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Protein, Meal, and Diet Powders, Shakes, and Drinks Tested by
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Alphabetical list of protein powder and protein drink brands compared in this review

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Amazing Grass Green Superfood The Original

View Larger Image 6325_small_BeachbodyPerformance-Mixed-ProteinPowder-Small-2018.jpg

Beachbody Performance Recover Post-Workout - Chocolate Flavored

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Beachbody Shakeology - Chocolate

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Beachbody Shakeology Vegan - Vanilla

View Larger Image 6313_small_EAS-Whey-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

EAS 100% Whey Protein Chocolate

View Larger Image 6999_small_EntomoFarms-CricketPowder-ProteinPowders-Small-2020.jpg

ENTOMO Farms Cricket Powder

View Larger Image 7000_small_Exo-CricketPowder-ProteinPowders-Small-2020.jpg

EXO Pure Cricket Powder

View Larger Image 6314_small_GardenOfLife-OrganicWhey-Mixed-ProteinPowder-Small-2018.jpg

Garden of Life Organic Whey Protein Grass Fed

View Larger Image 6328_small_GardenOfLife-Whey-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

Garden of Life RAW Organic Meal Vanilla

View Larger Image 6329_small_GardenOfLife-GrassFed-Whey-Vanilla-Mixed-ProteinPowder-Small-2018.jpg

Garden of Life Sport Certified Grass Fed Whey - Vanilla

View Larger Image 6330_small_GardenOfLife-Sport-Mixed-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein - Vanilla

View Larger Image 6337_small_GNC-AmplifiedWheybolic-Whey-ProteinPowders-Small-2019.jpg

GNC Amplified Wheybolic 40 - Chocolate

View Larger Image 6338_small_GNC-TotalLeanShake-Whey-ProteinPowders-Small-2019.jpg

GNC Total Lean, Lean Shake 25 Swiss Chocolate

View Larger Image 6315_small_MyProtein-Whey-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate

View Larger Image 6321_small_NOW-Pea-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

NOW Sports Pea Protein - Natural Unflavored

View Larger Image 6322_small_Nutiva-Hemp-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder

View Larger Image 6316_small_ON-Whey-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

ON [Optimum Nutrition] Gold Standard 100% Whey - Delicious Strawberry

View Larger Image 6331_small_Orgain-Mixed-ProteinPowder-Small-2018.jpg

Orgain Organic Protein - Vanilla Bean

View Larger Image 6320_small_PaleoThin-Egg-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

PaleoThin Organic Egg White Protein - Unflavored

View Larger Image 6332_small_PlantFusion-Mixed-ProteinPowder-Small-2018.jpg

PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein - Vanilla Bean

View Larger Image 6333_small_PremierProtein-Mixed-ProteinPowder-Small-2018.jpg

Premier Protein - Chocolate

View Larger Image 6317_small_Protein2O-ProteinPowers--Whey-Drinks-Small-2018.jpg

Protein2O - Harvest Grape

View Larger Image 6334_small_Quest-Mixed-ProteinPowder-Small-2018.jpg

Quest Protein Powder - Salted Caramel Flavor

View Larger Image 6318_small_Universal-Milk-Casein-Small-2018.jpg

Universal Casein Pro - Vanilla Soft Serve

View Larger Image 6335_small_Vega-Mixed-ProteinPowder-Small-2018.jpg

Vega Sport Performance Protein - Vanilla Flavor

View Larger Image 6319_small_Vitacost-Soy-ProteinPowders-Small-2018.jpg

Vitacost Soy Protein Isolate - Natural Chocolate Flavor

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  • Health benefits of protein powders: Extra protein (typically about 30 grams to 50 grams per day) from a powder or drink can help athletes build muscle, and help older people prevent or reverse age-related loss of muscle and strength when used in conjunction with resistance-type exercise. It may also help people with diabetes maintain blood sugar levels and even reverse diabetes if taken as part of low calorie diet. (See What It Does).
  • What type of protein powder is best? Protein products vary based on the source of protein (e.g., whey, casein, soy, rice, pea, egg, hemp, and cricket). All can help build muscle, but, in general, whey is most popular as it is a complete protein and rather quickly digested. Casein is digested more slowly — which is why it is sometimes taken in the evening — to counter loss of muscle at night. Vegans may be more interested in plant sources, such soy, pea, rice, and hemp. See ConsumerTips, Protein for more about each type of protein.
  • What did CL's tests of protein powders find? Among the protein products that selected for review, 23.5% failed to pass tests. Interestingly, the failures were not due to protein content but to our discovering a lot more carbohydrate, sodium, or cholesterol than listed on labels, and one product was highly contaminated with arsenic -- a toxic heavy metal (see What CL Found).

    Among products that were Approved, the lowest cost to obtain an equivalent amount (20 grams) of protein was 37 cents from a pea protein powder while it was over $5 for some products with many additional ingredients or offering more of a meal-replacement profile. For most products, the cost to obtain 20 grams of protein fell within 80 cents to $1.50. See which products were CL's Top Picks based on a combination of quality, value, and taste. You can also compare all of the products in the Results Table.
  • How to use protein powders: Protein taken after, rather than before, exercise may be more beneficial (See What It Does). Protein powders are typically mixed with water or other liquids such as milk or juice, but be aware that these can add calories (See What to Consider When Using). Also be aware that taste of powders varies by protein type, flavorings, and the addition of sugar or other sweeteners, and that and some powders mix more easily into liquids than others (see the taste and mixability comments in the Results Table).
  • Protein powder safety and side effects: Protein supplements may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some people, and individuals with lactose intolerance may want to avoid certain milk-based proteins. People with kidney disease should consult with their physician before taking protein supplements (see Concerns and Cautions).
You must be a member to get the full test results, along with ConsumerLab's recommendations. You'll get results for 26 protein supplements -- 17 selected by ConsumerLab and nine that passed the same testing through our voluntary Quality Certification Program. 

In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
  • Which protein products failed testing, which passed, and which are CL's Top Picks
  • How protein powders and drinks compare on taste, mixability, ingredients and price
  • The pros and cons of different types of protein (whey, casein, soy, rice, pea, egg, hemp, bone broth, and cricket) and different forms of protein (concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates)
  • When to take protein for the best results
  • Ingredients you may want to avoid in protein powders and drinks

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