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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best whey concentrate protein powders

Last Updated April 2019

Do you want to increase muscle mass? Boost your workout performance? Feel fuller for longer in between meals? A protein powder is an awesome dietary additive that can help you achieve all three of these goals. Several types of protein powders sit on store shelves nowadays; whey protein is one of the most popular choices.

With little fat and carbs, you can get a significant amount of protein from a whey concentrate protein powder. Numerous studies suggest that this type of powder is useful not only for building muscle but also for losing weight. What’s more, whey concentrate protein powder mixes well with many other substances and comes in a variety of tasty flavors.

As any nutritionist or fitness expert would tell you, however, some protein powders are better for you than others. For example, there are protein powders with so much sugar that you’d end up negating a lot of the health benefits by eating it. At BestReviews, we took a hard look at whey concentrate protein powders in order to create this guide. Read our review for more information and product suggestions.

Studies suggest that whey protein may bolster cardiovascular health and help you maintain a good metabolism.

Why choose whey?

Whey concentrate powder is the most common type of protein powder on the market today. It’s often listed simply as whey protein on product labels. This protein is derived from milk and is usually comprised of 10% to 15% percent protein. It contains lactose like regular milk and a small amount of fat.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or bulk up, whey protein is an excellent tool to help you achieve your goals. It’s been shown to increase satiety so you feel fuller for longer between meals, and unlike some other types of protein, it’s readily absorbed by the body. There’s also some evidence to suggest that whey protein may help with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Whey concentrate should not be confused with whey isolate or whey hydrolysate. Whey isolate powders typically have more protein, less fat, and less lactose per serving. Whey hydrolysates have proteins that are already partially digested, which can make them easier for your body to absorb.

Ideal for building lean muscle

This low-calorie protein powder packs 25 grams of protein per serving with just a single gram of sugar. It’s been a favorite among bodybuilders for years because it helps build muscle fast. There are 17 flavors to choose from, so there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.

What to look for on the nutrition label

Protein per serving

The amount of protein you need each day depends on your body weight and activity level. According to the Institute of Medicine, you should consume about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, but if you exercise frequently, you may need even more.

Most whey concentrate powders provide at least 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving. A single serving a day, combined with a healthy diet that includes protein, should be plenty for most people who are trying to lose weight or build up their lean muscle mass.

Total calories

Total calories are especially important if you’re trying to lose weight. Protein powders are generally pretty low in calories, but depending on what other ingredients are in the powder, the calorie count can still vary quite a bit.

A good whey concentrate protein powder should have 200 calories or less per serving. Most of them average around 120 calories per serving.

Fat per serving

Whey concentrate protein powders will likely have a higher percentage of fat than whey isolate protein powders and other types of protein powders. But don’t let that scare you off. A few grams won’t undo all of the benefits that the protein powder can give you.

However, the amount of fat a particular powder has per serving can be a useful means of choosing between two different protein powders. Look at the amount of protein and the total fat content, and go with the one that offers the best ratio of the two.

Whey protein contains amino acids that can help repair damage to your muscles after working out. Some whey protein powders actually consist of multiple types of whey protein. The most common combination is whey concentrate and whey isolate.

Scott
Do-It-Yourself Guru And Carpenter

Sugar per serving

It’s not uncommon to find some sugar in flavored protein powder although some manufacturers have made the switch from sugar to a more natural sweetener like stevia. Too much sugar will negate some of the health benefits of the powder, and it may also make the powder too sweet. Check the label for sugar content before investing in any protein powder.

Ingredients

Give the ingredient list a quick look before you buy, and watch out for artificial colors and flavors, as some evidence suggests these may not be good for you. You should also be on the lookout for fillers like psyllium husk and coconut flour. These ingredients do nothing but bulk up the protein powder.

If you’re sensitive to gluten, it’s a good idea to look for a protein powder that’s gluten free. You may also want to avoid powders with thickening agents like carrageenan and xanthan gum, as these can cause gastrointestinal distress.

Flavor

Protein powders come in a variety of flavors; vanilla and chocolate are the most common. Ideally, the brand you select will have several flavors from which to choose so you can enjoy some variety. Keep in mind that the nutrition facts may vary slightly from one flavor to the next.

Of course, there’s no way to know for sure whether you’ll like a particular flavor until you try it. However, you can get an idea as to what the majority of people think about a flavor by reading customer reviews.

Texture

Some protein powders mix better with liquid than others. Those that don’t mix well or that settle at the bottom of the glass after a while tend to have a gritty or chalky texture. The best whey concentrate protein powders dissolve completely in water and require little stirring or mixing.

EXPERT TIP

Are you trying to minimize your sugar intake? Try to choose a whey concentrate protein powder that has five grams of sugar or less per serving.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Do you have food allergies? The nutrition label on your protein powder should clearly indicate any common allergens that are present in the product.


Staff  | BestReviews

Whey concentrate protein powder prices

When choosing a protein powder, it’s important to look at the cost per serving rather than the overall cost. Many choices cost $0.90 to $1 per serving, but some may cost slightly more or less than this.

A higher price doesn’t always signify a better product, so it’s important to evaluate price in conjunction with the nutrition label to make sure you’re getting a quality product.

A no-frills, high-protein powder

This protein powder is the perfect choice if you want to skip unnecessary fillers and flavors, as it has only two ingredients. With 25 grams of protein per serving and no GMOs, soy, or gluten, it’s a fantastic choice for a large segment of the population.

Tips

  • If you can’t find a flavor you like, consider unflavored protein powder. You can mix it in with a smoothie, baked good, or other recipe.

  • If the protein powder in your beverage begins to settle on the bottom, give it a good stir.

  • Consuming protein powder within an hour of working out can help you recover from the workout more quickly.

  • A shake with whey concentrate protein powder can be a nutritious and filling substitute for a traditional meal.

While protein powder is most commonly added to drinks, you can sneak it into foods as well. For example, protein powder can be added to yogurt, breakfast cereal, or homemade muffins.

FAQ

Q. Should I use whey concentrate protein powder if I’m lactose intolerant?

A. No. It’s not a good idea to consume whey concentrate protein powder if you’re lactose intolerant because these powders usually contain quite a bit of lactose. You’re better off going with a plant-based protein powder if you have a dairy sensitivity.

Q. How much protein powder constitutes a single serving?

A. This may vary from one brand to the next. In most cases, a serving is approximately 30 grams. The protein powder should come with a scoop so you can easily measure out a serving.

Q. Does whey concentrate protein powder go bad?

A. Yes. Like all foods and supplements, whey concentrate protein powder will eventually expire. Consider how often you plan to use the protein powder and how many servings come in a single package before buying. Will you be able to consume it all before the expiration date?

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Production Assistant
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Kailey
    Kailey
    Writer
  • Karl
    Karl
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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