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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1,626 Responses to “The Healthiest Protein Powders On the Market”

  1. kathleen

    I am looking to add a little more protein to my diet and I was looking at this and what is your opinion on it ? I want to make sure it’s a safe and quality product .

    Thanks so much

  2. Gregg Wirth

    Have you ever heard of a company called Zija. Their products are based on the Moringa Oleifera plant which is the most nutrient dense botanical on earth. It contains 90+ verifiable nutrients. They have a Protein drink called Prime90. It contains less than 10 ingredients. It is all natural. All organic to UK standards.
    Here’s more info:

  3. Melony Rodriguez

    Hi food Babe,what is affordable protein powder for my whole family to take.our youngest is 4.thank you for improving and educating others on healthy products.

  4. Christine P

    Tera’s whey is a staple in my house….. Love it!

  5. Susan

    I have used JayRobb powders and fell they are pretty clean. What do you know about them?

    • brandi (to Susan)

      jay rob use to be my favorite. but the second ingredient is xylitol, that is a sweetener with heavy metals in it. I am switching to taras whey

  6. Cathy

    How about this protein powder:

    • Ellen (to Cathy)

      I use Jay Robb vanilla whey powder and love it. Anything hidden here Vani ???

  7. Laura

    Hi Food Babe!

    What are your thoughts on
    Orgain, organic vegan protein powder? Sold at costco online.
    I think it’s a newer product

  8. Nadya

    Have you ever tried Isa Lean Pro shake from Isagenix? its not only the great taste but it contains all essential nutriens for the body. Its a complete meal replacement and the source of protein come from New Zealand where the food standarts are the highest in the world, No comparison with protein produced in America. If anyone is enterested , feel free to contact me or check my website YES i work with this company now after i saw result on myself, my family and people i work with as a personal trainer. Its a really great product!

  9. Monica

    How do you feel about Shakeology? Its so expensive and I’m not sure that is it is worth the cost. I just need something in the morning to hold me over 2-3 hours and if I do shakeology I don’t take any other vitamins beside Chorella. What do you think?

  10. Peggy T.

    I have been using Nutiva’s Hemp High Fiber Protein powder. My daily smoothie includes lots of fresh fruit along with things like yogurt, almond milk and green & and red powders. I love it. Especially with the addition of organic Hemp Oil. I would highly recommend Nutriva. I like that they are organic.

    • DeeDee (to Peggy T.)

      We also use Nutiva Hemp Protein daily and love it. The company has excellent , quality products. They also give a discount on Tuesdays when you sign up for this special via their website. TY, Foodbabe for all the awesome info!

  11. Kim L

    I have been using a whey protein powder called RealMeal GF could you tell me what you think of this one. It says it’s from grass fed cows and no Hormones ,pesticides ,antibiotics, no gluten.

    Kim L

    • Dee Plotkin (to Kim L)

      I’m using it too. I’m eating healthy. Have diabetes. I take it instead og snacking. I have diabetes. I have lost a few lbs. I was looking at this site to see if there was one as good and less expensive

  12. Connie

    I have been using Amazing Grass Amazing Meal , Pomegranate Mango, and really like it. Does anyone have any feedback on this company’s products?

  13. David

    The whole idea of using protein powders might need some further research. I was just recently reading that ALL protein powders contain free aspartic acid (as in aspartame) and free glutamic acid [or glutamate?] (as in MSG / monosodium glutamate). If I remember correctly, the processing these powders all(?) receive breaks down natural bonds and “frees” the nasty substances in question. (Sure enough, I looked on my protein powder label and it listed “aspartic acid.” I promptly tossed it in the garbage. Not all protein powders give such a complete breakdown of the ingredients. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t in there.) I believe I was reading about this on (yes, that spelling is correct – “dog” as in canine). Dogtor J (John Symes) writes a lot about glutamate and aspartate, both of which are excitotoxins (per Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.). Dogtor J also offers a Glutamate Aspartate Restricted Diet, nicknamed the G.A.R.D. diet.

    Best Wishes,

  14. amanda

    What do you think about PlantFusion?

  15. Holly

    Juice Plus is the only protein drink I will use. Non-Gmo, etc… I also use a protein calculator that is very helpful to actually know how much protein your body needs, based on weight and level of exercise.

  16. American

    How about Vitamin Shoppe’s Soy-Free Vegetable Protein powder?

  17. Emily

    What about the Vega brand? It’s on sale at my Whole Foods right now!

  18. candra

    I am currently taking s hakeology chocolate vegan but it cost so much. I was looking at the health force website but they have so many im ablittle confused which one would be best for me… im 27 female and go to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. Im looking for a meal replacer for breakfast or a after workout shake. Im interested in vegan or vegetarian and organic ingredients. .. I dont have any allergies that I know of… what would u recommend?


  19. Ruby

    What is your opinion on Arbonne’s Essential Protein Shake Mix? Thank you!

  20. Carine

    Hi – Recently discovered Vega. But, so confused between Vega One, Vega Sport, Vega Protein and not sure if they are on the “avoid” list! I don’t particularly want to consume GMOs, but it’s the additional additives in these powders I worry about. Have you looked at the Vega line?

  21. Rose

    How do you rate Spiru Tein products, particularly vanilla whey? Thanks

  22. dawn

    I am still trying to find a good organic gluten free chemical free soy free protein shake… I saw this one… Jarrowa Formula brown rice protein powder. . Any thoughts?

  23. Sarah

    Hey food babe! I really love the blog, you provide such a value resource for women.

    I am trying to do the same, but for women’s fitness!
    I want to provide a place for women that allows them to gain knowledge and learn about the wrong information that is out there.

  24. Ebba

    Would love to see you review doTerra’s vshake! It’s their vegan protein powder and I’ve really enjoyed it!

  25. Jules

    What about the products offered by Reliv International? Have you reviewed them?

  26. Edgar

    So what about this….
    MET-Rx Protein Plus

  27. Kelly

    I tried the Tera’s in chocolate & i love it, but in reading the ingredients, it says it contains sunflower lecithin. Isnt that GMO?
    Also, from reading labels it appears RESERVEAGE GRASS FED CHOCOLATE WHEY is in same boat as Tera’s – is that one Vani approved too by any chance?????

  28. lee nguyen

    Great informations on organic protein powder. I needed to get something for my family. I guess I found it!

  29. Lola

    I have been using Arbonne and I love it? But money is becoming an issue so I’ve tried Plant fusion and the taste gets some getting use to. Is there anything more similar to Arbonne?

  30. Trevor R

    Hi Food Babe! The link for the Garden of Life protein powder to the Natural News site has a very positive updated article talking about revamping their process. They have since pulled the old article. Though I would say, until the new improved product ships, I would hold off until January 2015.

  31. JDT

    This is the one I take, unfortunately they do not ship outside Australia…

    I hope you approve?!

  32. Martha C

    Food Babe:

    I’ve been using protein powders for probably 20+ years on and off. Mostly off, because so many of them upset my sensitive GI tract. As well, there’s always been that lingering unknown of what they really contain and how they’re processed.

    I finally found one that is pure and simple and yet so delicious. It’s Whey protein from grass-fed cows raised on small farms. Cold processed so it retains its enzymes. Cows not fed GMO feed, nor subject to hormones, etc. No flavors. No sweeteners. Has no taste so I can essentially make a creamy shake with it using cacao powder and coconut milk — or blend it in my vitamix with veggies and fruit.

    I thought I’d found a great protein with Isagenix grass fed whey protein, but like this much better because there is literally nothing else in it.

  33. Lynn

    Jon Barron’s Nutribody Protein Powder — absolutely theBEST protein powder around – made from SPROUTED brown rice and pea protein!! esp. if you are allergic to dairy/whey. Also make a green food based protein powder which has tons of good stuff in it. Sold at and his book LESSONS FROM THE MIRACLE DOCTORS is fantastic!! free copy available as a download if you can’t afford the $15 to buy it. Most knowledgeable person I’ve run across in the alternative/herbal field.

  34. Shyanne

    I love the IDLife meal replacement/protein shakes, and so does my 4 yr old daughter. We often mix the chocolate shake powder with coconut milk to make popsicles. She calls them protein popsicles and thinks they taste like a frosty from Wendy’s. It is a much healthier option in soooo many ways (organic, natural, non-GMO, soy free, casein free, gluten free, and lactose free), now she asks her grandmother to make her healthy popsicles! The whey protein is from grassfed cows :)

  35. Brendy

    I use Bodylogix protein powder, they are GMO’s free and they taste so good!
    About $30 at walgreens

  36. Lindsay

    Im allergic to so many and can only have rice protein- what do you suggest?

  37. jillian

    what about vega protein and nutritional shakes?

  38. Joe

    I find your review to be misleading. Yes, in general there are a lot of things to look out for in protein shakes but in this post you made broad assumptions on many protein shakes without really looking into the ingredients. At the very least, with Shakeology, there was plenty of information online about it but you either used “?” on certain ingredients or assumed it had bad ingredients in it. Here’s a good resource for those looking more into Shakeology: Thanks FoodBabe for warning us on potential dangerous but not so much on giving a good review on specific products.

  39. Sarah D

    Are you familiar with Vega protein? I appreciate you updating this post! Thank you for all the work you do, Vani!

  40. Heidi

    I have been trying this one called
    The Ultimate Meal.
    It’s vegan, soy free and Gmo free and all kinds of other things. The ingredients look good. What are your thoughts!?
    I also use the nutiva hemp protien and I like that one also!
    Thanks for any input

  41. Julie

    I am a huge vega fan, although it is a little pricey. What are your thoughts on green smoothie girl protein. Seems pretty legit but I am a creature of habit and am having trouble committing to change.

  42. Jenifer

    I am wondering how you feel about Arbonne protein shakes, they are vegan with pea protein and they use stevia to sweeten, I am picky about tastes but love them!

  43. ADC

    What do you think about Isagenix protein shakes? I heard they just got approved for Olympians?

  44. shweppa

    What about Dr Mercola’s “Miracle Whey”…

  45. Nick

    Sounds good, but I found a disappointing review on this product saying that the protein tested at over .3 ppm lead and nearly 1.8 ppm cadmium.

  46. Mary

    What about Dr. Mercola protein powders? He seems to use high-quality ingredients.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. Tracy (to Rita S)

    AGREE with you Rita!

  50. Cathy (to Tracy)

    I also agree with you, Rita.

  51. Mopey (to Gerald Minniti)

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

  52. 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”.

  53. brian (to Gerald Minniti)

    GMO, cold processed, No chemicals etc.

  54. 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.

  55. 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 ;)

  56. 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

  57. Susan K (to Gina)

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

  58. 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.


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