July 19, 2024

This article was produced in partnership with MD Marketing. Men’s Journal is not endorsing the websites or products set forth below.

The best way to gain lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement. Your body needs proteins for muscle growth and recovery, and we find the best whey protein powders for men who are serious about hitting their fitness goals.

Our review will help you find the right whey protein for you, by giving you:

  • In-depth reviews of protein powders
  • Most important things to consider before choosing a protein powder
  • FAQs on the best way to use whey protein powders

We’re diving right into it; make sure to continue reading!

The Top 9 Best Protein Powders For Men Of 2022

Don’t buy supplements that don’t work! We selected this list based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.

Our reviews reflect our objective, unbiased opinion. We also tested the product ourselves, and read dozens of reviews to find out what real fitness enthusiasts and body builders had to say.

The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#1. Huge Whey – Top-Rated Whey Protein

Huge Nutrition is relatively new to the industry, but its body-building and fitness supplements have already gained quite a fanbase because of the nutritional value, larger servings, and overall value for money.  

The whey protein powder is the latest in their line-up, and it’s one of the best we tried. Even when we compared it to the more expensive and established brands, it had better results and a better taste.

In fact, one of our testers who had been using another brand for years decided to switch to Huge Whey—and here’s why.

High-quality protein and BCAAs

Since it’s designed for athletes and serious fitness enthusiasts, it doesn’t scrimp on the amount or the quality of its protein. You get 23 to 25 grams of protein (depending on which flavor you get) and 5 grams of BCAAs.

The protein comes from whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate. Whey protein concentrate contains 80% protein. Whey protein isolate goes through additional filtration processes, so it has less lactose and fat. By combining the two, this formula gives you higher protein levels with less calories and cholesterol.

Huge Whey also contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which the body uses for muscle metabolism. They help your body rebuild muscle tissue protein, and can help prevent excessive muscle breakdown during exercise. The result: less fatigue and soreness, and faster recovery time.

Delicious flavors

You can choose from Cookies ; Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry Milkshake, and Vanilla. Chocolate Peanut Butter is the bestseller—it’s creamy, rich, not too sweet, and doesn’t have a chalky or chemical aftertaste. Since it’s so popular it quickly goes out of stock, so buy it when you see it!

You can mix the powder in water or milk. It dissolves quickly, even when you’re mixing it with other ingredients like bananas for a power-packed smoothie. Click here to go to the official Huge Whey product page.


One serving only has 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 5 grams of cholesterol, 2.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 90 mg of sodium.

With these macros, you can take a protein shake before or after your workout without breaking your calorie count. Consider this: a medium banana has 108 calories, has less nutrition, and is less filling. You’re better off having a glass of Huge Whey to refuel your body and energy levels.

[$50; hugesupplements.com]

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The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#2. Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

There are two reasons we love this protein powder: it has one of the highest protein-by-weight ratios, and the protein is sourced from cows who have been 100% grass-fed.

What does this mean for you? Even if it’s more expensive (nearly $60, compared to average $30 to $40), you actually get more nutrients per scoop. You’re also assured of a “cleaner” protein powder, with less chemicals and additives.

High in protein, low in carbs and fat 

One reason why this product is so expensive is that the protein mainly comes from isolate. It’s more expensive to produce, because it filters out more fat and carbohydrates.

So if you look at the label of this protein powder, you’ll see that it has less than 1 gram of carbohydrates and less than 1 gram of sugar—even if they’re not using sugar substitutes. Instead, you’re getting more of what your body really needs: high-quality protein, as well nutrients like calcium and potassium.

No artificial chemicals 

This does not contain artificial sweeteners, coloring agents, and preservatives. Because the protein is sourced from grass-fed cows, it is also free of GMOs that are typically found in commercial animal feeds.

Transparent Labs is also gluten-free, which can help people who have gluten sensitivity or have a tendency to get stomach upsets when they take high protein powders.

Excellent quality control

Transparent Labs products are made in a USA. Its facility has also received GMP certification, which means that it fully complies with the Food and Drug Association (FDA)’s requirements for manufacturing processes for food and dietary supplements.

[$60; transparentlabs.com]

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The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#3. MuscleTech Nitro-Tech

This whey protein powder is scientifically-proven to build more lean muscle and improve performance. It contains a high concentration of powerful ingredients, with a patented formula that was developed after years of research.

Bigger, stronger muscles

Each serving has a whopping 30 grams of protein, 3 grams of creatinine, and 6.8 grams of BCAAs. Seriously, it’s hard to find any other protein powder that matches this formula.

And we’re not just impressed by the amount of protein, but how it’s processed. MuscleTech invested a lot of research and development into perfecting their patented Multi-Phase Filtration technology. This helps retain the protein in its purest, most effective form while removing unwanted fat and carbs.

The creatinine, which your muscles use to produce more energy, can give you the push you need to lift a heavier weight or do intense HIIT exercises. Many studies have found that creatinine—particularly HLPC-tested creatinine, which is used in this formula—replenishes ATP levels.

BCAAs aid recovery so you feel less sore and tired after your super-workout. Bounce back in time for your next gym session, for better performance (and results) each day.

Scientifically proven to work 

MuscleTech Nitro-Tech’s effectivity was tested in a study. Participants were all seasoned fitness enthusiasts who had been lifting weights for three years. They were given the key ingredients for 6 weeks.

The study showed that the participants increased their bench press more than those who were using other whey protein powder, and gained 70% more lean muscle than when they were using their former brand.

Easy to absorb and digest

MuscleTech Nitro-Tech derives its protein from whey peptides and isolate. These are much easier to digest and absorb than other forms of whey protein concentrate. If other protein powders have given you gas or stomach problems, consider trying this brand.  

[$52; amazon.com]

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The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#4. Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein

This is one of the bestselling whey proteins in the market, with over a million users and almost 90,000 Amazon reviews. The reason: excellent macronutrients, an affordable price tag, and 20 different flavors to choose from.

Well-rounded blend of protein sources

Each serving contains 24 grams of protein, and just 3 grams of carbohydrates, and one gram each of sugar and fat.

While other brands contain more grams of protein, Gold Standard has a bigger variety of protein sources:  whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey peptides. This gives you a more complete amino acid profile, and the additional benefits of each type of protein.

For example, whey protein concentrate contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that may help you lose weight. Whey protein isolate has less fat and carbs, and whey peptides are absorbed faster. You could say that you’ll be enjoying all the different “wheys” to reach your fitness goals.

The supplement also has 4 grams of glutamine and glutamic amino acids for a healthier gut and stronger immune system, and 5.5 grams of natural BCAAs.

Aside from those we mentioned, the formula has no “filler ingredients” – everything else simply makes the formula easier to digest and more palatable. There’s aminogen to reduce gas, lactase to help you break down the proteins, and a small amount of the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium.

Great value for money

Each container has 74 servings for about $35, or about $0.79 for each serving. That’s really affordable, especially when you look at the nutrition you’re getting in each glass.

Wide range of flavors

With over 20 flavors (including 7 different kinds of chocolate) you’re bound to find a few that suits your personal preferences. However, the sugar and fat content does vary per flavor, and some (like the Cake Batter variant) will contain sucralose. If you want it to be 100% sucralose-free, choose Double Rich Chocolate.

[$60; amazon.com]

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The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#5. MET-RX Natural Protein

MET-RX has been making fitness supplements and meal replacement powders for over 20 years. Their Natural Whey Protein is often recommended in forums as an “affordable alternative” to Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey, because of the almost-identical macros. Our protein powder review checks if it really meets expectations.

Muscle-building blend of protein and BCAAs

The formula contains whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate, and about 5 grams of BCAAs. This gives an excellent amino acid profile that supports muscle growth and recovery.

The proteins are also extracted using a special filtration process that lowers fat, lactose, cholesterol and carbohydrates.

No artificial flavor enhancers or additives

As expected from a product that has the word “natural” in it, it does not have artificial flavors, coloring agents, and sweeteners. It is also free of GMOs.

However, unlike other natural protein powders, it does not declare its protein sources, i.e. grass-fed cows or organic plant compounds. 

So it’s more of an assurance that you’re not ingesting any artificial additives or flavor enhancers. For example, it does not contain acesulfame-potassium, which has been controversial because of studies that link it to a higher cancer risk.

Easy, convenient formula

The powder dissolves quickly and does not clump at all. You can shake it and swirl it with a spoon—no blender required!

 However, the reactions to the flavor are mixed. Since it has no artificial flavor enhancers and sweeteners, it will taste different from other whey supplements you may have tried. It will take time to adjust to it, but you can add a ripe banana to make it sweeter and creamier.  

[$45; amazon.com]

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The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#6. ISO JYM Clear Isolate Whey Protein

ISO JYM uses a special cold filtration process that removes lactose to create a clean, easy-to-digest whey protein concentrate. The fruity taste is also very refreshing—and a nice change from all the sweet and heavy dessert-inspired flavors of other protein powders.

90% Whey Concentrate 

It uses a revolutionary cold filtration technology to extract protein in a way that retains its native protein ratios and make it easier for the body to absorb and use. So even if it only has 20 grams of protein per serving, this is high-quality clear isolate—with no fillers and nutrition loss. As they say, you get whey and whey only. 

Low-calorie and diet-friendly

This has one of the most low-cal protein powders, with just 90 calories per serving. Since its primary ingredient is isolate, it also has less fat and cholesterol.

Short, transparent list of ingredients

True to ISO JYM’s brand philosophy of “giving whey, and only whey” this formula only contains six ingredients that are absolutely critical for a clean formula. They removed any unnecessary fillers that could cause reactions or place a big load on your digestive system.

For this reason, this is one of the best whey protein powders for people who want to limit the toxins in their body, or have strict dietary restrictions or allergies.

Easy to stack

Another benefit of a “clean and pure” whey protein formula is that it’s easy to stack with other supplements you’re taking. You can use this with the other products in the ISO JYM line, or with your favorite pre-workout or post-workout drink.

Very refreshing flavor

Most protein shakes taste like sweet and creamy desserts, from your regular chocolate to the more elaborate flavors like banana cream pie. While this can satisfy your sweet tooth, sometimes you just want a light and refreshing drink.

That’s why we recommend ISO JYM Clear Isolate Whey Protein to everyone. Even if you already have another go-to protein powder, it’s nice to have it in your rotation. 

[$33; amazon.com]

Get it

The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#7. Genius Protein

This protein powder can help promote both lean body mass and weight loss. Aside from the ingredients that promote muscle growth, its formula is designed to control cravings and dampen your appetite.

Slow and fast release 

Each serving contains 24 grams of protein, composed of 50% grass-fed whey isolate and 50% micellar casein. This provides both fast and slow release of protein.

Whey isolate is absorbed quickly, so you can get the immediate effect for muscle strength and growth. It also helps the immune system and supports your body’s protein synthesis.

Micellar casein takes longer to digest. It is an anti-catabolic, which means it reduces the breakdown of muscle mass. It is also high in calcium.

The combination of these two protein sources means you enjoy the benefits of Genius Protein during the day and night. From pre-workout prep to post-recovery, your body has what it needs to produce the best muscles.

Leaner, fitter physique

If you’re also trying to lose weight and watching your diet, you’ll be happy to know that this contains less than one gram of fat and only 2.5 grams of sugar. However, it does have 3.5 grams of carbohydrates—not high, but not as low as other protein powders.

However, Genius protein powder makes up for the higher carbs by having casein, which curbs hunger pangs and cravings, and helps your body manage cortisol levels.

Cortisol (which your body produces when it’s stressed or tired) increases your appetite. If you often struggle with stress eating, this whey protein powder can help you stick to your diet goals.

No artificial and banned substances

This has no fillers, artificial flavors and sweeteners, or artificial dyes and coloring agents. The chocolate flavor is naturally-derived, so you can enjoy it without any guilt.

[$38; amazon.com]

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The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#8. Dymatize Elite Whey

If you love chocolate, then you definitely need to check out Dymatize Elite Whey. Just like other whey protein powders it will meet your body’s needs for muscle growth and recovery. But the real reason we’re obsessed with it is its to-die-for chocolate flavors. Two words: Snicker Doodle.

Multiple protein sources

Dymatize’s formula is a blend of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, whey protein peptides, and whey protein hydrolysate.

This provides both essential and non-essential amino acids, while minimizing carbohydrates and fat. Whey protein hydrolysate is also called pre-digested hydrolysate, because it’s so easily absorbed.

As for the overall macros, you get 25 grams of protein per serving, 2 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 70 mg of cholesterol, and 135 mg of salt. The calories per serving is 140, which is admittedly higher than other protein powders.  

The best chocolate flavors

We’ll list the flavors, and tell us if you don’t agree: chocolate cake batter, snicker doodle, swiss chocolate, chocolate fudge, gourmet chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, rich chocolate, café mocha. It’s everything you usually can’t eat when you’re on a diet, but made guilt-free in a protein shake.

It also carries other treats for the sweets-lover, like vanilla cupcake and raspberry cheesecake. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can try their French vanilla and gourmet vanilla.

[$52; amazon.com]

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The best way to gain a lean, muscular physique is to train hard and take a protein supplement like these selected based on important criteria like nutrition, flavor and value for money.
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#9. Nutrabio Clear Whey

For people with dietary restrictions, Nutrabio has developed a lactose-free, gluten-free whey protein powder. It is only 80 calories, and contains ingredients that aid in digestion. If you’re fighting belly bloat and belly fat, this is definitely going to help.

Pure whey isolate

This does not contain whey concentrate or other fillers like creamer, dextrose, nitrogen, or aminos. You paid for pure whey isolate, and you get pure whey isolate—nothing more, nothing less.   

One of the most diet-friendly whey protein powders

Nutrabio extracts protein through a special cross-flow, ultra-filtered process. It removes all the unwanted sugars and fat, leaving you with a clean and healthy drink that you can take without guilt.

One serving has 20 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of carbohydrates, and zero fat.  However, it does use artificial sweeteners called sucralose, which is something you need to remember while comparing it to other “clean” whey protein powders.

Helps with digestion 

This has more potassium than other protein powders: 337 mg, or about 25% of your recommended daily intake. Potassium can help with digestion and reduce belly bloat. This is beneficial if you’re on a low-carb and high protein diet, or have a tendency to experience stomach problems.

Refreshing fruity flavors

We enjoyed the fruity freshness of flavors like watermelon, pineapple and mango. They’re an excellent alternative to sweet and creamy protein shakes. The watermelon is one of our favorites, since it’s not too sweet and can quench our thirst quickly—exactly what we need after a good sweat!

The only thing we don’t like about the formula is that it does produce a lot of foam. While it doesn’t affect the flavor, it does interfere with the texture and consistency. One tip is to let your drink settle for a few minutes before drinking. Tapping your bottle on a table or hard surface can also help release the air bubbles.

[$33; amazon.com]

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How to choose the best protein powder for men

Just like diet and fitness programs, choosing the best protein powders has to take into account your needs, goals, and preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all.

However, you can narrow down your choices according to this criteria. This ensures that any protein powder you buy will actually yield concrete results.   


Nutrition is a science, and it’s best to put your money into formulas that use scientifically-proven ingredients and reliable manufacturing processes.

So, you have to look at the type of protein, the amount, and the way it’s extracted. The type of protein affects the nutritional value, including the ratio of protein to fat or carbohydrates, and the kinds of amino acids.

The amount of protein and the extraction method are closely tied. Naturally, you want higher protein levels—that’s what you need to build lean muscle. However, the best whey protein powders process the protein in a way that retains its nutritional value and makes it easier for the body to absorb.

Think of it this way: what really matters isn’t the protein that’s in the powder, but the protein your body eventually gets to use. So when you compare products, do look at the extraction and processing methods.

If you don’t consume animal based products, check out vegan protein powders. These are plant-based products that consist of ingredients like pea, rice, or soy.

Flavor preferences

For a supplement to work, you need to take it regularly and in the right amounts. This is more likely to happen if you actually like the taste.

There are many nutritious and delicious whey protein powders, but “delicious” is a personal thing. Do you like it strong or mild, creamy or light? Do you usually drink it cold or lukewarm, and how will that affect the taste? Try different blends to find out what you really like.

Value for money

We made sure to include whey protein powders of different price points in our review: affordable brands that cost less than a dollar a serving, and premium brands that offer additional benefits.

This gives you flexibility and the freedom to choose a high-quality whey protein powder that’s within your budget.

Benefits of taking protein powder as a male

As we grow older, we lose muscle mass and tone, our metabolism slows down, and it takes longer for our body to produce new cells and tissue. That’s why it’s harder and takes longer to see gains even with proper diet and exercise.

Whey protein powder contains nutrients that boost the body’s ability to build and repair muscle. Here are some benefits:

Boost muscle growth and strength

Your body needs proteins for muscle growth. Protein powders are sourced from dairy or plants, while removing unwanted fat and cholesterol. Some powders can also contain other ingredients that are scientifically-proven to aid muscle metabolism and protein absorption.

If you’re looking to get the most out of your training sessions, also check out our article on the best pre workouts.

Helps with recovery

There are several independent studies that prove that protein supplements can lower muscle damage by improving protein synthesis and performance.

Aid with weight loss 

Whey protein powders are low in calories but dense in nutrients. You can take it before or after a workout to make you feel energetic and full. 

Some of the best protein powders also contain ingredients that suppress appetite and cravings.

Protein Powders Frequently Asked Questions

Should you take protein powder before or after a workout?

Experts say that the time you take your protein supplements is not as important as the amount of protein you consume throughout the day. It is generally more effective to take 3 or 4 moderate servings than “protein-loading” at a specific time.

So, you can take your protein powder according to your energy levels and preferences.

How much protein powder is too much?

This varies according to the protein density of your preferred brand, and your own caloric requirements. In general, most formulas recommend 1 to 3 scoops maximum, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions just to be safe.

Does protein powder have side effects?

Generally, most people don’t feel any adverse reactions to protein supplements. If you are sensitive to lactose or have digestion problems, you may experience bloating or stomach upsets when you’re adjusting to a new protein powder. If it persists, try switching to a lactose-free or gluten-free formula.

Bear in mind that like all supplements, you need to consult with your physician if you are taking prescription medication, or have pre-existing medical conditions.

Can protein powder help me build muscle?

Yes it definitely can! However, you do need to put in the work by following the right exercise regimen and diet.

What’s the best liquid to mix protein powder with?

You can mix it with anything you like: cold water, or even milk. The best protein powders dissolve easily in any liquid.

Can protein powder help me lose weight?

As a high-protein, low-calorie drink, protein shakes can definitely help you achieve your weight loss goals. Some powders also contain ingredients that curb cravings and help with metabolism.

However, weight loss is a function of calories burned versus calories ingested, so it also depends on how much you eat and how much you exercise.

Can you combine creatine with protein powder? 

Yes. Both protein powder and creatine improve muscle mass and strength, but in different ways. Creatine improves your exercise capacity, while whey protein powders improves muscle protein synthesis.

They can be safely used together, with no dangerous interactions or side effects. However, there is no scientific evidence that taking both supplements at the same time while doing moderate exercise will double or otherwise increase your gains.

It is only recommended to take both supplements if you are doing intense training and need the nutritional boost to maximize muscle mass and strength.

What are the nutritional facts of protein powder?

This depends on the product, but in general you can expect about 100 to 150 calories per serving, and an average of 20 to 25 grams of protein. 

Most brands will also have less than 5 grams of fat and carbohydrates.

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