Protein isn’t just essential for a healthy, well-rounded diet in general or bulking up at the gym; depending on your fitness goals, it can help you either maintain or lose weight, too. Frustratingly, the supplement and nutrition market is overflowing with options from a seemingly never-ending number of companies. And on top of that, run-of-the-mill protein powders can contain additives and toxins you’d never want in your body, so adding one to your daily regimen becomes a research and cross-shopping nightmare. Luckily, the market for all-natural protein powders with clean, healthy ingredients is growing.
We’ve been testing a few new all-natural protein powders that have come across our radar. Whether you’re looking to bulk up, slim down or sustain your current weight and can’t always swing whole food proteins into your day, these four powders are worth a look. They all have minimal ingredients with zero fillers — and just the right amount of what you need.
Ladder Plant Protein
Best Subscription Service: With the dark cloud over the industry making everyone second guess what ingredients are in the supplements they’re taking, it’s comforting to know Ladder is certified by the NSF Certified For Sport program, which is backed by the USADA. The subscription service makes it easy to work into your weekly or monthly regimen in a sort of “set it and forget it” kind of way. Having each serving in an individual packet takes the eye-balling each scoop out of the equation too.
Protein Source: Pea and Pumpkin
Protein Per Serving: 21g
Sugar Per Serving: 2g
Flavor Tested: Vanilla
Less Naked Whey
Best Bulk Buy: If you’re looking for a clean powder with zero additives and minimal ingredients, Less Naked is the way to go. There are only three ingredients: Grass Fed Whey Protein, Dried Strawberries and Organic Coconut Sugar. Pro Tip: if you need some semblance of flavor in your protein shake mix this powder with almond or soy milk. Even with the dried strawberries to add taste, if you only use water as a mixer, it carries the same palate as wallpaper paste.
Protein Source: Grass Fed Cows’ Milk
Protein Per Serving: 25g
Sugar Per Serving: 7g
Flavor Tested: Strawberry
Care/Of Plant Protein
Current Favorite: From beginning to end, Care/of protein is the best experience. You start on the website with a quick questionnaire about your routine, which is used to customize your personal supplement package. It’s a little gimmicky that they go so far as to put your name on the tub, but if you live in a house with multiple people, all using Care/Of, it might actually come in handy. The Care/Of vanilla plant protein easily has the best taste and finish on the list. I mixed it with soy milk which, with the organic vanilla powder, cinnamon, monk fruit extract and Himalayan pink salt, resulted in something akin to vanilla chai smoothie.
Protein Source: Pea, Pumpkin Seed and Hemp
Protein Per Serving: 18g
Sugar Per Serving: 4g
Flavor Tested: Vanilla
TB12 Plant-Based Protein
Best Sugar Free Option: It’s not unreasonable to want to cut sugar out of your diet, especially if you’re looking to improve your overall health, lose weight or start a cut phase for beach season. Unfortunately, a lot of powders add sugar to offset the awful drywall mix-taste inherent with flavorless powders. TB12 chocolate somehow manages to taste like Ovaltine using only natural ingredients. The website has helpful tips on smoothie recipes and even workout plans to help get you started. Full disclosure: TB12 is Tom Brady’s personal line of protein, so Giants fans, you’ll probably want to stick to the first three.
Protein Source: Peas
Protein Per Serving: 24g
Sugar Per Serving: 0g
Flavor Tested: Chocolate
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