10 Best Protein Powders for Women in 2018

Best Protein Powder For Women To Buy Today

Whether the goal is weight loss, muscle gain or more protein intake, protein powder is a good option for women. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is not a magic weight loss bullet, but a good protein powder can be a useful aid that supplements a healthy diet. Adequate levels of protein are essential for good health, and protein shakes can help women get more of this nutrient into their diets.

Are Protein Powders Dangerous in Any Way?

This question gets asked all the time and it’s not surprising. People want to know if what they’re consuming is safe or not, and they are right to question things.

Below is one answer, and keep in mind, you should always consult your doctor about such things.

The answer is typically no, protein powder is not inherently dangerous. You are not going to drink it and seize up and die on the spot. Protein powders are merely proteins taken from foods and presented in another and more convenient form.

HOWEVER, you should be vary of your own allergies to certain ingredients. Everyone is different, and you might be allergic to some of the ingredients even if you don’t know it. And if that’s the case, taking a whey protein supplement can most certainly be dangerous.

That is why we highly recommend getting checked out by a doctor FIRST and getting a list of all the things you should avoid consuming.

Will Protein Powder Make Me Fat or Bulky?

This question doesn’t really have a clear cut answer. CAN protein powder make you bulky? Absolutely, that’s why it’s used by bodybuilders, teenagers and college guys who want to bulk up.

However, WILL it make you bulky on its own? No. Protein powder on it’s own is not going to make you bulk up anymore than a serving of chicken breast will.

You should remember that protein powder is a tool in your belt of nutrition, it’s going to do the job you assign to it. If you want to use protein powder to lose weight, you can do that. And likewise, if you want to use protein powder to GAIN weight and get bulky, you can use it for that purpose as well.

Everyone has their own goals, and protein powders are versatile enough to help reach a variety of them.

Protein Powder & Weight Loss

I’ll let you in on a little secret; there is no such thing as protein powder for weight loss. Shocking? Probably not. I think at this point most people realize that health and fitness companies will tell you anything to get their products in your hands.

The easiest and most productive thing for them to tell you is that their product will “help you lose weight”. This is why a plethora of products from weight loss pills, to weight loss protein powders, to weight loss pre-workout supplements and all the way to weight loss nutrition bars exist.

The truth is, those terms are just a marketing gimmick, well minus the weight loss pills. If used properly they can actually aid you in shedding some weight.

Food is the Key to Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, food and nutrition are the real key elements to success. While there is no such thing as a specific food designed for weight loss, there are certain foods that are better than others in achieving such goals.

Why are some foods better for weight loss than others? Well it all has to do with the amount of calories that they come packed with. Certain foods distribute and break down these calories into protein, carbs and fats more effectively than others.

The best foods for weight loss are also going to provide you with an increased amount of micro-nutrients. They will also fill you up quicker, be low on calories, fats and definitely low in sugar. Sugar is one of the worst culprits in gaining weight.

If you stick to eating these types of foods, your goals of weight loss can be achieved much easier and you’ll be less likely to eat more than you should.

While I know this is an article about protein powders, I’ll go ahead and give you quick list of these foods that were mentioned above. Try to get these into your diet, especially if your goal is losing weight. And remember, moderation is key.

Some weight loss foods that you should consider:

  • If you want grains, then make them whole grains (brown rice, wheat, barley, and oats)
  • Stick to lean meats with low fat content but high in protein (steak, chicken, lean beef, tilapia, tuna, salmon, turkey, and so on
  • Sweet or white potatoes, yams
  • Vegetables (broccoli, green beans, kale, carrots, peppers, greens)
  • Green peas and any variety of beans
  • Low fat dairy and egg whites
  • Stick to unprocessed, high in fiber and micro-nutrient foods and you’ll do just fine
  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc)
  • Dried fruits and fresh fruits (limit these, as they also contain sugar)
  • AVOID SUGAR!

Foods to avoid

While the foods above are green lighted for weight loss, there are tons of foods that you should avoid. These food are high in calories, fat, sugar and don’t fill you up. This makes you eat more and more of them at a time.

Try and avoid and processed foods, otherwise known as “junk foods”. These include: candies, pastries, chips, sodas, energy drinks, pop tarts, cakes, donuts, spreads, you get the idea.

So Do Protein Powders Help You Lose Weight?

Okay so, while protein powder has no inherent weight loss properties, it is just a food product after all, and if used properly, it can aid in your goal. The best protein powders for weight loss will be those that are packed full of pure protein and not much else, especially not sugar.

If your goal is shedding weight, then there are certain things to look for in your protein powder. The concept is pretty simple, no different than foods. You want your protein powder to be:

  • High in protein (isolate or pure), 25-30g per serving is ideal
  • Low in calories per serving, 150-250 per serving max
  • Low in carbs (You should focus on getting carbs through the foods listed above)
  • Low in fat (The body needs fats, but it’s best to get if from foods, just like carbs)
  • Low in sugar (Avoid sugar at all costs, it’s bad for your health, weight and teeth!)

That being said, you will definitely want limit the amount of liquid calories you intake per day. Be it from protein powders or crappy drinks like soda, fruit drinks (no they’re not as healthy as you think) or red bulls and junk. The reason you want to avoid drinking too many calories is because they don’t fill you up as much as food does. What does this mean? Well simply put, if you drink a 1000 calorie drink, odds are high that you will be hungry less than an hour later. This is even backed by research.

Protein Powder for Women vs for Men

How do protein powders for women differ from the best protein powder for men? In principle, they are virtually the same. Many women use the same supplement than men take, and most products are formulated for both genders. Protein is a vital nutrient, after all, and men and women both need it to stay healthy.

That said, men and women have different bodies and different dietary requirements. Women often use protein powder for women’s weight loss, while men take protein to bulk up their muscles. Because of their design, women typically require less protein per serving than men need. Protein formulas for women also contain additional vitamins that benefit their health needs, including B vitamins, iron and folic acid.

Protein supplements have come a long way since the early days, when flavor options were few and far between. People were limited to chalky powders that did not dissolve easily. Today, they have more options that mix and taste better. From whey and casein to soy and egg, there is a protein powder formula for everyone.

How to Pick a Good Women’s Protein Powder

As a woman, picking the right protein powder can be a bit difficult at times.

The key to finding a good protein powder is to look for one that provides protein as well as carbohydrates and fiber. Women who use protein to lose weight should look for low-sugar products with fewer than seven carbohydrate grams per serving. On the other hand, artificial sweeteners can cause hunger cravings that wreak havoc on weight loss efforts.

There are so many options out there, it’s enough to make your head spin. Should one go with whey protein? Soy protein? Casein? Egg? Rice, hemp or pea or something unheard of?

If you want to make an informed decision, you will want to look for a protein powder that meets the following requirements:

  • Adequate macro-nutrient formula (higher protein amount with a low carb and fat amount)
  • Tries to avoid or minimize artificial ingredients
  • Is tasty and drinkable
  • Easy to mix, doesn’t clump
  • Provides value for your money at a decent price

Now lets move onto the actual types of protein powders and our product recommendations for each type.

Whey Protein Powders

Whey Protein Powders For Women

By far, whey protein is the single most popular protein supplement on the market. It might be the most popular supplement, period. According to Oxygen, a women’s fitness magazine, whey protein is the most popular choice for women. It packs a lot of protein per dollar, usually tastes amazing, is packed with amino acids and other useful nutrients that help you build muscle, recover faster and feel more energized.

What is whey protein?

Simply put, whey protein is a byproduct of cheese production. It is a semi-clear liquid that is lafter over after milk is curd and strained. Milk is actually composed of 80% whey protein and 20% casein protein, which we will go over next.

Whey, what is it good for?

Believe it or not, before the whole supplement craze, whey used to be discarded entirely, until someone realized its potential and decided to create a separate product to sell to the masses.

Whey has high level branch-chained amino acids (BCAAs) such as leucine and valine, which are crucial for protein synthesis. BCAAs are the building blocks of muscle, and more muscle means more calories burned.

It is especially bountiful in an amino acid called leucine, which is an essential amino acid that is crucial in the role of protein synthesis.

When should you take a whey protein shake?

Realistically, you can drink a whey protein shake at any time of the day. However, due to its ability to be rapidly digested by our bodies, we would recommend taking it immediately before or after your workouts.

Before a workout, it will provide you with energy and after a workout it will replenish your body’s lost nutrients.

Different Types of Whey Protein Powders

There are three types of whey protein powder:

  • Concentrate
  • Isolates
  • Hydrolyzed

Isolates are lower in carbohydrates, fats and lactose than other whey products. They generally taste better than other products too, but they often contain higher levels of sodium. Whey protein is also available as concentrates and hydrolysates. Concentrates are less expensive than isolates and hydrolysates, but they yield less protein. All whey products digest more quickly than other types of protein powder. Whey isolates and hydrolyzed powders also remove almost all lactose from the whey.

Recommended Whey Protein Powder

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard

Optimum-Nutrition-100-Whey-Gold-Standard

100% Whey Gold Standard is a high quality protein powder blend for women from Optimum Nutrition. This product has received many awards over the years, including Bodybuilding.com’s Supplement of the Year and Protein of the Year for ten years running! 100% Whey Gold Standard is one of the best-selling protein powders on the market, and for good reason.

Highlights:

  • Award winning – named the Best Supplement of the Year AND the Best Protein of the Year by Bodybuilding.com for the last 10 years!
  • Made up of 3 powerful whey proteins
  • Contains 24g of protein per serving
  • Contains 4g of glutamine and glutaminc acid per serving
  • Contains more than 5g of naturally occurring BCAA’s per serving (leucine, isoleucine and valine)
  • Available in 10 tasty flavors
  • Mixes easily with no clumping
  • Provides excellent value
  • The Gold Standard for protein quality

Drawbacks:

  • Some users don’t like the taste of certain flavors

Who makes it: 100% Whey Gold Standard is made by Optimum Nutrition, of the most well-respected brands in the sports nutrition industry. Optimum Nutrition is dedicated to creating innovative and high-quality supplements to help their customers achieve the results they want. They named this product line Gold Standard because it represents the finest quality ingredients available – and the industry agrees.

What’s in it: One serving contains 24g of protein blend consisting of:

  • Whey protein isolates – the very purest form of protein available, which helps to minimize muscle breakdown while maximizing protein synthesis – all with barely any carbs and fat
  • Premium, ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate – a quality and balanced source of protein that is quickly digested.
  • Whey peptides – the fastest absorbing form of whey.

Bottom line: Overall, 100% Whey Gold Standard is the best whey protein for women because it uses the highest quality ingredients. This product is incredibly well reviewed, and has won a number of prestigious awards. And there is a good reason why so many people use and recommend this product: it really works.

Full Breakdown: 100% Whey Gold Standard

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Casein Protein Powders

Casein Protein Powders For Women

Casein protein is the other 20% of milk’s protein content. It is also extracted during the curding process. As with most other protein supplements, it is produced and offered in powder form to be taken as a shake.

While not as popular as whey, it’s still widely used by many people, especially health and fitness savy folks.

This rich protein source contains bioactive milk peptides that encourage muscle growth. It also supports immune system functioning to help women fight illness and stay healthy.

So when should you drink a casein protein shake?

Since whey is quickly digested and packed with amino acids, it’s good for post and pre workout usage. But casein is a different monster. Casein digests much more slowly, so the best time to take a casein shake is either in the morning, or right before bed.

If you’re looking for a more natural source of casein, you can fill up on:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurts
  • Milk

Recommended Casein Protein Powder

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein

Optimum-Nutrition-Gold-Standard-100-Casein

Gold Standard 100% Casein by Optimum Nutrition is one of the top-selling women’s casein powders on the market. It’s designed to provide slow-release protein over an extended period of time.

Highlights:

  • Contains 24g of micellar casein
  • Perfect as a bedtime snack
  • Keeps you feeling full and satisfied
  • Formulated by Optimum Nutrition, one of the most respected names in the sports fitness industry
  • Contains 5g of naturally occurring BCAA’s per serving
  • Contains 5g of naturally occurring glutamine and glutamic acid per serving
  • Excellent value for money

Drawbacks:

  • Only available in 3 flavors: chocolate peanut butter, chocolate supreme, and creamy vanilla.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 24g micellar casein protein
  • 5g BCAAs
  • 5g glutamine and glutamic acid

Who makes it: This product is manufactured by Optimum Nutrition, one of the most popular and most respected names in the industry. From day one, Optimum Nutrition has been committed to creating innovative and effective products for their customers. They specialize in protein powders, with their 100% casein and 100% whey protein blends leading the industry in both sales and customer satisfaction.

Bottom line: Overall, 100% Casein Gold Standard is one of the best casein protein powders for women. It’s manufactured by one of the most trusted companies in the sports nutrition industry – Optimum Nutrition.

Full Breakdown: Gold Standard 100% Casein

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Check out our: Top 10 Casein Protein Powders

Soy Protein Powders

Soy Protein Powders For Women

Soy protein is not as popular or effective as it’s whey and casein cousins, but it still has it’s own health properties and uses. Soy protein is a product isolated from the soybean. It’s made from a soybean meal that is dehulled and deffated. These soybeans are then processed into three different types of protein products: soy flour, isolates and concentrates. Soy isolate is typically used in foods for its properties. Soy protein powders typically consist of isolate or concentrates.

Recommended Soy Protein Powder

Universal Nutrition Advanced Soy Protein

Universal-Nutrition-Advanced-Soy-Protein-2015

Advanced Soy Protein is a 100% soy-based protein powder that aims to supply athletes with the protein they need to succeed — while using only pure, simple ingredients. Manufactured by Universal Nutrition, this product is made with 100% water-wash techniques, which allows for a clean extraction of soy protein and retains the most nutrients possible.

Highlights:

  • Contains no lactose or aspartame
  • Contains less than 1g of fat per serving
  • 100% water-washed soy protein isolates
  • A complete protein source
  • Cholesterol free
  • Simple ingredients

Drawbacks:

  • Can clump when mixing

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 27g of isolated soy protein

Who makes it: This product is manufactured by Optimum Nutrition, one of the most popular and most respected names in the industry. From day one, Optimum Nutrition has been committed to creating innovative and effective products for their customers. They specialize in protein powders, with their 100% casein and 100% whey protein blends leading the industry in both sales and customer satisfaction.

Bottom line: Overall, Universal Nutrition Advanced Soy Protein is a good soy protein for women, especially for those looking for a 100% soy protein product. Its simple and straightforward ingredients make it a solid option for people with dietary restrictions.

ⓘ If you buy something using the links below, we get a small commission.

Where to Get It
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Check out our: Top 10 Soy Protein Powders

Egg Protein Powders

Egg Protein Powders For Women

Egg protein powder is one of those things that most people don’t even know exists. Which is a shame since egg protein powder is an excellent source of protein for you.

What is Egg Protein?

Well as the name suggest, egg protein is protein that comes from eggs. It is processed with other proteins and turned into a powder form for consumers.

What is Egg Protein good for?

Egg protein is a slow-digesting protein that is best taken with between-meal snacks. This fat-free, cholesterol-free product contains an abundance of amino acids, including high levels of arginine. One of its benefits over other powders is that it can be highly and effectively utilized by our bodies. It is also very similar to whey in muscle stimulation.

Just like casein protein, it is digested very slowly, even slower. This makes it a more ideal choice if you have sensitivities to dairy products and extracts.

Egg protein is also an excellent choice because it’s very very low in fat and carbohydrates are almost non-existent.

Check out our: Top 10 Egg Protein Powders

Plant Protein Powders

Plant Protein Powders For Women

Even less known than egg protein powders are the three vegetable (other than soy) based protein powders. These are rice protein, pea protein and hemp protein. The thing about these types of protein powders is that they contain lower amounts of certain amino acids and aren’t absorbed by the body as efficiently as whey, casein and egg proteins.

Rice Protein

Rice protein is usually fairly tasty, and can provide you with a solid source of protein. However it is not effective as casein, whey or egg.

Check out our: Best Rice Protein Supplements on the Market Today

Pea Protein

Pea protein is usually just as effective as rice protein and is often combined with rice protein to create products known as vegan protein blends.

Check out our: Best Pea Protein Supplements on the Market Today

Hemp Protein

Hemp protein is not as great as the other choices. Not that it’s an unhealthy choice, it just contains less protein by weight compared to the other items listed in this article. It’s also not absorbed well by our bodies.

Check out our: Best Hemp Protein Powders

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this article has given you some insight on your next protein powder purchase.

To recap my thoughts on the best women’s protein powders

  • There are many myths surrounding protein powder, most are false or misinformed
  • Weight loss and weight gain have more to do with your diet and nutrition than any supplement
  • Whey protein is great for post and pre workout
  • Casein and Egg protein are slow digesting and therefore great for those times your body isn’t receiving food; before bed for example
  • Soy and other vegan proteins are great for vegan purposes but they aren’t as effective as whey, casein and egg protein powders

sources:

Guest, Nanci S. (2011) “Protein Powders: Which One is For You?” Oxygen Magazine. Retrieved January 15, 2013. http://www.oxygenmag.com/Nutrition/Articles/protein-powders-which-one-is-for-you.aspx/Zeratsky, Katherine. (April 17, 2012) “Protein Shakes: Good for Weight Loss?” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved January 15, 2013. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/protein-shakes/AN01332/

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Austin Meadows

Written by Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is an independent writer and consultant specializing in health and wellness topics. With more than 7 years of experience writing in the natural health industry, Austin strives to deliver accurate, concise and researched based information to his readers. You can find more of Austin's work at Olympic-Creative.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn.