in the ingredient section. It is a concentrate, and I don’t see any information stating it comes from grass-fed cows.

  • can you do a study on KAIZEN NATURALS WHEY PROTEIN.Thanks

    • Hi Diane,

      Most of it looks good except for the use of soy lecithin (I prefer sunflower lecithin) and natural flavors. With natural flavors, you always want to confirm that MSG isn’t used. They won’t tell you what the natural flavor is because it is considered proprietary information, but you can get it verified that it is not MSG.

  • Hi Alex, you have the best blog very informative. I was wondering what is your opinion on these Wheys

    Klean Athlete Klean Isolate Ingredients: Whey protein isolate (from milk), sunflower lecithin.

    Bob’s Red Mill Whey Protein Powder Ingredient: Whey Protein Concentrate (Milk) and Sunflower Lecithin

    NutriCology Allergy Research ImmunoPro Non-Denatured Whey Protein

    Tera’s Whey Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein

    Jarrow Formulas, Inc.Virgin Whey Protein Isolate – Unflavored this has soy letchin but it looks promising

    DaVinci Laboratories Right Whey – Creamy Vanilla, its expensive, what baffled me on this one is it says this product contains lead! it had a warning on the label

    • Hi Chango,

      1. Klean Athlete Isolate: I don’t see any advantage to this one for the price.

      2. Bob’s Redmill Whey Protein Concentrate: They use a west coast supplier that is mostly grass-fed with some non-GMO (but not certified organic grain) given if the weather is bad. No undesirable ingredients, smaller protein profile (15g).

      3. Nutricology Allergy Research ImmunoPro Non-Denatured Whey Protein: This appears to only have 4 grams of protein per serving.

      4. Tera’s Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein: Good quality whey but uses soy lecithin and only has 12 servings at $2.50 a serving.

      5. Jarrow Formulas Virgin Whey Protein Isolate: The Jarrow Formulas Grass-Fed Whey Concentrate is better. I’m considering adding this one to the article. Uses sunflower lecithin, 18 grams grass-fed whey from Australia and is $1.32 a serving. Personally, the stevia is too sweet for me but some people like it.

      6. Davinci Laboratories Right Whey: Between the lead content and the price, I don’t know what they are thinking.

      • Thanks Alex,

        I was wondering if some of these bad whey proteins with leads and additives could irritate the bowels especially if taking them long term daily like most gym nuts?

        I was reading other bodybuilding forums and fitness forum’s for a few years now and I noticed something, a lot of healthy people were getting IBS symptoms and ulcerative colitis, these were extremely healthy people who ate clean measured their food and worked out, one thing I noticed was most of them took the Commercial named brand Whey proteins sold commercially everywhere, the ones that you listed as bad. and when that report came out about the contaminants Im starting to believe some of these bad metal filled and additives might have cause them issues. One guy said he was getting diarrhea with some commercial brand whey and he wasn’t Lactose intolerant he drinks milk and eats ice cream with no issue but he said he just forced himself thinking his body would adjust to it but it didnt and he said the doctor said he had inflammation of his intestine and colon and gave him some meds, I asked him how long was he taking that whey and he said for a year and he would drink it twice a day. This is why im very cautious on what type of protein I take even some of those so called Vegan ones are not as good as they claim to be and have bad additives or irritants. Im so very glad to have found your blog and this article it was very helpful, it was very hard to find answers I was looking for on legit good whey versus the bad stuff, most people recommend the commercial stuff like BSN, EAS, Muscle Milk, etc the ones that were contaminated and poor quality. I still remember a friend of mine actually telling me hey if they sell these over the counter and in big stores they have to be safe.

        Another thing is I I read on this blog that Ensure, they contain emulsifiers in them like carragean, which is bad for the colon and aggravates UC and crohns and IBS, and Ensure is made by Abbot Labs, who also makes HUMIRA the medicine given to people with Inflammatory bowel syndromes like UC.
        Here is the blog below

        • Hi Chango,

          Thank you for bringing up this topic. I believe there are multiple factors at play. These commercial brand whey powders use sucralose, which has been found to destroy intestinal bacteria. Heavy metal contamination has been a serious issue and has no doubt caused health problems. “Natural flavor” in commercial whey products is often disguised as MSG; free glutamate which is unbelievably damaging to the gut/brain axis. Synthetic carrageenan is another one that is a digestive irritant. People in the bodybuilding community end up drinking a ton of commercial whey daily, creating a high glutamate environment in the gut that leads to IBS, UC and potentially other health problems.

          • Alex,

            Its why Im glad I came across your blog on search! Ive been searching for clean whey to take, I stopped taking Ensure because of the bad ingredients and carragean, and their coincidental connection to HUMIRA the medication that treats UC and inflamed intestines, the assumption its as if they are creating new UC patients with the long term Ensure drinkers so they develop bowel issues and have to buy Humira.

            Its weird how most people don’t see these associations either with bad ingredients in whey, Ive found it weird how it seems in the recent years when these protein powders had a popularity boom, starting in the mid 90s that a high number of new IBS,UC and crohns cases have come about and with people who are health nuts and gym freaks. Another thing is more people have these bowel issues but probably dont report it and just keep taking the bodybuilding supplement thinking their body will adapt but it doesn’t. One would think if these people are eating clean how are they developing bowel issues? the only thing I can think of are these bodybuilding supplements that seem to be a common link to all of them. It just popped in my head from years of reading many healthy lifting people saying thaty have UC or crohns disease or some type of inflammation of the intestine, it cant be teh organic and healthy food they were eating, many didnt even drink Sodas or ate junk foods, they ate healthy year round except for the supplementation. They bought those commercial whey with sucralose, carragean, etc

            Its pretty often people have complained of upset stomach or having to go to the bathroom, having constipation or watery stools with these Creatine pre workout and commercial whey powders? I would read a new forum post almost daily about someone complaining about digestive issues after taking a name brand pre workout power, amino acid mix or a whey.

          • Hi Chango,

            Great observation and I agree. More people in that community need to understand why they are having those issues.

          • Hi Alex,

            I’ll just add, I suffer from a form of IBD and communicate regulatory with the IBD athletic community. In having years of experience and discussion over Whey Protein powders I’ve found that its more about company integrity and transparency over ingredients and sourcing rather than narrowing it down to lets say an artificial sweeter. If I based my diet off of the infinite studies telling me what causes irritation, I would legit starve to death 🙂

            Just an example of what I’m trying to say, I stumbled upon a crossfit marketed brand called American Gainz Nutrition, they are small and only have a couple products out, but do utilize sucralose. Company did respond to my request about using a natural sugar, said it’s already in the works, we’ll see… As of now, its still one of the only products I can stomach and tastes good, no lactose…

            Myself and everyone I’ve talked to that thinks Whey in general causes gut irritation that has tried these products have had amazing results as far as being able tolerate and use daily without issue. The brand is all about integrity and transparency over their ingredients, and is considered a food by the FDA (nutrition facts), not supplement facts. In reaching out to the company they were extremely informative, and essentially motivated to open up shop because of all the shady whey Protein companies sourcing from China, New Zealand etc, handled carelessly and loaded with heavy metals, fillers and free form cheap amino acids. I found it wasn’t the protein, the flavor, the sweetener, it was the garbage in the products that hurt me. IMO, I stay away from any products labeled with supplement facts unregulated by FDA. If you have a form of IBD, I do recommend you try a product called Tactical Recovery by American Gainz. I added website, also on amazon.

          • Hi Roger,

            Thank you for taking the time to comment and the valuable feedback. The challenging part of IBD is that there is a wide range of sensitivities and something that affects one may not affect another. But there are definitely some major ones that seem consistent including heavy metals, natural flavor that’s actually MSG, unnecessary fillers, aspartame, etc. I’m glad you found one that works for you and I hope your recommendation helps others in the same situation as well.

    • Hi Sebastjan,

      It looks like everything checks out okay except for the soy lecithin and natural flavors. I would get confirmation that the naturals flavor does not represent MSG.

  • Alex,

    Just came across this article today on yahoo news, its about Emulsifiers added to foods many which are also in those commercial mass market wheys and colon cancer and intestinal inflammation link in mice

    Emulsifiers, which are added to most processed foods to aid texture and extend shelf life, can alter intestinal bacteria in a manner that promotes intestinal inflammation and colorectal cancer, according to a new study.

    You are the only blog who actually touches on this stuff, so I felt you would find this interesting.

    • Hi Chango,

      Thanks for posting the link to this article. The microbiome is becoming drastically altered by these additives. It looks like they used polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. Polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose are both used in ice cream. Carboxymethylcellulose can be found in peanut butter, gum, bread, cakes, pharmaceutical drugs and in many commercial white wines. A lot of wine, by the way, is another Pandora’s box of additives, heavy metals, and pesticides that you never hear about or can see on the label. And we wonder why digestive disorders are skyrocketing!

  • Hi there. Curious your thoughts on “jay robbs” whey. Brand. Where does it fit on good or bad with quality and such.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Jay Robb claims to be a grass-fed whey isolate without any harmful additives, but they also seem to have allowed some leeway for sourcing grain-fed as well and you don’t really know what batch you will get. I have heard of companies having difficulty sourcing grass-fed whey during certain times of the year, but this is surprising since they are sourcing from all over the world. I would recommend another grass-fed whey that has a better supply chain.

  • how about dymatize iso protein,is it grass fed.

    It’s100% pure whey protein isolate, contains absolutely NO Whey Concentrate and is significantly lower in lactose, fat, sugar and carbs.
    btw, it’s also Canadian made! Amazing stuff and available in the US as well.

  • Hi there,

    I was wondering about:
    Vega protein smoothie
    Vega one meal replacement
    U|B super protein

    Thank you!

    • Hi Amber,

      I recently did an article on the best plant-based protein powders. Here it is in case you missed it:

      I don’t recommend the Vega protein powders that use milled flax seeds. I explain this in the article.

      As for the UB Super Protein (Vegan one), it looks like a pretty comprehensive profile that even includes supplemental methylcobalamin, vitamin D, and K2. Since the quinoa powder isn’t sprouted, I would rotate this one instead of using it daily. Quinoa is best sprouted due to the phytic acid that binds to calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

  • Hi Alex,

    I was wondering what your thoughts were on vital protiens whey;

    Thanks in advance for your input!

    • Hi Andrea,

      I think combining collagen and whey is a really exciting and smart combination, and my opinion is that Vital Proteins is a high-quality product.

  • Hi Alex, great article. So much good information. I have been using jay robb whey protein. Is this a good whey protein? Should I change? Thanks

    • Hi Myrna,

      Thanks for the feedback! I previously answered a question regarding Jay Robb. Here is my answer below:

      Jay Robb claims to be a grass-fed whey isolate without any harmful additives, but they also seem to have allowed some leeway for sourcing grain-fed as well and you don’t really know what batch you will get. I have heard of companies having difficulty sourcing grass-fed whey during certain times of the year, but this is surprising since they are sourcing from all over the world. I would recommend another grass-fed whey that has a better supply chain.

      While the quality of grain-fed vs grass-fed with isolate is debatable, I would choose the Antler Farms product over Jay Robb for an isolate.

  • Well I just found the answer on one of your replies! Thank you very much!

  • Hi Alex, great article and useful replies.

    What are your thoughts on CanadianProtein grass-fed NZ whey ( ?

    Seems like a decent affordable product for us Canadians.


    • Hi Matt,

      Looks good. Just choose the unflavored version since the flavored ones use artificial flavors and/or sucralose.

  • Hi,

    Do you also recommand Promix Grass-fed whey isolate ? I am lactose intolerant so I am looking for a good whey isolate product.


  • I recently purchased Grass Fed Naked Whey Protein and Naked Casein from Amazon. Why isn’t the Casein grass-fed? What are your thoughts on Casein? I had a hard time finding grass-fed Casein and Naked seems like a solid brand. Thanks for such a useful page of information. I try to get all my nutrition from whole foods so always a little skeptical of powders of any type.

    • Hi Jon,

      I’m not sure why the casein isn’t grass-fed, it should be coming from the same source. Regarding my thoughts on casein, the research is a little more complicated. While whey protein has replicated research for numerous benefits and positive results against cancer by depleting cancer’s own glutathione, isolated casein may be problematic when cancer growth has initiated. While this may not be an issue for healthy people that are cancer-free, I still think it may be wise to not isolate casein. Instead, I think it should be included with the whey, as found in the Mt. Capra Double Bonded Goat Milk Protein. I haven’t seen any convincing evidence that casein is superior to whey protein for muscle building and recovery. For this reason and other health benefits, I recommend using whey protein.

  • Hi
    I just bought some Native pro 100. What do you think of the product ?


  • Hi Alex,

    Could you please help to give your review on “California Gold Nutrition, Sports, WPI 90, Instantized Whey Protein Isolate, Ultra-Low Lactose” if you would recommend it?


    • Hi Hardeep,

      I sent California Gold Nutrition an email with questions, but I haven’t heard back. Just wanted to let you know I didn’t forget about you.

      • Thanks Alex, appreciate that 🙂

        • Hi Hardeep,

          I’ve tried multiple times and still haven’t heard anything. Based on their customer service, I would choose another brand.

          • Hi Alex,

            Thank you for the efforts, will try alternate products. Was considering this because of higher protein content per serving and availability in Singapore, where i am based. I have been using Dr Mercola’s whey protein recommended here, and trying to explore other options as well.

  • Hello Alex,

    I am looking to make my first whey purchase and am considering the promix unflavored undenatured or the opportunities unflavored undenatured. I may also opt to get a chocolate version in the future. Do one of these stand out in comparison to the other?

    Thank you for your time

  • Can you comment on the following workout supplements?

    Jym Pre-workout-fruit punch
    Jym Post-Workout-fruit punch
    Isopure pure whey protein vanilla
    Lean Bodies Vanilla
    Sport Pharma Creatine
    Scivation Xtend

    • Hi Shawn,

      1. Jym Pre-workout-fruit punch: The main concern here is the 300mg of caffeine. Some people may tolerate that, but for people who have a slow clearance of caffeine (CYP1A2 gene CC genotype), this could be an issue for cardiovascular health.

      2. Jym Post-Workout-fruit punch: This has a lot of bad ingredients in it (artificial flavors, sucralose, soy oil, acesulfame potassium and FD&C Red #40).

      3. Isopure Pure Whey Protein Vanilla: See #5 in the “Worst” section of this article.

      4. Lean Bodies: Contains artificial flavor, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. Pass.

      5. Sport Pharma Creatine: No issue.

      6. Scivation Xtend: No issue.

  • Hi read your reviews about whey protein, do you have review on designer whey? thanks!

    • Hi Gillain,

      Designer whey does not use grass-fed whey, and the dairy comes from the midwest. It has tested low in heavy metals. If this was just an isolate, it would be fine. While it doesn’t appear to have anything overly negative that stands out, since it is an isolate and a concentrate, it is my opinion that any concentrate should be grass-fed.

  • Hi Alex,

    I really enjoy your articles and I appreciate the time and effort you put into the research. I was wondering if you could please recommend a good, clean Casein Protein Powder. Thanks again and have a great day


    • Hi Levi,

      I just recently got a question regarding casein if you want to see a more detailed response. My opinion may be different than other people, but I don’t agree with isolating casein. I haven’t seen convincing evidence that casein is superior to whey protein for building muscle and recovery, and it may be problematic health-wise as an isolate. Instead, I would use a product that has both whey and casein if you want to use casein. Mt. Capra Doubled Bonded Goat Milk Protein is one example.

  • Hi, What can you tell me about LIFE SOURCE VITAMINS WHEY PROTEIN? I’ve been searching for reviews and opinions and best/worst proteins blogs and I have not seen anything on Life Source. I read their ingredients and the info they give on their product and it sounds great. I’m looking for something super health as I’m going to be giving it to my son. He is very thin for his age and doesn’t eat much, he’s a very picky eater and just started playing baseball and has no muscle mass so the doctor recommended whey protein. I’m suppose to feed him his regular 3 meals a day plus 1-2 whey protein shakes a day.. I don’t want anything that contains ,aditives,metals,and artificial flavors, etc. Can you give me your input on Life Source or anything better then it.? Thanks.

    • Hi Ana,

      From what I can see, Lifesource looks like a clean, grass-fed whey protein. Your doctor gave the right advice. That is the combination I use to put muscle on athletes.

  • Can you analyze body fortress please. I use whey isolate vanilla

    • Hi Jazzy B,

      Body Fortress whey protein contains sucralose, acesulfame K and artificial flavors. I would choose another one.

  • Hi Alex,

    What are your thoughts on Tera’s organic whey I noticed they use sunflower lecithin now instead of soy lecithin would this be a good one to use?

  • Hi, what do u think of garden of life grass fed whey?

    • Hi Michelle,

      The Garden of Life grass-fed whey is a good isolate product. Just be aware that the combination of erythritol and stevia extract can be very sweet.

  • Hi Alex,
    Great write up on the Whey proteins. I’ve recently got back into working out with heavy weights and today I bought some Whey protein isolate to help me along with the DOMS.
    I would appreciate your input on this brand. I paid 39.67 total for a 2lb bag,
    It’s called Edge Whey protein Isolate. Here’s what it says on the bag. I’m having a problem finding out more information about it.

    Nutrition Facts.
    Per serving 28g
    Calories 105
    Fat 0g,
    Cholesterol 8mg
    Sodium 49mg
    Carbohydrates 2g
    Sugars 0g
    Protein 24g
    Calcium 86mg
    Potasium 225mg

    Ingredients: Cold-processed cross flow micro filtered whey protein isolate, Natural flavour, Xanthan Gum, Stevia leaf extract. Lactose free, Gluten free

  • Hi Alex,

    I would like to know your opinion on plant based protein powder vs. whey protein powder. Which is better for building muscle? Is there any advantage at all to the plant based? More specifically, could you please share your opinion on these 3 products:

    1. Formulx Natural Recovery Whey Protein
    2. Orgain Grassfed Whey Protein Powder
    3. Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Powder

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi,

      Your overall diet and type of training will play a major role in your ability to build muscle. So you can get results with a plant-based protein and whey protein powder. Whey protein has a higher amino acid profile, typically a higher protein content and unique compounds that plant-based protein powders do not have. For this reason, I think it is a better fit for men trying to put on muscle. My opinion is that some plant-based protein powders are more acceptable for women due to the higher fiber content, which benefits their hormones but can lower our testosterone (depending on the fiber amount). But some plant-based protein powders are better balanced for men. I have outlined the best plant-based protein powders here:

      1. Everything looks good except for the cheap B-vitamin additions like folic acid, cyanocobalamin and synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol). I would avoid this one.

      2. I think this one has an unnecessary amount of additives (cellulose gum, xanthan gum, sunflower oil, acacia). Nothing is standing out as harmful, but there’s no need for any of those with a whey protein powder. Everything else looks clean.

      3. The same is true of this one. I’m surprised the additives haven’t caused any digestive issues in people, but so far the feedback from readers has been positive.

  • I’ve been using the Mercola Pure Protein but noticed it is not labeled “grass fed” I wrote to the company and they say The cows are 100% pasture fed, grazing on grass that is not chemically treated. They are antibiotic free, but we cannot claim that they are hormone free. The whey comes from a number of different farms and as some lack this hormone free certification we cannot claim that it is hormone free on our end.” What do you think of this? I don’t know if I need to be shopping for a new one but my stomach is so sensitive to whey products (gas) and this one has never bothered me in two years. Thanks for any advice!

    • Hi Neil,

      Their supply chain must have changed because that wasn’t true when I first added them to this article. I like companies that have a more direct supply chain where the consumer knows exactly what they are getting. The Pure Power Protein contains probiotics, which may be why you do better with it. Have you tried any of the other whey protein powders on this list? You could also add a probiotic supplement or try mixing other types of whey with yogurt and see if it prevents any digestive distress.

  • Hi_ I read thru all the great info but did not see my favorite whey – Energy First, What are you thoughts ?

  • Hi Alex, what about Progressive Organic Whey Protein? Made from organic and non-GMO ingredients. The protein itself is derived from organically farmed cattle that are pasture raised and grass fed. Thanks!

  • Hey Alex!

    Great stuff, but I didn’t see anyone ask about Earth Fed Muscle out of Pennsylvania. I dumped ON just this week after 12 solid years bc of the soy (and now after reading your article feel great about my decision).

    Let me know what you think of their Vanilla and Chocolate. Tha is in advance!

    – Joel

  • Hi can you please review level whey?

  • Hi Alex, The answer may be obvious, since this doesn’t say cold processed or hormone free or grass fed, but how bad is the Vitamin Shoppe’s BodyTech Whey Tech Pro 24? A 5 pounder is at least $20 less than your top pick. –Jim

    • Hi Jim,

      No, it is not grass-fed. Finding out if it was hormone and antibiotic free would take some more investigating. It contains artificial flavors, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose, so it would be on my worst list.

  • Hi Alex,

    Would you mind giving me your opinion on Rivalus Native. Here is a link.


    • Hey Alex, just wondering if you require a bit more information to complete a review. I am still quite interested in your opinion on this product.

      • Hi Earl,

        I apologize, I somehow missed your comment. Phil had just recently inquired about this product and everything checks out positive.

  • Bluebonnet whey protein isolate….how do you rate it? I love the taste and the mixability.

    • Hi Kerianne,

      I commented on this one before. I’ll copy my reply here.

      Everything for BlueBonnet looks good. Cold processing and low temperature processing is essentially used interchangeably. The important thing is that high temperature is not used. Price per serving is $1.61, so it is priced right in the middle range. It is an isolate, so if there is any lactose sensitivity it is preferred over a concentrate.

  • Hoping with all of this information you’ll know which would be best to use in cooking? Several recipes I’m being given to go low/no carb have whey protein; however, I have many allergies one being corn to the point that we eat grass-fed. It’s always nice to find others who have done the research and share it! Thank you for all of this.

    • Hi Angie,

      I wouldn’t cook with whey protein because the heat damages many of the beneficial compounds. Plant-based protein powders would be a better choice (depending on your allergies) like those found in this article:

      There are a lot of raw recipes you could use with whey protein that would work.

      • Thanks! I’ll check it out. My allergies are what make it difficult to eat at all. Corn, garlic, tomatoes, and coconut are the food but it’s difficult to live without any of these except by going non-processed which is difficult where I live.

  • Hi Alex,
    I’ve been using Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey for 2 months, and recently discovered that it contains Acesulfame K.
    In consideration of switching to other brands, would you mind to give your opinion on the 2 products below:-
    i)Nature’s Plus, Organic Pea Protein Powder:
    ii)PRO-TF® Vanilla Cream

    Thank you very much.

    • Hi Ryan,

      The pea protein looks great.

      PRO-TF® Vanilla Cream contains both sucralose and acesulfame K, so I don’t recommend that one.

  • What are your thoughts on catalyst grass fed whey protein?

    • Hi Hannah,

      Everything looks okay from what I can see. The added dextrose seems unnecessary. I would double check that the natural flavor does not contain MSG.

  • Alex,

    Thanks for all of the great education you provide on the site, and, how involved you stay with everyone asking questions. I am 45 and have been back training swimming and running (400 m) the last couple of years and have not done a very good job with my diet. Now that I am super committed and training a lot of hours, I am just not recovering as well anymore. Thus, the need for me to completely overhaul my diet if I want to compete at the masters level. It has been incredibly difficult to sort through all of the information online regarding what brands to use, etc. Per your recommendations, I have ordered the Naturelo MV and the Promix. I also went on the 23 and me and ordered the tests and will also submit it over to you guys for evaluation once I get the results. Excited about that! Also, here are a few questions if you don’t mind.

    1. Would you also give a thumbs up to the Natuerlo Omega’s? I have a little issue with inflammation from time to time (hoping the genetic test might shed a little light on that).

    2. Pre-workout – Boy this has been incredibly tough to sort through. Looking for a quality brand that will have these key components (Beta Alanine, Citrulline Malate (this comes in various forms and I’m not sure which is the best for the body), a small amount of caffeine, Beet extract, and the proper branch chains to make all this work! And all these brands claim to have other ingredients that “help” but, I’m not sure how much of that is real and how much is marketing.

    3. Can you comment briefly on terms such as Igf1-2, Alpha GPC, etc and things related to naturally increasing growth hormone? I just get totally lost.

    I don’t want to overdue the supplements, but I am training really hard right now and want to find a good balance between supplements and diet (which I have done a great job of improving). Thank you kindly for your time and all of the great information you provide everyone!

    • Hi Michael,

      I appreciate the kind feedback. Awesome! I think you will really appreciate the Nutrition Genome Report analysis.

      1. Yes, Naturelo’s omega looks good.

      2. I think the effectiveness of many pre-workout supplements is debatable. Essentially the only thing people really notice is a stimulant, like caffeine. I have noticed a difference with eleuthero root and beet juice. I like Herb Pharm’s Athlete’s Tonic or pure eleuthero root. I talk about both here: If you come across a product that you like, let me know.

      3. I think this may be more suitable for a whole article because it is tough to explain briefly. I personally think that intermittent fasting and sprints are the best way to naturally increase human growth hormone.

  • You said for Promix you were able to get a copy of the lab results. Could you dropbox, post them online somewhere where we all could see? Their website only has the numbers not the documents where they supposedly come from.

    • Hi Patrick,

      The one I received is from a few years ago, so I need to request their latest one as well. But it shouldn’t have deviated. They asked for me not to post it online, but I will email it to you directly.

  • hi Alex,

    will you be so kind to share your look on Naturade Grass Fed Whey Protein Booster and dr. Mercola products Pro-Optimal whey and Pure protein

    many thanks..

    • Hi DBr,

      I think that Naturade is a fine product in regards to the source and processing. The cane sugar addition is unnecessary, especially when combined with stevia. I would choose one that just uses stevia.

      Mercola’s Pro-Optimal and Pure Power use to be on my best list, but a reader recently found out that their supply has changed and can’t guarantee a year-round grass-fed source.

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