What is the BEST Protein Powder for Weight Loss and Toning?

“What kind of protein powder will help me lose more weight?”

WILL protein powder help me lose weight?”

“My friend started doing these protein shakes and she’s lost 10 lbs. Should I buy that shake?”

Here is the answer:

There is NO protein powder that makes you lose weight or helps you tone.

(here is a quick rant I did after this blog was posted)

“WHAT?! What does it do then???? Why am I spending my money on it? Why am I told to use it??!”

OK, OK, calm down… here is the deal—> PROTEIN is one of three macronutrients: Carbs, Proteins, Fats.

Lets do a quick lesson in nutrition:

Carbs (Carbohydrates)– carbs are used for ENERGY. Carbs convert to glucose which is the only fuel your brain functions on (hence, why you feel so dumb on low/no carb diets) Carbs include sugars and many people have dubbed them BAD… this is not the case. They are essential. Carbs are found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and sugars.

Fats– another “bad” one. Fats don’t make you fat.(too many fats can… but, I digress) Fats are essential for making hormones as well as feeling FULL. Fats are pure energy, but are used/digested slower than carbs. Fats are found in seeds, nuts, meats, and oils.

Protein-- protein is essential for building structure– hair, nails, skin, etc. Proteins are slower digesting and can help you feel full as well, and therefore (you might) eat less. Protein is found in some grains, eggs, cheese, and meats.

Soooo… that being said, as you can see, there are no “Special fat-burning powers” or “magic slimming properties” specifically of protein or even any kind of protein powder. In fact, due to the fact that protein powders are mixed to make a liquid, most of them are digested faster, so they don’t even provide the same benefits of satiety as, say, chewing on a big piece of meat.

HOWEVER– you still NEED protein. EVERY DAY. If you work out, you need MORE protein. Protein helps build/rebuild muscle. Many successful weight-loss programs (and even I suggest) that you eat protein with each meal. The point here is, its NOT the “brand” or the kind of powder that matters. Powders do have their place. They are convenient– a lot of people find that they don’t have time to prepare “meals” all the time. They are a great alternative for vegetarians or for people who don’t digest meat well. Protein is essential in any weight-loss program because it helps build muscle (which increases metabolism) and it helps the “dieter” feel full and doesn’t create a spike in blood sugar.

“Should I even bother buying protein powder then?”

SURE!! If you have a hard time eating meat or getting in enough protein for your daily needs, then yes, its still a good idea to supplement with a shake. It still is always best practice to choose REAL food, over processed food when you can. Powders are great for travel and in between meals or post-workout.

“What kind of protein powder should I buy?”

Whey is a quick digesting protein that is generally cheap and easily mixable. If you are allergic to whey or dairy, you may want to try a liquid egg white protein or powdered egg white protein. Try and steer away from soy, as nearly all US Soybeans are genetically modified and soy has been shown to raise levels of estrogen, increasing cancer risks.
If you are vegan– look for pea, rice or hemp protein powders, (VEGA is one Vegan brand that I am aware of) You can read up on different kinds on the Bodybuilding.com Protein Guide.

“What else should I look for in a Protein Powder?”

QUALITY! Very often with protein, you get what you pay for! Did you know that most of the whey protein companies get their whey as byproducts of the cheese industry? Interesting stuff. Just understand that if a product is significantly cheaper than other products, they are probably using substandard ingredients. This is not always the case, but do not purchase based solely on price.

TASTE! You have to drink it, so make sure you like it. There is no one brand that I suggest to everyone, because some people like thick shakes, some people like a “chocolate milk” consistency. It really just depends on YOU. Some supplement stores will let you try a sample before you buy.

Here are a handful of brands that I have tried (or have had friends recommend) as a place to start– understand that I don’t recommend them over a whole-food based diet, but do recommend for reasons stated above. (and YES I still use powders)

Isagenix – made with no artificial sweeteners (sucralose/aspartame), no soy or gluten and adaptogens for adrenal health, with some of the highest quality I have seen. The IsaLean also has enzymes for digestion and live cultures for gut health. It has AMAZING ingredients and quality, you get what you pay for on this one.

Gaspari Myofusion– a thicker whey shake, I love the taste of this one, but def. a preference thing. Some people do not like the consistency. Great mid-priced brand and reputable company

Optimum Nutrition (ON) Whey– this one is thinner and I think tastes better with almond milk than water. Not a personal favorite but it has great reviews on bodybuilding.com. I prefer to cook with this one. Uses sucralose.

Muscle Pharm Combat– similar to ON. High reviews. Has a blend of 5 different proteins for sustained release. My husband actually works for this company so I can get it free but I honestly don’t care for it all that much. (just goes to show you how much tastes vary!!) Uses sucralose.

Nature’s Best ISOPURE– a whey protein ISOLATE. not a blend, more grams of protein per serving. Isolates are great if you are really dieting for a show or need straight protein, no carbs, etc. Great taste.

Muscle Milk- have a lot of great flavors, but higher in fat. Some controversy on possible lead?? I think Muscle Milk tastes delicious, but haven’t heard the best things about the quality.

Dymatize Elite- a thicker protein, similar to Gaspari, a little higher price, but popular brand and reputable company.

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*FTC Disclosure: some links above are affiliate links in which I may receive a commission if used. ALL opinions are that of my own and I do NOT endorse products that I don’t believe in or wouldn’t let my own children use.

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Comments

  1. Amanda Crawley says:

    Those are great recommendations for whey protein powders. Another good one is About Time whey, which is the cleanest protein powder you will find! It tastes great when mixed in Greek yogurt, in smoothies and in baked recipes. http://www.tryabouttime.com

  2. Hey Danny J – Great post! I think Sun Warrior is also vegan. :)

  3. Sun Warrior is really filling, is vegan, and gluten free. I use it: 8oz water, 1 scoop vanilla Sun Warrior, 1 frozen banana, and some ice. SO filling and nutritious!

  4. Please be very careful when selecting a protein power or drink.
    Some brands contain heavy metals, and can seriously harm your
    Kidneys! Muscle Milk is one of the worst! Pharmaceutical grade
    Protein shakes are ideal. The fewer the ingredients the better!!

    • whole foods are ideal, but you’re right– consumer reports did have a write up about Muscle Milk a few years back… and not to justify it, but you’d have to have like 5 shakes a day to make dent in the amount of the metals in the powders… your point is still taken– do your homework

      • tiffany dailey says:

        Thank you for the clarification because I just purchased two large tubs of Muscle Milk…..

      • The term “heavy metals” has been considered “meaningless and misleading” (according to IUPAC due to lack of scientific basis on the name). What is mostly considered a “heavy metal” is five times the density of water. The metals that are that have that mass are considered stable elements and thus do not easily form bonds with other elements and cannot be metabolized in the body. Though some metals with a fairly light mass (Aluminum) are also considered toxic
        Trace amounts of many “heavy metals” is necessary in the body, however there are some that are completely unnecessary in the bodily functions (toxic metals): Antimony, Barium, Beryllium, Aluminum*, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Osmium, Thallium, Vanadium, Thorium†, Uranium†, Radium†, Plutonium†, Americium†, Polonium†, and radioactive isotopes of other metallic elements. These elements (some in trace amounts) greatly effect the human body’s ability to metabolize food, and its basic functions.

        *Aluminum is controversial in this list since those with proper kidney function can be exposed to huge amounts and have no ill effect.

        †Radioactive

  5. Dymatize elite gourmet cappucino rush is my fav. It’s a whey/casein blend and tastes freakin awesome! I’ve had it almost everyday for two years. Also thanks for the bbcom protein guide shout out! That is some of my work.

  6. FYI- not all soybean are GMO. You just need to do your homework. Soy is one of the best protein sources around if you buy a non-GMO brand. Herbalife grows their own soybeans in the US and none of it is GMO nor do they use any pesticides, etc. Also, Two of companies (optimum nutrition and muscle milk) you listed above contain heavy metals, and while you may have to use more than one serving for it to “matter” it still is something people need to be aware of. All this to say, people do your research :)

  7. Janelle says:

    I only use protein/products that are Informed Choice-tested. The company that does that is AdvoCare– they test for over 190 banned substances, so I know there are no metals, etc in it!

  8. I have the hardest time finding protein powders that actually taste good. Maybe I’m just picky or crazy or something, but I have tried so many different kinds. The most recent was Gaspari Nutrition Cinnamon Roll flavor, which was holy-crap amazing for the first two shakes and the first time I mixed it with fat free Greek yogurt to make what tasted like cream cheese frosting. After that, though, I have had to force the stuff down. It seems too sweet, almost cloying. I really need to find one that is like chocolate milk, like you mentioned in the article. A few people have suggested I try ON Natural chocolate. Do you have any suggestions for me? P.S. I absolutely love everything about the Sweaty Betties!

    • Thanks Isabella!
      Hmm I think ON is a bit more thin like chocolate milk— I’ve tried so many too, and I know there’s one with a texture like that but Im trying to remember and going blank ;(
      I honestly have been using less and less protein powders anyway, trying to just eat more whole food and have you tried QuestBars (they have natural ones) and they are pretty yummy! and very few ingredients!

      • I haven’t tried QuestBars, but I’ll have a look for them online (I live in the UK so some things are hard to find over here.) I don’t drink protein every day either, but I do use it to supplement on days when I don’t get enough protein. Thanks for your reply! Maybe one day I’ll actually find one that tastes good.

  9. Shakeology is still my favorite! Now they have two flavors of the vegan formula. I don’t even have to take a multi vitamin anymore because I get everything I need, vitamin and mineral-wise, plus the protein :)

    • Agreed Caryn!! I’ve had so many positive improvements over the months from drinking it. I make mine taste like chocolate ice cream. Mmm

  10. I use Sunwarrior….the warrior blend. :) I really like it. It doesn’t mix well with shaker to my liking so I blend in Vitamix….so tasty :) I blend with frozen bananas, almond milk, and PB2 and sometimes I throw oats and a little coffee if its used for my breakfast. Thanks for this post :)

  11. I use sunwarrior because I try to stay away from animal proteins, cuz i know they can be harmful. I love it!! I also use vegan chocolate shakeology. Sooooooo good!

  12. Synth-6 is my absolute favorite protein powder. The vanilla with some ice & a slash of water blended well tastes just like a vanilla milkshake!

  13. I tried all of these before I started body by vi in February it’s changed my life! It has a tri sorb blend 2parts whey 1 part non Gmo soy..gluten free lactose free kosher low carb low sugar and taste like cake.. come yet the facts http://www.myshakecake.com..or come see my profile for more details facebook.com/maralana

    • It’s a joke. Body by vi is like every other weight loss scam out there… It’s all wonderfull in the beginning but once u reach your goal weight and get off the shakes you gain all your weight back even if you eat right….

  14. Justin B. says:

    Probably the absolute best protein powders I’ve tasted to date are the chocolate flavors in GNC’s Pro Performance line. The Whey tastes like hot chocolate/cocoa, and the casein has the taste and consistency of a chocolate malt shake. The taste is amazing compared to other powders I’ve tried.

  15. Thanks SO much, Danny-J, for putting this information out there… Best “protein powder”-based link to come through my Facebook feed all day. ;) I totally agree, whole foods ARE the best… and I’m sad to see so many people relying on them as a means of losing weight. I normally limit my consumption to a single serving either before or after my daily run/workout. Some days, I have cottage cheese or yogurt instead. Contrary to hype, they definitely aren’t necessary… but sometimes, they ARE nice to have!

  16. Gretchen Kealy says:

    Wheybolic extreme 60 Its primary ingredient is whey isolate, protien in its purest form. Look up the nutrition facts. Its got everything. Also its extremely low in sugar and only 90 calories per 20 grams of protien. I started taking it a few months ago and am hooked. I have never had results like this! Everyone should give it a try sometime. I must note it is worth the price as well!

  17. personally I use Isagenix # 7 undenatured whey protein, complete meal replacement.

    • Stacey – I started with Isagenix as well as Young Living meal replacement (vanilla) both trusted and reputable companys.

  18. Primal Pro from body tech sold at vitamin shoppe is a bit pricey but it tastes great mixed with water, its 30g mix of creatine, hydro whey, whey isolate, casein, anceintrim grains, and cla per scoop, zero fat 4 carbs its awesome! If you love recess pieces try doibg it with about 12 oz of low fat milk, 2 heaping scoops of PP, 1 table spoon of peanut butter, and 2 teaspoon of coconut oil… delicious and helps you in every way possible ;-)

  19. Sumer Matharu says:

    I believe Hemp is the best type of protein out there. After being on whey for 2 years, it gave me results but also gave me an upset stomach and bloating. Then i tried soy but that just isnt recommended since it creates hormonal imbalances in both men and women (contains estrogen). Hemp is neutral, unprocessed (cold milled), has lots of benefits, fibre, and it makes my muscle mass last a lot longer. Check out: http://www.gonjaprotein.com. I usually get their organic stuff.

  20. I hear what you’re saying. Protein isn’t a magic pill for weight loss, but it does help to meet daily nutrient requirements. I have so many favorite flavors and smoothies that I’ll make at home with my partner. I’m perfecting a protein pancake recipe, that I think will be great for on the go snacks and stuff. Thanks for all your doing. Love the blog!

  21. Your recommendation of using Whey proteins along with other effort for weight loss helped me a lot. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

  22. Well finally a myth has been dubunked regarding the “best protein powder” to lose weight etc. It all depends on your routine and what you are eating at the end of the day.

  23. Great write-up!
    I just switched over to Dymatize ISO 100, and i love it. It’s a bit expensive, but it’s worth every penny. It is super fast absorbing and helps my muscles recover noicably faster than Iso-Concentrate mix I was taking before.

  24. I highly recommend Dymatize ISO-100 for pure protein efficiency per scoop and for no sugars, etc. Pricey if you do not shop around but most of the others need 2 scoops to equal the protein in one scoop of the Dymatize. The chocolate actually tastes the best and of course, throw in some additional fruit to create your own recipes. My two cents after tons of research and use. Good luck everyone!

  25. I recently found the brand SunWarrior to be AMAZING!!! Raw plant based proteins! Check it out!!

  26. IF THE QUESTION OF THIS ARTICLE IS FOR REAL I am a consumer tested and tried your question..
    I was a skinny 5ft4 130lbs women a month ago , as soon as I started taken vega protein (health food store) brand in one week and a half i gained 140lbs. this stuff is lethal , I throw it out. still working out as usual eating the same vegan diet , my thighs are bigger arms and i not only weight 10lbs more i look like a little arnold , no muscle just bloat. my friend tested another non gmo more expensive product green bottle forgot the name she gained 7 lbs in a week , go back to your sensible eating and sleep at the gym literally that is the only way you will keep or loose weight . as far as needed protein , these shakes plus the vegetables you eating thru out the day put a lot of strain on the liver so too much protein actually is bad for liver you will end up fatter . no thanks for me and my friend both, unless we are going for the ball shorty look we will stay away all these vega proteins forever . good luck my friends

  27. I like eas soy chocolate protein powder, I have been drinking it for 7 years now without any issues.

  28. Rachelle says:

    Have you ever heard of Nutrilite? Nutrilite is the largest branded organic supplement line out there and they have a whey protein powder that I believe, from your recommendations and what you look at as good, you would love.

  29. To be honest it depends on your needs, usualky its for every 8 lbs its 1 g of protein but if you wanna build Quickly you could do 1g for every 1lbs

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