Free of any questionable ingredients, the best natural protein powders offer a simple way to increase your daily protein intake while knowing exactly what you're putting into your body. But here's the thing: There are so many options out there.
To find out more about natural protein powders, I reached out to Registered Dietician Nutritionist and author of The Superfood Swap DJ Blatner. "The biggest issues with protein powders," she tells me, "are the artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors," adding that it's a good idea to choose proteins from reputable brands that test their products. You can opt for plant-based or animal-based proteins, and while they each have their own specific advantages, Blatner notes that one is not superior to the other — it all depends on your dietary and personal needs.
According to a 2016 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, increased protein intake plays a vital role in retaining muscle mass and aiding in recovery. That said, it's great to consume "right after a workout," but you can really take it whenever to reap its benefits. And if you're wondering how much to consume, Blatner recommends "taking your weight in pounds and multiplying by .5" for an estimated range in grams.
Based on Blatner's guidelines, I've compiled a list of the best natural protein powders, below. I've included a mix of whey- and plant-based proteins, so you won't have trouble finding the right fit for you.