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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1,701 Responses to “The Healthiest Protein Powders On the Market”

  1. Janette

    I just started using sfh PURE. It’s derived from “A2, Grass fed, free range cows” and the ingredients are:whey concentrate, natural vanilla flavor, sunflower lecithin, stevia.

    • Barb (to Janette)

      where can you purchase sfh PURE?

      • Janette (to Barb)

        I get it at my workout facility (Peak Physique in MN) but the company has a site: I don’t know about any of their other products but the vanilla PURE tastes great, even mixed with water :-)

    • Maywin (to Janette)

      Thanks for the heads up. Much more affordable option. I struggle to get enough protein in my diet. I wouldn’t manage it without supplementation.

    • Ethan (to Janette)

      I agree. I use SFH fuel, and recovery whey for my athletic endeavors. I feel the quality of the whey from SFH is great for my endurance training and races. I mix it up with plant-based nutrition, food, and smoothies as well. With everything, you have to have a balance…plants seem to work well with alkalinity.

    • Chris (to Janette)

      In response to everyone using SFH. Check out Food Babe’s article on Stevia.

  2. Margaret B.

    Mercola’s line of whey protein powders are delicious and meet all of your criteria for a healthful drink. We mix them with organic, unsweetened almond milk for a delicious breakfast drink. It is also delicious in smoothies or added to a grain-free dessert when we bake.

  3. Whitney

    Food babe what do you think about sun warrior the vanilla and chocolate plant-based protein powders?

  4. Patty OKeefe

    Curios if anyone has used or tested the Melaleuca protein products.

    • Julie (to Patty OKeefe)

      I would seriously stay away from Melaleuca food products. They do not use the best ingredients. Melaleuca thinks they’re into wellness, but their food products have questionable ingredients.

      As far as whey-based proteins, be very careful. They are really only best for those who are using to build muscle and ingested before a workout, otherwise they are doing no good.

      Melaleuca’s newest protein powder is whey-based and has a casein ingredient as well. These are dairy related and not great for optimum health.

      If looking for something that’s best for excellent health, try a plant-based protein. There are many, however, the taste can be a challenge, depending on what you’re used to. Amazing Grass – “Amazing Meal” is one such product. Amazing Grass also makes one called “Raw Reserve”, which is a complete supplement and includes terrific probiotics. It really helps keep things flowing! Also great protein. A HUGE difference (and HUGE benefit) compared to the whey-based options.

      Hope this helps!

  5. leigh

    I’m curious of the Garden of Life issues and why you took it off the list. I give my children their probiotics. Should I switch?

  6. Melissa

    I’m really curious about the Amazing Meal… Anyone have any research or educated opinions?

  7. Roque

    I want to buy a protein supplement , with the least chemicals possible.
    I stumbled upon this new product from GNC, GNC PURE EDGE
    And i wanted to know what do you think about it.
    Here is the link:|GNC+PUREDGE&searchdef=2269848&k_clickid=429e1a41-2de5-77a9-3a1d-00004f61f86b&002=2269848&006=47241633794&007=Search&008=&009=p&012=gnc%20pure%20edge&021=29887747&025=c&026=

    • Kareen (to Roque)

      Harmonized protein and whey factors are two high quality whey protein powders with no extra crap.

  8. jer

    Food Babe,
    Did you compare Isagenix shakes? I see you reviewed Isogen (now out of biz?) shakes. We love Isagenix shakes and they are organic, whey-based, cold processed, undenatured, and from New Zealand grass-fed cows. I’d love to know your opinion.

  9. Erin Vucurevich

    Food Babe,

    Do you have any thoughts on Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protien. It is plant based, organic, vegan and non GMO. Not sure how much you have researched their products but I like what I see. Thoughts?

  10. Amy

    I like the Independent Choice Soy Free Organic Vega Protein Power

  11. Jennifer

    I use Isagenix and it is an organic Whey from Grass fed cows raised in New Zeland with stringent regulations unlike ours in the USA, it is cold processed allowing it to retain nutrition and it is undenatured!!! The best product on the market, by far!

  12. Buckley

    Thank you for real information. I attended a talk once that featured Health Force and their products and there is an amazing level of integrity and quality. There is so much misinformation online…from this post alone I can tell you are among the few that speak the truth. I look forward to reading more on here, Thank you again!

  13. Sue Swayzee

    Welp–I’ll probably go with the Tera’s Whey, personally. Because although you write with convincing authority, you lost me the moment you talked that nonsense about “acid” and “alkaline.” PLEASE! The human body is designed to return to HOMEOSTASIS! That means it WILL correct any imbalances on its own, if it didn’t you would become gravely ill very quickly. VERY quickly. Please stop promoting the idea that eating too much meat or whatever will cause your body to become so acidic it is then susceptible to disease. That has been debunked by now by VERY credible nutritionists and macrobiologists and others. The only risk that having too much of certain kinds of foods (acidic or alkaline notwithstanding) presents is the risk of developing things like stones.

    • Dr Sebi (to Sue Swayzee)

      Oh dear dear, which homeostasis? Please do not act like the best nutrionist when you don’t even know that what balances the acidity from the acid food you eat is the fosfate in your bones that are bonded with calcium, thus giving the name calcium phosphate. Food babe is absolutely right to promote the fact that eating too much meat or acid food will make you sick. The human body has an optimum pH of 7.32 ever heard of pH? Did you know if your pH is too low your imune system is weakened? Please do some research before posting some nonsense you know nothing about.

  14. Elliott

    Does anyone have an educated opinion about Six-Star’s Instant Protein Smoothie (plant based protein shake with greens)? In other words, is anyone aware of or could opine on an in-depth, research oriented report they have come across? I’m aware it’s not “non-GMO” or organic, etc., etc., but just because WalMart sells it doesn’t mean it should be summarily rejected. Don’t know how much these (negative) factors matter re: the product’s ingredients, etc. Taste good, has no aspertame, & seems to meet nutritional aspects I’m looking for as a diabetic trying to lose weight (sufficient, healthy, efficiently utilized meal replacement). I’d appreciate any feedback or alternate suggestions. Thanks in advance!

  15. Elliott

    Does anyone have an educated opinion about Six-Star’s Instant Protein Smoothie (plant based protein shake with greens)? In other words, is anyone aware of or could opine on an in-depth, research oriented report they have come across? I’m aware it’s not “non-GMO” or organic, etc., etc., but just because WalMart sells it doesn’t mean it should be summarily rejected. Don’t know how much these (negative) factors matter re: the product’s ingredients, etc. Taste good, has no aspertame, & seems to meet nutritional aspects I’m looking for as a diabetic trying to lose weight (sufficient, healthy, efficiently utilized meal replacement). I’d appreciate any feedback or alternate suggestions. Thanks in advance!

    • Tish (to Elliott)

      I am interested in hearing about this one too. Just stated using it.

  16. Tammy

    I love Tera’s Whey. The Coffee flavor is awesome. This protein has great flavor and is not chalky at all. The Nutiva Hemp protein is also good for smoothies.

  17. Debbie

    Food Babe, I mostly agree with you, however, I am wondering why Tera’s Whey was allowed as a top three when one of the ingredients is soy lecithin. To make soy lecithin, a chemical named Hexane is used. Even though it is put through a process to remove the hexane, some remains. One of the other of the top three touts, “no hexane”. Please give us your reasons, other than it being organic, for naming it that far up your list. Thank You

    • Mike (to Debbie)

      Debbie, The Vanilla flavored Tera’s Whey uses organic sunflower lecithin.

      • Debbie (to Mike)

        Thanks for replying. I wonder why they use soy lecithin at all. Have you had a look at Source Organic Whey Protein (Lecithin Free)? I haven’t used it, but happened upon the website today.

  18. Paula Mantel

    What about LIFE BASICS? My understanding is that it is organic, raw, vegan with spouted grains like hemp and vegetables like broccoli. Please let me know what you think of it. Thank you!

  19. Cindy

    For Whey Protein Powder, I use “Little Choices Matter” Health Pro. I love it and it has more on it than just protein, Here is the web site to go to:
    They have 2 flavors, chocolate & strawberry. Love both and I have used others and I will not change after finding this one!!

  20. Leonor Ochoa

    Anybody know if “About time” Whey protein is healthy?

  21. Anastasia

    I just want to know which tastes best?

  22. Sonia

    What are your thoughts on Plant Fusion? Plant based, Vegan approved, Non-GMO.
    Curious to know what the difference between Raw & regular plant based is?

  23. Marisa

    I just read something regarding brown rice protein being manufactured in China. Anyone know of any protein powders solely manufactured in the US?

    • Catherine (to Marisa)

      I too read on an article from Natural news published 2013 that all rice protein powders come from China…right after I had purchased “Living Fuel” protein powder. ugh! I see the question is not answered here and I e mailed Living Fuel thinking them a good choice as they have the founder often on Natural News webinars. They never responded!. I am now not sure of any company even from Natural News who I though was trust worthy. I hope we both get this question answered..

  24. Josh

    Bulletproof Upgraded Whey 2.0: Review
    …? Any thoughts

  25. Ms Mermaid

    Hello, I just started using PURIUM NON GMO Vegan powder called LOVE

  26. Jackie

    I was recently told that Spiru Tein protein powder is another good option. What do you think about this brand?

  27. Jen

    I have really been loving the Juice Plus+ complete shakes! When I want add ins, I freeze my fruit and actually make them more like smoothies :)

  28. Vanity

    Foodbabe, have you ever heard of, or looked into Arbonne Vegan Protein shakes? I would be interest to know how they compare to the others.

  29. Robert C Griffin jr

    Anyone know the 411 on the Whole Foods brand 365 Whey protein powder? I love the taste…but would like to know anything important!

  30. gina

    What about Organic Protein, plant based powder by Orgain? Any thoughts on this one?

    • Conrad (to gina)

      Food Babe,
      I also have been using Organic Protein, plant based powder by Orgain.

      Please reply with any research as to the possible high heavy metals in the organic brown rice protein powder.


    • Sudie Wagner (to gina)

      Orgain is my favorite….hard to keep it in stock where I live. It blends well with everything and it has organic stevia….Ive tried a bunch!!

  31. Alexander Sosa

    ive been using the protein drink mix, beverage mix, and Herbalife Rebuild Strength from my Herbalife account and have lost 40 lbs and dropped from 20.6% body fat to 9.8% body fat in a year! It’s been incredible. All the products are BSCG tested and approved by the NSF meaning that every single batch is tested and approved before packaged!

  32. visualHealth

    I love XYMOGEN i5 vanilla shake

  33. julie

    Wondering where Arbonne’s protein powder ranks. I’ve heard really good things about it. Anybody know? Foodbabe?

  34. Valerie

    Hey Vani,

    I came across your article while searching for more healthy protein powders to improve our comparison chart:

    Take a look at it and let us know what you think; hopefully you’ll find it useful towards your future articles on the topic. Hope it’s as helpful as your article.


  35. Pam

    I use Sunwarrior Protein powder, it states that it uses sprouted brown rice, is non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy free. It also states it is free of chemicals, solvents, and acids. What do you think?

  36. Margie Carrell

    Hi Vani from Foodbabe,
    I just recently discovered yoyr sight when searching for organic food supplement but I just read a review by a customer that says they researced your product Healthforce warrior Extreme and the rice has lesd and two othrr things, so have you vhecked into that? I was using Garden of life also til I ssw your report but now I question your product.

  37. Jay

    Foodbabe, or anyone else,
    My son is in the most competitive sport with the hardest training. I know that he isn’t getting enough protein. Everyone else is taking protein that is made for adults. Are their any powders that are good and safe for kids?

  38. MamaBull

    Well gee, I googled dairy free, organic protein powder and chose this website to look at first…now I’m more confused than ever! I’ve been using BioTRUST low-carb time released whey protein blend. It is rBGH free, no artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors, 24 g. of protein, 8 g. of carb. I am wanting to switch to dairy free diet (one of a number of changes) and following Dr. Mark Hyman’s blood sugar diet. He recommends a high-quality, hypoallergenic rice, pea, hemp, chia, or soy protein powder. Ugh…the search continues but maybe Food Babe’s first choice Health Force Nutritional Warrior Food is a good start. I’ll check it out. Thanks!

  39. julie

    Why ask for questions about other protein powders other than the ones on your list, if you’re not going to answer any of the responses?
    NOW I am really confused on which protein powder to use.

  40. Vivien

    I was on amazon and was just about to purchase Tera’s whey when I saw it didn’t have that fantastic reviews on amazon uk. I instead stumbled upon another brand called Pulsin protein powders and they seem pretty legit, in terms of no GMO and pesticides and no additives or sweeteners like in most protein powders on shelves today. Perhaps you could check it out or review it?

  41. Lesley Riendeau

    What are your thoughts on Bodylogix grass fed whey?

  42. Michelle Gonsalves

    I am an independent consultant for Arbonne and the Chocolate and Vanilla Protein Powders are amazing! No nasty Whey , Vegan Ceretified , Non GMO, Soy Free, Gluten Free and diabetic friendly . No animal byproducts and never tested on animals .

  43. Becka

    Great article and research. I’ve been on the hunt for a protein powder that is healthy, safe and free of heavy metals ESPECIALLY since I am pregnant and craving protein shakes. Is option #2 safe during pregnancy to your knowledge?

    Now now, I understand you cannot give medical advice and will advise me to see my doctor, but UNFORTUNATLEY doctors have NO CLUE about protein powders. :/ Any help will do. :)

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. Tracy (to Rita S)

    AGREE with you Rita!

  47. Cathy (to Tracy)

    I also agree with you, Rita.

  48. Mopey (to Gerald Minniti)

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

  49. Augustin (to Gerald Minniti)

    then you must not do your profession well and are certainly not educated as you should be. Artificial sweeteners contain Aspartame and Aspartame causes cancer. I know that and im no doctor, I would suggest you step out of your medical field as you are incapable and incompetent to practice what you so called “studied”.

  50. brian (to Gerald Minniti)

    GMO, cold processed, No chemicals etc.

  51. roseann (to Gerald Minniti)

    Your comment is misleading and can adversely affect people’s health. Artificial sweeteners do very definitely cause adverse affects on health.

  52. Robert C Griffin jr (to Gerald Minniti)

    Nah, they jus taste like crap!

  53. Chris (to Gerald Minniti)

    I will assume you are a plastic surgeon who also believes it is safe to implant peoples bodies with cancer causing agents also…….

  54. April (to Mopey)

    Mopey. No disrespect meant, but I’ve heard the same comment before and I’d like to respond to it. Although, like the ants, I wouldn’t touch artificial sweetener with a ten foot pole, I don’t think for a minute I’d eat dog food or rotten apple bits dropped on the sidewalk. Maybe you shouldn’t eat things only an ant will eat ;)

  55. Gina (to April)

    (To April) if an ant will eatdog food and rotten apples but not artificial sweetener, what does that tell you? No disrespect meant

  56. Susan K (to Gina)

    tells me that the ant is hungry … & still won’t eat the sweetner.

  57. Gloria (to Augustin)

    I was diagnosed with lupus ( the external kind) several years ago. I used to get lumps under my skin that would last for two or three weeks then go away, usually having several all the time. I read aspartame exacerbates the symptoms of lupus, so I eliminated it from my diet…..symptoms all but gone. Now instead of three lumps at a time coming and going, I probably don’t get them more than one or two a year, if that.

  58. CWS (to Augustin)

    Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, not a component of all artificial sweeteners. Everything you said in your comment is wrong.


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