The Healthiest Protein Powders On the Market

Years ago, I started adding a very delicious vanilla whey protein to my smoothies that I got from GNC. I was religious about using this one brand, and when they suddenly discontinued it, I became outraged!  I called every GNC in town searching high and low for it. It was the best tasting whey protein on the market and I didn’t want to go on a hunt for another kind. Well… long story short, I got to the botttom of why they discontinued it – the health department found rat droppings in samples of the protein at the manufacturing plant! WHAT. I’d been drinking rat droppings for all those years? @#$%&%&*^%^$$!

Needless to say, I have never looked at protein powders the same again. I research the heck out of them before I ever consider putting them in my body.

The key to finding a high quality protein powder is figuring out the right questions to ask…. Is it organic and free of pesticides? Is it GMO free? How is it processed? Does the processing retain it’s nutritional quality, vitamins and minerals? Does it contain artificial or refined sugars? Do they have heavy metals?

Yes…I said heavy metals. Consumer Reports conducted an eye-opening investigation that revealed that several popular highly processed protein powders like Myoplex, Muscle Milk, Designer Whey and GNC brand all contained arsenic, cadmium, and lead. Yikes.

This is just another reason why it is incredibly important to know what you are buying, where it is from and how it is produced.

So today…I want to share with you my Food Babe approved list of protein powders that are free of pesticides, GMOs, all those nasty chemicals and other grossities…



    1. Health Force Nutritional’s Warrior Food Extreme ($45.99 from Amazon for 45 servings) – This company practices the highest quality processing methods and uses ingredients that are beyond organic – holding the word “organic”  true to it’s original meaning which they call “TruGanic.” This includes authentic standards for production, non-toxic cleaning agents and pest control, electromagnetic radiation, processing agents additives, air quality, and actual verification of purity. The protein here is half “enzyme active” sprouted brown rice and half hemp seed based. The addition of organic raw vanilla and a little raw whole leaf stevia make it tolerable to consume even by itself without any add ins.
    2. Tera’s Organic Whey ($25 from Amazon for 12 servings) – There’s a lot of controversy about whether or not to consume whey within the health food community and from what I have researched – the benefits of consuming whey are valid for muscle building, muscle recovery and weight management. It just depends on what kind of whey you get and from where. You either you can pick low quality heat processed alkalinity stripping whey protein isolate – or you can pick cold processed whole food whey concentrate made from organic fed cows not treated with growth hormones or antibiotics. Tera’s whey is actually made in small batches and takes considerable care in how the whey is processed. Tera’s whey also comes in some very delicious flavors like blueberry and coffee that are real food based – not loaded with ambiguous “natural flavors.”(One caveat, I’d like to mention – if you decide to go with a whey protein, it’s crucial to maintain a diet high in other plant-based foods. This whey, although a good product that retains its nutritional profile, can be acid forming in large quantities just like a diet with an over emphasis on meat and dairy. Remember keeping your body alkaline is key to avoiding disease and eating a diet full of plant based foods is the only way to keep it that way.)
    3. Nutiva’s Hemp Protein – ($21.99 for 30 servings) – The ingredient label of this very nutritional protein supplement has one beautiful ingredient “organic hemp seeds.” This protein powder may not be for everyone, because the taste is definitely something to get used to.  But when combined with the right tasty ingredients like fruit, raw cacao and/or almond butter, it can be very appetizing. Finding the right balance of hemp protein to additional ingredients is the key to enjoying this rich in Omega 3 fatty acid supplement.
    4. I have removed Garden of Life from my approved protein powders due to a recent controversy surrounding new laboratory results released by Consumer Wellness Center Laboratories by Natural News.

I’d love to know if you have tried any of these before or found any protein powders you like better.  Please leave a comment and let me (and others) know.

Bottoms up!

Food Babe

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1,373 Responses to “The Healthiest Protein Powders On the Market”

  1. Shelly

    Recently started using Vital Whey. Seems to be very high quality , super clean whey.
    I also really like Sun Warrior as a vegan option

  2. Kiwi Heilman

    I just found out today about the Naked Juice, which I have been including in smoothies for me and my 2 boys for about 4 years every morning… and am very frustrated and upset! My childhood friend is a nutritionist and passionate about Juice Plus. Last November she asked me to try their new Complete Powder, which has the chick pea, non-GMO soy, chia seeds and many other “healthful” ingredients. As much as I love and trust her expertise and note that my sugar cravings went away and my digestion/gut and energy levels seemed to improve slightly… I’d like confirmation from a non-involved resource that their ingredients are what they say they are and my family is getting the best our money can buy. I buy my product at wholesale, so I have a website where the company has its documents on research, ingredients, etc. if you need it. I’d really appreciate an objective, truthful answer to what’s the best I can feed my family!

    • Kristi (to Kiwi Heilman)

      I would like an unbiased opinion about the Juice Plus+ Complete powder as well. I have a couple of friends who are distributors and swear by it. I have been using it for a little while, but am concerned about the soy and the stevia mainly. I do fine with one shake a day, but if I go beyond that, it gives me really bad gas and other soy products do that to me as well. Thank you for your post.

      • Bethany (to Kristi)

        I have been using it too and I would love it if Vani would do an investigation!

  3. stampylisa

    Arbonne’s vegan protein is kosher, low GI certified and tested in independent labs to have no heavy metals. The rice/pea/cranberry blend also has coQ10 for heart health as well as other vitamins & minerals. Contact me if interested in ordering some or if you don’t already have an Arbonne contact. We have a great discount program as a preferred client or wholesale buyer. Just email me via my website.
    Vanilla and chocolate both are divine! …Lisa

    • stampylisa (to stampylisa)

      OH!! and the sweetener is a blend of pure cane sugar and stevia. No harmful chemical ingredients, no artificial colors or preservatives. .

    • stampylisa (to stampylisa)

      No GMOs either-they are not allowed in the UK, where our Swiss formulators are based. It’s made in the US though of the best ingredients available

    • rachel (to stampylisa)

      I would love to try a sample, im looking for a good one now

    • Sue Culver (to stampylisa)

      Hi Lisa.

      I’m a fan of Arbonne protein powder as well as their fiber boost. I’d like to find it at a more affordable price. Can you help me?


    • Julie (to stampylisa)

      Isn’t Arbonne SOY!!!??? No thanks!

  4. Lisa

    I have a friend who has decided to sell “Zeal for Life” products (protein, cleanse and burn powders) sold by the Marketing Network company Zurvita. I dont think there has been any testing on their products. I hesitate to try the product. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about their products and the company itself.

  5. Erin

    Curious if you have researched Isagenix Protein shakes and what you think of them?

    • Katy (to Erin)

      I started using Isagenix as well 15months ago, as they use undenatured whey from New Zealand “happy” cows, with nothing artificial (colors, sweeteners, etc). They are also GMO free and organic. The quality is the purest I’ve seen. They also have a vegan shake made with hemp, chia, and pea protein. Satisfying, yummy, and clean.
      I can send anyone more info if you are interested.

      • arya (to Katy)

        Good Evening, can you send me more info in regards to the protein you recommend. Im looking for a really good all natural powder to help build muscles and any other great healthy benefits. any information is gladly appreciated.

  6. Kathy Lewis

    I used to consume Garden of Life protein but found a different company with incredibly pure whey protein, in addition to other products. The company is called Isagenix. The science behind and effectiveness of these products has far surpassed my expectations.

  7. occlemom

    What are your thoughts on Abouttime protein powders?

  8. colin

    Does anyone know of any hormone free CAESIN protein powders?

  9. Jacqueline C.

    Hi, Vani – Do you have an update on the Garden of Life issue? I have been enjoying their Perfect Food Raw 100% Organic Young Wheat Grass Juice Powder each morning. I feel energized by this, but definitely now concerned based on the latest news. Do you have a recommendation for an alternative? Thanks!

  10. Renae

    I have had an extremely difficult time finding information about Jarrows Fomulas Organic Whey Protein. It has soy lecithin in it. Do you have any insider information about this specific protein brand?
    Thank you very much.
    I love your website. It has changed my life.

  11. Alison

    Hi – Here is an updated article & news concerning Garden of Life – FoodBabe does this change your non-recommendation above?

    • Kelley (to Alison)

      I want to know if this changes Food Babe’s mind, too!

  12. Liz

    Sad to see you removed garden Of life. Mike Adams consumer wellness lab is completely run by him without any third party or credible sources to back up his claims. Sadly it seems the whole article is screwed by tricking consumers by using high percentages of tungstun found in the powders, when most heavy metals are measured by a completely different measuring way. All rice products contain naturally occurring heaving metals. And the fact he pushes his own protein powder so much in the article makes me wonder….

  13. Brytany

    I went searching for your recommended #2, and was sad to read this review from a buyer.

  14. Jessie F

    Arbonne’s protein powder is the way to go – vegan certified & kosher. The vanilla and chocolate shakes taste fabulous, and are very affordable! 20 grams per serving, plus over 20 vitamins & minerals, and is a complete amino! Free of: GMO’s, artificial sweeteners, dyes, soy, whey, dairy, heavy metals, or preservatives. Let me know if anyone is interested.

  15. Sydney

    Have you tried Warrior Whey? I also regularly use Perfect Fit protein (a raw non GMO brown rice protein). Are those okay to be using? Thanks!

  16. saukyn

    Hey Food Babe,
    What about all those plant-based Vega products? Are they any good? They seem to be hugely popular these days. There are also a bunch of vegan products from a company called Progressive Nutritional Therapies (I think they are Canadian) do you like their line of products?

  17. Marc

    I want to start taking some protein for weigh loss and i was reading all the comments, too many to choose from and confusing at same time, not sure what to buy ..any advise more simple? thank you very much.

  18. Diane Anderson

    I need a protein powder with no Stevia, no artificial sugars, etc. So far the only one I’m ffinding that fits is Swanson brand. Can anyone tell me of another? ?

    • Helen V (to Diane Anderson)

      I like Sunwarrior’s Classic Protein the natural flavor. Only ingredient is Raw Whole Grain Brown Rice Protein. Then you can add your sweetener of choice.

  19. Kim

    I was reading about stevia leaf on your site and how we should not use stevia leaf extract but you recommend a protein powder with the extract in it. Tera’s Protein powder uses the extract not the whole leaf. Why is this recommended? I have had a hard time finding any decent Whey concentrate, organic protein powders without stevia leaf extract. What happened..formula change with Tera’s powder?

  20. Claudia

    I’ve been considering joining my friends on the 21 day fix, but really didn’t want to get involved in something I couldn’t believe in or comfortably promote. I have searched foodbabe for an update to the original “is your protein powder safe” article and finally came across this (not from an unbiased party, but he most comprehensive I could find and it directly responded to the food babe findings from a while back) It’s worth the read and I’d love to Vani’s take on it? As of right now I have still not decided whether shakeology is something I will embark on or not. I have never done any specific diet befor. I have always been a proponent of excercise, portion & quality control instead of any quick fixes and I am not a sales person by nature, so I’ve never done anything like that either and can’t picture myself becoming a shakeology coach. I do however love the idea of embarking on a disciplined, already outlined coarse toward better health & fitness with a great goup of friends, so I’m considering the 21 day fix. Posting this for others in my shoes :)

  21. mymyriamymy

    Thanks for the great webpage I stopped buying musclemilk since I read about the bad chemicals it has, im looking to get either the organic hemp protein or teras, might try both of them out to see which one taste better, thanks. Hopefully they are truly organic.

  22. brenda

    Hi, I personally use isagenix isalean shake and love it; I breastfeed my toddler; im taking it twice a day and it keeps me not feeling hungry when before I could not even do veggie/fruit one day diet because I would feel starved. There has been no change in my milk supply at all. and it’s safe for breastfeeding ofcourse.

  23. Jessica Smith

    I use the protein by It Works – we have chocolate and vanilla that you can bake with, use in a shake or sprinkle on your food. Non hormonal and non GMO. Visit my website if interested or find me on Facebook at Living Green.

  24. Rusty

    I was wondering if anyone tried Source Whey Protien? Would it make the foodbabe’s list?

  25. Stephanie

    Do you know anything about Immunocal from Quebec, Canada? It’s a protein powder with no soy.

  26. Helen V

    I use Sunwarrior’s Vanilla and Chocolate Classic Protein.

  27. Marie

    Is anyone familiar with MRM, Genuine Health, or Paradise Herbs? Thanks!

  28. shaps

    Try Arbonne essentials protein shake mix (chocolate or vanilla).
    Arbonne’s protein powder is the way to go – vegan certified & kosher. The vanilla and chocolate shakes taste fabulous! 20 grams per serving, plus over 20 vitamins & minerals, and is a complete amino! Free of: GMO’s, artificial sweeteners, dyes, soy, whey, dairy, heavy metals, or preservatives.

    no nutrasweet
    no stevia
    no sucralose

    uses plain ole cane sugar. This is a healthy option of all the protein powders that I have found

  29. Lissa

    I use a pea protein powder called my Victory! Protein boost. A NU SKIN product. The ingredient list is
    Pea protein, organic rice protein, Natural flavor, fructose, Chia seed, xylitol,Salt, Rebaudioside A ( Stevia Extract). Have you tested this?

  30. Dana

    I use sunwarrior warrior blend (vanilla) it has 19 grams of protein and complete amino acids…does anyone else use this??

  31. Sol

    Ok i been using “sponser why protein 94 ”
    Is lactose free but have aspartame , xanthan :(
    So do not use this one !!!!!!
    The price is 100 euros for five kilo is a pitty that is not healthy .

  32. Ryan

    Great article. Can’t believe I could have been drinking rat droppings all this time! Thanks for all the investigative work you do!

  33. Cassandra

    Thank you so much for this article! It definitely opened my eyes to the chemicals I’ve been consuming from what I thought were ‘healthy’ protein powders. Thanks for posting alternatives as well! :)

  34. Gerald Minniti (to Amanda)

    Hi Amanda,
    I am a surgeon in private practice. I am not beholden to any insurance company, pharmaceutical company, or corporation/company of any sort. I have devoted my life to science, and consume a large amount of literature involving medicine and nutrition.
    That’s correct, no evidence that artificial sweeteners cause disease in humans.

  35. Rita S (to Gerald Minniti)

    Gerald…curious if you have read fellow scientist and neurosurgeon, Dr. Russel Blaylock’s book, “Excitotoxins, The Taste That Kills” ? There is actually much scientific evidence on the effect of artificial flavorings, sweeteners, food colorings and effects in labortory research. Another great source is The Feingold Foundation, dedicated to providing parents of children who are diagnosed with autism, ADD, ADHD, etc. in managing thier child’s behaviors through nutritional helps. A friend’s child has such a diagnosis, when he eats organic and clean he is an easy kid, give him food that is artificially colored and flavored and he becomes a different person – angry, hard to handle – within minutes.
    I encourage you to look beyond what may be provided to you in a medical facility setting.

  36. Tracy (to Rita S)

    AGREE with you Rita!

  37. Cathy (to Tracy)

    I also agree with you, Rita.

  38. Mopey (to Gerald Minniti)

    Ants do not eat it. When they do….I will.


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