Protein powders can be helpful additions to a healthy diet and lifestyle. They give you a nice boost of concentrated protein to use in smoothies, shakes, desserts, and more.
And there are many different options to choose from! Below, we’ll cover the top types of protein powder to add to your daily routine.
Top Types of Protein Powder for a Healthy Life
Whether you prefer animal- or plant-based options for your protein powder, there are a variety of options on the market today. Here are some of the best options and some additional details on each.
1. Whey Protein Powder
Whey protein is the mostly widely used (and often most affordable) option for protein powders.
It’s is one of two main proteins that make up milk: whey and casein. The two can be separated from each other.
Whey protein is formed as a byproduct when making cheese, and it can be extracted from milk to make protein powder. It’s also low in lactose, making it a possible option for those who are sensitive to lactose.
The protein is usually taken from cow’s milk, but you can also buy goat whey protein powder.
Whey protein benefits include:
- Contains all nine essential amino acids, making it great for satiety, health, and natural muscle building
- May help with weight and fat loss 
- Stirs easily into most beverages
- Has been found to support a healthy blood pressure range and fasting lipid levels [2,3].
Whey protein isn’t the best for everyone, however. Those who have dairy allergy or sensitivity or have trouble digesting milk products may experience gastrointestinal pain or discomfort from consuming a protein powder made from dairy.
If that happens to be the case for you, any of the options below are probably better.
2. Pea Protein Powder
You might not think of peas as being high in protein, but they actually make a fantastic protein powder—and great for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone else wanting an easy source of protein.
Pea protein is made by grinding fresh peas into a powder before removing fibers and starch, resulting in a pea protein isolate rich in protein.
Some pea proteins contain soluble fibers from the pea plant, which can make them swell up and get thicker as they come into contact with liquids.
Pea protein powder benefits include:
- Contains healthy enzymes with a high absorption rate
- Just as effective as milk proteins at increasing muscle thickness following resistance training, according to recent research 
- Provides highest plant source per gram of the protein lysine
- Doesn’t cause bloating like some other protein powders can
3. Brown Rice Protein Powder
Along with pea protein, brown rice protein is one of the top plant-based protein powder options.
Brown rice protein powder is made by extracting the rice proteins from sprouted brown rice. It’s a good source of the protein methionine compared to other options.
Like other good protein powders, brown rice protein is a great source of amino acids. It’s also easily digested and tends to cause less allergic reactions compared to other protein sources, like whey, egg, or grain proteins.
Texture-wise, some rice proteins can have a grainier texture that some people love and others don’t. Always look for brown rice protein versus white.
4. Hemp Protein Powder
Hemp protein powder is taken from the hemp seed, which is one of the richest plant sources of not alone protein (with all nine essential amino acids) but also fiber and the very beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
It also contains iron and other essential minerals.
Hemp has a distinct earthy, nutty taste that can take some getting used to. However, some people really love it!
5. Egg Protein Powder
If you want an animal-based protein powder but don’t respond well to whey, egg protein can be a good alternative.
Egg protein powder is taken from the egg whites, which are is clearish-white liquid surrounding the yolk of an egg. The egg whites are dried and made into a powder.
Egg whites don’t contain the fat or cholesterol found in the whole egg, so egg protein powder is typically low in calories but high in protein. They also provide a complete protein source with all essential amino acids.
6. Sunflower Seed Protein Powder
Sunflower seeds themselves provide a good source of plant-based protein—and so does isolated sunflower seed protein.
To make sunflower seed protein powder, oil is removed from the seeds and most of the fat is removed, which increases the overall protein content. The leftover proteins are then ground, creating a natural high-protein powder.
Sunflower seed protein usually has a light, pleasantly nutty taste great for increasing the protein content of smoothies and shakes.
7. Mixture of Types of Protein Powder
Each of the types of protein powder above are great on their own, but some brands also sell protein powders with a mix of different sources that can be beneficial.
For example, Plant Head uses a mix including pea, brown rice, hemp, and cranberry protein. And PlantFusion uses a protein blend of protein from peas, artichokes, amaranth, and quinoa (with several delicious flavor options too, including cookies ‘n cream).
You can also buy protein powders with other healthy ingredients added to boost their nutrition. Some examples include:
- Sunshine Protein contains a digestive fiber blend, omega blend, and wellness support blend in addition to sunflower seed protein.
- Designer Whey protein uses a peptide blend includes taurine, which helps with energy production, l-glutamine, an additional beneficial amino acid, and more.
- PlantFusion includes an enzyme blend to support absorption and digestion.
How to Choose the Healthiest Types of Protein Powder
The best protein powder is free of harmful or unhealthy ingredients like:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Refined sugars or sweeteners (stevia and monk fruit sweeteners are best)
- Artificial flavors or colors
- GMO ingredients
- Processed vegetable oils
- Gluten or soy ingredients, especially if you have a negative reaction to them
A high quality protein powder can support your healthy lifestyle by providing a whole foods-based source of animal or plant-based protein.
To choose your favorite, browse our large high-quality selection of Protein Powders here.