An RD’s Guide to The Different Types of Protein Powder

Different Types of Protein PowderDifferent Types of Protein Powder

Many of us have heard of the convenience of incorporating a protein powder into our diet, but with so many options available in protein powders, it can often feel daunting to choose the right protein. How much protein should I take? Which protein should I take? What should I be looking for on the label? These are all questions that can make a simple choice less simple. We will walk you through all these questions and more to make choosing a quality protein powder easy. 

What are Protein Powders Used For? 

Protein powders are a convenient way to increase one of the most important macronutrients—protein—in one’s daily diet. As most of us live a busy lifestyle and don’t always have the time to cook a full meal, using this convenient and delicious option makes it easier to get adequate protein each day. In general, most proteins powders offer between 20-40g of protein per serving. This is a good range to shoot for when choosing the right protein for you.

How Do I Choose a Protein Powder? 

Next, we will discuss the different types of protein powders. Protein powders come in a variety of formats including dairy-based whey proteins, plant-based proteins, collagen proteins, and even meal replacement proteins. Plant-based proteins are any protein powder that is made from a plant source. Some of the most popular options for plant-based proteins are pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, among other naturally sprouted or fermented nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Plant-based proteins are the best option for anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, avoiding dairy, or who is looking for a convenient way to increase their protein intake from a high-quality plant source. Plant protein powders are truly a great option for most individuals as they can be consumed throughout a variety of dietary styles including keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, sustainably focused.

When choosing a quality plant-based protein, you should look for 3rd party certifications. The gold standards for certifications are Organic Certification and Non-GMO Project Certification.

garden of life protein certificationsgarden of life protein certifications

Other certifications to look for in a quality plant protein are vegan certification to ensure that no animal products are used, and gluten-free certification to ensure no gluten containing ingredients are in the product. Kosher certification is another 3rd party audit that ensures the product adheres to strict kosher tenants and has been thoroughly assessed by an approved rabbi. 

Aside from 3rd party certifications, other things to look for in a quality protein are low/no added sugars, no soy ingredients, and no artificial flavors or sweeteners. To improve digestion, many quality proteins will include digestive aids such as probiotics and enzymes. The inclusion of these two ingredients will improve digestion and make the protein powder easier on the stomach. In addition to probiotics and enzymes, fiber is often included in protein powders to improve feelings of fullness.

Which protein to choose based on different lifestyles 

One of the oldest and most popular types of protein powders are whey proteins.

Whey Protein 

Whey protein is a dairy-based protein powder that is created from milk during the cheese making process. Don’t worry, it doesn’t actually taste like cheese. In fact, whey protein is an excellent tasting powder that mixes easily with water or one’s milk of choice. Whey protein is an ideal choice for supplementing because it is high in a type of protein called Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA). These are the components of protein that increase our body’s ability to repair damaged muscle and create new muscle. Everyone has muscle so even if you’re not looking to increase your muscle mass, this is still a great protein option.

Whey Protein usually comes in 2 different types: whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. Whey protein isolate simply means that the ‘lactose’ sugars from the milk have been removed. This is a good option for anyone who is looking to avoid lactose.

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Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein concentrate means that nothing has been removed during the production and key components of the whey protein have been retained such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), lactoferrin, and other beneficial compounds in their natural form. Whey protein concentrate is one of the tastiest ways to consume a protein powder.  

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Whey Protein Isolates  

If you are looking for a full-flavored whey protein with all the additional naturally occurring compounds, whey protein concentrate is the way to go. If you are an athlete looking for quick absorbing, high-quality protein, whey protein isolate is the way to go. For those who are looking to avoid dairy, plant-based proteins are the ideal protein powder.  

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Plant Based Proteins

Garden of Life has been a leader in developing high-quality plant-based proteins for nearly two decades. We have a number of delicious options for a variety of lifestyle applications:

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Weight Loss Protein Powders 

For those who are looking to lose weight, we formulated an intelligent protein powder that delivers an excellent 28g of protein along with several clinically studied ingredients that help burn fat, satisfy hunger, and fight cravings.†

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Sport & Athletics Protein Powders 

Our Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein powder is ideal for athletes who are looking for a whopping 30g of protein per serving along with an organic recovery blend that includes tart cherry to reduce recovery time after exercise.† Our Sport proteins are NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Choice Certified meaning they have been tested to ensure that there are no banned substances for athletes. This is the gold standard plant-based protein for athletes as it is also USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified along with being Certified Vegan and NSF Certified Gluten-Free.   

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The Best Tasting Protein Powders 

Let’s face it, not all protein powders are created equal.  Sometimes flavor can be sacrificed for convenience. Luckily Garden of Life combines the highest-quality proteins with delicious flavor profiles to ensure an enjoyable experience.  Our new Organic Creamy Protein was designed to be creamy, smooth, and packed full of delicious flavor. We designed a new powdered creamer system built around oat milk and coconut milk to deliver the best tasting protein with just the addition of water.  Two never done before flavors—vanilla cookie & chocolate brownie—make up our best-tasting proteins to date. Did we mention they are Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Vegan, NSF Certified Gluten Free, Kosher, Carbon Neutral Certified, and of course, we incorporated prebiotics & probiotics for healthy digestion.

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Meal Replacement Protein Powders

What’s the difference between a standard protein powder and a meal replacement protein powder? While protein powders normally include only protein with flavorings, a meal replacement powder contains protein along with other important components of a well-rounded meal such as fiber, greens, fruit & vegetables, probiotics & enzymes, plus whole food vitamins and minerals. A meal replacement powder is essentially a meal in a bottle; for those of us who live a busy lifestyle— and let’s be honest, who doesn’t live a busy lifestyle these days. This is a convenient way to get an array of whole-food nutrients without the need to prepare an entire meal. Garden of Life created Raw Organic Meal to be a truly healthy meal on-the-go. Designed with 20g of protein, greens, healthy fats, fiber, probiotics, enzymes, and 21 vitamin & minerals, this is truly an all-in-one shake. Raw Organic Meal is Certified Vegan, Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, NSF Certified Gluten-Free, Kosher, Carbon Neutral Certified, and now NSF Contents Certified.  With over 44 superfoods per scoop, this is convenient way to stay full and support a healthy diet.

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Versatile Protein Powders

For those who are looking for a ‘do it all’ protein, Raw Organic Protein is the perfect choice. Raw Organic Protein is a delicious plant protein made from 13 raw organic sprouts. Each serving delivers 22 grams of protein along with probiotics and enzymes to assist with digestion. This protein also has naturally occurring fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K—the way nature intended it.  Raw, sprouted, organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, kosher, and zero grams of sugar. These are all reasons to believe. Raw Organic Protein is a delicious source of high-quality protein that is easy to digest with probiotics and enzymes making it one of the most versatile proteins available.

Garden of Life also has Raw Organic Protein & Greens which is the same delicious protein with the convenience of added greens.

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garden of life grass fed collagen powdersgarden of life grass fed collagen powders


Let’s not forget about Collagen.  Collagen is an animal-sourced protein that is popular for its benefits to hair, skin, nails, and joints.  While collagen does contain protein, it is not a complete protein like whey and plant protein, so it should be used in conjunction with other protein sources.  When purchasing a collagen powder, you want to look for ‘collagen peptides’ as these are the easiest form to digest.  Although collagen has numerous different “types”, the most common types of collagens in our body are type 1 and type 3.  All Garden of Life’s collagens are in peptide form and comprised of primarily type 1 and type 3 collagen. 

Collagen is flavorless and mixes well with just about anything so it's easy to add to morning coffee, smoothies, or foods.  Garden of Life has several different collagen powders for individuals needs. 

Unflavored for easy mixing.

Beauty collagens for radiant hair, skin & nails and to support skin elasticity and resistance to aging.

Multi-sourced collagens for joints & hair, skin, and nails.

turmeric and multi-sourced collagensturmeric and multi-sourced collagens

Plus, a variety of other delicious collagen options. 

Whether it’s plant protein, or collagen peptides, these are all great choices when looking for a quality protein powder. It’s not just what’s in the bottle that matters, it’s also what’s not in the bottle.  This is why Garden of Life strives to acquire 3rd party certifications to ensure that products are clean and suitable for a variety of lifestyles. Whether you are looking to lose weight, build muscle, or eat a delicious meal on the go, Garden of Life has a protein that’s right for you.

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