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Best Protein Powders for Women

Protein powder can help build muscle and lose weight. Which one is best for women?

If you work out in the gym lifting weights or on the track running laps, nothing is more important than protein when going for your fitness goals. Having the right amount of protein in your diet helps build and maintain muscle masslose weight and recover from intense workouts. You can get a lot of protein in the food you eat, but sometimes you need that extra boost that comes with a good protein powder. If you're looking for the best protein powder for women, keep reading -- especially if you're reaching for the stars when you work out.

These protein-packed supplements are popular for their convenience and effectiveness. However, finding the best protein powder for you might be more challenging than you think. Not all protein powders are created equal. There are additives, texture, taste and flavors to sort through until you find the one

We pulled together a curated list of the best protein powders for women based on a few key factors. We did not test these products in-house. Our selections are based on product research for certifications, sugar content and ingredients. 

Read More: Best Collagen Powders for 2022

Do women need different protein powders than men?

Sorry to shatter the illusion right from the start, but protein powder is protein powder. There is no difference between what men should drink and what women should drink. That's right -- it's all marketing.

There are women-focused additives such as vitamins in protein powders marketed toward women. However, these additives aren't necessary for the purpose of protein in the body. If you want to take advantage of these extra vitamins, you will pay the pink tax for them.

Our list includes the best protein powders out there. Many of these will be the best protein powders for women, but we did not include options only marketed to women. 

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Naked Whey takes our pick for the best whey protein powder for its straight-to-the-point ingredients. You don't have to worry about any artificial sweeteners or additives. There is only one ingredient, whey protein concentrate. Whey concentrate is a great starting place for people new to protein powder and want something they can drink before or after a workout. 

It's also worth noting that it's sourced from grass-fed cows. That might not seem like it would matter for protein powder, but it does make a difference. Grass-fed cow milk is often higher in nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids. It's also gluten- and soy-free. 

We're highlighting the unflavored option, which is great for adding to your smoothies if you want your powder to go unnoticed. However, Naked Whey also offers chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavors. Keep in mind that flavoring means that the powder is sweetened with coconut sugar. That doesn't automatically mean it's unhealthy; it just increases the number of carbs per serving.

User reviews have praised the taste and texture of Naked Whey. You don't get the Stevia taste which often comes with many other no-sugar powders. If you haven't tasted it before, you should know that Stevia activates our tongues' bitter receptors. Which means you're left with a bitter aftertaste when you drink it. Some people don't mind it, while others dislike it. You can expect a creamy texture that's nice and smooth, not chalky or grainy, when you drink it. 

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Made from peas, brown rice and chia seeds, Orgain takes our pick for the best plant-based protein powder. It's certified organic, vegan-friendly and gluten-free, making it a versatile choice for people with dietary limitations. Did we mention that it's also one of the most affordable plant-based protein powders available? 

With almost 30,000 reviews on Amazon, users say you get a smooth, creamy texture when mixed -- no lumps. 

Unlike Naked Whey which only has protein concentrate, Orgain is packed with several other high-quality ingredients. It has a mix of over 50 fruits, vegetables and herbs -- some are blends, others from extract. With Orgain, you're getting several essential vitamins and minerals that you won't get with other powders. We should mention that because of this hefty nutritional profile, it does have significantly more carbohydrates than other options on the list, with 21 grams per serving. That said, Orgain is high in iron, which does set it apart. 

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With 30 grams of protein, Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder has the most protein in a single serving on the list. Athletes trying to build muscles at a high rate need more protein, which is why we consider Vega the best protein powder for athletes. As a bonus, it's plant-based. 

You're not just getting protein with Vega; you're getting probiotics too. Probiotics are known for contributing to your immune system and gut health. It also has been shown to support female reproductive health. In addition to things like black pepper extract and alfalfa protein, Vega has tart cherry powder that's linked to reducing inflammation and improved endurance

We should mention that Vega also has the highest sodium levels of all the protein powders on this list. This isn't a problem for some athletes since sodium is lost while sweating. However, Vega's sodium level is something to consider when added to your regular diet for the average person. 

Vega Sport Protein Powder is NSF Certified for Sport -- meaning that a third party has tested Vega and confirmed that it is free of any banned substances.

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If you're looking for a great-tasting protein powder, then KOS Organic Plant Protein Powder should be on your list. It's made from peas, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Most users are surprised this plant-based protein powder tastes so good. You get more than the basic chocolate and vanilla with KOS (though, you can get those too). Flavors include chocolate peanut butter or chocolate chip mint, which will satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Beware, those flavors don't come for free. KOS Protein Powder has about half of the protein per serving as the other options on the list. It also has four grams of saturated fat per serving, which is significantly higher than the others on the list -- most have around 0.5 grams. This one shouldn't come as a shock, but it's also high in sugar.

Despite being the highest in sugar, KOS Protein Powder does have high levels of vitamin E and various B vitamins. We think this is a good option for people who value flavor and don't mind the extra additives or lower protein content. We wouldn't recommend it for elite athletes or someone using protein powders for weight loss. 

$50 at Amazon
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Now Sports Whey Protein Powder only has two ingredients -- whey protein isolate and sunflower lecithin. The isolate form of whey protein is higher in protein content and lower in carbohydrates than whey concentrate. Many of the best protein powders are made from whey protein concentrate, making Now Sports Protein Powder an even better value. It's also Informed Sport certified, so you don't have to worry about any damaging additives. 

The unflavored version has no artificial sweeteners, which means you don't have to worry about high sugar or carbohydrates. Ultimately, we appreciate how much you can buy for the price.  

There have been some comments on Amazon about varying quality in different batches. Some don't mix as well, and others foam more than usual. This isn't entirely unusual in the protein powder game, but we noticed more comments on quality variability than other brands. Still, if you're on a budget and looking for a no-fuss protein powder, we recommend Now Sports. 

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What's the best protein powder for women?

With so many options on the market, it's hard to pick the best protein powder. When determining which option is best for you, think about your body, goals and dietary needs. Underneath it all, protein powders aim to serve the same purpose. However, additives and sugar content make some choices better than others. 

Do you need to use protein powder to achieve your goals?  

Ultimately no, protein powders are not the key to success. Even though protein powders are considered safe and valuable, you do not have to use them to lose weight or build muscle. You can eat a protein-heavy diet and achieve the same results, but that's not for everyone. If you're thinking about trying protein powders, consider these things:

Benefits of protein powder

  • It's an easy way to up your protein intake. Sometimes it's easier than solely depending on the food you eat. 
  • There is no meal prepping involved -- you just scoop it in your smoothie, shake or even just add to a bottle of water. 

Things to consider about protein powder

  • Protein powders are a supplement, not a replacement for food. Protein powders have a ton of protein but not much of anything else. You will not get the micronutrients that you would get from eating protein-rich foods like fish. 
  • If you are on medication, check with your doctor before you integrate protein powder into your lifestyle. 

Things to look for when shopping for protein powder

When choosing the protein powders for this list, we kept these three things in mind:

Minimal ingredients

The best protein powders will have protein as their first ingredient. It's even better if that's the only one. Minimal ingredients mean that you'll get the highest amount of protein and the fewest carbs and sugars. Protein powders for women will often have extra nutrients or beneficial ingredients, like vitamins or probiotics. It won't hurt to have those extra vitamins in there; it's just not strictly necessary for your protein intake. 

Before buying, it's essential to thoroughly review the ingredient label to ensure whatever powder you choose meets your dietary needs. Think about what you're trying to achieve and how the ingredients will help or hurt.

Low sugar content

The best-tasting protein power is going to have sugar in it. That doesn't mean it's bad for you; it might just not be the best choice out there. If your goal is to use protein powder to lose weight, you should be mindful of the sugar content in the powder you select. Unfortunately, the ones with the most flavor options will likely have the largest sugar and fat content. 

Any certifications 

Unfortunately, the FDA doesn't regulate supplements on a large scale. We like products that third-party companies test to ensure the advertised product is the product you get. Think of it as a quality check. 

Look for certifications from Informed Choice or NSF International as often as you can. If you're an athlete, buy products that have NSF for Sport and Informed Sport certifications. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.