At this point, protein powder is about as common in fitness regimens as sit-ups, bicep curls and recovery stretches. Whey protein powder has become a go-to for fitness geeks, athletes and casual lifters alike. However, experts have figured out that one form of whey, called whey isolate, might be the most superior form of the supplement.
What is Whey Protein?
If you’re unfamiliar with whey, it’s a macronutrient supplement that delivers easily digestible protein directly to your muscles for regrowth and strengthening. This means you can pack on lean muscle mass much faster than with regular, protein-rich foods (such as eggs or chicken).
But what some shoppers don’t know is that there are three types of whey protein: hydrolysate, concentrate and lastly, isolate. This last form, whey isolate, undergoes more processing than the other two, giving isolate a higher protein content with less carbs, lactose and fat. In short, it’s more of what you want and less of what you don’t.
Shopping for a protein supplement is tough enough as it is, so as you might imagine, shopping exclusively for whey protein isolate is very hard. To help, we’ve rounded up some of the best whey protein powders that use isolate. Check them out below. As always, please consult your doctor or nutritionist before adding any new supplement or exercise to your routine. These are simply product recommendations.
1. Optimum Nutrition Hydrowhey Protein Powder
Optimum Nutrition is one of, if not the, most often recommended protein powder available. This Platinum Hydrowhey is the upgraded version of the brand’s regular powder, offering 30 grams of protein a serving, fewer carbs and hydrolyzed whey protein for faster delivery. Optimum recommends taking a serving of the powder in shake form first thing in the morning, before cardio and after strength training.
2. MusclePharm Combat Whey
Bodybuilding on a budget? Go for this whey powder from MusclePharm. At $0.29 an ounce, it’s the best affordable protein powder on Amazon, but still has a solid 4.2 stars with over 400 reviews. Whey isolate is typically more expensive than concentrate, so MusclePharm uses a clever hybrid of the two that utilizes the fast-acting properties of whey isolate while still keeping costs down.
3. Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Powder
Ask anyone who’s been using protein powder for a while and they’ll tell you the same thing: taste really matters. Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard is often regarded as the best tasting powder around, and luckily, it’s also one of the best. All of their flavors are great, but many reviewers swear that the double rich chocolate is the best tasting of the bunch.
4. Legion Whey+ Protein Powder
Whey is a product of milk, but if you’re lactose-free, whey isolate is a must. Most of the lactose is removed in the filtration process, but with this Whey+ powder from Legion, it’s completely eliminated. The premium powder is also made from grass-fed milk, has no GMOs and boasts over 2,000 positive reviews to boot.
5. Isopure Zero Carb Unflavored Powder
BEST FOR COOKING
In addition to regular protein shakes, protein powders are great for chef-ing up some protein-enhanced meals in the kitchen. You can use the powder to inject extra protein into desserts, pastries, pizza and more. If you plan on cooking with your protein powder, you’ll want a high-quality unflavored bag, such as this one from Isopure.
6. Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Protein Powder Isolate
Not all protein powders are made naturally. But luckily, there are a handful that offer additive-free protein powders made from the milk of well-treated cows. The best of these powders is this Grass-Fed whey from Opportuniteas. It starts as milk from (you guessed it) grass-fed, hormone-free Wisconsin cows. Then, each batch is made without adding sugar, preservatives or chemicals.
7. Isopure Zero Carb
One of the benefits of whey protein isolate is its low carb count. However, this Isopure ups the ante by completely eliminating carbs altogether. Plus, this one has 25 grams of protein, is keto-friendly, has a delicious banana cream flavor and a 4.5-star rating with over 41,000 reviews.
8. Dymatize Whey Protein Powder Isolate
Another great protein powder isolate is this Dymatize. It separates itself with extra branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), a key protein in muscle regrowth and recovery. This makes it a great pick for serious athletes that need to recover in time for the next game, race or performance.
9. Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein Powder
EASY TO MIX
This whey protein powder from Body Fortress is formulated with 100% premium whey that’s been instantized for easy mixing. Each serving contains 60 grams of protein and 12 grams of BCAAs. The formula is also gluten and aspartame-free and the delicious chocolate flavor makes it great for mixing into protein shakes and smoothies.
10. Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate
Nutricost sells five pounds of pure whey protein isolate powder that’s entirely unflavored, so you can mix it into any of your favorite drinks easily. Each jar contains 68 servings of their high-quality formula that contains 30 grams of protein. Their mix is non-GMO and gluten-free, and comes in flavors as well if you’d like to mix it up.
11. NOW Sports Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate
This protein powder is also unflavored, soy-free and comes with 25 grams of protein powder per serving. It’s not as concentrated as other brands, but if you’re going for overall fitness rather than bulking up it’s a solid pick. Their mix contains no artificial sweeteners, and is formulated to be bioavailable as well as digestible.