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Best Whey Protein UK – Our Top 6 Picks For 2020 

 June 28, 2020

by Lucas

In a hurry? Click here to jump to our top picks.

If you’ve been shopping for whey protein recently, I won’t be surprised if you’re a little overwhelmed. Since the benefits of protein supplements snuck out of the bodybuilding world and into the mainstream some 15 years ago, the amount of options on the market has exploded. Finding the best whey protein is a workout in itself!

But choosing a quality protein is important, and if you’ve been training hard, dieting diligently and getting your lifts in on schedule every week, you want to make sure you’re protein intake is on point too. There’s nothing worse than doing all that hard work and feeling like some of it is going to waste.

In this guide, we’re going to take you through exactly what to look for in a good whey protein, the best protein brands we’ve found, and which ones specifically managed to edge out the competition and take our top spots.

Why whey protein?

best whey protein uk

There are two types of protein in milk products: whey protein and casein protein. Whey is the proteins found in the watery portion of milk – similar to the watery bit you see on top of yogurt sometimes.

The proteins in why contain all 9 essential amino acids, meaning it is a complete protein. These proteins are essential for muscle growth but cannot be produced by the body. You must get them via food or supplements.

This makes whey protein and ideal supplement for repairing and building muscle in the body.

What to look for in a good whey protein?

Purity

Always look at the ingredients list when purchasing whey protein. What you are looking for is pure whey protein, that hasn’t been adulterated by other proteins.

Some of the cheaper brands may have cut their whey protein with soya protein or rice protein which are not complete proteins and not what you want.

Some things that are okay to see on the ingredients list are low-carb sweeteners such as stevia, sucralose or erythritol, and some flavourings such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder. Most proteins are flavoured to make them more drinkable and this doesn’t decrease their effectiveness.

Budget

Some whey proteins are more expensive than others. It’s important to check if the expensive proteins are actually better than the cheaper ones. Whey itself is not an expensive ingredient. What can make whey proteins expensive is their sourcing, packaging, testing and certifications and branding. Those are all fine things to pay for if you wish to.

Again, if you’re going with a cheaper product, make sure it hasn’t been cut with lower quality proteins.

Taste

All proteins taste different. Vanilla and chocolate are the two most popular flavours, and even they can taste quite different between brands. We’ve tasted all the proteins on our list below, and find them all reasonably palatable if not quite delicious.

If you dislike artificial sweeteners and flavourings, it’s best to buy an unflavoured protein and flavour it yourself (with bananas, berries etc).

Mixability

Nothing is worse than a protein powder that doesn’t mix, and clumps together or leaves little nuggets of undissolved powder. While most reputable brands mix well, some of the cheaper ones may tend to clump especially in water.

The best way to avoid clumping is to use a blender.

Macros

Finally, always check the macros on your whey protein powder. They should contain less than 10g of carbs per 100g, and less than 10g of fat per 100g.

Each 100g should also contain at least 75-80g of protein. If not, it’s either got additives or been adulterated (sometimes it’s possible it’s been it’s been mixed with other vitamins or nutrients, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we prefer for our protein powders to be purely protein).

Reviews: Our Top Whey Protein Picks

Item
Best Budget Choice
Bulk Powders Pure Whey Protein
Best Organic Whey
The Organic Protein Company Whey Protein
Best Overall!
Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein
Preview
BULK POWDERS Pure Whey Protein Powder Shake, Vanilla, 1 kg
Organic Whey Protein Powder - Grass Fed, No Additives, No Gluten (400 grams)
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder Muscle Building Supplements With Glutamine and Amino Acids, Cookies and Cream, 28 Servings, 900 g, Packaging May Vary
Protein content
77.2%
79%
79%
Sugar content
7.8%
2.3%
3.3%
Whey source
Whey concentrate
Whey concentrate
Whey concentrate, isolate and peptide blend
Flavours
25+
1
30+
Grass fed?
Organic
£21.54
£21.99
£30.99
Best Budget Choice
Item
Bulk Powders Pure Whey Protein
Preview
BULK POWDERS Pure Whey Protein Powder Shake, Vanilla, 1 kg
Protein content
77.2%
Sugar content
7.8%
Whey source
Whey concentrate
Flavours
25+
Grass fed?
Organic
£21.54
Best Organic Whey
Item
The Organic Protein Company Whey Protein
Preview
Organic Whey Protein Powder - Grass Fed, No Additives, No Gluten (400 grams)
Protein content
79%
Sugar content
2.3%
Whey source
Whey concentrate
Flavours
1
Grass fed?
Organic
£21.99
Best Overall!
Item
Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein
Preview
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder Muscle Building Supplements With Glutamine and Amino Acids, Cookies and Cream, 28 Servings, 900 g, Packaging May Vary
Protein content
79%
Sugar content
3.3%
Whey source
Whey concentrate, isolate and peptide blend
Flavours
30+
Grass fed?
Organic
£30.99

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Powder Muscle Building Supplements With Glutamine and Amino Acids, Cookies and Cream, 28 Servings, 900 g, Packaging May Vary

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey is almost like the Coca Cola of whey proteins – it’s seen in every country and every gym and everybody is reasonably happy when they drink it!

What’s so good about it? Delivering an optimal 80% protein content, with an ingredients list that contains only the necessities, we consider this one of the most reliable and best whey proteins on the UK market.

The price is also very reasonable, and it comes in a multitude of flavours. My personal favourite is Cookies & Cream, but the Double Chocolate has also been a big hit with the testers here. It mixes great as well, even in just a simple shaker and water.

If you’re shopping for your first ever tub of whey, this is where we’d suggest you start.

Sale
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
1,882 Reviews
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

  • 80% whey protein.
  • Mixes well.
  • Many great flavours.
  • Highly reputable brand.


Myprotein Impact Whey Protein

Myprotein Impact Whey Protein, 1 kg, Chocolate Smooth

When MyProtein came onto the market their goal was to bring a premium grade whey protein with no frills and beat everyone else on price.

They did that and even more, becoming one of the most popular and recognisable whey protein brands in the UK.

What we love most about MyProtein is there’s no fuss – it’s clean, simple, packaged inexpensively and delivered right to your door. It’s also a premium product, like they promised – 75% protein content with few additives beyond sweetener and flavouring.

Another thing they’ve become well known for is their impressive range of flavours – there’s over 40 of them! We’ve only tried a couple, but they taste fantastic.

If you’re on a budget, or you drink a lot of protein and are trying to keep costs down, MyProtein is an excellent choice. A great price without compromising on purity.

MyProtein Impact Whey Protein
13,960 Reviews

BULK POWDERS Pure Whey Protein

BULK POWDERS Pure Whey Protein Powder Shake, Vanilla, 1 kg

BULK POWDERS is another whey protein offering in the lower price range. It also comes in some interesting flavours, for this particular review we tried the Tiramisu and the Peaches & Cream (both pretty good!)

The protein content is solid coming in at 77%, and all their whey is sourced from the milk of grass fed cows. However one thing we were wary of was the sugar content, which is 2.3g per serving, or 7.8%. That’s a reasonably high percentage for whey and while not a deal breaker, we wouldn’t recommend this powder for anyone on keto or low carb diets.

It is however very good value, possibly the best value whey protein we’ve seen. If budget is your main concern, this is probably your best pick.

BULK POWDERS Pure Whey Protein
6,373 Reviews
BULK POWDERS Pure Whey Protein

  • 77% protein.
  • Grass fed whey.
  • Very affordable.
  • Rich in glutamine and BCAA.
  • Higher in sugar than most brands.


THE PROTEIN WORKS Whey Protein 360 Powder

THE PROTEIN WORKS Whey Protein 360 Powder | High Protein Shake | No Added Sugar and Low Fat | Protein Blend | Choc Marble Cheesecake | 1.2 kg

The Protein Works is a lesser known brand but we think they do a great job with their range of products, which includes a various powders like vegan proteins, egg proteins and also a line of protein snacks.

As for their whey, the macros run an impressive 76% protein to 6% fat and 2.3% sugar – right in the sweet spot of what we like. We tried their White Chocolate Peanut Sundae flavour (we generally order the weirdest ones!) and it was great!

One thing to note is they don’t use a pure whey protein, they use their own 5 protein blend – a mixture of fast and slow absorbing proteins to improve uptake by the body. While these are mostly whey/milk protein extracts and isolates, they do include some soy protein which we generally try to avoid. However, their reasoning for it is interesting and one we wouldn’t mind experimenting with – it might even be a net positive.

The other negative we’d point out is that it doesn’t mix quite as well as other powders, we generally try them in a shaker with water, and in a blender with the full monty of fruits and milk and so on. In a blender almost all powders are fine, but in a shaker this one took some vigorous work before it was drinkable.

Still we felt it deserved a spot on the list, because overall the macros are great, as are the flavours. Good one to try if you’re looking to change up your protein routine a little.

Sale
THE PROTEIN WORKS Whey Protein 360 Powder
305 Reviews
THE PROTEIN WORKS Whey Protein 360 Powder

  • 76% protein.
  • Low in sugar.
  • Good range of flavours.
  • Added vitamin and mineral blend.
  • 5 protein blend.


foodspring Whey Protein Powder

foodspring Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla, 750g, High Protein for Stronger Muscles, from Grass-Fed Milk

Foodspring has positioned their why offering at the higher end of the market, focusing on quality sourcing and premium grade whey.

All of foodspring’s whey comes from New Zealand, where all cows are pasture-raised and produce 3x less CO2 than the global average. Their cows graze freely for 328 days per year, meaning your whey comes only from grass fed cows without fertilizers.

What about the macros? Foodspring’s whey protein has an impressive 80% protein content with just under 5% sugars and carbohydrates – within the range we’d look for in a good whey protein.

Sweetened with stevia and formulated for perfect solubility, it may be a little pricier than most but does everything right.

foodspring Whey Protein Powder
2,921 Reviews
foodspring Whey Protein Powder

  • Only from New Zealand pastured cows.
  • Perfect solubility.
  • 80% protein content.
  • Low in carbs and sugar.
  • 7 different flavours.


PBN Whey Protein Powder

Premium Body Nutrition Whey Protein Powder 1kg Vanilla

PBN is quite a popular brand of whey protein in the UK so we knew we had to try it. We picked up a bag of the Chocolate Hazelnut flavour and while not something we’d replace a Ferrero Rocher with, it was pretty good.

The macros on it are also solid with 78.6% protein and 6% sugar. We generally don’t worry too much about the fat percentage as it usually doesn’t fluctuate much between brands and we’ve never been a fan of low fat diets anyway – but this one comes in at 5.8% fat which is standard.

Probably the best thing about PBN’s whey protein is the price. It’s also a good mix of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolates (isolates are generally preferred), whereas most lower priced brands use whey concentrate only. We tend to sway towards the BULK Powders brand we reviewed above when shopping at this price range, mostly due to it being grass fed and a greater range of flavours. However PBN is still a really solid brand we’d be happy to recommend.

PBN Whey Protein Powder
1,100 Reviews
PBN Whey Protein Powder

  • Only from New Zealand pastured cows.
  • Perfect solubility.
  • 80% protein content.
  • Low in carbs and sugar.
  • 7 different flavours.


The Organic Protein Company Whey Protein

Organic Whey Protein Powder - Grass Fed, No Additives, No Gluten (400 grams)

If you’re after the purest possible whey protein, this is what you’re looking for. While every other powder on this list comes with various added ingredients such as sweeteners, flavourings, preservative, soy lecithin and so on, this protein is a single ingredient product – organic whey protein isolates and nothing else.

Unflavoured and unadulterated, this is a completely additive, GM, gluten, soy and hormone free whey protein powder. Made using a low temperature whey filtration process and using only milk from grass fed organic cows, this is a clean of a whey protein as you’ll find in the UK.

Their why is also tested for heavy metals which has come up at the lowest possible detectable levels.

Macros? As a pure whey isolate, they come in right on the mark at 79% protein, 2% sugar and 5% fat.

As an added bonus, they donate 25p to Compassion in World Farming for every pack sold.

The Organic Protein Company Whey Protein
397 Reviews
The Organic Protein Company Whey Protein

  • Only one ingredient – organic whey protein.
  • Made only from grass fed cows.
  • Additive, gluten, soy, GMO, hormone free.
  • 80% protein content.
  • 25p donated to Compassion in World Farming with every purchase.


Just missed the list…

A few protein powders we tried were good, but failed to miss our official recommendations list. The most notable ones are USN Why Protein, PhD Nutrition Whey Protein. The main reason for this was their protein content was too low. We generally look for at least 75% protein content in a good whey protein powder. Anything less and it usually has additives.

It’s important to note that not all additives are bad. If they adding vitamins or minerals or fibres to improve the nutrient profile or digestability, it may even be a good thing. However, this will be on a case by case basis, and in general we like to stick with whey at the higher end of the protein purity scale.


How To Use Whey Protein Powder

There is some debate as to the best way to supplement with protein. Some insist that you need to get a serving in your system as soon as you finish a work out. However, studies show that your body stays receptive to protein for muscle mass for around 24 hours.

While it might be slightly better to get it in as soon as you put the barbell down, don’t stress if you can’t do it. You don’t even really need to take your protein shaker to the gym. It’s fine to wait an hour or so until you’re home, showered, and ready to relax that you can mix up a decent protein shake and knock it down.

Best way to drink it?

With a good flavoured whey protein, there’s nothing wrong with just a simple protein shaker like this one and some filtered water.

However, we like to pimp our protein shakes with a few extras like organic berries, grass fed yogurt, some nuts and seeds and any of your favourite milks. Pop all those in a blender with 1-2 scoops of whey and you’ll feel like superman.

Our final picks!

While there are many great brands on the market, we can’t fault Optimum Nutrition and continue to use it to this day. They’ve set the standard for quality whey protein and we see no reason to change. The only reason we can think of for switching loyalties is the price. ON Whey Protein isn’t the cheapest protein, so if your budget is tight, you might want to try another option.

Our recommendation in that case would be Bulk Powders. It’s the cheapest whey protein on this list, sourced from grass fed cows and comes in a great array of flavours.

As for organic whey, there’s only one we can recommend and that’s the whey protein from The Organic Protein Company. A little pricey, but the cleanest protein on the market.

Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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