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15 Top Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powders [2023 Review & Comparison]


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Looking for the top dietary protein supplement to transform your health, body, and performance?

To rapidly:

  • Build muscle
  • Burn fat
  • Heal your gut
  • Accelerate recovery
  • Optimize immunity
  • Protect against disease
  • Slow biological aging

So far, nothing beats whey. Specifically grass-finished whey protein powder. It’s packed full of potent anabolic nutrients to support the highest levels of performance, growth, and recovery.

But here’s the thing…

Not all whey is the same. Most stuff found in your local supplement shop won’t give you all the studied benefits. What you want is a quality, grass-finished whey protein. Rich in all kinds of micronutrients. For over a decade, I’ve regularly researched, tested, and reviewed whey protein products.

In this roundup and review, I’ll outline the benefits of whey, explain why it’s so great, and help you choose the best grass-fed whey protein for your goals and lifestyle.

Whey is the World’s Best Protein Source

whey contains these ingredients

Whey is regarded as the world’s highest-quality protein source.

When measured via the protein quality scale called Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS), whey comes out towards the top with scores ranging between 125-133 (depending on the type).

Containing all nine essential amino acids (we must get these from diet), other non-essential amino acids, and ample branched-chain amino acids, it’s a powerful tool to build muscle, burn fat, and transform your body.

Things that make whey a superb protein source include:

  • Essential amino acid profile
  • Leucine levels
  • Growth factors
  • Mixability
  • Digestibility
  • Low-calories
  • Taste
  • Price

Whey has an awesome composition of amino acids making it the ideal choice to build and rebuild tissues. Dollar for dollar, it’s the best-value protein source.

It’s also by far the tastiest and most convenient option. One scoop contains less powder and more protein than alternatives. And a smoother texture.

Best of all, whey contains all kinds of other unique and beneficial compounds:

Clearly, whey is much more than a simple protein. Buying the right whey, however, isn’t so simple. Here’s what you must know.

Buyers Guide to Quality Whey Protein

There are all kinds of considerations that go into your ideal whey protein choice.

No matter which you choose, quality whey proteins fit the following criteria:

  • Grass-fed (preferably grass-finished)
  • Certified Organic
  • Free of antibiotics, hormones, heavy metals, contaminants, pesticides, artificial colors, preservatives
  • Minimal sweeteners, artificial flavors, or even natural flavors
  • Non-GMO
  • Lab tested for purity and safety
  • Cold-processed (as opposed to the industry standard ethanol/hexane processing)
  • Non-denatured
  • Fortification with additional beneficial additives

Sadly, very few products match these standards.

Some grass-fed whey is not certified organic. Yet choosing grass-fed whey guarantees that the cows get a far better diet. Which in turn, results in more nutritious products.

Why does grass-fed (and grass-finished) matter?

Grass-Fed Whey Over Traditional Whey Protein

A quick “Nutrient Facts” comparison between grass-fed and conventional whey will fool you. The macronutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) look nearly identical.

First and foremost, the nutrient composition, density, and quality of grass-fed livestock is in a different league.

The fatty acid profile, vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive nutrients far exceed conventional products. One notable example is called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). People often supplement with this to help burn fat and for the immunoregulatory properties.

Grass-fed whey tends to be rich in rare (but essential) minerals notoriously lacking in the modern diet. Things like phosphorus and manganese. Dairy from cattle proportionally has larger quantities of healthy, cardioprotective unsaturated fats (unoxidized PUFAs and MUFAs).

It contains astronomically more bioactive peptides and growth factors. Plus, the micro-RNA from quality, properly raised foods is starkly more biosupportive.

Grass-Fed Whey Processing Tech: Cold-Processed vs Traditional High-Heat Processed

Since you’re here reading about grass-fed whey, you likely already know some of the factors comprising the quality difference.

Filtration is the necessary process of extracting whey from dairy. Specifically, removing the other primary protein (casein) and fat. Two types of processing dominate the industry.

Just like science has established with food, high-heat whey processing also denatures many of the most health-benefitting bioactive compounds within it. Destroying all but the macros, vitamins, and minerals. Thermal processing can even reduce BCAA levels.

Denatured whey is also more allergenic, tastes worse, and lacks gut-supportive peptides and growth factors.

Thermal processing is common because it’s easier and far cheaper. Since most consumers don’t know the difference and solely compare the protein content, manufacturers happily opt for the cheapest option.

On the other hand, you’ll see grass-fed protein powders advertised as “cold-filtered”, “cold-processed”, “un-denatured”, “low-temperature processed”, “micro-filtered”, and all kinds of other technological buzzwords.

Cold processing sidesteps all the above issues, while still effectively neutralizing pathogenic microorganisms.

Once you find quality, cold-processed, grass-finished whey protein, you’ll run into one other primary hurdle.

Whey Protein Concentrate vs Whey Protein Isolate vs Others

Each type of whey comes with distinct pros and cons.

Milk Protein isn’t technically whey. So what’s the difference and why choose one over the others? Let’s compare and contrast the forms of true whey protein.

Whey Protein Concentrate 👍Whey Protein Isolate 😐Whey Protein Hydrolysate 👎
25% – 89% pure protein~90% protein~99% protein
Minimally refinedModerately refinedHighly refined
Full bioactive compoundsSome bioactive compoundsFew bioactive compounds
Slowest absorptionFast absorptionExtreme absorption
High lactoseLow lactose~0 lactose
DeliciousYummyMeh
AffordableGreat valueVery expensive

Whey Protein Concentrate is the best option for most people. It’s the easiest to use, costs less, and undergoes minimal processing — whey in its natural form. Concentrate preserves the healthy fats, peptides, and full-spectrum benefits of the myriad bioactive constituents. By ease of use, I mean easy to mix, tastiest, and with the most appealing texture. It’s higher in naturally occurring sugars and fats. All whey proteins absorb and stimulate muscle protein synthesis relatively quickly, so its slowness compared to the others doesn’t matter much.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate is the most refined, most expensive, and fastest-acting. It also tastes the worst and lacks many important peptides and other bioactive ingredients. It only makes sense for those highly lactose intolerant (but still not recommended for those allergic to dairy).

Whey Protein Isolate is middle of the road in just about every regard. Compared to concentrate, it’s lower in fat, lower in carbs/sugars, considerably more expensive, and also lower in beneficial compounds. Manufacturers often add sunflower lecithin or other ingredients to help whey isolate mix better.

Very few products use WPH since it’s prohibitively expensive and negates many of the benefits of choosing grass-fed whey. Most are either WPC or blended with WPI.

Tier #1: The Best Organic, Grass-Fed, Cold Processed, Undenatured Whey Protein Powders for Max Muscle Growth

These are my favorite high-quality, grass-fed whey protein powders that I grab whenever I run out.

PaleoValley Whey With Colostrum

BEST OVERALL
whey protein paleo valley

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 2 (vanilla, chocolate)

Processing: Low-temperature drying method

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: Yes

Amino Acid Profile Shown: No

Sweetened: Sugar – 2g

Beneficial Additives: Colostrum, coconut milk powder, digestive enzymes

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, grass-fed, organic

Serving Protein: 13g

Cattle Origin: Not disclosed

Serving Cost: $2.33

Overall Rating: 4.5

California-based PaleoValley is a nutrition brand dedicated to producing top-notch organic superfoods, snacks, supplements, and products. Each is readily absorbed and utilized by the body. Since its 2012 founding, PaleoValley has sourced the highest quality raw ingredients. Only recently in 2022, they released a protein powder after they had perfected their supply chain. Their fortified, grass-fed, grass-finished whey protein is best-in-class. This is one of the only fully, 100% grass-finished whey protein powders. Meaning the cows consume grass their entire lives. Most ranchers fatten them up with grains for the last 20 percent of their lives.

In a similar fashion, PaleoValley uses only 100% grass-fed colostrum. PaleoValley’s whey with added colostrum is a recovery, repair, regeneration, and gut health super supplement. Colostrum has powerful immunosupportive, anti-inflammatory, and muscle-building properties. The added MCT-oil-rich coconut milk powder further improves the absorption of nutrients and supports cognition. The non-denatured processing combined with digestive enzyme fortification ensures maximum absorption and assimilation into your bodily tissues.

This product is certainly not the best value in terms of protein grams per dollar, but it has several advantages. Fortification with digestive enzymes, MCT oil, and colostrum. High bioactive content from full 100% grass-finished cattle and delicate processing. Plus it tastes delicious (using the ideal but expensive monk fruit sweetener) and mixes easily.

Use the exclusive code URBAN for 10% off

Raw Organic Grass-Fed Whey

BEST VALUE
whey protein raw

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 1 (unflavored)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: Yes

Amino Acid Profile Shown: No

Sweetened: None

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free

Serving Protein: 21g

Cattle Origin: USA

Serving Cost: $1.33

Overall Rating: 4.5

Despite the seemingly generic name, Raw Organic Whey has become one of the most trusted names of high-quality grass-fed whey protein. Simply because they make ultra-high quality no-frills whey.

I usually have a bag of this sitting in my pantry. It makes a great addition to fortify any low-temperature recipes with extra complete protein and bioactive. I’m especially fond of this company because they disclose all the important details regarding their farming and processing practices. Plus, they frequently update all of their third-party lab testing Certificates of Analysis (CoAs). So you can be confident knowing you’re getting quality.

The main drawback? Taste. Raw Organic Whey only sells unflavored whey. Although I love that it’s additive-free, it does have that slight milkey whey taste.

Make sure to buy the bag labeled “Organic Whey” on the front. Despite not saying grass-fed in huge letters, this one is also grass-fed. But the one marked just “grass-fed” is not organic. The non-organic version is still a good product, but less pure and with fewer beneficial constituents.

Promix Whey Protein Powder

BEST FLAVORED
whey protein pro

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 6 (vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, chocolate-peanut butter, one ingredient whey, unflavored)

Processing: Cold-processed

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: Yes

Sweetened: Coconut sugar – 5g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, gums-free, antibiotic-free, hormones-free, fillers-free, artificial-free, glyphosate-free

Serving Protein: 25g

Cattle Origin: USA/Ireland

Serving Cost: $1.48

Overall Rating: 4.4

Promix is a nutrition company created by Albert Matheny and dedicated to athletes. In addition to whey, Promix sells a variety of other products. This one is newer to me, and I’ll test them more thoroughly when I need to stock up again.

I like that they sell six different options of whey, four flavors and two forms of unflavored. They also conveniently list the amino acid profile and lab testing data right on the product page.

The primary drawback I see with Promix is that the products are not certified organic. Despite supporting organic farming and practices, they avoided the huge expense of official certification. Allowing them to pass the low prices on to consumers. Nonetheless, they’re so confident you’ll like it that they back their whey with a full 90-day money-back guarantee.

My other hesitation is that the flavored options are sweetened with five grams of coconut sugar. Natural sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, glycine, or allulose are superior and low-glycemic.

Promix rewards their customers. A 10% discount for subscription orders which additionally stacks with Promix code URBAN for 10% off.

Overall, Promix is an excellent affordable grass-fed whey protein supplement.

Kion Clean Protein: Pure, Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

DELICIOUS TASTE
whey protein kion

Overview

Whey Type: Isolate

Flavors: 3 (vanilla, chocolate, unflavored)

Processing: Unspecified

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: No

Sweetened: Stevia extract – 1g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, grass-fed

Serving Protein: 20g

Cattle Origin: Not disclosed

Serving Cost: $1.79

Overall Rating: 4.25

Created by Angelo Keeley and fitness icon Ben Greenfield to solve their own needs, Kion is a nutrition company focused on scientifically-validated, up-to-date supplement formulas. Best known for their effective and bioavailable EAAs, Kion has since expanded into other areas of body and mind enhancement. I love Kion Lean as a powerful blood sugar stabilizer when I eat carb-heavy meals. Kion Flex can accelerate athletic recovery and support optimal connective tissue health.

In mid-2022, Kion released their new grass-fed “Clean Whey” protein. The first thing that stands out about it is its mixability. Whether water or other liquid, Clean Protein doesn’t clump like most whey isolates. The taste is decadent without any added sugar. They choose to nicely sweeten it using stevia but then added some pink Himalayan salt to really draw out the flavor. Many manufacturers cut corners with the flavoring (the label “natural flavoring” itself can be a trojan horse to disguise all kinds of nasty chemicals). Kion proudly uses organic flavoring and third-party tests every batch to ensure purity and safety.

My two complaints are that it’s not certified organic and Kion doesn’t disclose information regarding their processing. Plus, whey isolate doesn’t contain some of the potent bioactive compounds found within concentrate.

Kion Clean Protein is perfect for flavor connoisseurs that also want thoroughly-tested whey and can afford the premium.

Thrive Market Organic Whey Protein

WORTH CONSIDERING
whey protein thrive

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 2 (chocolate and vanilla)

Processing: Unverified

Lab Tested: Unverified

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: Yes (on website)

Sweetened: Stevia extract – <1g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, grass-fed, pasture-raised, USDA organic

Serving Protein: 20g

Cattle Origin: Not disclosed

Serving Cost: $1.79

Overall Rating: 4.25

Thrive Market is the Amazon of healthy online groceries. They sell all the typical food staples and deliver them straight to your doorstep. Their catalog includes nutritional support products like grass-fed whey protein. Although I don’t trust most store brands of whey (due to rampant contamination and quality control issues), Thrive Market is the exception.

Thrive has sold grass-fed whey for longer than most brands, so they’ve mastered their supply chain. This is also one of the very few companies that have attained USDA Organic certification. I got a sample of this whey in one of my orders, and would rate the taste “okay”. It certainly has a stronger stevia taste, and the mixability isn’t as good as my top choices.

At about 14 ounces, the bag doesn’t take up much space. Where many companies use tubs (which I prefer), Thrive used a small bag. Towards the end, my bag started to have problems fully sealing.

Thrive Market is a good add-on for first-time whey buyers or anyone that like to buy in small quantities.

Use the exclusive code URBAN for 10% off

Tier #2: The Best Organic, Grass-Fed, Cold Processed, Undenatured Whey Protein Powders for Max Muscle Growth

These products are also great, and I would buy them again.

But for different reasons, they’re not as great as the above.

Natural Force Organic Grass-Fed Whey

whey protein natural force

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 3 (vanilla bean, cacao bean, unflavored)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: Yes

Sweetened: Sugar – 2g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, fillers-free, USDA organic

Serving Protein: 20g

Cattle Origin: USA

Serving Cost: $2.18

Overall Rating: 4.2

Since their 2009 inception, Natural Force has brought trustworthiness to the (often shady) nutrition industry. Their content helps protein seekers choose the exact right products to complement their lifestyles. These products are usually more expensive than run-of-the-mill generic Amazon listings, but you rest assured you’re getting the real thing. Without worrying about the next huge Amazon supplement scam.

Natural Force offers six types of whey, either in one or five-pound bags. Regardless of your choice, each ingredient is fully organic. Which is how their whey got the highly coveted USDA-Organic certification. The flavors themselves are mild and sweetened with a small amount of organic monk fruit extract (the superior sweetener).

If whey isn’t right for you, Natural Force also has other highly-bioavailable protein powders. My primary issue with Natural Force is the value. High cost per serving, without any beneficial additives.

Natural Force Organic Grass-Fed Whey is a great, certified-organic, natural product that comes at a premium.

Legion Whey+

whey protein legion

Overview

Whey Type: Isolate

Flavors: 11 (chocolate, cinnamon, cocoa, cookies & cream, fruity, honey, mocha cappuccino, salted caramel, strawberry banana, vanilla, and unflavored)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: No

Sweetened: Stevia extract – <1g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, lactose-free, sugar-free

Serving Protein: 22g

Cattle Origin: Ireland

Serving Cost: $1.99

Overall Rating: 4.1

Mike Matthews, another prominent fitness influencer, created the natural sports supplements brand, Legion, to advance scientific supplementation. I actually heard about them from a fellow Bioharmonizer, and upon deeper research, I really like this company’s approach. They also share far more product and processing information than most of their competitors. A few things immediately stand out.

First, they source from small dairy farms in Ireland — a good indication of quality. Second, Legion discloses that the cows consume a 95% grass-fed diet. Counterintuitively, this is actually ~15% more than most “grass-fed” products and approaches “grass-finished”. The cows also get to roam the pastures 250/365 days. Legion also mentions the BCAAs and EAAs per serving — showing they understand the science of whey protein. Finally, this one passes Labdoor third-party testing for contaminants.

Taste-wise, it does have a slight but distinct stevia aftertaste. This is because they use two forms of stevia. Including dextrin-containing Ovasweet. Also, made sure to check the “other ingredients” section. Some flavors contain harmful industrial seed oils.

Lastly, their “no return necessary” guarantee is unusual and appreciated, making this a truly zero-risk whey.

Legion Whey+ is an affordable grass-fed product, as long as you choose a flavor without harmful “other ingredients”.

SFH Recover Whey Protein Powder

whey protein sfh

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 4 (chocolate, coffee and mint chip, cinnamon churro)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: Yes

Sweetened: Sugar – 2g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, no artificial flavors, no RBST

Serving Protein: 22g

Cattle Origin: New Zealand

Serving Cost: $1.99

Overall Rating: 3.97

So far, most of the products have been grass-fed whey protein with few or zero additives. In 2010, the father-daughter team of Jeff & Patricia started SFH (Stronger Faster Healthier). Like seemingly every company in the industry, they started it to bring transparency and purity to supplements. What caught my eye about their RECOVER whey protein is the synergy of supportive nutrients.

Most grass-fed protein is either just whey or contains clinical doses of just one supportive ingredient. SFH fortified their whey with extra muscle-building leucine. But then they also added additional health and performance-promoting ingredients. Such as creatine monohydrate, N-Acetyl L-Carnitine, D-Ribose, Fruitex-B, and CoQ10.

The taste is middle-of-the-road. It’s certainly a bit heavier on the stevia, which masks the other non-whey ingredients. But customers buy it for enhanced recovery over taste. This is one that noticeably decreases post-workout soreness (DOMS). The main detractor is the value. Each serving is fairly expensive for just 15 grams of protein.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one drink to support your workout recovery, SFH’s RECOVER Whey is a solid contender.

MyWHEY Grass-fed Organic Raw Whey Protein

whey protein mywhey

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 2 (vanilla, chocolate)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: No

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: No

Sweetened: Stevia extract – 1g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, acid-free, lecithin-free

Serving Protein: 21g

Cattle Origin: New Zealand

Serving Cost: $2.25

Overall Rating: 4.1

Don’t let the low-quality photo and dated labeling fool you. Instead, I like to think that a testament to the way Natur-Pur makes MyWHEY. The old-fashioned way, treating their cows humanely and feeding them grass. Indeed, Natur-Pur sources from pristine, small New Zealand family farms.

Natur-Pur is one of the few brands that just get it. They speak the language of quality. Since New Zealand has some of the strictest farming regulations, this alone can indicate high quality. They also mention that their whey contains “naturally occurring organic immunoglobulins, lactoferrin, CLAs and growth factors”, vitamins, and minerals. This company takes steps to preserve that, using ultra-micro-filtration cold processing to prevent denaturing.

Although this product uses stevia, it’s not overly sweet. It does clump a little when mixing though. 

I really appreciate Natur-Pur’s attention to detail and disclosure of every single step of the product manufacturing process. They even list the bioactive breakdown per gram of protein! Plus, the company rewards large orders with freebies.

I’m not a fan of buying nutrition products on Amazon, so I wish they’d set up a dedicated shop.

MyWHEY is a top choice for anyone interested in ensuring they get the maximal amount of protein plus other bioactive compounds within their grass-fed whey, all at a fair price.

Naked WHEY 100% Grass Fed Protein Powder

whey protein naked

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 4 (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, unflavored)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: Yes

Sweetened: Sugar – 2g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free

Serving Protein: 25g

Cattle Origin: USA

Serving Cost: $1.18

Overall Rating: 3.98

Naked Whey is probably the most popular grass-fed product on Amazon. It was also one of the first that I used. I’m generally a fan of the Naked line of products, because, as their name suggests, they avoid unnecessary additives. Their whey is no exception.

Even the flavored whey has just three ingredients: whey, some sugar, and organic natural flavor. I do wonder why the serving size is so large. One serving is 37 grams (huge), and only 25 of the grams are protein. The other 8 grams are carbohydrates, three of which are added (organic coconut) sugar. The downside of not using any emulsifiers with whey isolate is that it clumps fairly easily and isn’t the best mixing experience.

Taste-wise, it’s mild and okay. I don’t like consuming added sugar. Enough other products already contain it. Even just three grams per serving is enough to impair immunity. I also noticed that I bloated a bit with this one (and that’s fairly rare for me).

If you don’t mind a little coconut sugar, Naked Whey is a simple, 1-3 ingredient grass-fed whey.

Tier #3: The Best Organic, Grass-Fed, Cold Processed, Undenatured Whey Protein Powders for Max Muscle Growth

I wouldn’t seek out these options, but I’d consider them in special circumstances or if I could not find the others.

Opportuniteas Coffee Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder

whey protein opportuniteas

Overview

Whey Type: Isolate

Flavors: 5 (vanilla, chocolate, coffee, unflavored, and vanilla-chocolate)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: No

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: No

Sweetened: Sugar – <1g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, gluten-free

Serving Protein: 27g

Cattle Origin: New Zealand

Serving Cost: $1.85

Overall Rating: 3.7

I generally don’t like to combine whey, hot liquids, and/or caffeine. First, heat destroys many of the valuable bioactive micro-ingredients exclusively found within grass-fed whey. Second, caffeine can irritate the gut and stomach and disturb optimal whey digestion.

But every once in a while, it’s nice to break the routine and have a yummy flavorful cup of Joe. Opportuniteas’ Coffee Whey Protein Powder has just 60 mg of caffeine and 27 grams of protein per serving. Luckily, they don’t add any sugar or artificial sweeteners or flavors. The flavor itself actually comes from instant Colombian coffee powder.

Great for a travel-friendly, on-the-road iced mocha. If you like sweets, you’ll want to add a dash of your favorite sweetener.

Note that all of the other non-coffee flavors contain 8 grams of sugar per serving. And instant coffee is never as fresh or high-quality as the whole bean variety.

Opportuniteas’ Coffee Whey Protein Powder is the mocha-enthusiasts grass-fed choice.

Muscle Feast 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein

whey protein isolate muscle feast

Overview

Whey Type: Isolate

Flavors: 3 (vanilla, chocolate, unflavored)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: No

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Soy-free, gluten-free, rBST/rBGH-free

Serving Protein: 19.1g

Cattle Origin: Not disclosed

Serving Cost: $1.10

Overall Rating: 3.6

Sean and Shelley Gillespie wanted to help their son’s bodybuilding career. The two brought their related backgrounds in the health industry together to form the nutrition product company, Muscle Feast. Today, this brand is heavily involved in bodybuilding and you can find Muscle Feast products in most gyms.

The Nutrition Facts alone tell a very different story from most grass-fed whey protein powders. This one is very low-calories (88 kcal), low-fat (0.2g), and low-carb (0.2g). It’s basically just whey isolate, a flavoring agent like cacoa, sunflower lecithin for emulsification, and stevia to sweeten it.

The taste leaves something to be desired. Vanilla has the classic stevia sweetness but little real vanilla taste. The protein quantity for the price also isn’t as good as some of the other options. 

If you want stevia sweetness and like the convenience of in-person shopping, Muscle Feast Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is one of the easiest finds.

Garden of Life Organic Whey Protein

whey protein graden of life organic

Overview

Whey Type: Concentrate

Flavors: 5 (vanilla, chocolate, chocolate-peanut butter, lightly sweet and strawberry)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: Yes

Sweetened: Sugar – 2g

Beneficial Additives: Probiotics

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, gluten-free, rBST/rBGH-free

Serving Protein: 21g

Cattle Origin: USA

Serving Cost: $2.39

Overall Rating: 3.45

Jordan Rubin created Garden of Life in 2000 to simplify nutrition for the masses. Over the next few decades, Garden of Life grew tremendously. So much so that Nestle purchased them. At the time, they were one of few dedicated to quality and transparency at reasonable prices.

Since then, their quality has slid some, but they’re still a decent option for grass-fed supplements. Garden of Life’s Organic Grass-Fed whey is their flagship animal-based protein powder. This one has additional certifications like California Grass-Fed and American Humane Certified. Unlike their other whey, this one uses pure whey concentrate.

The label alone raises a couple of red flags. First, they add “Creamer Flavor” and who knows what chemicals are in that? Next, this Organic Grass-Fed Whey Protein uses sugar alcohols which can cause GI distress. Finally, 7 grams of total carbs per 21 grams of protein seems suspiciously high. I’ve also noticed that the prices constantly fluctuate and vary significantly between flavors.

I’d recommend this product to athletes and others that cannot afford to test positive for banned substances.

Garden of Life Sport Whey Protein Powder

whey protein garden of life sport

Overview

Whey Type: Blend

Flavors: 2 (vanilla, chocolate)

Processing: Cold-filtered

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: Yes

Sweetened: Sugar – <1g

Beneficial Additives: Probiotics

Quality Standards: Non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free

Serving Protein: 24g

Cattle Origin: Ireland

Serving Cost: $1.86

Overall Rating: 3.3

Garden of Life’s grass-fed whey protein ticks some of the boxes of quality. It’s NSF-certified for Sport (contains no banned substances), is “Truly Grass-Fed”, and Non-GMO Project Verified. Plus, Garden of Life regularly wins awards for sustainability and humane worker treatment. I like that it has a full 4 grams of recovery-improving glutamine, and 6 grams of anabolic BCAAs. I haven’t tested this one enough to comment on the taste, but note that it is stevia and sugar-alcohol-based.

As with their other product, this whey has a few additional issues. I’m not too surprised since it’s now owned by Nestle. First, they cut the whey with 9% milk protein. Problematic for anyone with even the slightest dairy intolerance. Second is the chemical-filled “Creamer Flavor”. Third, the sugar alcohols in Sport Whey Protein can cause bloating and gas.

I’d only buy Garden of Life’s Sport Whey when on a major sale.

NutraBio Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

whey protein nutrabio

Overview

Whey Type: Isolate

Flavors: 4 (vanilla, chocolate, ice cream cookie, matcha latte)

Processing: Unverified

Lab Tested: Yes

Grass-Finished: No

Amino Acid Profile Shown: No

Sweetened: Stevia extract – <1g

Beneficial Additives: None

Quality Standards: Gluten-free, antibiotic-free, rBST-free

Serving Protein: 25g

Cattle Origin: USA

Serving Cost: $2.27

Overall Rating: 3.4

NutraBio has made nutritional supplements here in the USA since 1996. For a long time, I used their creatine monohydrate supplements. So when I discovered their grass-fed whey, I was excited to check it out.

I like that they use “Truly Grass Fed” whey as their base. So we can be confident that the cows actually consume grass for at least 95% of their life (compared to the grass-fed industry average of ~80%). Then they sweeten with stevia and monk fruit. NutraBio also offers some unusual flavors like “Ice Cream Cookie Dough” and “Matcha Latte”.

Their marketing also mentions the naturally occurring peptides and BCAAs within grass-fed whey, giving me confidence that they understand the importance of processing technology.

My main gripe with them is that they don’t discuss details about their processing methods. With supplements, if it’s not labeled, you can safely assume the worst. So despite grass-feeding their cows, I imagine that a lot of the nutrients get denatured during high-heat processing.

NutraBio is expensive and might not cold process their grass-fed whey, but they do offer some unique flavors.

Popular Grass-Fed Whey Protein Supplements I Don’t Recommend

For different reasons, I avoid some very popular grass-fed whey powders.

Either they’re way overpriced, contain deal-breaking ingredients, or overall don’t meet my quality standards.

ONNIT Grass-Fed Whey Protein

ONNIT is a fairly well-known supplement company, put on the map by their Alpha Brain nootropic product. I like their whey protein, except that it contains a long list of other ingredients. The first of which, for example, is “Natural flavor”. Flavors are often trojan horses to sneak all kinds of chemicals into products. Not long after that comes sunflower oil. An industrial seed oil that’s heavily oxidized and damaging to human cells. I’m not convinced that this is a healthy protein supplement.

MusclePharm Grass-Fed Whey

MusclePharm is a major player in the bodybuilding industry. Just about all of their products are bestsellers, including their “Combat 100% Whey”, and “Combat Protein”. They used to sell grass-fed whey but appear to have stopped. MusclePharm whey is also very expensive and contains lots of fillers. You’re mostly paying for marketing.

BuiltByStrength Grass Fed Whey

BuiltByStrength sold decent whey since 2016. They seem to have been out of stock for many months. You can no longer buy whey through BuiltByStrength.

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate

I like the mission and user experience of Transparent Labs. Their Whey Protein Isolate supplement, however, is quite expensive and without the expected quality guarantees. They mention absolutely nothing about processing methods, so it’s likely you’ll get a sub-optimal, degraded product.

Centenarius Nutrition Grass Fed Whey Protein

Centenarius Nutrition’s Certified Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate looks like one of the higher-quality products I found. Except, for about $3 per serving, it should be organic. Preferably USDA-Certified Organic. It’s also an isolate, so there will be fewer bioactive and growth factors that make grass-fed whey so precious.

Pure Label Nutrition 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Concentrate

Pure Label Nutrition’s Grass-Fed Whey Protein Concentrate has a lot of what I was looking for. However, I noticed multiple big red flags. Such as an obscured product label. Only one photo actually shows the contents of the protein, and the photo gets intentionally cut off. Second, they list very little information about the product and their process on the product page too. This product has also been out of stock for quite a while. Regardless, it wouldn’t be one of my top picks.

Scientific Benefits of Consuming More Protein With Grass-Fed Whey

A plethora of research has investigated the health benefits of whey protein.

Most of us don’t get enough protein. Although we get some protein through eating whole foods, I imagine some of the research-backed benefits stem from just increasing overall amino acid intake.

Yet others are unique to high-quality, organic whey supplements.

No matter your health, fitness, or performance goals, grass-finished whey protein can accelerate your results.

Nutrient density

By all measures, whey is a nutrient-dense food. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, aminos, growth factors, peptides, and other powerful bioactive compounds.

Grass-finished whey is a few notches above traditional, with far higher levels of cardioprotective omega-3 fats, hormone-like vitamin D, immune-strengthening beta carotene, and fat-burning CLA. Omega-3 is the same brain and body super fat that’s abundant in salmon. Grass-fed whey is also lower in saturated fat.

Then there are all the powerful micro-nutrients modern science is just beginning to research.

Muscle gain

Perhaps the most widely recognized benefit of supplementing whey is the stimulation of muscle growth and hypertrophy.

Consistent training paired with ample protein intake virtually guarantees bigger and stronger muscles. Whey protein is a high-quality, complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle protein synthesis and overall tissue growth. It’s especially rich in the anabolic branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) which prevent muscle tissue breakdown.

Grass-fed whey specifically tends to have greater concentrations of anabolic amino acids. Plus, higher levels of peptides, growth factors, and other bioactives. CLA, for example, influences PPAR signaling which leads to favorable steroid hormone changes. Together, making grass-fed whey even better than conventional whey for building lean tissue.

Fat loss

Whey protein also improves fat burning, weight loss, and body composition. Both directly and indirectly.

First, protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Gram per gram, protein makes you the fullest while also resulting in the lowest net calorie gain. This is also due to an effect called the thermal effect of protein. About 30 percent of every protein calorie is “wasted” as the body metabolizes it. So, despite labels saying 100 calories for example. you’ll only gain 70. Fat and carbohydrates do not have this.

Grass-fed whey protein also acts on multiple hormones intricately connected to weight. It can reduce insulin levels which reduces fat storage within cells. Next, it normalizes levels of leptin and ghrelin — two hormones involved in satiety and hunger. As well as appetite-decreasing signals from neuropeptide Y, agouti-related protein, and cholecystokinin (CCK). When consumed before a meal, whey blunts the resulting blood sugar spike, resulting in less fat gain.

Other nutrients like CLA and omega-3s improve overall metabolic function and can optimize other anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone (through PPAR signaling, for example). At the same time, helping burn body fat.

Whey is a powerful tool for healthy weight management.

Optimized immunity

One of the more notable benefits of whey protein is the multi-faceted immunomodulatory effects. Especially grass-fed, organic whey since it preserves immune-boosting protein fragments (like immunoglobulins).

It also contains high levels of the amino acids cysteine and glutamate which are building blocks for the immune-strengthening antioxidant called glutathione.

Grass-fed whey improves gut health by stimulating the proliferation of beneficial bacteria. Since the majority of our immune system resides in the gut, this translates into greater immunity.

Finally, whey also has antimicrobial benefits.

Healthy gut

Unlike highly processed and pasteurized dairy, whey can actually improve the gut. Both its function and overall health.

Those same bioactives also exert strong gut-protective effects. Animal models show that in both healthy users and disease conditions, these compounds reduce inflammation and bring the gut back into a state of balance.

Whey also helps strengthen the gut barrier.

Since the gut is widely considered the root of overall health, this shows promise.

Accelerated recovery

All kinds of components within grass-fed whey accelerate recovery from workouts.

The BCAAs and other amino acids like glutamine, taurine, and glycine stimulate muscle repair. At the same time, whey optimizes immunity which leads to a healthier post-exercise (beneficial) inflammatory response.

Whey also contains vitamins like A, B, E, choline, and folate. Then minerals like phosphorus, zinc, selenium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

Then there are the protein fragments, and growth factors like Glycomacropeptide, Bovine Serum Albumin, IGF-1, IGF-2, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), transforming growth factor (TGF)-b, betacellulin, and lactoferricin. Scientists are investigating many of these compounds independently for their recovery and repair benefits.

Grass-finished whey is rich in bioactive compounds that accelerate the regeneration and growth resulting from exercise. Helping you get back to your chosen physical activity faster.

Faster metabolism

Whey protein positively impacts multiple facets of metabolic function.

It contains far more leucine than other protein sources—50-75 percent more than most. Leucine activates a gene signaling pathway called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). As a result, you preserve muscle mass while cutting and can even increase lean muscle tissue. In turn, boosting how many calories you burn while relaxing (resting metabolic rate).

Whey also improves glucose utilization and muscle protein synthesis.

Additionally, whey seems to stimulate mitochondrial activity and reduce damaging oxidative stress in the brain. At least, that’s what a mouse study found. I suspect that the benefits partially come from high levels of glutathione precursors like cysteine and glutamate. Optimized metabolic function helps protect against disease as well as improves performance.

Increased disease resiliency

Research suggests that whey helps protect the body against a wide variety of diseases.

By improving anabolic signaling, metabolic function, and providing a rich supply of anabolic nutrients, the body’s built-in repair (and detoxification) processes work more effectively.

Supplementing whey protein can improve conditions:

Although whey doesn’t cure these diseases and disorders, it can dramatically improve quality of life.

Many of the improvements hinge on whey’s ability to improve metabolic function, bolster antioxidant cellular defenses, and supply the body with ample amino acids and anabolic nutrients.

Cardioprotective

Grass-fed whey protein impacts cardiovascular health via many mechanisms.

First, by upregulating glutathione production (the body’s “master antioxidant”), it helps protect the heart from oxidative stress-induced dysfunction.

Whey balances cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. It also contains CLA and omega-3 fatty acids—including anti-inflammatory EPA and DHA. These reduce the risk of heart disease. CLA, on the other hand, can reduce cancer risk.

Overall, quality whey benefits various measures of cardiovascular health.

Slows aging

Whey may help slow the biological aging process.

It contains several important nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties. Things like omega-3 fatty acids, and certain vitamins and minerals.

By elevating levels of the antioxidant, glutathione, whey shields against oxidative stress—one of the nine recognized tenants of aging. This also encourages optimal mitochondrial function.

Finally, many longevity enthusiasts actually inject or supplement the same peptides & growth factors found within organic, grass-fed whey protein. These small molecules and bioregulators have profound impacts on telomeres and other facets of biology that decline with age.

Anti-cancer

Whey protein has several anti-cancer effects.

Increased synthesis of glutathione as well as lactoferrin found within whey show potential to prevent cancer. In exiting cancer cells, it can cause cell death. This is especially notable since cancer cells have escaped the regulatory cellular processes that normally destroy them.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is the other primary nutrient found in whey that’s studied for its anti-cancer properties. CLA can also inhibit tumors and reduce cancer morbidity.

Improved cognition

Whey has slight cognitive-enhancing properties.

Again, increasing glutathione preserves neurons and bodily cells from damage and reduces subsequent inflammation. Neuroinflammation/overexcitation is one of the chief causes of brain disorders, which increasing glutathione in the brain prevents.

Those that suffer from stress-induced cognitive decline (all of us to some extent), experience greater cognitive function and performance from consuming a whey protein shake. Researchers hypothesized this was due to increasing levels of a feel-good neurotransmitter called serotonin.

Omega-3 fats can also reduce neuroinflammation while delivering brain-boosting nutrients like DHA and greater blood flow.

Overall, dietary whey can improve mood, memory, information processing speed, and other facets of brain performance.

Ethical

While ethics isn’t technically a health benefit, feeling good about your choices positively impacts your well-being.

Cows able to roam on a pasture require fewer chemicals and antibiotics while also emitting less carbon into the atmosphere. Pasture-raised, grass-fed cows also get nutrition from the land. Rather than transportation (unhealthy) feed from across the world.

Plus, organic grass-fed/grass-finished whey is devoid of contaminants, synthetic chemicals, hormones, and other hazards found in conventional whey protein.

Choosing grass-fed whey is an economic vote towards regenerative agriculture and sustainable practices.

How to Upgrade Your Whey

High-quality, organic, grass-finished whey protein deserves a spot in just about every pantry.

Yet there are little biosynergies you can apply to dramatically improve your results.

There are two things I like to add to my whey:

  • Colostrum
  • Essential amino acids

And then we’ll finish with one pro tip.

Colostrum is nature’s growth and repair serum. Newborns consume it to inoculate their guts and capitalize on an elixir rich in powerful growth factors and immune factors. It nicely amplifies whey protein. Colostrum contains just about every immunoglobulin, including IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM. It’s anti-microbial, nutrient-dense, gut-protective, and a useful body transformation agent (muscle building and fat burning). Best of all, some companies choose to fortify their grass-fed whey with colostrum.

Essential amino acids powder. These aminos are one of the core differences between whey and inferior proteins. The essential aminos must all come from diet. Leucine is especially anabolic and effectively activates the mTOR growth pathway. Leading to faster body transformation, and potentially requiring less whey protein to do so. Note that you’ll want EAAs instead of BCAAs (that guide explains why in depth) because the other essential aminos are important for optimal metabolism.

Protein rotation. You can temporarily use something else or just skip your whey for a day. With any degree of intestinal permeability (most of us have some), whey proteins leak into the bloodstream. Over time, this can create an immune response as your body tags the whey circulating in the blood as a foreign particle. Eventually leading to intolerance. I recommend taking a few consecutive days off every month. Giving the body time to reset. This is the premise behind the “rotation diet”. During that time, you can use essential amino acids or other protein sources.

Grass-Fed Whey Protein Questions & Answers

What is the best kind of protein supplement?

Grass-fed whey is the top protein because it’s well absorbed, low-calorie, delicious, economical, effective, and contains all kinds of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients.

What are the side effects of grass-fed whey?

Aside from dairy allergies, whey doesn’t have serious side effects. Some people report bloating and increased bowel movements. Very few users mention headache, fatigue, nausea, unusual thirst, or cramps.

How much protein should I consume?

Most people thrive between 0.6 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Activity levels and age are the two primary determining factors. Sedentary adults: ~0.55-0.9 g /lb. Build lean mass: ~0.65-0.8 g /lb. Athletes: ~0.6-1.4 g /lb. Maintain muscle while dieting: ~0.75-1.4 g/lb.

How to Buy a Quality Grass-Fed Whey Protein Supplement

Organic, grass-fed, grass-finished whey is some of Earth’s best protein.

It’s a complete protein, with an impressive quantity of anabolic branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and other essential amino acids (EAAs).

Whey has a vast scientific backing and is the go-to nutritional addon for body transformation. But it goes beyond athletic performance and recovery. In addition to helping build muscle and burning body fat, whey also protects the gut, optimizes the cardiovascular and immune systems, improves metabolic function, and even has anti-aging benefits.

Then there are the myriad protein fragments, growth factors, and other potent bioactive constituents. These are one of the major frontiers of modern preventative medicine, and many longevity experts supplement with them too.

Quality whey gets you both, in one.

But there’s a lot of junk on the market. When choosing products, you want to look for clean whey:

  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Free of hormones, contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, seed oils, artificial flavors, fillers, and other additives
  • Pasture-raised, grass-fed, grass-finished
  • Cold-processed and un-denatured
  • Lab tested for purity and safety

Ideally, the manufacturer will also fortify the products with additional beneficial nutrients like colostrum, digestive enzymes, or probiotics.

Most of the research and known benefits relate to grass-finished whey specifically.

When you take all this into consideration, few products fit the bill of utmost quality.

These are the products I know and like. But new ones constantly arise.

Do you supplement grass-fed whey protein? Check them out and let me know your experience or questions in the comments below!

Nick Urban

Nick Urban is the Founder of Outliyr, an expert Biohacker of 10+ years, Data Scientist, Certified CHEK Practitioner, Host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast, and a High-Performance Coach. Click here to read how Nick went from struggling pre-diabetic, to collegiate rugby national champion. If you want to send Nick a quick message, then visit his Contact Page.

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2 thoughts on “15 Top Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powders [2023 Review & Comparison]”

  1. So much wrong.

    1) “Naked WHEY 100% Grass Fed Protein Powder. Whey type: isolate”

    Wrong, it’s concentrate

    2) “Manufacturers often add sunflower lecithin or other ingredients to help whey isolate mix better…An industrial seed oil that’s heavily oxidized and damaging to human cells. ”

    And yet you claim every isolate WITH sunflower lecithin is superior to “Pure Label”, the only one that doesn’t.

    Do better.

    Reply
    • Good catch on #1! Thanks, I updated that table.

      Not sure what you mean about #2. Despite both having “sunflower” in the name, sunflower lecithin and sunflower oil are two very different things. High-heat processed, GMO sunflower oil (as virtually all is) is toxic. Not sunflower lecithin…

      Reply

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