This article originally appeared on Brit+Co on August 20, 2018. You can read it in its original form here.
Protein powders can be a fantastic tool for increasing your protein intake, helping you feel full, and supporting your fitness goals. But unfortunately, a lot of protein powders are full of strange ingredients with difficult-to-pronounce names. If you’re the kind of person who thinks natural is better, it can be hard to find the right protein powder to not only support your nutrition but also your lifestyle. Here’s a guide to some of the best protein powders on the market, whether you follow a plant-based, paleo, keto, or Mediterranean diet.
If You’re Eating Vegan…
Vegans should be on the lookout for products that contain complete proteins. Proteins differ based on the types of amino acids they offer, and most plant proteins need to be combined with each other in order to ensure you’re getting the full spectrum of amino acids in your diet. Legumes and grains combined will cover all of your bases, so be on the lookout for something with pea AND brown rice protein. Hemp protein isn’t considered a complete protein on its own, but it comes pretty close, and does contain small amounts of all nine essential amino acids.
1. Vega Essentials Shake ($28): Vega’s famous protein shake is made with pea protein, flaxseeds, quinoa sprouts, hemp protein, sunflower seeds, and a blend of fruits and veggies, coming in at 20 grams of protein per serving.
2. Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder ($27): Garden of Life’s protein powder formulation boasts 22 grams of plant-based protein from sprouted grains and seeds.
3. Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder ($19): Bet you didn’t know that Bob’s Red Mill, the likely maker of your almond and coconut flour, is ALSO in the protein powder business. This protein powder has a mild vanilla flavor and is made from pea protein, chia seeds, and chicory root fiber. It has 20 grams of protein per serving.
If You’re Eating Paleo…
It might be surprising to learn that paleo eaters may actually have a harder time than vegans finding protein powders! This is because paleo is all about eating natural, straight-from-the-earth ingredients, and protein powders usually come in the form of whey (dairy, a no-no on paleo) or grain- and legume-based plant sources. Not to worry, though — we still have some options for primal people.
1. PaleoPro Protein Powder ($43): This paleo protein powder is made from lean beef protein and egg protein. That makes it 100 percent paleo-approved, and it contains a whopping 26 grams of protein per serving.
2. Julia Bakery: Paleo Protein Powder ($50): Coming in at 25 grams of protein per serving, Julian Bakery’s protein powder is sourced from egg whites, making it relatively flavorless — and therefore delicious when mixed with monkfruit and cocoa.
3. Vital Proteins Collagen Sports Greens ($60): Vital Proteins is known for collagen products. Collagen is a type of protein that reportedly does wonders for the hair, skin, and nails, and this protein powder combines it with watermelon seed protein. Watermelon seed protein is plant-based, which means that this option is ideal for anyone who wants to boost their collagen intake AND get a paleo-friendly, plant-based protein boost. It contains 26 grams of protein, including 10 grams of nutritious collagen.
If You’re Eating Keto…
1. True Nutrition Beef Protein Isolate ($26): Beef protein isolate is an excellent source of protein for keto dieters. This particular powder comes in at an impressive 29 grams of protein per serving.
2. Julian Bakery KetoThin Egg Yolk Protein ($45): While some people might want egg WHITE protein, keto eaters want just the opposite! This powder is made from the fattiest part of the egg (the yolk), making it ideal for keto. It contains 12 grams of protein per serving (and 15 grams of fat).
3. Vital Proteins Organic Whey ($49): Keto doesn’t prohibit dairy, so you can still eat whey protein on a keto diet. Vital Proteins’ version is 100 percent organic and sourced from grass-fed cows. It also happens to boast 26 grams of protein in one serving.
If You’re Eating Mediterranean…
Finally, the Mediterranean diet might arguably be considered the most well-rounded, balanced diet on our list. It is largely plant-based and carb-friendly but focuses on nutritious ingredients like veggies and seafood.
1. Vital Proteins Marine Collagen ($36): Vital Proteins Marine Collagen is sourced from wild-caught red snapper. Great for a Mediterranean diet and pescatarian-friendly, it includes 12 grams of collagen protein per serving.
2. Vital Proteins Collagen Veggie Blend ($79): Vital Proteins has a ton of nutritious and natural protein options, and the Veggie Blend is a testament to that. Not only does it contain 20 grams of protein from collagen, it’s also made with organic fruits and veggies like spinach, kale, blackberry, blueberry, and other produce.
3. Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein ($40): Made with the bones of natural chickens, this Ancient Nutrition protein powder is about as wholesome as it gets. It offers 20 grams of protein per serving, and we promise, it doesn’t taste like soup.
What’s your favorite way to take protein powder? Tweet us at @BritandCo and let us know!