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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 bottom 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 its 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. Organic Plant Protein Superfood 30 Shake ($39.99 from Nutiva for 18 servings)Nutiva’s shake is made from certified organic whole food plant proteins – no processed whey or isolated soy and contains 20 grams of protein per serving! This shake is a blend of organic pea, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, hemp and sacha inchi proteins, along with 30 superfoods including reishi mushroom, baobab, moringa, kale, hawthorn berry, purple corn, sea buckthorn, kelp and cinnamon. It also tastes amazing, despite having no fake flavors, nasty chemical additives, and only 2g of sugar per serving. Unlike other protein manufacturers that never tell you what’s in their “natural” or “organic” flavors, Nutiva uses an organic flavor where they actually list what’s in it – vs. hiding it! All of these ingredients are ORGANIC too – so they are not using Roundup-Ready GMO corn and they use all organic ingredients to make the carriers for the flavors! This is a huge deal – not just with transparency, but the high level quality of each ingredient they choose. Also note – the sugars in the product come mostly from plants and fruits – not added sugar or stevia (which I think makes most protein powders taste kinda too sweet and some nasty!) I’m so happy that Nutiva formulated the BEST plant protein powder out there!
    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.

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!


Updated 08/25/2016 to include new Nutiva protein powder and remove others I no longer use because they contain stevia and gums.

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1,867 responses to “The Healthiest Protein Powders On the Market

  1. Thoughts on DoTerra VShake (vegan version)? Thank you for any feedback. Or can I have a link for what to watch out for in protein powders? Thank you!

  2. Using Orgain organic non GMO , vegan , soy free protein powder. Can you please check and let us know how healthy is it ?

    1. Using this also! I would be very interested in reading Food Babe’s review on this one too! 🙂

    2. I have been drinking Orgain organic shakes as well. Would appreciate your opinion. I found carrageenan gum on the ingredient list, therefore I doubt you approve it. Thanks for advice because I love these shakes!

      1. I’m wondering about Orgain as well. I started having a rash response about the same time I purchased this product and am curious if the ingredients might explain it.

    3. i have been using Orgain’s protein powder (chocolate) too. I can’t tolerate whey. I would be interested in your thoughts on this brand.

      1. I too have been using Orgain. It was recommended to me due to Gastroparesis & malabsorption disorder. I do not see that you have commented as of yet.

  3. this article puts a huge X on Garden of Life…..then tells us to go to Mike Adams’s article where he says the exact opposite……writer……..get your facts straight…..please…..

    1. When I went to Mike Adams site He say at the very beginning
      “UPDATE: The story which originally appeared here is now irrelevant and has been replaced with this groundbreaking, history-making announcement:”

      I am sure the Food Babe was linked to the Original Story.

      Which the link now appropriately brings you to Mike Adams current page…

      Thanks Food Babe… keep up the good work..

  4. Just curious if you had an opinion on Realmeal GF compared to the powders listed above?

  5. Bodylogix Natural whey protein powder is cold -processed from milk from grass-fed cows, non-GMO, gluten free, third party tested to be free of toxic heavy metals and pesticide residues, and 24 grams of protein per serving. Available at Walgreen’s for $28.99 for 27 servings. Economical and tastes great too!

    1. It probably doesn’t make the list because it has carageenan in it which is known to cause inflamation of your digestive track.

      1. My daughter has a violent reaction to carageenan. I seem to tolerate it fine but seeing her problems with it has made me steer clear whenever possible.

    1. California has different rules and standards on what acceptable is and is not. Look into their rules even about home products, cleaners, what items even Amazon is allowed to ship and not ship. I would read some other reports before worrying too much but that’s just my own opinion. I am one who uses all natural cleaning agents ie vinegar baking soda etc but even I think california get a little over the top..

  6. Looking for a protein drink that’s organic and doesn’t have whey…is that possible?!?!?

    1. @ Jim – I use Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Raw Vegan protein powder… I use the Natural flavor, as it’s completely clean with only the protein blend of organic hemp, organic pea, and cranberry protein and MCL’s. They also come in chocolate and vanilla flavor, as well as other types of powders (e..g, rice). I searched long and hard for a non-whey, good tasting powder that was “clean” (i.e, free of extras that I just don’t want). Not the cheapest powder but it’s breaks out to about 1$ (approx.) a serving and you get about 40 per container…

  7. Essante’ Organics 7.365 Shake is pH balanced, non-gmo, organic, alkaline and whey, gluten, soy and chemical free. Labels of all products are available under the “products” tab.

  8. I’d be interested in knowing what you think of Whey Cool. The fact that it’s not heat-processed sounds good to me, but is there anything that I’m missing?

  9. I clicked on the link to read about the Garden of Life issue, and it appears to lead to an updated post on this issue. Will you please verify that? Thanks!! 🙂

  10. Stop the insanity. Look into I did a lot of research. So far, this is the best company out there for nutrition

  11. Im a independant consultant Arbonne Canada we have the best of the shake pea protein rice protein high quality of ingredients do the best for you write to me

  12. Hi Food Babe,
    Great info/advice here but I’m wondering why you specifically recommend Nutiva hemp and not others such as Manitoba Hemp protein which is also organic?


  13. I prefer Arbonnes Protein Powder. There is no whey which is usually just a cheap filler anyway. Arbonne’s protein powder is Gluten Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, 20 grams of vegan protein and 20 essential vitamins and minerals. Third Party tested to have low-glycemic index. 160 calories per serving. I can fit it into my daily routine easily and it tastes delicious. Have you investigated this brand? Would you consider recommending?

    1. I’d like to see a review on the Arbonne product as well. I’m looking for one and bought Garden of Life today because it is organic, but now this heavy metals issue has me wondering if I should return it. My Mom was impressed with a BeachBody presentation and she kept referring to their shakes as “organic” but there is nothing on the packaging to support this claim. Thanks for any info you can provide.

  14. Can’t we all just get along? But seriously, just eat right and get the proper exercise. Protein powders are supplements but with a balanced diet (organic if it’s not too cost prohibitive) you’d be surprised at what you can accomplish. Follow my progress and I’ll show you –

  15. How do you find the truth on these different protein powders? I consume 4-6 servings a day of a product produced by Nutrex, and like you I am curious about what I’m consuming but find it difficult to find unbiased information. I’ll admit, I don’t want to take soy or hemp, just a good quality whey protein. Any ideas where to look? Thanks!

  16. Have done any testing on the Vega brand. Most protein powders, even with fruit and other flavors blended in taste like cardboard…Vega I really enjoy, however they do not have the Organic stamp. Their website claims that they are in the process of getting this Organic seal however it has said that for quite a long time….

    On their site they state:
    Better for the planet, we’ll choose organic ingredients for Vega products whenever we can. It’s getting easier every year to find reliable sources of organic ingredients as demand for them grows, but the cost of certification remains prohibitive for smaller-scale farmers. Because of this, some of our ingredients are organically grown, but not certified organic—we think the right choice can include supporting the little guys.

    Is this BS?

  17. Has any one tried this Organifi by Drew Canoli he also promotes good health and has lots of information an dust came out with this new drink. Just wanted to see if there is a review on it.

  18. Thanks for the info. I have only tried Health Force Nutritional’s Warrior Food Extreme and I like it, don’t know about the other ones and I don’t think that I will 🙂

  19. Whey protein powder is high in protein and low in calorie, protein is used by body to build up and repair human cells, tissues, organs.
    Whey protein provides essential nutrients that helps the body make enzymes, and take part in the processes of the chemical that helps immune system protect against viruses, bacteria and diseases.
    Whey protein powder can be used as a exercise supplement for building muscles and strengthening bones, as well as speeding up recovery after exercise. Here the link you can have deep look at benefit of wheyprotein .

  20. I have a question. I’m very health conscious I juice vegetables every day and I work out. I’m looking to purchase Amino Acid powder for work out muscle recovery. How could I find out how the product is processed and if it contains toxins like arsenic? The product that was recommended is from BPI Sports and the product is called BACC. Your guidance is greatly appreciated.

  21. As a competitive powerlifter for several decades and RKC kettlebell instructor, I have searched far and wide for a quality whey protein and have tried dozens. Plant based proteins do not provide me with the recovery from my workouts (much experimentation). I recently found the Isagenix product Isapro with undenatured whey protein concentrate from grass fed cows in New Zealand. Michael Colgan, PhD is a recent proponent and his recommendation for this product caught my attention. I decided to try it and started 3 weeks ago.

    It is amazing! It has provided me with the best recovery I have ever experienced.

    You can watch Dr. Colgan here:

  22. I am looking for a healthy protein powder, preferrably veggie or hemp. No other ingrediants, no GMO, no sugars… What protein powder do you recommend?

  23. I just bought your book! Wow! Shocking and sooooo informative. Day 3 for me. Please give your thoughts on Isogenix Shakes! I bought them before reading your book, and it has not come in Harper. I have 30 days to return it. So your thoughts would be much appreciated!

  24. IDLIfe Meal Replacment Shakes are a combination of Organic, high-quality, cold-filtered Whey Protein which is non-gmo from hormone free grass fed cows and micro-milled chia seeds, which are known as a great source of healthy omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. Their shakes only have 7 ingredients

    The taste is amazing & it is super filling! I orginally tried the Nutiva hemp protein & my husband & I hated the taste & it had a rough texture. We are both very pleased with the IDLife shakes now 🙂

  25. Hi! Is there any data on the Trader Joe’s protein shakes? I really like them, due to the high protein amount for low calories, but I wonder if arsenic or anything is in them?

  26. All of the top ones that were mentioned contain a whey protein. Whey is very hard on your digestive system being that it is an animal byproduct. Arbonne’s protein mix contains a cranberry, pea, brown rice combo to create a natural amino acid. This is easier on your stomach to digest. It is also one of the few proteins in the market that are diabetic friendly. Our products are made with stevia, therefore reducing the amount of sugar that many of the other brands contain. Whey also causes inflammation in your system. I am not a vegan, but it is interesting to read the difference between a whey and pea protein.

  27. I was checking Sunwarrior Classic Rice Protein, Vanilla on Amazon and this was posted. What do you make of that comment?

    “I was VERY disappointed to see that this protein powder contains carcinogenic ingredients and that there is a warning label on the side of the box. After further research I’ve discovered that this is true of many protein powders, particularly if they have rice as one of the proteins. Amazon wouldn’t accept a return since it was a food item so I would have appreciated knowing this disclaimer before purchasing.”

  28. shows great promise. They are working to get all of their products GMOS certified and work with small farmers who cannot yet afford to be verified organic even though they are. All plant-based proteins! I like their Sports line a lot.

  29. Whey Advanced by The Peoples Chemist is my #1 choice over all but I appreciate some of the others listed in the article by Food Babe.

  30. I do like Plant Fusion unflavored. Doesn’t have a weird taste at all. It’s really good.

  31. Hi Vani ,I read your article on the best protein powders .I found a couple of good ones .Like you i reasearch these powders as well the first one is rainbow lihht vegan lean protein powder /vanilla.The second one is Teras organic pumpkin protein powder .I use them in my nutri bullet everyday along with my juice extractions in the afternoons.Well i hope you try them by the You look absolutely Mezmarising Beautiful.If you care to reply its [email protected] Bobby. Take Care.

  32. Thoughts on Promix brand whey protein? It seems pretty clean and doesn’t have any of the bad ingredients you have listed. Let me know if you think it’s clean and healthy.

    PROMIX #1 Undenatured Grass Fed Whey, Unbleached, Cold-processed, USA Farms Third Party Tested, No Preservative, Hormones, GMO’s, Soy, or Gluten Look Better Naked Whey 5lb Chocolate Peanut Butter

  33. Do you have any thoughts on orgain organic & superfood protein powder?

  34. WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

    This is what the NUTIVA website says.

    Maybe time to update your list 🙂

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