I have tried quite a few protein brands over the past 7 years and I thought I would share my opinion of each. I am not an ambassador or athlete for any of these companies so I will give my truthful opinion with no bias. I know for some it can be overwhelming searching online or at a store, spending all that money, and not knowing what kind of product you are going to get when all is said and done.
Now I want to say first that I personally prefer (nowadays) a protein that is low carb and one that mixes well in not only a shake but also hot water and even to bake with. If you are looking for a mass gainer, this list probably isn’t going to help you too much.
- BSN Syntha 6 I will say this protein is definitely a great tasting protein powder. They have plenty of flavors to choose from and in my opinion it is a good protein for people that are just starting out supplementing with a protein shake. It tastes good, mixes really well, and it isn’t terribly expensive for a 5lb tub of it (somewhere around 50.00) Now for the bad part. The fat is around 6g and 15g of carb per scoop, this of course depends on the flavor. This doesn’t fit my macros because I like to consume my carbs in food. I use protein just for protein usually so I want fat and carbs to be low. The scoops are giant which means there is most likely quite a bit of fillers in there other than pure protein. Also just by checking the ingredients, I always stay away from proteins with so many ingredients and I don’t know what most of it actually is.
- Dymatize ISO 100 This is the protein that I have currently been using. I have tried the chocolate peanut butter and the fudge brownie so far. It tastes great, mixes great in cold and hot fluids. The best part is the carb count is only 2g, fat is .5g and you still get 25g of protein per scoop. I would also like to say there are VERY few extra ingredients in this mix. Also, I have no gastrointestinal issues with this protein either. It is very easy on the stomach. The negative: it is a little pricey. For a 5lb tub you are looking at about 75.00. But, you get what you pay for in the protein world. The purer the protein powder, the pricier it gets.
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard I tried this protein many years ago and who knows it may have improved since then. I always felt like it had a very thin taste to it. I always usually buy chocolate or a chocolate variation when I buy protein powders and it just never had a rich taste. On a positive note, it is only about 50.00 for a 5lb tub and the carb and fat count are decent; 4g of carbs, 1.5 of fat (depending on flavor).
- Optimum Nutrition 100% Natural Oats and Whey When I first started supplementing with protein powders years ago I absolutely loved this in chocolate. It literally tastes like real milk chocolate and mixes well. I used it for a couple years straight. It is a good shake for a meal replacement, like if you don’t eat breakfast or need a snack in between meals. It has actual oats in it (hence the name) so it has a little too many carbs in it for me right now (about 15g). It has very few fillers though and is cost effective, about 30.00 for 3lbs.
- Jym I just tried this recently, I let the sales associate at GNC talk me in to it. He swore there were several people that loved it. I think I bought the chocolate peanut butter flavor. Honestly, it wasn’t that good. It had an odd sweet taste to it that I just didn’t care for. Once I finished the tub I didn’t have any desire to reorder it.
- Quest I just bought this yesterday to try because I ran out of my protein and had to place an online order. So I bought this from my local GNC to hold me over. It was pricey for a small tub but I will say that it does taste pretty good. I bought the chocolate, it mixes well and isn’t lumpy at all. The macros are good, 1g of fat and 3g of carbs. The ingredient list is small so it doesn’t have many fillers. It is a good protein if you only need a small supply on hand because I have never seen an option to buy more than 2lbs at a time.
- Muscletech Nitro Tech Whey Gold I tried this not too long ago because I received a sample pack from another order with this in it. I think the flavor was chocolate. The macros were really good for this 2F and 2C for a scoop. It had a really strong and sweet taste to it and when I mixed it with a little water it was more pasty than syrupy ( I like to make a chocolate syrup with my protein for my arctic zero topping, see recipe here). So I didn’t really care for it but it is cheap to buy so if you are hard up it is definitely a decent choice. Make sure it is the whey gold version though as some of the Muscletech proteins are very high in carb counts.
- MTS Machine Whey This protein is really, really good. I have tried the triple chocolate cake and the peanut butter cookie. I know people who have tried several of the other flavors and they all say they are great. This protein mixes well, it is a little sweet though. It is about 55.00 for a tub of 5lbs so it is decently priced. The only reason why I stopped using it was because during my bikini prep I literally couldn’t spare an extra carb. So I switched to a protein with the least amount of carbs. This still isn’t bad with 6C and 3.5F but in times when every gram matters it doesn’t work. This protein also literally has pieces of real food in it too (like pieces of cookie in the cookies and cream, YUM) and very little extra ingredients.
- FitMiss Delight This protein is supposed to be aimed at women. I tried it one time. Once. It was disgusting. I’m not even sure if I finished the whole tub, I may have threw it away. The macros are decent but it was expensive from the local GNC that I bought it at. There are several ingredients in it too which is most likely why it tastes so bad. I don’t recommend.
- Muscle Milk protein powder Muscle milk in my opinion always has a bad after taste. This protein was OK. It is decently priced if you buy online. The macros are roughly at 6F and 9C. There are several mystery ingredients in a scoop also. I used to keep a small tub of this at work back before I was competing just for post workout.
- Generic protein Ok so once I was really desperate for a low carb protein and I was at Walmart. All they had was some generic off brand protein powder. It was cheap and supposedly relatively pure so I figured I would just go with it. And it was vanilla, which isn’t my favorite. Let me tell you, never again. This stuff was nasty. It reminded me of something you would supplement for a baby in a bottle of milk. Yuck. Don’t do it.
- Bowmar Nutrition protein hot chocolate I have been using this for the past couple weeks. I will say that if you enjoy consuming your protein in hot liquid then this is the protein for you. I put a half of a scoop in my coffee and it tastes just like hot chocolate. It doesn’t get lumpy in hot water like some proteins out there. It mixes well in cold water too. The macros are especially good for weight loss or a lean gain at 22P, 1F, 2C. On the negative side, I’m not overly in love with the chocolate flavor itself. It is just OK, not as rich as I personally would like. Also, it is on the expensive side at 70.00 for a 5lb tub, and currently you have to buy it in 1lb or 5lb tubs.
This is all I can think of that I have tried over the years. I’m sure there has been more that I am not thinking of. A protein I would like to try in the future is PEScience. I have heard this protein is great to cook with. So this list is going to get longer in the near future. Hopefully this helps someone! If you have any proteins that are not on the list that you love, feel free to drop a comment and let me know. I love to try new products!