Whey protein powders can help you achieve your diet and fitness goals. They’re a healthy pre or post-workout snack, and a delicious and low-calorie meal replacement.
Many of the best whey protein powders for women also have additional beauty and wellness benefits, including thicker hair and glowing skin.
We rounded up the best whey protein powders for women according to nutritional value, flavor, and value for money.
Top 6 Best Protein Powders For Women Available In 2022
We went through long months of road-testing different types of protein powders—and trust us, we’ve seen them all. Some tasted like finely-ground chalk; others gave us the runs or made us feel queasy for hours.
And there were a lot of “trendy” powders that really had no benefit at all, despite all the celebrity endorsements.
But we endured the bad protein powders so we could find the ones that were really, really good. A few of them even went beyond expectations!
The result is this list of the best protein powders for women in 2022. Now, you don’t have to worry about flavor or effectiveness—these products have proven their value for money.
#1. Huge Whey
Huge Supplements is one of the fastest-growing brands. Their previous products such as Wrecked and Ecdysterone are some of the favorites of fitness enthusiasts—but their latest product, Huge Whey, is quickly becoming the star of their line-up.
Almost immediately, Huge Whey was the talk of the forums: delicious, nutritious, affordable, and even helps to suppress unhealthy food cravings. Even women who hated taking whey protein drinks were gushing.
So what is the reason behind all this hype?
You get 23 grams of protein in each serving, thanks to its classic blend of whey concentrate and isolate. The combo allows you to get a lot of protein and nutrients that help build muscle, but with less lactose and fat than a “pure” whey concentrate powder.
Huge Whey also limits the ingredients that can derail your diet. It has zero sugar, only 2.5 grams of carbohydrates, and only 2 grams of fat. One serving is only 120 calories, too.
Even the flavoring agents provide additional benefits. Cocoa powder is rich in zinc, iron and selenium—all needed by the immune system. Xantham gum, a thickener, slows down digestion and helps curb appetite so you can fight cravings.
Many whey protein powders taste bland and chalky or come in the traditional (i.e, boring) chocolate or vanilla flavor.
That doesn’t sound like a big deal at the beginning, but if you’re drinking it every day, you’ll soon start looking for a better “whey” to get your protein requirements.
Among all those we’ve tested, Huge Whey is a clear winner for the best, fun flavors. You can choose from chocolate peanut butter or cookies and cream. Some women even say that it tastes a lot like Nestle ice cream—not just the taste, but the creaminess and smoothness.
Serve it ice cold and enjoy a guilt-free, nutritious treat that will satisfy your cravings and help you meet your fitness goals.
The powder easily dissolves in a shaker bottle, so you never swallow a large clump or get that “grainy” taste that can make many protein shakes so unpleasant.
It also mixes well with any liquid, so you can add it both to plain water or any smoothies. It is a bit watery compared to other protein powders, but that makes it more versatile: you can add yogurt or milk if you want something creamier, or keep it light and refreshing.
Value for money
One tub of Huge Whey contains about 924 grams or about 30 servings. That means one serving costs only $1.33 and is very easy on the budget. Click here to visit the official product page on the Huge Supplements website.
#2. Huge Vegan Protein
If you’re a vegan that’s searching for a clean, 100% plant-based protein, then this product is an excellent choice. It only consists of high-quality ingredients to provide your body with the best.
This is by far the best vegan protein for women. After all, if you’re careful about what you eat, you should be just as concerned about what you drink.
All the ingredients in this vegan protein are plant-based. It contains a blend of rice, beans, and pea, all natural ingredients. You won’t have to worry about any unwanted fillers because this product is as clean as it gets.
High protein ratio
Despite being a high-quality product, this product also has really good macros and a high protein ratio. You’ll find that each scoop easily packs 20 grams of protein, all while tasting great. It’s a great product if you’re having trouble with hitting your protein intake.
Wide variety of flavors
We also like Huge vegan protein because it comes in a wide variety of flavors, giving you plenty of options to choose from.
It comes in cookies and cream, birthday cake, graham cracker, cinnamon crunch, and marshmallow madness. We’re big fans of the marshmallow madness, but you can’t go wrong with any of the other flavors either.
#3. Optimum Gold Standard
This is one of the world’s bestselling whey protein powders. It’s high-quality but affordable and has an extensive variety of flavors. It’s also less likely to cause stomach upsets or make you feel gassy.
If you’re trying whey protein for the first time, this is a “safe” bet.
Well-rounded mix of ingredients
Each serving has 24 grams of protein—but the best thing about is that the protein comes from different sources.
The proprietary protein blend is made of whey protein isolates, whey concentrates, and peptides. Together, they give you a more complete amino acid profile. As you can recall from your high school chemistry class, the body breaks proteins into different amino acids, each of which provides a specific benefit.
So, getting a protein blend can actually work in your favor. For example, peptides can strengthen your immune system and your body’s ability to recover. It’s also easier for the body to absorb. On the other hand, isolates have less lactose and sugar.
Optimum Gold Standard also contains aminogen and lactase to reduce gas and aid in digestion, so this is a plus for people who tend to get diarrhea or other stomach problems when they take protein powders.
It mixes easily, even if you’re adding it to milk. It also holds its consistency well: people who pre-mix this into their smoothie and drink it hours later say that it doesn’t separate or get clumpy even when it “stands” for half a day.
Wide variety of flavors
You’ll never get sick of drinking your protein shakes! Optimum Gold Standard has over 20 flavors including those that are all-natural.
Aside from the typical vanilla and chocolate, you can get unique flavors like banana cream, mocha cappuccino, strawberries and cream, chocolate mint, chocolate coconut, French vanilla, rocky road, and more.
You also have the option to get unflavored powder, so you can freely add it to smoothies, overnight oats, or other food.
Great tip: if you find some flavors to be too sweet, you can do a half scoop and another half scoop of unflavored powder (or any proportion that is to your liking). This tastes better than adding more water.
Different sizes available
Thanks to the different sizing options (from 1.8 lbs to 10 lbs) you can start with a small “trial” bottle or save more by buying in bulk. We like the power it gives to the consumer: you’re not forced to buy a lot more than you need, and you can buy smaller containers of different flavors.
#4. Orgain Clean Whey
Orgain is known for its healthy, organic, and plant-based products. Its protein shakes, powders and bars are designed for a wide market—not just fitness enthusiasts, but kids who need a burst of energy or seniors who need a healthy meal replacement.
The products are developed by doctors and nutritionists and do not contain artificial sweeteners or preservatives. They are also suitable for people who are on a keto or paleo diet.
The Clean Whey Protein Powder (also called Grass-Fed Whey) is for people who want to build lean muscle mass or are trying to lose weight. While its protein content is a bit lower than other brands, it has natural, organic plant-based ingredients and passes many dietary restrictions.
Do you have special dietary requirements or needs? You’ll be happy to hear that Clean Whey Protein Powder is:
Organic creamer base
This is what makes this product different from other grass-fed protein shakes. See, those brands use organic methods for their protein, but Clean Whey Protein Powder one makes sure that every ingredient—including sweeteners and flavor enhancers—is organically sourced.
For example, its thickeners and stabilizers (which help create that creamy texture) are made of organic acacia gum, organic inulin, organic rosemary and rice bran extracts, and organic sunflower oil.
Even their sweeteners are made from organic stevia and organic erythritol. The only downside is that these are associated with mild stomach upsets, so take that into consideration if you have a tendency to get digestive reactions to whey protein shakes.
Limited flavor range
Unfortunately, this product only comes in two flavors: creamy chocolate fudge and vanilla bean. While they’re creamy and pleasant, it’s not really up to par with the taste of other brands.
One serving of Clean Whey Protein Powder has 21 grams of protein, which is sourced from plants (organic peas, brown rice, and chia seed). While the protein content and absorption are not as high as the other brands, it offers a good amino acid profile that can help with muscle growth.
The sodium content (200 mg) is a bit high. It has more carbohydrates (15 grams) than we normally see in protein powders—however, half of those carbohydrates are fiber, and won’t hurt your body like simple carbs or sugars.
The nutritional mix is good if your primary goal is weight loss, and you’re looking for a filling meal replacement that can energize you through a workout and help your muscles recover.
But if you’re really interested in lean muscle development, you may need to increase your serving size or quantity to hit your fitness goals.
#5. Alani Nu Whey
Alani Nu Whey is a premium protein powder for people who hate protein powder. It doesn’t have that chalky taste—in fact, its flavors are inspired by some of the most popular desserts.
Now, you don’t have to wait until Cheat Day to satisfy your sweet tooth. Your protein shake is your “healthy treat” that will help you meet your fitness goals, control your calorie intake, and recover from your workout.
Alanu Nu Protein uses a blend of whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrosolate. Both tend to have less fat and cholesterol than whey protein concentrate and are generally easier to digest.
As for nutritional value, each serving of Alani Nu Protein contains 23 grams of protein and 3.6 grams of carbs. It’s only 110 calories, but is very filling—many people use it to replace a meal, or get energy before a rigorous workout.
This powder is also gluten-free.
Whey proteins can be hard to digest, which is why some people experience gas or stomach problems when they first start taking them. Alani Nu Whey’s formula is enriched with digestive enzymes so your body can break down the nutrients and absorb them better.
For this reason, it’s a good choice for people who are trying their first whey protein powder, or have a tendency to get stomach problems.
Interesting flavor range, but tastes like milky cereal
Flavors include fruity cereal (similar to the taste of Fruit Loops), peanut butter brownie, munchies (similar to a cold mocha), lemon meringe, and confetti cake.
One thing we’ve noticed during product testing, which has in fact been echoed in hundreds of other reviews, is that Alani Nu Whey tends to taste a lot like cereal. Or milky cereal, to be precise.
This is neither a good thing or a bad thing—it’s a matter of personal preference. The taste is even more distinct when you’re drinking it lukewarm, so as a general rule you should chill this well beforehand so you don’t feel like you’re drinking pureed Fruit Loops.
If you don’t mind that flavor but aren’t a big fan, you can balance it out by mixing it with unsweetened almond milk, or fruits like banana or strawberries.
A bottle of Alani Whey Protein is about $45, so it is considered one of the “premium” protein shakes. Admittedly, its nutritional content falls below our expectations for its price point. If you’re going to pay this much for a product, it really should offer more than unique flavors and pretty packaging.
A nice “switch”
After testing several products, we see Alani Whey Protein as your “alternative shake.” You may have a favorite whey protein powder that you use on most days, but you want to be able to occasionally switch it out for something different.
The taste of Alani is very distinct, and a refreshing change from the usual chocolate or vanilla flavors. Where else can you get to have a protein shake that tastes like lemon meringue or Fruit Loops?
#6. IdealLean Protein Shake
IdealLean is a fitness company that provides a “total approach” to wellness for women. Aside from offering exercise programs and apparel, it also has a line of supplements to help you prepare for your workout and recover faster afterward.
One of those supplements is the IdealLean Protein Shake. Aside from the usual ingredients like protein powder, it also contains ingredients to address “women’s needs”—as part of its vision to be “the protein powder specifically designed for women, by women.”
High in protein, low in fat and carbohydrates
IdealLean contains 20 grams of protein, just 1 gram of carbohydrates, and zero fat and cholesterol. That’s because it uses whey protein isolate, which has lower fat and carbohydrates than whey concentrate.
IdealLean switches out soy (a common ingredient in whey protein powders) for sunflower lecithin. One reason for this is studies that link high soy diets with higher estrogen levels. This can lead to hormonal imbalances, heavy or irregular periods, and a higher risk for fibroids and breast cancer.
Benefits for bone health
Another unique benefit of IdealLean is a high amount of Vitamin D and calcium, considered two of the four nutrients that are especially important for female athletes.
One serving provides 7% of your daily recommended intake of calcium and 50% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin D.
These nutrients help maintain the immune and nervous system and are especially important for hormonal health and bone strength. They prevent osteoporosis or brittleness of the bones—a common problem of women after menopause.
For people who exercise regularly, these can also lower your risk for bone fractures, and prevent inflammation after a workout.
Many women athletes actually have undiagnosed Vitamin D deficiency, which is why it’s recommended for anyone who is doing serious and rigorous training to check their vitamin D levels at least twice a year.
Extra folic acid
Women need folic acid for reproductive health. Studies also link it to better moods and lower risk for depression. If you are planning or trying to conceive, folic acid is also an important part of your diet—it can help prevent serious birth defects like spina bifida.
IdealLean’s flavors sound something you’d see in a coffee menu: caramel mocha, strawberries and cream, white chocolate peppermint, and chocolate peanut butter (which seriously tastes like Reese’s Pieces).
So even if you mix this protein powder with just water, you already feel like you’re having a big treat. It’s like a Frappuccino, but without the empty carbohydrates and fat. The strawberries and cream is very sweet though—you may want to add more water or ice.
IdealLean costs about $35 for 30 servings. It’s not the cheapest protein powder in the market, but its price is still very reasonable—especially if you consider its additional nutrients. If you do the Math, it’s still cheaper than buying both a protein and a Vitamin D supplement.
What we looked for in a Women’s Protein Powder
There are hundreds of protein powders in the market, and most of them make the same claims. Reading reviews on e-commerce forums can also be confusing, especially when they just say “I loved it!” or conversely “I hated it!”
We wanted to give fair, objective, and most of all, useful recommendations. So, we set the following criteria to select the best whey protein powders for women.
Type of protein
We looked at the nutritional value: the amount of protein it had, vis a vis the number of carbohydrates and fat. This is to help people who are following strict calorie counts and watching their macros, either for weight loss or to manage other conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol.
We also looked at the protein sources and made sure to include some brands that were plant-based, or certified vegan and non-GMO. We recognize that people may have special dietary requirements, and this information is critical to their personal purchase decisions.
How it tastes
Flavor can be a deal-breaker. If something tastes good, you’re more likely to drink it. And if you enjoy it and see it as a treat, it can help motivate you to stick to your diet or fitness plan.
That’s why our whey protein powder review dwells extensively on how the product tastes, and lists the available flavors and what people say about it. We also include tips on how to serve it—variety is the spice of life!
We carefully read reviews both on the brand website and store platforms, taking note of both the glowing reviews and some of the objections or concerns that other people raised.
The reviews also gave us an insight into the product’s long-term benefits: did it really help users stick to their diet, or improve their fitness level? How did it compare to other products in the price range? Many reviewers have tried dozens of products, so we wanted to hear their personal, first-hand experience.
Our list includes whey protein powders at different price points, from the most affordable to “premium” powders that offer additional benefits.
But for each product we included, we also looked at price in the context of value. It had to work, and it had to deliver on its claims. We didn’t include cheap products that had inferior ingredients, or premium products that were all marketing hype. Ultimately, each one had to make you feel that you spent your money well.
Benefits of taking protein powder
Some women think that protein powders are for people who want to bulk up and get big muscles. While it is a good supplement for bodybuilders, it can benefit a variety of people of different fitness levels and goals.
Gain and maintain lean muscle mass
Women don’t have testosterone, so protein powders won’t lead to very big muscles unless you specifically train in that direction.
Instead, protein powders can help you achieve lean muscle mass. That means you looked toned, and you have a more defined and shapelier silhouette. Some protein powders will also contain ingredients that help boost metabolism and burn fat, so you get rid of the belly fat and just get sexy curves.
You can also add in a BCAA powder to help boost your performance.
Boosts overall recovery
We’ve all experienced soreness and pain after a workout. Whey protein powders help your body repair your muscles and recover faster, so you can bring your A-game in your next exercise session.
That’s because whey proteins contain amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle. The best protein powders will have different protein sources or high amounts of high-quality protein. While you can get them from natural food sources (like meat, fish, egg, and beans), a protein shake will have fewer calories, carbohydrates, and fat.
Help you feel more full
If you’re trying to lose weight, you know that the ultimate goal is achieving a calorie deficit. That can be very difficult unless you’re training long and hard. On the other hand, you can’t live off carrot sticks—without nutrition, you won’t have the energy to work out.
Protein shakes are low in calories (most of them average 100 to 120 calories per serving) and are very filling. You don’t feel weak or deprived, especially since you have so many flavors to choose from. Some of the protein powders we featured actually taste like dessert! It’s also good to know that whey protein has been scientifically proven to boost weight loss.
Beneficial for skin, hair, and nails
Whey protein powders are rich in nutrients, and many of them include biotin and other vitamins that are essential for skin, hair, and nails. We included a few powders that can actually double as your beauty supplement. Fighting body fat and wrinkles—that’s something anyone can get on board with.
Should women use protein powder?
Yes. Protein powder provides many benefits that can address women’s needs and concerns, especially as we age.
Fight belly fat
Women are more prone to developing visceral fat in the abdomen area, which is actually linked to a higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Whey protein powder, combined with regular exercise and a proper diet, can help burn that stubborn fat so you can stay slim and healthy.
Fight osteoporosis and bone disease
Many protein powders contain Vitamin D and calcium, which can increase bone density and prevent the onset of osteoporosis or brittle bones.
Preserve and increase muscle mass
Loss of muscle mass accelerates as we age, which leads to weakness, fatigue, and sagging. Protein powders can help your body build and repair muscles, so you can feel strong, look good, and enjoy a vigorous life.
Achieve weight loss and fitness goals
Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, infertility, hormonal imbalances, and other health conditions.
Whey protein powders can help you control your calories, and energize you before and after your workout.
How to use protein powder
Think outside of the shaker bottle! You can enjoy protein powder in many ways.
- Add it to yogurt or oatmeal
- Mix with milk, oatmeal, and other fruits for easy overnight oats
- Add protein powder to coffee to create your healthier version of Frappuccino
- Add to smoothies (they taste especially good with fruits like banana and strawberry)
- Bake with it to make your own protein bars, muffins, and breads (just adjust the flour so you maintain the recipe’s ratio of dry-to-wet ingredients
- Add to pancake mix
- Mix with oats, nut butter, and fried fruit for easy (and cheap!) energy balls
Are protein powders safe for women?
Protein powders are generally safe, but like all supplements, consult with your doctor if you are taking prescription medication, are pregnant, or are actively trying to get pregnant.
The bottom line
Stop thinking that whey protein powders are just for men who want to bulk up. They offer many benefits for women and can make a big difference in the results you get from your workout or diet.
Besides, protein powders taste good. You can select from a wide variety of flavors, and serve them in different ways too. Who said nutritious food had to be bland and boring?
Add protein powders to your daily routine, and feel the gains right away—whether it’s your performance at the gym or your energy and mood levels throughout the day.
This article has been supplied by Xwerks, a paid advertiser. Content has not been independently verified by Los Angeles magazine.