Best Clean Protein Powders in 2020

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We’ve researched a lot of products and collated our top protein picks in 2020. All of the products are presented and compared in reviews, lists, and tables – in order to make important product information available to you! 

Disclaimer: Our reviews do not include any products containing artificial additives or chemicals. Only the purest and cleanest protein powder!

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Browse Clean Protein Powders By Category

Clean Protein Powder: Grass-Fed Whey

Browse High-Quality Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powders

Grass-Fed Whey Protein has become increasingly popular in recent years. It's derived from the milk of grass-fed cows that get to roam free on huge pastures. As a result, this makes top quality milk and protein powder. Grass-fed is a popular choice amongst those with a healthy lifestyle.

Clean Protein Powder: Casein

Browse High-Quality Casein Protein Powders

Like Whey, Casein is also a milk protein. Even though they're quite similar, Casein still has some unique features to it. It's frequently used as a night-time protein or in conjunction with Whey.

Clean Pea Protein Powder

Browse High-Quality Pea Protein Powders

Pea Protein is a good option for those who can't or don't want to use protein sourced from animals. It has impressive nutritional value and is free from most allergens.

Clean Egg White Protein Powder

Browse High-Quality Egg White Protein Powders

Egg White Protein is well-known for its powerful nutrition. It's particularly popular amongst those who are on a Paleo diet and is a good option for those who can't use dairy protein. It's discrete taste also makes it suitable for baking.

Choosing The Best Clean Protein Powder For Your Needs

Protein Powders are one of the most popular dietary supplements amongst fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders and others looking to increase their protein intake. It’s most commonly used directly after a workout and between meals. What consumers enjoy the most about Protein Powders is that they offer an effortless way to quickly provide fuel for starving muscles – without having to prepare a whole meal right away. 

Irvin P. Johnson is considered the pioneer of protein powder. He started popularizing and marketing egg-based protein powder in the 1950s. Since then it has been an evolution, and a ton of products have hit the market due to consumer demand. 

In 2020 there’s a product to suit every need. Some are good. Others are not. 

In choosing the best clean protein powder for your needs, you need to consider all your personal preferences. Adding a little bit of understanding to the mix is a good way to decide which protein powder is right for you.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is derived from milk and is a by-product of cheese production. It’s the most popular protein powder on the market. 

Whey is absorbed quickly and used efficiently by the body, which is why it’s often used directly after a workout. 

Grass-Fed Whey Protein has become increasingly popular in recent years and is a favorite amongst those who want a clean whey protein powder. 

Pros and cons:

  • Complete Protein
  • High in important Branched-Chain Amino Acids
  • Quickly absorbed
  • Many alternatives
  • Most contain lactose

Casein Protein

Casein is another milk protein, usually derived from skim milk. 

It’s slow-digesting and creates a steady stream of nutrition to the muscles. This leads to long-lasting satiation. Because of these features, it’s often used before bed or during other fasting periods. 

Pros and cons:

  • Complete Protein
  • Helps prevent muscle breakdown
  • Contains several important micronutrients
  • Creates a long-lasting satiation
  • Contains some lactose
  • Long-lasting satiation also makes it difficult to eat more protein

Vegan Protein

Vegan protein is another favorite amongst health-conscious consumers. 

It’s derived from a number of sources, such as Soy, Rice or Pea.

Pros and cons:

  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Sustainable
  • Great option for those who can't use animal protein
  • Most Vegan Protein sources lack at least one Essential Amino Acid

Protein Powder Ingredients to Avoid

Whether you prefer Whey, Casein, Vegan, or anything in between – There are some additional factors to consider when picking a clean protein powder. 

We define Clean Protein Powders as protein supplements with little or no other ingredients besides protein. To eat clean, we need to control and limit the number of substances we consume. In other words, this means that the shorter the ingredients list is, the better. 

Below is a list of common additives that we try to avoid when picking a clean protein powder.

Ingredients to Avoid

1. Sugar. There should be no additional sugar besides what occurs naturally in certain protein powders such as Whey. 

2. Artificial Sweeteners, Flavors and Colors. The FDA has approved the use of several artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose. These are quite common to find in all sorts of products, and research suggests that they may not be as dangerous as some claim that they are. They are, however, both unnatural and unnecessary for a protein powder. 

3. Emulsifiers. Lecithin, Carrageenan and Xanthan Gum are common food additives used to stabilize mixtures and keep them from separating. While these are great for improving mixability, they can also cause irritation and side effects

4. Genetically Modified Organisms(GMOs).  Genetically Modified Plants can find their way to protein powder in several ways. They can, for instance, be the source of Vegan Protein Powder or the food of dairy cows. The safety and long-term effects of GMOs are unknown, due to lack of credible long-term studies. For this reason, it’s best to stay away. 

Other Things to Consider When Picking a Clean Protein Powder

There are a few other things to look out for besides the ingredients listed on the label of the protein powder.

No Heavy Metals

At least two studies have found elevated levels of heavy metals in several top-selling protein powders. This includes heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead. Needless to say, this is unwanted and could be dangerous. 

Luckily, several companies have seen this as an opportunity to stand out. As a result, some have started testing their products for contamination. 

No Growth Hormones

Growth hormones, such as rBST, can be used to increase the milk production of dairy cows. While it’s illegal in both Canada and the EU, it’s still widely used in the US. This has raised a debate about the safety of these substances. The concerns involve raised levels of IGF-1 in the milk, as well as extensive use of antibiotics in rBST-treated cows. 

As of today, there’s still no conclusive evidence that it poses a danger to consumers. While this may be true, we still believe that the cleanest protein powders are free of growth hormones.

Bleach and Acid-Free Processing

Protein powders can be processed using acid or bleach. This is a cheap way of processing, which is favorable for the manufacturers. However, this can also denature the proteins and contaminate the product.