Choosing the best protein supplement for yourself is not only an important decision for bodybuilding and sculpting, but also for your overall health, well-being, and weight management. It is one of the first supplements you decide to include in your health regimen right alongside a good multi-vitamin. It’s your greatest ally in your fight for proper nutrition and without it; you put yourself in a great disadvantage because protein supplements have many uses and you should take advantage of all of them.
In the days of the past, protein supplementation was pretty straight forward. There were only a handful of choices to choose from and they all did just about the same thing- supply you with protein. Today’s protein supplements however, come in dozens if not hundreds of varieties and do more than just give you an extra protein boost.
Protein supplements can be used for:
- A meal replacement.
- A pre workout shake.
- An intra-workout shake.
- A post workout shake.
- An anytime shake!
Deciding on the best protein supplement to use will undoubtedly be contingent on your fitness goals and type of protein to use for said goals.
To help you decide better, I have created 3 different best protein supplement lists based on the 3 major protein supplement groups:
- Whey protein supplements
- Protein Blends
- Casein protein supplements
Best Protein Supplement Is Up For Vote
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get right down to it. All of the supplements here are not in any particular order and are set up so that all of you may vote for these supplements so that everyone can see which ones really are the best! This list will often change due to new protein supplements hitting the market so check back often for revisions and updates. If there is a supplement that you feel should be on the list then give me a shout and let me know!
Whey protein is derived from milk by-products and is known for its superb amino acid profile, elevated cysteine content, fast digestion, and interesting variety of peptides. Because it is digested and absorbed quickly, the best time to consume it is before your workout, during your workout or immediately following your workout. Taking protein during these a time are best because your body is its most active and is in an “anabolic state”.
Whey protein is best used for:
- Taking pre, intra, and post workout to quickly supply your muscles with protein and amino acids.
- As a protein replacement as part of a healthy meal.
Here are the top 5 Whey Protein Supplements
ISO-100 is a 100% Whey protein Isolate powder by Dymatize. It consists of 25g of protein, fat free, and has only 106 calories per serving size. There are many different flavors to choose from with Cookies & Cream, Gourmet Berry, and Gourmet Chocolate being the favorite choices by many others who have commented on it. Another notable aspect of ISO-100 is the great mixability quality of this powder. Whether you use a shaker bottle or just a spoon, this powder dissolves quickly with little to no clumping. Being that this is a “Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate” powder means that this is a very quick absorbing form of protein powder that is ideal for pre and post workout shakes. There are also several quantities in which to purchase this powder, but I would recommend the 3Lbs. or 5 Lbs. container so you can have about 1 ½ to well over 2 months’ worth of quality protein powder to use at
Lowest Prices on ISO 100 (3Lbs.)
Here is another great Whey Protein Isolate formula made by Gaspari Nutrition called IntraPro. Don’t let the name fool you, you can use this protein powder anytime you need some fast digesting proteins, not just for “intra” workout as the name may imply. The ingredient profile is good because you get your BCAAs, Glutamine, L-Taurine, Maltodextrin (for flavor), and Flax Seed Oil as well. You get 25g of protein per serving size with 63 servings per 5 Lbs. canister which makes this protein powder a great cost per serving buy. There are only 3 flavors currently available at the time of this writing with double chocolate being the obvious favorite. Gaspari Nutrition has always put out quality products with the fitness consumer always in mind and IntraPro is yet another example of this fact.
Lowest Prices on IntraPRO (2Lbs.)
Hey, did you know that SciVation makes Whey protein? In fact, they make a damn good one aptly named: Whey. I was always a fan of Scivation Extend so when I found out about Whey, I just had to learn more about it. Scivation: Whey is comprised of 3 different forms of Whey protein: Concentrate, Isolate, and Hydrolyzed. The benefit of have these 3 forms of protein is for better absorption at a faster rate which means fueling your muscles quicker than a standard whey protein supplement. There are only 21g of protein per serving which is a bit lower than then some of the others on the list, but because you have the three different forms of protein, you are actually getting a more bioavailable dose so it equals out. The one thing that I was a bit disappointed about this product was the lack of flavors because there are only 2; Chocolate Fever and Vanilla Heaven, but I suspect that there will be more flavors available in the future. I was expecting this supplement to a bit pricey, but to my surprise it’s actually a great deal. You get 72 servings per 5Lbs. container at about $47 which makes this protein a great buy.
Lowest Prices on Scivation Whey (2Lbs.)
American Iso Whey
Here is another great Whey protein blend Made by Muscle Gauge that consists of Whey Isolate, Whey Concentrate, Sweet Whey and Whey Peptides. American Iso Whey Protein is an “under the radar” Whey Protein powder that has a strong ingredient profile and a respectable 22g of protein per serving size. Now when I said “a strong ingredient profile” I was more referring to the Proprietary Protein Matrix as appose to the other nutrients that are shown on the label. At a 1% daily value, most of these nutrients here are negligible except for the Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, and healthy serving of Calcium. There are 6 different flavors to choose from with Cake Batter and Cinnamon Bun being the most intriguing and highest rated of the bunch. In a 5 Lbs. container, you’ll get about 77 servings for about $45 which is going to put this supplement in the “very affordable” category.
Lowest Prices on American Iso Whey (5Lbs.)
Zero Carb Isopure
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” Should be the slogan for Nature’s Best: Isopure. This Ion Exchange Whey Protein Isolate has been around for years and was one of the first protein supplements I remember taking. This protein powder was never a top contender in the flavor department, but what it lacks in flavor, it more than makes up for in a very impressive ingredient profile. I mean, just look at all the dang nutrients in this stuff! To start you get a whooping 50g of protein per serving. Impressive. There’s also a healthy amount of Sodium and Potassium for better electrolyte function, and a whole host of other nutrients that at first glance, look more like a multivitamin label as appose to a whey protein powder label. You get 50% of your daily nutritional intake (2,000 calorie diet) for most of these nutrients so if that doesn’t impress you than I don’t know what will. Now since this is a zero carb. Protein powder, that doesn’t mean there are less calories, in fact, this protein powder has the most calories out of all the others, but this is primarily due to the fact that there are 50g of protein in it. I also want to point out the fact that all of this is for two scoops of protein, not 1 so you can decide to go with just 1 scoop and you can ½ the nutritional percentages, but even at that, it’s still impressive.
Lowest Prices on Zero Carb Isopure (3Lbs.)
Protein Blends are generally a combination of several types of protein blends such as whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, egg protein, casein protein, and soy protein (rarely used). Blends generally make you feel more “full” then a whey protein or casein because you have two or more proteins working together instead of just one, plus there are generally more nutrients such as added vitamins and minerals which makes this type of protein ideal as a meal replacement or anytime protein supplement.
When you use a blend you get more of a full spectrum of proteins which your body breaks down and uses for immediate use and sustained use. Using a blend will create an anabolic environment from the whey and an anti-catabolic environment from the casein – use this kind at any time of the day.
Now, just for the record, this category of best protein supplements was by far one of the toughest categories to determine the top 5 due to the immense competition. There were several other protein supplements that just barely missed getting on the list. So, if you feel I missed one than leave your comments below with your reason and I’ll take a second look at it.
Protein blends are best used for:
- Taking post workout to quickly supply your muscles with protein and amino acids while also supplying your muscles with slow digesting protein for sustained muscle building.
- As a protein replacement used as a stand-alone product or as part of a healthy meal.
Here Are the Top 5 Protein Blends
MP Combat Powder
MusclePharm has made some great supplements in the past, now Combat Powder can be added to the list. This protein blend consists of 25g of protein per serving for only 1 scoop. You will find the usual suspects found here as far as Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, and Iron, but what makes Combat Powder unique is that there are actually 5 different protein sources here consisting of fast, medium, and slow digesting proteins. In addition to that, you will also get a good dose of L-Glutamine, L-Leucine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine; as well as Alanine, Lysine, Arginine, Glycine, Histidine, and Tyrosine. Combat Powder also includes a digestive enzyme blend of Protease, and Lactease to help further break down all that protein so it can be more easily digested. There are currently 8 different flavor choices to choose from with Vanilla and Cookies and Cream being the top choices. As far as price is concerned, this protein is just about the best bang for your buck protein blend you’re going to find anywhere. A 4 Lbs. container for approximately $40 will yield 54 servings. That’s only $0.74 per serving! This is a great protein blend that is just about perfect. The only drawback with this protein is the amount of Cholesterol per serving (110mg), but at only 130 Calories it’s a minor consideration, not a deal breaker.
Lowest Prices on MP Combat Powder (4Lbs.)
Syntha-6 by BSN has been around for a while now and it still can compete with the newer protein blends. This protein supplement consist of an impressive 6 varied fast, slow, and medium digesting protein sources: Whey Protein Concentrate [Milk], Whey Protein Isolate [Milk], Calcium Caseinate [Milk], Micellar Casein [Milk], Milk Protein Isolate [Milk], And Egg Albumin [Egg]. Another notable aspect of this protein powder is the healthy dose of Essential and Non-Essential Amino acids that you get here: 10g Essential Amino Acids, 5g BCAAs. Perhaps one of the best known traits of Syntha-6 is the flavor and texture of this protein. There are 6 flavor varieties to choose from. I have tried 3: Strawberry Milkshake, Chocolate Milkshake, and Chocolate Peanut Butter, all of which were excellent and taste exactly as the names describe. This protein blend does have a fairly high calorie count at 200 plus 6g of total fat and 2g saturated fat so you will have to consider that fact before jumping on the Syntha-6 bandwagon. This is not the best protein supplement for cutting or contest prep, but for adding size or maintaining it’s a damn good choice.
Lowest Prices on Syntha-6 (5.04Lbs.)
Muscle Infusion Black
Hey, I bet you never heard of Muscle Infusion Black. OK, maybe you have…but I didn’t until about 1 week ago when a bodybuilder buddy of mine turned me on to it. This dynamo protein blend consist of not 4 or even 5 protein sources, but 7 different sources of fast, medium, and slow digesting proteins equaling 25g in total. So, is that all? Nope. In addition to that, Muscle Infusion Black is also jam-packed with vital nutrients starting with your Amino acid profile, all the way through a healthy dose of Vitamins and minerals such as: A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, Biotin, Calcium, Folic Acid, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium, even Zinc! The ingredients read like a multi-vitamin which always puts a smile on my face because I know that I’m getting a healthy dose of not only high quality proteins, but also a wide range of other nutrients. So with all of those added nutrients, you would expect the flavor to be kind of chemically, but to my surprise it’s not. I only tried Chocolate Monster, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. It mixes great, with some ice, water, and skim milk and taste just like a milk shake! Price wise, a 5 Lbs. container will get you 60 servings at $42. That’s only $0.70 per serving. That’s a great deal for such a high quality product. Give Muscle Infusion Black a shot and you will forever look at protein blends in a whole new light.
Lowest Prices On Muscle Infusion Black (5Lbs.)
What a great protein blend by Magnum Nutraceuticals. Quattro, as the name implies has 4 Isolate protein sources that provide you with fast digesting protein as well as slow digesting protein for sustained protein absorption. The 4 proteins found here are: Whey Protein Isolate 90%+, Milk Protein Isolate 90%+, Micellar Casein 85%+, and Egg Protein Isolate. In addition to these 4 proteins, this protein powder also includes Organic Flaxseed powder and digestive enzymes to make it a more complete powder. The calories are a bit higher than some of the others tested however there is only 1.5g of total fat with no Saturated fat and only 6.9mg of Cholesterol. There are 3 flavors to choose from, all of which are excellent choices that taste good, are not gritty, and mix fairly quickly in a shaker bottle. Now, if you check the label, the serving size is actually 2 scoops which will yield you 60g of protein, however most people are going to probably go with just 1 scoop which gives you 30g of protein. Still a high amount of protein considering the alternatives I looked at but overall, one of the best protein supplements in the blend category that will not disappoint.
Lowest Prices on Quattro (2Lbs.)
IsoBolic is a very well researched protein blend that delivers a healthy 25g of fast and slow digesting proteins as well as a great flavor that you can get used to. There are 4 protein sources found in IsoBolic: Cross-Flow Micro-Filtrated Whey Protein Isolate, Micellar Casein, Egg Isolate (Dry Egg Albumin), Whey Protein Concentrate as well as L-Glutamine, and BCAAs. In addition to that you will also get a healthy amount of Flax Seed, and CLA for better cell function and to maintain testosterone levels. There are 5 flavors to choose from and it comes in either a 2 Lbs. or 5 Lbs. container. The 5 Lbs. container consists of 73 servings at $72, just under $1 per serving. I was a bit skeptical about the taste, but I really thought that the Vanilla was just as good as Combat Powder or even Syntha-6. Because the price per serving is average, I do think some of the others will allow your dollar to go a bit further, however that’s not to say this wouldn’t be worth it. IsoBolic is a very good protein blend that will help you build muscle and tastes good, but for the money, there are more economical options out there.
Lowest Prices on ISOBOLIC (2Lbs.)
Casein is much like whey protein but what makes it different is the fact that it is considered a slow digesting protein. It is also known for its excellent amino acid profile and interesting variety of peptides, but because casein is slowly digested into your bloodstream, don’t use it during workouts or after workouts – you need a fast absorbing protein at these times. A good time to have this type of protein is at night time or used as a meal replacement.
Casein protein is best used for:
- Taking in the PM usually as your last meal.
- As a protein replacement as part of a healthy meal.
Here Are the Top 5 Casein Protein Supplements
Muscle Pharm is one of my favorite supplement brands, not because they are popular, but because they really do produce great supplements that work. Casein by Muscle Pharm is another great protein supplement that is a slow digesting protein that yields 25g of Micellar protein per serving. There’s only 110 calories per serving, very low fat (0.5g), sugar (1g), and total carbohydrates (2g) as well making this protein ideal for people looking to go lean. There is another great aspect of this supplement and that is the Amino Acid profile. You get a full spectrum of Essential, Conditionally Essential, and Nonessential Amino Acids with this protein all of which are slowly digested along with the protein for optimum uptake and absorption. Speaking of absorption, another interesting feature of this supplement is the Digestion Enhancing Enzyme Blend that helps to break down the protein quicker and more efficiently so that you can get the full benefit of this product. The cost per serving is about $1, which is a good price considering the quality of this supplement.
Lowest Prices on MP Casein (3Lbs.)
100% Natural Casein
If you know anything about bodybuilding supplements, than you’ve most likely heard of Optimum supplements. They are very well known for producing great protein supplements so it really should surprise you to see them make my list. Natural 100% Casein is very similar to their standard Casein protein powder except for a few differences. Both protein powders are great and work well, however this particular protein powder does not contain any Artificial Flavors, Sweeteners, or Synthetic Colors. In addition to that, this product contains Stevia Extract as its sweetener and Aminogen® which is an enzyme blend that helps your body break down the protein quicker to make it more bioavailable for absorption. The last difference between Optimum Casein and Optimum Natural 100% Casein is the price. Where Casein will run you about $57 for 4Lbs. Natural 100% Casein is a bit less at around $50 for the same amount. Either way they are both quality products, but Natural 100% Casein is a bit better in the long run.
Lowest Prices on 100% Natural Casein (4Lbs.)
Elite Casein is a straight forward Casein protein powder that mixes and taste good (for Casein protein), has 24g of protein per serving, and is one of the best cost per serving Casein proteins on the market that offers this good of quality. There’s only 120 calories per serving as well as the usual nutrients that are standard to this protein such as Calcium, Sodium, and Potassium. This Casein protein like the others also contains an Enzyme blend for better and faster absorption which I believe should be a standard for all proteins and should be one of the first things you look for in any protein supplement. This Casein powder is available in two sizes (2 Lbs. and 4 Lbs.) and has a total of 4 flavor varieties to choose from. Getting back to the cost, I wanted to be sure I drove this point home. It is standard for a 4 Lbs. container to contain about 46 servings, this protein contains 56 servings at about the same cost which drives the cost per serving down making this protein one of the best protein supplements and most affordable.
Lowest Prices on Elite Casein (4 Lbs.)
Universal Casein Pro
Here’s another 100% Micellar Casein Protein from Universal that is perhaps one of the best tasting Casein protein’s you can get your hands on. There are only two flavors; Chocolate Milkshake and Vanilla Soft Serve, but they both taste and mix good with just a few shakes is a mixer bottle. There’s 24g of protein per serving with only 117 calories and it also contains your standard Amino Acids, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium. There is only 1 glaring draw back to this supplement and that is the 41mg of Cholesterol per serving. It is not uncommon to find some Cholesterol in Casein protein, but it is usually around 15mg or so. I’m unsure as to why Universal decided to up the Cholesterol in this supplement, but my guess would be to enhance the flavor. It just seems like a coincidence that the flavors are better in this product, but the Cholesterol is higher. At any rate, regarding the price, you get a 4 Lbs. container yielding 55 servings for about $53. Just below $1 per serving which is decent and affordable.
Lowest Prices on Universal Casein Pro (2 Lbs.)
BB.com 100% Casein
You don’t really find to many bb.com products in my best of lists, however 100% Casein is actually a great Casein protein. BB.com products are typically cheaper and yield more servings per container than the other major brands, but 100% Casein is actually pretty competitively priced at $45 for a 4 Lbs. container (48 servings). You get 25g of Micellar Casein protein per serving with you standard Amino Acids to boot. The 150 calories per serving is a tad bit higher than the others and this Casein has 3g of fat and only 15mg of Cholesterol. The extra fat can most likely be traced to the Nondairy Creamer which is the 2nd ingredient found in this product, but hey this Casein is actually one of the better tasting protein powders I tested so it’s a trade of whether you want to opt for a better tasting Casein with a bit more fat and calories or one that has less flavor and less calories and fat per serving. Either way, this is a good supplement that does exactly as advertised and shouldn’t disappoint.
Lowest Price on BB.com 100% Casein (4 Lbs.)
How Much Protein Should I Take?
Protein is an extremely important macro nutrient and should be eaten frequently throughout the day. I recommend at least 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. This means that if you are 150 pounds and 10% body fat (150 x 0.10 = 15 lbs. of fat leaving 135 lbs. of lean mass), you will require at least 135 to approximately 205 grams of protein per day.
I recommend that protein powder be used primarily for your pre-workout, workout and post-workout shake. This is when liquid food is more advantageous over whole food since it has a faster absorption rate.