Best Whey Protein Isolate: Review the Top Brands to Buy in 2022

You’ve decided that you’re ready to take the plunge and get in shape. You’ve been told that protein powders are a great way to get the ball rolling. So, you started looking around, only to find yourself completely frustrated. There are so many options- and so much you don’t know about protein powders.

In this article, we’re going to help you learn more about whey protein and why whey protein isolate is best. Then, we’ll review what we believe to be the 7 best whey protein isolate powders on the market today. Hopefully, we can end your frustration and help you decide what your next steps should be.

Whey Protein: What is it?

Whey protein is a combination of proteins isolated from whey, the liquid part of milk that separates during the production of cheese. There are actually two types of protein in milk:

  • Whey (20%)
  • Casein (80%)

As we mentioned, whey is the liquid portion of milk that separates off when cheese is being produced. The fatty parts coagulate to form cheese, while the liquid drains off. If you’ve ever wondered what the liquid floating on top of your yogurt is- that’s whey. Before they learned it had commercial value, cheesemakers used to throw it out.

Once it has been separated during the production of cheese, whey is processed into what we would recognize it as: a powder to make shakes, used as meal replacements, and protein bars. Whey doesn’t usually have a very appealing flavor by itself, which is why it’s typically flavored.

Protein powder is a great way to increase your daily protein consumption. This is a great option for athletes, bodybuilders, or anyone that just needs to increase their protein intake. Typically, whey protein is well-tolerated. However, people who are lactose intolerant need to exercise caution and some people may even experience allergic reactions.

Types of Whey Protein

There are three types of whey protein, which we will take a closer look at below:

  • Whey concentrate: up to 89% protein
  • Whey isolate: 90%+ protein, lower in carbs, fat, and lactose than concentrate

There is a third kind of whey protein, which we will list below, but we’re not really going to discuss it too much. It’s best to avoid this kind of thing if possible.

  • Whey hydrolysate: whey is processed further to speed up digestion/absorption

What is the difference between concentrate and isolate?

We are going to compare whey concentrate and isolate. There are actually several nutritional differences between the two, primarily due to the processing methods.

When whey is collected as a liquid by-product of production of cheese or yogurt, it must go through several steps to increase the protein content.

Once there is an adequate level of protein concentration, the liquid is dried to create a powder that is approximately 80% protein by weight. The other 20% contains carbs and fats. This creates whey concentrate.

If a different process is used to reduce carb and fat content, whey isolate is produced, which contains 90%+ protein by weight. As you can see, the steps used to produce whey isolate creates a powder that has a higher protein content and lower carb/fat content.

That being said, the amino acids in both whey concentrate and whey isolate are basically the same, since they are made from the same proteins.


Benefits of Whey Isolate

There are several benefits to using whey protein isolate. We will take look at those below:

Low in Fat/Carbs

Finding something that is low in fat and carbs is absolutely amazing- especially if you are in a situation where you need to keep them as low as possible. Unfortunately, many of the fitness supplements on the market are packed with excess fat and carbs- but whey protein isolate is different. You can give your body the protein needed without extra calories from macronutrients.

Easily Digested

Whey protein isolate has a high absorption rate and is easily digested by the body. This means that it’s processed much faster than other types of protein. You can consume your whey protein isolate as a nutritional shake for quick uptake and improved absorption rates. Whey protein isolate can regulate bowel movements and in certain forms, even those who are lactose intolerant can consume it. Since it is easily digested and absorbed by the body, research indicates that it can improve insulin levels and fasting lipids.

Contains Vital Amino Acids

Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein. Therefore, it has all 9 of the vital amino acids your body needs. These amino acids help with muscle protein synthesis and muscle repair. According to research, while BCAAs can maximize muscle recovery and growth on its own, when these 9 amino acids are used, muscle protein synthesis increases by as much as 50%.

Some of the other things to note in regards to the amino acid profile in whey protein isolate is that leucine and glutamine stimulate the process of protein synthesis following a training session and are responsible for improving endurance and decreasing tissue damage. Also, cysteine helps with the creation of glutathione, which is an antioxidant that can help preserve/maintain lean muscle mass.

Improves Muscle Mass & Tissue Repair

If you’re trying to get in shape and you’d like to see quality lean muscle tissue growth/repair, you should use whey protein isolate. You can use a pre-workout, intra-workout, and/or a post-workout to improve muscle mass and tissue repair.

When engaging in resistance training, you are creating micro-tears in your muscles. In order to facilitate the repair of the tears and growth of the muscles, you need a protein supplement such as whey protein isolate. If you are unable to recover fully between workouts, you may not see the results that you desire.

Enhances Athletic Performance

Athletes often look for a whey protein isolate to enhance their performance and build lean muscle mass. As you expose your body to physical stresses- such as resistance training- the muscle tissue breaks down (micro-tears) and is repaired.

Whey protein isolate boosts this repair process by speeding up the regeneration. In addition, this increases the production of glutathione, which supports the building and repair of lean muscle tissue.

Protects Against Muscle Wasting Diseases

Some research indicates that whey protein isolate may be beneficial to those who are suffering from muscle wasting diseases. In addition, it may help senior citizens and others who are losing muscle mass due to aging.

7 Best Whey Protein Isolate At-A-Glance

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Easily absorbed
  • No side effects
  • Transparent Labs Whey Protein
  • Improved energy levels
  • No gluten
  • No side effects
  • Onnit Protein Grass-Fed
  • High amino acid levels
  • No added preservatives/additives
  • No side effects
  • Ladder Whey Protein
  • NSP Certified
  • Gluten-free formula
  • No side effects
  • IdealFit IdealLean Protein
  • Improves immune function
  • No added sugars
  • No side effects
  • Legion Whey Isolate Protein
  • High BCAA levels
  • Gluten-free formula
  • No side effects
  • ProMix Whey Isolate Protein Powder
  • Antibiotic & hormone free
  • Flavor variety
  • No side effects
  • 7 Best Whey Protein Isolate Reviews

    When it comes to whey protein isolate, there are so many options on the market, it can be hard to narrow down your options- much less choose the best one. We’ve done the homework for you. We’ve narrowed it down to the 7 best whey protein isolate products on the market. This should help you get closer to making your decision.

    XWERKS Grow


    XWERKS Grow is the first whey protein isolate on our list. This whey isolate is sourced from New Zealand grass-fed cows. As we have mentioned, whey protein isolate is a pure form of whey protein. It has been through an advanced filtration, which has removed the carbs, fat, and lactose. This means that what you’re left with is basically pure protein.

    The reason this made number one on our list is because it’s almost pure protein. This means that it’s easier on your stomach to digest, which means you don’t have to stress about gas or bloating. Additionally, it’s important to note that XWERKS Grow is soy-free and gluten-free.

    Each serving of XWERKS Grow contains 25 grams of protein, nearly 0 carbs or fat, and 6 grams BCAAs. This is all you need in a serious protein powder. There are four flavors:

    • Strawberry
    • Vanilla
    • Peanut butter
    • Chocolate

    Dosage is 1 to 2 scoops daily, as needed.

    Product Powder
    Guarantee? Yes. 30 days
  • No bloating
  • Easily absorbed
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Side effects? No
    Cost? $49
    Flavors Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate, Peanut Butter

    Official Website

    Transparent Labs Whey Protein


    If you tend to be particular about where your protein comes from, this might be a good option for you. Transparent Labs whey protein is 100% whey isolate. The reason this protein powder made our list is the quality of the protein.

    Each scoop of Transparent Labs whey protein measures 32 grams. Of that scoop, 28 grams is protein. This means that each and every serving of this protein powder is 88% protein, which is amazing.

    The protein in this formulation is sourced from grass-fed cows in the United States. They are fed naturally, never given any hormones or any other kind of supplementation. You can be 100% sure that you are giving your body the best protein powder on the market because there are no artificial ingredients added to the powder.

    Each serving of Transparent Labs Whey Protein contains the following:

    • Less than 1 gram sugar
    • 28 grams protein
    • 1 gram of carbs
    • 120 calories (depending on the flavor you use)

    This powder not only has an amazing macronutrient profile, as you can see- the price is affordable too. This proves that you don’t have to break the bank to get healthy. There are several unique flavors to choose from:

    • Chocolate Peanut Butter
    • Vanilla
    • Cereal Splash
    • Mocha
    • Strawberry
    • Salted Caramel
    • Milk Chocolate
    • Cinnamon Pastry

    Dosage is 1 to 2 scoops per day, as needed.

    Product Powder
    Guarantee? Yes. 90 days
  • Increases energy
  • No chemical preservatives
  • Gluten-free
  • Side effects? No
    Cost? $59
    Flavors Strawberry, Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Mocha, Salted Caramel, Cinnamon Pastry

    Official Website

    Onnit Protein Grass-Fed


    Onnit, like XWERKS, sources their whey isolate protein from grass-fed cows in New Zealand. Each serving of Onnit Protein Grass-Fed contains: 100 calories, 0 sugars, and 20 grams of proteins.

    One of the greatest things about Onnit Protein Grass-Fed is the fact that there are no added sugars. This protein powder comes in two basic flavors:

    • Chocolate
    • Vanilla

    This protein powder is formulated to increase muscle gains and speed up recovery following intense workout sessions. In addition, it includes all of the other benefits you would expect from a quality protein powder.

    Dosage is 1 to 2 scoops per day, as needed.

    Product Powder
    Guarantee? Yes. 90 days
  • High amino acid levels
  • No added preservatives/additives
  • Only casein-protein formula
  • Side effects? No
    Cost? $70
    Flavors Vanilla, Chocolate

    Official Website

    Ladder Whey Protein


    Ladder is a protein powder company that was founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger and LeBron James. According to their website, Ladder Whey Protein is formulated to:

    • Support development of muscles
    • Improve recovery
    • Boost endurance

    Each serving of Ladder Whey Protein offers a variety of beneficial macronutrients, including:

    • 26 grams protein
    • 14 grams amino acids
    • 2 billion CFUs probiotics
    • 7 grams BCAAs

    Ladder Whey Protein is offered in two flavors:

    • Chocolate
    • Vanilla

    Ladder Whey Protein is NSF Certified for Sport– which means it’s been through strenuous testing and it does not contain any substances that have been banned in competitions. The best part is, Ladder offers a 30-day guarantee. If you’re not happy, contact them about getting a refund.

    Product Powder
    Guarantee? Yes. 30 days
  • Gluten-free formula
  • NSP Certified formula
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Side effects? No
    Cost? $70
    Flavors Vanilla, Chocolate

    Official Website

    IdealFit IdealLean Protein


    Unfortunately, many people assume that protein powders are for men only. However, that can’t be true, when there are many women in the fitness arena who work out just as hard as- if not harder than- the men.

    IdealLean Protein by IdealFit is formulated exclusively for women. This formula supports development of muscles, weight loss, and keeps those pesky cravings at bay. Each serving of IdealFit IdealLean protein contains the following:

    • 100 calories
    • 2 grams sugar
    • 20 grams protein
    • 0 grams fat

    If you’ve been looking at protein powders, you’ve probably figured out that there are lots of options and many of them are high in fats, fillers, sugars, and calories. IdealLean is different. This formulation offers users an extraordinary whey isolate with very few undesired ingredients or fillers.

    Whether your goal is to lose a few pounds to get that body beach ready or you just want more energy, IdealLean for Women by IdealFit can do the job- getting you in shape while getting the nutrients you need.

    Whether you want to lose a few pounds or simply increase your energy, Ideal Lean Protein for Women from IdealFit allows you to do so while still giving your body wholesome ingredients.

    IdealLean has a variety of unique flavors, including:

    • Marshmallow Cereal
    • Birthday Cake
    • Caramel Mocha
    • Chocolate Coconut
    • Mint Chocolate
    • White Chocolate Peppermint

    Dosage is 1 to 2 scoops daily, as needed.

    Product Powder
    Guarantee? Yes. 365 days
  • Minimizes protein synthesis
  • Improves immune functioning
  • No added sugars
  • Side effects? No
    Cost? $30
    Flavors White Chocolate Peppermint, Mint Chocolate, Marshmallow Cereal, Chocolate Coconut, Caramel Mocha, Birthday Cake

    Official Website

    Legion Whey Isolate Protein


    Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder is an all-natural whey isolate from family owned and operated dairy farms in Ireland. This is one of the most popular whey isolate supplements on the market. Each serving of Legion Whey Isolate Protein contains the following:

    • 22 grams protein
    • 6 grams BCAAs
    • 5 grams fat
    • 2 grams carbs
    • 120 calories

    One of the best things is, there are no added sugars. The thing that sets this Legion Whey Isolate Protein out from the crowd is that they only use the cleanest, healthiest milk. They only work with Irish farmers that are in compliance with the regulations set forth by SDAS, that is the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme. These regulations are quite strict.

    Legion Whey Isolate Protein offers a variety of unique flavors:

    • Dutch Chocolate
    • French Vanilla
    • Fruity Cereal
    • Cookies & Cream
    • Cinnamon Cereal
    • Cocoa Cereal
    • Strawberry Banana
    • Salted Caramel
    • Mocha Cappuccino
    • Mint Chocolate
    • Birthday Cake
    • Chocolate Peanut Butter

    For those who don’t want a flavored protein powder, Legion also offers an unflavored version. This can be added to your favorite food or beverage without affecting the flavor.

    Therefore, if you are looking for a protein powder that is clean and natural and offers a wide variety of benefits, you might want to consider Legion Whey Isolate Protein.

    Dosage is 1 to 2 scoops daily, as needed.

    Product Powder
    Guarantee? Yes. 365 days
  • No trans-fats
  • High levels of BCAAs
  • Gluten-Free
  • Side effects? No
    Cost? $50
    Flavors Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies & Cream, Birthday Cake, Cinnamon Cereal, Cocoa Cereal, French Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Fruity Cereal, Mint Chocolate, Mocha Cappuccino, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Banana, Unflavored

    Official Website

    ProMix Whey Isolate Protein Powder


    ProMix Whey Isolate Protein Powder is simple. However, don’t let the simplicity fool you- it is still quite powerful. This whey isolate is sourced from Irish grass-fed cows and has been microfiltered. This means that it’s perfect for improving development of muscles and improving recovery rates following workouts.

    Each serving of ProMix Whey Isolate Protein Powder contains the following:

    • 6 grams BCAAs
    • 30 grams protein
    • 2 grams amino acids

    As you can clearly see by these numbers, this is one of the most powerful protein powders on the market. It comes in an unflavored version or a chocolate. Plus, it is available in two sizes:

    • 2 pounds
    • 5 pounds
    Product Powder
    Guarantee? Yes. 90 days
  • No added hormones
  • No added antibiotics
  • Powerful blend of micronutrients
  • Side effects? No
    Cost? $45
    Flavors Unflavored, Chocolate

    Official Website

    How to Choose a Whey Protein Isolate

    When you are choosing a whey protein isolate supplement, there are a few factors that you should keep in mind. We’ll go over these below.

    Protein Content

    In general, whey protein isolates are 90 to 95% protein. Therefore, it’s quite common to find formulas that have 25+ grams per serving. For most people, this should be enough- especially if you are already consuming an adequate amount of protein in your diet.

    According to the experts, you should be consuming approximately 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day. Of course, if you are highly active, you can increase your protein intake to provide your body with the fuel to get through those high intensity workouts.

    Fat Content

    Since most of the fat is removed during processing, fat content really isn’t a major concern when it comes to choosing a whey protein isolate. Of course, if your goal is to lower the amount of fat you are consuming, you may want to check the label before buying a whey protein isolate powder. Most of them will be less than 1 gram per serving- but you may come across one every now and then that has a higher fat content.

    Carbohydrate Content

    As a general rule, we need carbohydrates. They act as fuel for our bodies. That being said, too many can actually cause you to gain weight. If you are trying to lose weight by using a whey protein isolate, it’s important to check the label for carb content. Again, carb count shouldn’t be a major issue because carbs are removed during processing. Most of them will have 2 grams or less per serving. This is much lower than the average carb count for whey protein concentrate supplements.

    Sugar Content

    Sugar does make your whey protein isolate powder taste better- but it can actually work against you. Consuming too much sugar can cause you to gain weight, along with a variety of other potential health issues. Therefore, it’s a good idea to choose a whey protein isolate that contains little sugar- but still has a good flavor.

    Other Ingredients

    When you are reading the label on your whey protein isolate, make sure that you consider the following ingredients as well:

    Artificial Sweeteners

    There are some companies that will add artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to their whey protein isolate supplements. However, according to health experts, this may actually do more harm than good. When possible, avoid artificial sweeteners. Some of the most common ones include: sucralose, acesulfame potassium (ace K), and aspartame.

    Artificial Colors

    Honestly, there is no good reason for artificial colors. They don’t really do anything except make the protein powder a different color. There are some consumers that worry about the health consequences of artificial coloring and if you fall into that category, it’s best to just avoid them. Often, these will be listed as “FD&C” followed by a color and then a number.

    Artificial Flavors

    Many of the whey protein isolates contain artificial flavors. Of course, there are some people that question the safety of these artificial flavors. If this is a concern, you may wish to go for the unflavored formulas or those that use natural flavors. The label will state whether they use natural or artificial flavoring.

    Amino Acids

    Amino acids are protein building blocks that ensure your body performs at its peak. You will find that some of the whey protein isolates contain added amino acids. There are 9 essential amino acids that your body needs. Of course, you don’t have to choose a formula with added amino acids, your body can get what it needs from the food sources of protein that you use.


    As you will see, many of the whey protein isolates on our list are gluten-free. If you are allergic to gluten or you have a gluten sensitivity, it’s a good idea to carefully read the label to make sure that the whey protein isolate supplement you are choosing is gluten-free.

    Dosage & Side Effects of Whey Isolate

    The common recommended dosage for whey isolate is 1 to 2 scoops daily, typically following a workout. This equates to about 25 to 50 grams. Of course, this is just a general recommendation. You should follow the instructions on the package.

    It’s important to note, if you are already consuming a high amount of protein, you really don’t need to add a whey protein supplement on top of it. There have been some concerns that perhaps too much protein could cause kidney damage and even contribute to osteoporosis. However, these concerns are completely unsubstantiated.

    In fact, it appears that the opposite is true. Protein actually protects against osteoporosis and has no impact at all on kidneys. That being said, if you already have issues with your kidneys or liver, you may need to consult with a medical professional before you start using a whey protein isolate.

    Of course, consuming too much protein can result in digestive issues, including:

    • Cramping
    • Pain
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Flatulence

    In addition, some people have been known to have allergic reactions to whey protein products. In some cases, whey isolate is a perfectly good alternative if you do have issues with whey concentrate. Of course, it is also an option to avoid whey protein supplements completely and get your protein from natural sources instead.

    As a general rule, whey protein is 100% safe, and most people find they can consume it with no problems at all.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Whey Protein Isolate

    Any time you decide you want to start using a dietary supplement, such as whey protein isolate, you may have some questions. After all, it’s always best to have all of the facts before you get started with anything. Below, we’re going to explore some of the most frequently asked questions about whey protein isolate.

    When should you be using whey protein isolate?

    According to the fitness experts, you should be using your whey protein isolate approximately 15 minutes to 1 hour following your workout. This is what is known as the anabolic window and has been recognized as the best time to get the most out of nutrients, including protein.

    Is it necessary to use a whey protein isolate?

    To be honest, no it’s not really necessary to use a whey protein isolate supplement. It is possible to provide your body with all of the protein it needs from natural sources, including chicken breast, fish, whole grains, nuts/seeds, eggs, cottage cheese, and milk. After all, if you are already consuming adequate amounts of protein, it will end up turning into calories- which is not good when you’re trying to get in shape. Of course, if you are not getting an adequate amount of protein, a supplement is a good idea.

    How often should a whey protein isolate be used?

    The truth is, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to drinking protein shakes and consuming too many is not likely to have negative long-term effects. That being said, most people feel that 1 to 3 shakes per day should help you hit your nutritional requirements.

    Do whey protein isolate supplements really make a difference?

    When you use them properly, a whey protein isolate supplement can give you the protein you need to help build lean muscle mass. That being said, you can’t just use the supplement alone and expect results overnight. In order to build muscle mass, you must make sure to balance your protein and carbs- as well as participate in a workout plan that includes strength training.

    Can a whey protein isolate powder cause weight gain?

    Protein is not going to cause weight gain. Weight gain is caused by consuming more calories than you burn. This is known as a caloric surplus. If you are trying to lose weight, you must create a caloric deficit. That is, burn more calories than you consume.

    Can you build muscle without whey protein isolate?

    The primary building block of muscles is protein. This means you must make sure you are giving your body the protein it needs to build muscle mass. Of course, there’s so much more to it than protein. You must also make sure that you’re getting all of the nutrients you need- as well as working out.

    Do you have to be an athlete to use whey protein isolate?

    Protein shakes contain calories. Consuming them can cause you to gain weight- if you’re not physically active. This is a problem if you are expecting to lose weight with little to no effort. On average, adults need 46 to 56 grams of protein per day, based on overall health and current weight. That being said, you do not have to be an athlete- but you do need to be somewhat active.

    Can you drink whey protein isolate shakes every day?

    Yes. There is nothing wrong with drinking whey protein shakes every day. After all, this supplement does have an extraordinary safety profile. Of course, you could work on your diet and make sure you’re consuming the necessary nutrients- including protein- but most people are too busy to plan out their meals like that. Therefore, if you do choose to use whey protein isolate shakes, you should not exceed 50 grams (2 scoops) per day. As stated earlier, it’s also fine if you drink more than one shake per day.

    Is it better to use whey protein isolate shakes prior to or following a workout?

    Protein is involved in the repair and rebuilding of muscles following a workout. Therefore, most people choose to drink a protein shake after working out. According to experts, it really doesn’t matter. You can consume it before or after. In fact, some people do both: they have a pre-workout shake to give them energy to get through the workout and a post-workout shake to facilitate recovery.

    Are there any side effects associated with whey protein isolate?

    As we have mentioned, the recommended dosage is 25 to 50 grams, that is 1 to 2 scoops per day. Of course, each product will have their own dosing recommendations listed on their packaging. It’s important to keep in mind that too much protein can potentially be bad for you. If you consume too much, there may be some digestive distress, including:

    • Cramping
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Bloating
    • Pain
    • Flatulence

    Most people have no issues with moderate consumption. Even individuals who are lactose intolerant often have no issues with whey protein isolate- even though it is a dairy based product.

    It’s important to note that if you have liver and/or kidney issues, you need to discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of whey protein isolate with your medical provider.

    What if you choose to work out without a whey isolate protein supplement?

    If you are lifting or doing strength training without the proper nutrition, you may actually end up losing muscle tissue. Also, if you are not getting adequate nutrition (including protein), you won’t have the energy you need to power through workouts that can help with muscle gain.

    What if you consume too much whey protein isolate?

    If you do end up consuming too much whey protein isolate, you may do some damage to your heart. This could result in heart issues including cardiac arrest and arrhythmia. The medical community has linked protein sources to high saturated fats, as well as high blood sugar and blood acidity.

    Does whey protein isolate have an age restriction?

    Ideally, only adults 18+ should be using a whey protein isolate supplement. After all, at this point, they have stopped growing. However, if you think your teen may benefit from using a protein supplement before the age of 18, speak with their medical provider about your options. While most of the supplements are considered generally safe, they are not always safe for children.


    Whey protein isolate is considered the purest form of whey protein. After all, once it is processed, it is 90%+ protein and is low in fat, carbs, and lactose. Even those who have lactose sensitivities generally have no problems with whey protein isolate.

    When you decide that it’s time you get in shape and maybe even add a whey protein isolate supplement to your diet, it can be quite overwhelming. There are so many different products on the market. How do you know which one is the best? That is why we did the work for you. We came up with what we believe to be the 7 best whey protein isolate supplements on the market today.

    Many of the companies offer several unique and delicious flavors. Of course, if you don’t care about flavor, they do also offer some unflavored formulas as well.

    Hopefully, we have helped you to know more about whey protein isolate in general, as well as gotten some direction in what companies are the best. We wish you the best of luck in your fitness journey.

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