In 2015, protein powders became the second biggest-selling product in the sports nutrition market, after sports drinks, with sales of $4.7 billion, and the category has been growing ever since.
Protein powders are an excellent supplement to any healthy diet. They are a convenient powder that can be taken before and after workouts or throughout the day. They contain essential amino acids and nutrients, necessary for healthy muscle recovery. Protein powders can provide you with the energy you need before or after your workout.
Protein powders are a great addition to any diet, but they’re not for everyone. They are a great way to boost your protein intake, but they can also be confusing when it comes to finding the right one. Some are designed specifically for post workout recovery while others are made more for use as daily supplements and meal replacements. They can be quite effective in helping you meet your dietary protein needs. But you may have to experiment with them before finding a product that works for you.
We have put together this list of the 10 best protein powders for muscle gain to help you make an informed decision about your next purchase.
Stick around to the end to get answers to frequently asked questions about protein powders.
Which brand is best for protein powder?
There is no thing as the absolute best, but probably some of the best protein powders for muscle building are:
Best overall protein powder: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
Best vegetarian protein powder: True Nutrition – rBGH/Soy Free Whey Protein Isolate
Best protein powder for working out: Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed
Best whey protein powder: Momentous Essential Grass-Fed Whey Protein
Best grass-fed protein powder: Garden of Life Sport Grass-Fed Whey
Best egg white protein powder: NOW Sports Egg White Protein
Best personalized protein powder: Gainful Personalized Performance Nutrition
Best budget protein powder: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
If you’re looking to limit your daily carb intake and cut down on sugar, then Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is the protein powder for you. The product provides high quality whey protein isolate with just 2–4 grams of carbs per serving, depending on the flavor you choose.
If you’re looking for a high-quality protein powder, but aren’t interested in sugary additives like fruit or sugar, this is a great choice. It contains just 2–4 grams of carbs per serving, and it’s great for anyone looking to limit their daily carb intake.
The Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein is a top-selling protein powder made in the USA by Optimum Nutrition. The product is available in seven different flavors, including chocolate and vanilla. It is formulated with whey protein isolate, which features low carbohydrates and fat but high levels of essential amino acids to help build muscle.
The product has been certified as gluten-free and produced in an environmentally friendly facility that uses no genetically modified ingredients. What’s more, it was produced in a CGMP-certified facility and is Informed Choice certified.
Add a scoop of this top-rated protein powder to your sports drink or smoothie for an excellent post-workout recovery shake. Easy to stir into a drink, it can also be used in recipes like protein pancakes or muffins to boost your protein intake throughout the day.
Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein is a high quality protein powder that claims to use only natural ingredients. Compared to whey, casein is digested more slowly. As a result, some people take casein supplements before bed for sustained protein digestion throughout the night. Notably, Ascent processes grade A milk in the company’s own facilities to turn it into protein powder. In addition, the product is third-party tested by Informed Sport to ensure suitability for athletes and recreational gym-goers alike.”
Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein is a high quality protein powder that claims to use only natural ingredients. Ascent processes grade A milk in the company’s own facilities to turn it into protein powder, whereas most manufacturers buy preprocessed protein. The product is third-party tested by Informed Sport to ensure suitability for athletes and recreational gym-goers alike.
Ascent’s Native Fuel Micellar Casein provides your body with high-quality casein protein throughout the night, so you can enjoy a better recovery than ever before.
Momentous Essential is our pick for the best whey protein powder thanks to its high-quality ingredients and rigorous testing. Specifically, the powder contains whey isolate sourced from milk produced by grass-fed cows. Whey isolate contains more than 90% protein by weight and is relatively low in lactose, whereas whey concentrate contains 25–89% protein and more lactose. The powder also includes an enzyme blend that the company claims helps improve the absorption of protein and reduce stomach upset, though research doesn’t currently support these claims.
Momentous Essential has been third-party tested, and is both NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Sport Certified, which means it’s a good option for competitive athletes. It’s also certified gluten-free.
Momentous Essential is our pick for the best whey protein powder thanks to its high quality ingredients and rigorous quality testing. Specifically, the powder contains whey isolate sourced from milk produced by grass-fed cows.
Whey protein is a complete source of high-quality protein, containing all of the essential amino acids that your body needs. Our pick for the best whey protein powder is Momentous Essential, which contains whey isolate sourced from milk produced by grass-fed cows. It’s low in lactose and free of other common allergens (including gluten), which makes it a good choice for those who are sensitive to dairy.
The whey protein in this protein powder comes from Truly Grass Fed, a 95% grass-fed dairy farm in Ireland.
Garden of Life Sport Grass-Fed Organic Whey Protein is certified organic and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The product is third-party certified by both NSF International and Informed Choice, making it a clean source of whey protein.
The Garden of Life Sports Whey Protein Isolate helps you refuels & repair muscles after a hard workout with 24g Grass Fed Whey, 4g Glutamine and over 6g BCAA amino acids.
This premium protein powder has an addition of 2 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of probiotics, which could be beneficial for gut and immune system health in some individuals (13Trusted Source).
The entire Sport product line is certified “clean” by being Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, certified by NSF for Sport and Informed-Choice for Sport. That’s quadruple assurance that these products are clean and free of any banned substances.
A great option for people who need or want to avoid dairy products, NOW Sports Egg White Protein is also third-party tested by Informed Choice and Informed Sport, ensuring clean and safe ingredients as well as a low chance of banned substances.
With a relatively short ingredient list and 7 grams of protein per serving, this powdered egg white supplement is perfect for smoothies or other recipes that call for protein powder.
The product has GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification, it is packed in the United States and the company is on the market since 1968. NOW Sports products are comprehensively tested so you can trust that the products are pure and effective for every level of athletics.
All of our powders are unflavored, but you can add flavor boosts that are sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract. With access to a registered dietitian, we help match your goals with nutritional guidance and customized fitness plans to help fit in your busy life. Gainful is third-party tested by Informed Sport, which ensures that our products are free of banned substances.
Protein is vital for our bodies and their function. When we work out, we break down our muscle tissue, making it necessary to secure high quality protein sources. Gainful, a sports nutrition company that offers whey and plant-based protein powders, encourages customers to customize their products based on their preferences and goals. Gainful uses stevia and monk fruit extract to sweeten its flavors and only offers unflavored proteins as options. Gainful is third-party tested by Informed Sport, ensuring that its products are free of banned substances and safe for consumption.
Gainful is a protein powder subscription service that offers whey-based and plant-based powders.
Gainful’s certified organic powders are made with the highest quality ingredients and flavored to your taste. Gainful offers both whey and plant-based protein powders that are customized to your preferences and goals. All products are unflavored, with an option to add sweetened flavor boosts. With a Gainful subscription, you’ll also have access to a registered dietitian for personalized fitness and nutrition guidance.
Naked Whey is a pure, unflavored whey protein powder that is sourced from grass-fed cows. This protein powder comes in a variety of flavors and can be added to foods and beverages without imparting a taste. If you prefer a flavored option, Naked Nutrition also offers chocolate and vanilla products, which are naturally flavored with coconut sugar.
Naked Whey is a simple and convenient protein powder that is unflavored and perfect for adding to foods and beverages. It blends well into smoothies, adding a protein boost to your favorite recipes.
This unflavored whey protein is formulated and manufactured in the USA at GMP-certified facilities. Naked Nutrition states that its whey protein is sourced from Rumiano Cheese, a California company that produces their products from pastured cows. The protein is tested by Informed Choice for quality. If you’re looking for a flavored option, Naked Nutrition also sells chocolate and vanilla protein powders that are naturally flavored with coconut sugar. All powders are gluten free and non-GMO verified.
The company is on the health and supplements market since 1968. NOW Sports products are comprehensively tested so you can trust that the products are pure and effective for every level of athletics.
Chicken bone broth is a common food base in many cultures and a natural source of protein, amino acids, collagen and more.
NOW Chicken Bone Broth product has the highest amount of protein per serving — 29 g. A premium-quality chicken bone extract that’s an excellent source of natural protein.
The products are GMP quality assured, which means that every aspect of the NOW manufacturing process has been examined.
Experience world-class muscle recovery† & muscle support with hydrolyzed 100% whey protein isolate.
Dymatize specializes in supplements for workouts, and the ISO100 powder is one of their best-sellers.
Each serving has 25 grams of whey protein, 5.5 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), 2.7 grams of leucine and less than 1 gram of fat and sugar per serving. The product is gluten free with less than 0.5g of lactose.
A scientifically designed formula, fast-digesting, hydrolyzed, and 100% whey protein isolate.
Maximize your trainings, speed up recovery and crush your fitness goals with Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed! It supports both muscle growth and post-workout recovery.
Sourced from grass fed cows, with essential amino acids and no added hormones or antibiotics, this rBGH/Soy Free Whey Protein Isolate is an excellent source of the highest quality protein to help you maximize muscle growth and aid recovery.
RBGH/Soy Free Whey Protein powder is one of True Nutrition’s most highly reviewed powders. With 27g of protein per serving and with essential amino acids for muscle growth, this soy free whey protein isolate is the perfect protein to add to a post workout shake or smoothie!
Virtually all True Nutrition products are made right here in the United States of America, and are tested by an independent third party laboratory to ensure they meet the highest of quality performance standards.
Protein powders may also help to prevent muscle loss, support recovery after exercise, and improve resistance and strength. Protein powder supplements are safe for most people to use if they follow directions and use them wisely. People with medical conditions should discuss the options with their doctor to prevent interactions with medication and any other unwanted effects.
What is the purest form of protein powder?
The purest form of whey protein is Whey Protein Isolate (WPI). This is because it contains between 90-95% protein, and it is an excellent protein source for people who have lactose intolerance because there is little or no lactose.
What are the best muscle building foods for gaining lean muscles?
Animal protein include eggs, salmon, chichen breast, turkey, lean beef, tuna, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, seafood.
Vegetable protein include soy, spinach, broccoli, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, tofu, asparagus.
For most people, the daily protein requirements are easily achieved by a healthy, balanced diet. The recommended daily intake of protein is 55g for the average man and 45-50g for the average woman. This will vary over your lifetime and depend on your individual circumstance (athletes will require more protein than someone living a sedentary lifestyle).
It’s recommended to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended protein intake.
Animal proteins, such as meat, eggs, and milk, are complete proteins, meaning they provide all of the essential amino acids the body needs.
All fruits and vegetables contain protein, but the amounts are usually small (2-5 grams of protein/cup). Animal protein has an average of 20 grams protein /100g product.
Read also: FYI: Best Sources of Proteins
How can I build muscle fast?
Here are scientifically proven ways to grow muscle fast:
Eat breakfast to help build muscle mass: your best meals should include omelettes, protein smoothies and cottage cheese.
Eat more protein, with each meal
Increase your training volume and frequency: push-ups, crunches, pull-ups, squats, body weight exercises, resistance bands, jogging, high-intensity workouts. Strength training is the fastest way to build muscle and see results.
Focus on calorie surpluses, not deficits: building muscle requires a positive energy balance, which means that you must take in more calories than you burn.
Get more sleep. The American Center for Sports Medicine recommends you get at least eight hours of sleep nightly and rest for a minimum of 48 hours in between highly intense workouts. During your rest days, you can try foam rolling, yoga, joint mobility exercises, and massage.
How long does it take to build muscle?
Building muscle won’t happen overnight, but with the right fitness and nutrition regimen, you can start to see results in just a few months.
It can take about three to four weeks to see a visible change. You’ll see some real results after 12 weeks, but it “all depends on your goals, and what type of strength training you are doing, says Kristin Haraldsdottir, PhD, Director of Exercise Research & Innovation for Hydrow.
What exercises are best to build muscles?
The best way to build muscles is to perform compound exercises which use multiple muscle groups. The exercises include squats, pullups, deadlifts, bench press, shoulder press, pullovers, leg press, resistance bands, resistance machines.