Top 10 Best Protein Powders of 2024: And The Benefits

What is Protein Powder?

Protein powders are a popular dietary supplement designed to help individuals increase their protein intake. It’s derived from various sources, including whey, casein, soy, pea, and hemp, catering to different dietary preferences and needs. Protein powder plays a considerable role in muscle repair, growth, and overall body function, making it a go-to choice for athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts aiming to enhance their performance and recovery.

It benefits those who supplement their diet due to protein deficiencies or specific nutritional goals. Available in various flavours, protein powder can be easily incorporated into shakes, smoothies, and recipes, offering a convenient and efficient way to get that extra protein consumption.

  • What is Protein Powder?
  • Benefits of Protein Powder
  • Our Top Picks at Shapeshift
  • How to Take Protein Powder
  • Is Protein Powder Good For You?
  • FAQS
  • Side Effects
  • Conclusion

Benefits of Taking Protein Powder

1. Whey is a Great Source of Protein

Whey protein is a byproduct of cheese production, a liquid that separates from milk. This protein segment, known as whey protein, stands out as a complete protein source, boasting all essential amino acids. Notably, whey protein is highly digestible and swiftly absorbed by the gut, outpacing other protein types in efficiency.

This attribute positions it as one of the most superior dietary protein sources accessible. Whey protein powder is available in three primary forms: whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate (WPI), and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH), with concentrate being the most prevalent and economically priced option.

Due to its comprehensive benefits and nutritional value, whey protein powder has garnered widespread acclaim among various groups, including bodybuilders, athletes, and individuals seeking to enrich their diets with additional protein.

2. Promotes Muscle Growth

Muscle mass naturally decreases as we age, leading to an increase in fat and a higher risk of chronic diseases. However, this negative shift in body composition can be mitigated, if not partly reversed, through strength training combined with a proper diet.

Incorporating strength training and increasing the intake of high-protein foods or protein supplements has proven to be a practical approach to counter these changes. Among the most beneficial protein sources is whey, renowned for its rich content of a branched-chain amino acid known as leucine, which is notably the most potent in promoting muscle growth.

Whey protein stands out for its capacity to prevent age-related muscle loss and enhance strength. Research indicates that whey protein may have a slight edge over other proteins, such as casein or soy, regarding muscle growth. Nonetheless, if your diet already contains sufficient protein, adding supplements might not yield significant benefits.

3. Protein Powder May Lower Blood Pressure

Abnormally high blood pressure, or hypertension, ranks as a top risk factor for heart disease. Several studies have established a connection between dairy product consumption and lower blood pressure, thanks to bioactive peptides in dairy known as angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Within whey proteins, these ACE inhibitors are identified as lactokinins, which have shown promising effects on blood pressure in several animal studies.

The impact of whey proteins on human blood pressure remains uncertain, with experts calling for more conclusive evidence. One study highlighted that overweight individuals consuming 54 grams of whey protein daily for 12 weeks saw a 4% reduction in systolic blood pressure, mirrored by casein, another milk protein. Another piece of research supporting this found that whey protein concentrate significantly reduced blood pressure when taken at 22 grams daily for six weeks, but only in those initially experiencing high or slightly elevated levels.

A study that incorporated much smaller quantities of whey protein (less than 3.25 grams per day) into a milk drink did not report any notable effects on blood pressure, indicating that the benefits may depend on the amount of whey protein consumed and the initial blood pressure levels of the individuals.

4. It May Help Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s defence mechanism, acting as a beneficial response to injury or damage in the short term. When inflammation persists and becomes chronic, it poses significant health risks. It may indicate the presence of underlying conditions or unhealthy lifestyle choices. Health professionals aim to manage or reduce chronic inflammation, which is linked to many diseases.

A comprehensive review highlighted the impact of whey protein supplements, specifically in high doses (20 grams per day or more), on reducing C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. CRP is a crucial indicator of inflammation within the body. This finding suggests that whey protein, at sufficient dosages, has the potential to significantly lower markers of inflammation, offering a dietary approach to mitigating chronic inflammation and its associated health risks.

5. It May Enhance The Body’s Antioxidant Defences

Antioxidants are vital substances that combat oxidation in the body, thus reducing oxidative stress and decreasing the risk of various chronic illnesses. Glutathione stands out as one of the most crucial antioxidants in humans. It is uniquely produced by the body itself, unlike most antioxidants ingested through diet.

The synthesis of glutathione in the body hinges on the availability of some amino acids, such as cysteine, which can sometimes be in short supply. High-cysteine foods, like whey protein, are pivotal in bolstering the body’s natural antioxidant defences.

Research involving human and animal subjects has demonstrated that whey proteins can significantly diminish oxidative stress and elevate glutathione levels, showcasing their potential to enhance the body’s antioxidant capabilities.

Our Top Picks at Shapeshift

At Shapeshift Fitness, we understand protein’s crucial role in your fitness journey—whether you aim to build muscle or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

That’s why we’ve dedicated countless hours to research, test, and evaluate a wide range of products to bring you our top 10 picks for protein powders. Our selection criteria have been rigorous, focusing on quality, effectiveness, taste, and nutritional value to ensure we recommend only the best.

Our list caters to a variety of dietary preferences and goals. Here are the protein powders that have made the cut, each chosen for its ability to support your health and fitness ambitions.

1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey delivers 24g of high-quality protein per serving, perfect for muscle recovery and growth.

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard, 100% Whey, proudly holds the title of the world’s “best-selling whey protein,” a claim that’s hard to contest given the brand’s long-standing reputation in sports nutrition since its inception in 1986—a time when “TikTok” was nothing more than the sound of a giant clock in a leisure centre.

The nutritional profile of this whey protein is impressive and competitive with other products we’ve reviewed: each 30g serving packs 24g of premium whey protein alongside 5.5g of naturally occurring BCAAs, all while keeping fat at 1.4g, sugars at 0.7g, and carbs at 1.3g.

This protein shake stands out for its minimal foaming—a common issue with many alternatives that leads to a less satisfying texture. The Extreme Milk Chocolate flavour we sampled was reminiscent of a high-quality milkshake crafted with chocolate ice cream for an authentic taste.

Having sampled various flavours, our experiences with taste and texture have generally been positive, except for Banana Cream, Delicious Strawberry, and Cookies & Cream, which some might find overly sweet or slightly artificial in flavour.

Optimum Nutrition utilizes a 91% whey protein blend in its formula, incorporating whey protein isolate and concentrate from milk and a hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, ensuring a high-quality protein source for its consumers.

2. MyProtein Impact Whey

MyProtein Impact Whey offers 21g of protein per serving, ideal for fitness enthusiasts seeking muscle repair and lean muscle growth.

MyProtein’s Impact Whey, a whey concentrate, offers excellent value. Each 103-calorie serving is a boon for those on a calorie-restricted diet. It boasts over 2g of BCAA leucine per serving, which is crucial for muscle building.

The powder’s fine texture ensures it blends smoothly with milk or yoghurt, enhanced by diverse flavours. Despite its low fat and sugar content, it’s sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame K, which may render some flavours overly sweet for particular tastes.

It caters to those desiring variety and is available in 40 flavours, including unique options like ‘cereal milk’, rocky road, chocolate nut, and coconut. While many flavours are artificially created and vary in taste, the product maintains a clean ingredient list without extra additives.

Ideal for both beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts, MyProtein Impact Whey is a budget-friendly, versatile protein option.

3. PHD Diet Whey

PHD Diet Whey is designed for weight management, offering 17g of protein per serving, low in calories and sugar, and enriched with CLA, L-Carnitine, and green tea extract for fat loss.

It’s worth noting that many ‘diet’ protein powders sometimes live up to the hype, with minimal calorie savings compared to standard protein powders. For instance, choosing PHD’s Diet Whey over Per4m’s Advanced Protein saves you only 14 calories per shake at 4g of protein.

Yet, PHD’s Diet Whey stands out for its low carbohydrate and sugar content, making it an appealing choice for those closely tracking their daily macros. Unlike many diet alternatives, it tastes pleasant, avoiding the watery texture and artificial aftertaste typical in similar products.

We tried the chocolate mint flavour, finding it richly chocolatey, though perhaps overly minty for some tastes. Interestingly, this flavour intensity might save you a trip to the bathroom for a toothbrushing session.
With a protein content of 17g per 25g scoop, doubling the serving size, as we did, might seem tempting and manageable given the low carb and sugar levels.

The inclusion of L-carnitine aids in converting fat to energy, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) boosts Omega-6 intake, supporting bone health and metabolism.

4. Grenade Protein Powder

Grenade Protein Powder packs 24g of protein per serving, with low sugar and great taste. It comes in several delicious flavours and is ideal for muscle building and recovery.

Grenade gained notoriety for its Thermo Detonator pills, which are aimed at fat-burning and metabolism-boosting. Still, it has become renowned for its delectable yet surprisingly sugar-conscious and notably pricey protein bars. A visit to any petrol station is likely to showcase a Grenade White Chocolate Salted Peanut bar prominently by the checkout.

The brand’s transition to offering protein powders (and ready-to-drink beverages) in flavours reminiscent of its popular snack bars seems a natural progression. With options like Birthday Cake, Fudged Up, and Strawberries & Cream, these powders are as intensely flavoured as their eye-catching packaging might imply.

The provided 20g scoop feels insufficient, with nutritional details recommending a double serving for optimal benefits. Using two scoops delivers a substantial 30g of protein for 147 kcal, striking a balance between calorie count and nutritional value.

The product maintains low levels of carbohydrates and sugars, with an ingredient list essentially free from unnecessary additives. However, it does contain sweeteners (Acesulfame K and Sucralose), thickeners, emulsifiers, and a digestive enzyme blend for easier digestion.

Mixing the shake proves effortless, resulting in a smooth drink without residual lumps or paste. Nonetheless, the flavours tend to be overpoweringly artificial and excessively sweet, with the Fudged Up variant leaving a lingering, almost sticky caramel aftertaste.

5. Dymatize ISO 100 Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Powder

Dymatize ISO 100 Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Powder offers rapid absorption, 25g protein per serving, and is perfect for post-workout recovery with zero fat.

Dymatize stands apart from the lifestyle-oriented brands on this list by focusing squarely on athletes’ needs. Its packaging adopts a no-nonsense approach, proudly displaying the Informed Choice quality assurance mark, ensuring its products are free from banned substances in professional sports. This commitment makes Dymatize’s protein powder not just for elite athletes but also beneficial for everyday fitness enthusiasts.


The formula features a concise ingredient list dominated by hydrolyzed whey protein—whey that’s been partially broken down to enhance digestibility—alongside traditional whey protein. The inclusion of hydrolyzed protein means even a double dose is gentle on the digestive system, avoiding the bloating and discomfort sometimes associated with protein supplements.

While Dymatize claims this more digestible protein accelerates post-workout recovery by quickly delivering amino acids to muscles, we can’t personally verify these effects. However, it’s clear that where Dymatize may excel in nutritional value and digestive comfort, it falls short in taste and texture, which may appeal to only some palates.

6. Bulk Clear Whey Isolate 

Bulk Clear Whey Isolate offers a refreshing alternative to milky shakes with 20g of protein, zero fat, and juice-like clarity.

Apparent protein powders, whether derived from vegan sources or whey, present a delightful shift from the creamy consistency of classic protein shakes. With flavours like passionfruit or apple and blackcurrant, these powders transform into a fruit squash-like beverage when combined with cold water, offering a palate-refreshing experience.

Achieving a caloric deficit is essential for fat loss, and no supplement or added extract can substitute the fundamental principle of consuming fewer calories than you expend.

Clear protein options support your goals by allowing you to ingest ample protein necessary for preserving muscle mass without overloading calories. Despite containing just 86 calories per serving, Bulk’s formulation provides a protein content comparable to many other offerings in the marketplace, making it an efficient choice for those monitoring their calorie intake closely.

7. Per4m Advanced Protein

Per4m Advanced Protein delivers a blend of whey and casein for sustained release, with 21g of protein, low sugar, and great taste.

The substantial 2kg containers that Per4m Advanced Protein comes in might initially seem a bit overwhelming. They hint at a straightforward, function-over-flavor product standard in serious bodybuilding circles.

However, appearances can be deceiving, as the chocolate brownie batter’s flavour is unexpectedly delightful. It mixes perfectly with a half-and-half combination of water and milk—or almond milk for those who prefer it.

This shake stands out for its rich, satisfying taste, avoiding the unpleasant artificial aftertaste that plagues many competitors.


Conversely, consuming this protein does mean accepting a carbohydrate intake, primarily from sugars. Doubling the scoops for over 40g of protein introduces nearly 7g of sugar into your daily intake.

While not overly concerning for those who manage their sugar consumption elsewhere, this aspect might deter some individuals looking for an ultra-low sugar option.

8. USN Blue Lab Whey Premium 

USN Blue Lab Whey Premium blends whey protein isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate for 26g of protein, low sugar, and fast absorption.

USN, alongside Optimum Nutrition, stands as a prominent figure in the protein powder market, with its products readily available in health food outlets like Holland & Barrett and even in supermarkets, including surprise appearances in Aldi’s middle aisle.

This widespread availability doesn’t detract from its quality; USN’s Blue Lab Whey is a testament to its commitment to excellence, delivering 25g of protein in every 34g serving. While its carbohydrate and sugar levels are slightly higher than some competitors, they remain relatively manageable unless you meticulously monitor every carbohydrate you consume.

Flavor-wise, USN has mastered the art of palatable protein powders, with most options in its range mixing well with water and milk or milk alternatives for a tasty beverage. Our taste tests confirmed that the Chocolate and Wheytella flavours, a nod to Nutella, were particularly influential in mimicking a creamy milkshake experience.

9. The Protein Works Complete 360 Meal

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The Protein Works’ Complete 360 Meal redefines ‘fast food’ by offering a nutritious, all-in-one solution for meeting your daily macro and micronutrient needs, including vital fibre. Its rich protein content, combined with oats, provides a more substantial texture and delivers slow-releasing carbohydrates to sustain fullness throughout the day. Adding coconut-derived MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) is a boon for athletes and bodybuilders, lauded for its potential to enhance weight loss and energy.

Incorporating flax seed, Complete 360 Meal not only adds brain-beneficial omega-3 fatty acids but also contributes to the product’s 10g of total fibre, supporting the recommended daily intake for digestive health. A probiotic inclusion promotes digestive wellness, making this meal an all-encompassing dietary choice.

10. Sci Mx Whey Protein

Sci Mx Whey Protein offers 22g of protein per serving, is low in sugar, and supports muscle recovery and growth with great taste.

For those embarking on intense training sessions or aiming to increase their weight, mass-gainer protein powders like Sci Mx’s Total Mass Gainer offer a straightforward way to consume additional calories for energy and attain the required caloric excess. Packing 478kcal in each serving, it’s designed to effectively supplement your daily energy intake.

Unlike typical protein powders, the notable caloric count in weight gain formulas such as this stems from the substantial serving sizes—Sci Mx’s offering is approximately four times larger than the average protein powder at 125g. This larger serving size contributes to the calorie count. It includes a higher proportion of carbohydrates, providing sustained energy release that is beneficial for enduring your day and fueling rigorous exercise routines.

How to Take Protein Powder

Protein powder offers remarkable versatility and is available in various flavours and consistencies, from basic unflavored to rich chocolate, smooth vanilla, and more exotic varieties like red velvet cake and Snickerdoodle.

Options extend to plant-based varieties derived from hemp, soy, nuts, or peas and animal-based sources like whey or egg protein, catering to diverse dietary preferences and restrictions.

Each type of protein powder includes a nutrition label that recommends a serving size, typically one to two scoops using the scoop provided in the package. This serving size generally delivers 20-40 grams of protein, supporting various nutritional goals.

Is Protein Powder Good For You?

Is protein powder beneficial for health? Provided it’s of high quality, subject to third-party testing, low in sugar, and free from detrimental additives. Protein powders can complement a variety of dietary plans, assisting in achieving your wellness objectives.

It’s crucial to remember that protein powder serves as a dietary supplement designed to augment your diet. Ensuring that whole-food proteins are the cornerstone of a nutritious diet is essential.

FAQS

What Are The Different Types of Protein Powder?

Whey Concentrate: It’s characterized by its lower fat and cholesterol levels, though the manufacturer can vary the protein content from 40 to 90%. Selecting a whey concentrate with higher protein percentages is advisable for those aiming to bulk up.

Whey isolate: Is a lot more refined and, therefore, more expensive. It is refined in a process that removes the fat and lactose from the compound. This makes it one of the leanest options, comprising over 90% protein content.

Whey hydrolysate: Is whey protein that’s been put through hydrolysis, which is the addition of water to allow the protein to be broken down into smaller building blocks. This means the body can absorb it much faster and at higher rates. It’s on the costlier end of the scale.

Vegan protein powders: Pea, hemp, tofu, and soy are preferred among plant-based protein powders, with rice protein and others available. The crucial factor to consider isn’t merely the protein content but its quality. A high-quality plant protein is deemed ‘complete’ when it contains all nine essential amino acids. Blocking at least two plant protein sources is often necessary to ensure a protein powder meets this criterion.

What is The Healthiest to Drink?

No protein powder is inherently healthier than another, except for those who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy. In such cases, it is often recommended to opt for one of the numerous vegan blends available, especially those with a shorter ingredient list.

Concerns about consuming a daily protein shake are unfounded as long as it doesn’t replace whole-food protein sources, which are richer in micronutrients. Incorporating protein powder into your diet daily is acceptable. For variety, mixing protein powder into morning porridge or a smoothie can offer a refreshing change.

Which Protein is Best For Weight Loss?

Calorie control plays a significant role in any weight loss program, and protein shakes are an effective low-calorie snack option. Adequate protein intake is crucial for minimizing muscle loss, ensuring that the weight lost primarily consists of fat.

Whey isolate, known for its higher protein content, is often recommended as an optimal choice. Consuming it while on a calorie deficit can provide a substantial amount of protein without the added extras, facilitating weight loss while maintaining muscle mass.

Which protein powder is best for building Muscles?

Mass gainer protein powders might be ideal for those looking to build muscle. However, they often contain a higher calorie count from fats and carbohydrates than whey isolate and concentrate. While they can contribute to an increase in mass, the gain is more likely in fat than muscle.

The most effective muscle-building approach involves resistance training, adequate protein intake, and a slight calorie surplus. Essentially, any protein powder can enhance protein consumption. However, choosing a powder with added creatine can improve training performance and muscle gains.

Is Vegan Protein Healthier?

A vegan protein option naturally becomes healthier if dairy consumption is an issue. Yet, whey protein offers numerous bodily benefits for individuals without dairy restrictions.

The effectiveness of protein supplementation largely hinges on the quality and completeness of the protein source. In this regard, whey protein is considered the benchmark for a high-quality, complete protein that fulfils a broad spectrum of dietary and muscle-building needs.

Side Effects

While whey protein is widely considered safe for most people when consumed within recommended amounts, some individuals may experience side effects, especially if they consume high doses or have certain health conditions. Common side effects include:

Digestive Issues: Some people may experience digestive discomforts, such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea. This is more common in those who are lactose intolerant, as whey protein, especially whey concentrate, contains lactose.

Allergic Reactions: Individuals with a milk allergy may have allergic reactions to whey protein. Symptoms can range from mild (such as hives or rashes) to severe (such as anaphylaxis).

Kidney and Liver Concerns: There’s a misconception that high protein intake can strain or damage the kidneys and liver. While most healthy individuals will not experience such issues, those with pre-existing kidney or liver conditions should consult a healthcare provider before increasing their protein intake significantly.

Osteoporosis Risk: Some research suggests that very high levels of protein intake could lead to calcium loss through urine, potentially increasing the risk of osteoporosis. However, this risk is likely minimal for those with a balanced diet.

Nutritional Imbalance: Relying too heavily on whey protein at the expense of other food groups can lead to dietary imbalances. It’s essential to maintain a varied diet.

Conclusion

The top 10 best protein powders of 2024 offer various options to suit different dietary preferences, goals, and nutritional needs. Whether you choose whey, concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate, or a plant-based alternative, integrating a high-quality protein powder into your diet can significantly support muscle recovery, growth, and overall health.

Each product on our list has been selected for its quality, effectiveness, and consumer satisfaction, ensuring that you’re investing in a supplement and your journey towards optimal wellness. Remember, while protein powders are an easy and efficient way to increase your protein intake, they should go alongside a balanced diet rich in whole foods.

As we continue through 2024, these protein powders stand out as reliable companions in achieving your fitness and health objectives.