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The 17 Best Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powders in 2024

The 17 Best Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powders in 2024

When it comes to choosing the best grass-fed whey protein, we’re fortunate that several options are now available.  While challenging to find quality a few years ago, many impressive grass fed protein powder options are now at our fingertips. However, who has time to sort through all the new brands and products to determine the best grass-fed whey protein powders?

Should you be purchasing a grass fed whey protein isolate or a concentrate?

What is the major difference between the current products on the market? We have researched, mixed, blended, shaken, and tasted every grass fed whey protein powder imaginable to determine exactly who makes the best grass fed whey so you know which products may work best to suit your individual needs.

Grass-fed whey is incredibly powerful and has even been shown to boost glutathione levels, the most powerful antioxidant our body makes. So, finding a quality protein can make a big difference in your results and this list well help you find the best option.

Table of contents

How Were the Best Grass Fed Whey Protein Powders Selected?

While there are a lot of great products out there, this is the cream of the crop.  These companies are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. So, what exactly sets these companies apart?

Here are the qualities we investigated and the questions we asked:

  • Who is using the best manufacturing practices, such as cold ultrafiltration?
  • Who is using the least amount of ingredients possible?
  • Who is using organic ingredients? (Check out one brand below that uses vanilla beans sourced from Madagascar!)
  • Who has the best agricultural practices?
  • Humane practices of livestock
  • Taste
  • Other- Is the company socially responsible? What other qualities set them apart?

Our Picks for The Best Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder

The Best Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder List

1. SFH RECOVER Whey Protein

Bag of SFH Recover Grass Fed Whey Protein Conctrate protein powder.
  • Most powerful post-workout protein shake money can buy
  • Includes Co Q-10, leucine, creatine, d-ribose, L-carnitine, and FruiteeX-B
  • Sourced from ethically treated New Zealand cows grazing outdoors year-round and never given hormones 
  • Outstanding taste and mixes easily with water 
  • Expensive and sometimes out of stock

Ready to taste the future of protein powders?  Ready to recover quicker than you ever have from workouts?  Interested in simply mixing one scoop or packet of powder into a shaker instead of having to mix 7 different supplements together?   

Here it is.  SFH Recover Whey Protein is the new king of post-workout protein powders.  This powder starts with their basic grass fed whey sourced from ethically treated New Zealand cows that graze outdoors year-round and are never given growth hormones.  From there, this powder adds leucine and creatine to assist with muscle gain, d-ribose and L-carnitine to restore lost ATP in muscle, Co Q-10 (helps all cells recover, especially the heart), and FruiteX-B (a patented vegan mineral complex clinically shown to improve joint discomfort)[21] 

2. Mementous Recovery

Bag of Momentous Recovery grass fed whey isolate protein powder.
  • Ideal 2:1 ratio of protein to carbs for an anabolic stimulus for muscle repair post-workout
  • Includes L-glutamine and L-carnitine to enahnce muscle repair
  • Sources from “Truly Grass Fed” cows in Ireland that are humanely treated and graze outdoors year-round
  • NSF Certified for Sport and Informe Choice certifications assure athletes being drug tested the product is clean
  • Slightly more affordable than SFH Recover

Momentous has come on strong in the health and longevity scene thanks to the support of trusted influences such as Andrew Huberman.

Isn’t it interesting that our top pick is “Recover” and our number 2 pick is “Recovery”? Apparently, there is a strong consumer demand for products that optimize muscle recovery post-workout!

The fact is, the longevity community has moved the concept of recovery between workouts from being just about optimizing athletic performance to being essential for long-term health and aging gracefully. If we train on sore muscles, joints, and ligaments repeatedly, our body won’t be doing too well when we’re trying to be active in our 70’s 80’s, and 90’s.

Yes, post-workout recovery is just as important to the high school athlete trying to get in shape as it is the 70 year old who is trying to maintain muscle mass and stay as active as possible.

Momentous Recovery Whey Protein Isolate is a great option if optimizing recovery is your number 1 goal and we would recommend choosing this over the SFH Recover in 3 scenarios:

  1. You already supplement with Co-Q10, d-ribose, or creatine.
  2. You often have difficulty sleeping or report difficulty sleeping when taking Co-Q10 and di-ribose in. the evening.
  3. You’re someone with a history of leaky gut, brain fog, or an endurance athlete with gut issues. If this is you, the L-glutamine in the Memtous Recoery will greatly benefit your gut health.
  4. You want to save a few bucks vs the SFH Recover.

It’s hard to go wrong with either SFH vs Momentous grass-fed recovery protein so, hopefully the differences we pointed out can help you choose.

3. Garden of Life SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey

Garden of Life SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
  • NSF Certified for Sport certification- assures athletes being drug tested the product is clean
  • Only grass fed protein powder to be Non-GMO project verified
  • USDA Organic
  • 6 g of BCAAs vs 4.7g in the non-sport whey
  • 4g Glutamine
  • 2 billion CFU of the clinically studied probiotic B.lactis BL-04 added which has been shown to support immune health during intensive workouts.
  • Uses “Organic Creamer Flavor” for flavoring
  • Con: contains erythritol

Garden of Life went the extra mile to set its SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey apart from their mainstream offering as well as other brands.  There are several ways they stand out, including using Truly Grass Fed Certified Whey, adding glutamine and glutamic acid, adding probiotics, and having third-party testing by NSF Certified for Sport and Informed-Choice.org Trusted by Sport certifications meaing they have been tested and confirmed not to have banned substances.

What does it mean to have the Truly Grass Fed Certification?  Well, if a cow is raised in the northern United States where there may be rough weather or snow from November to April, do you think the cows are really going to be able to feed year-round on grass?

Truly Grass Fed is an independent company that provides certifications to Irish farmers who meet their standards.  These standards including having an average of one cow for every two acres, being Certified Animal Welfare Approved, growth hormone rBST-free, antibiotic-free, and non-GMO Project Verified.  Yes, those are some high standards.

Taking things a step further, dairy from Ireland is extremely high quality since the cows feed on grass year-round. Of course, it helps that the Irish climate allows for continuous grass growth.  Truly Grass Fed farmers are committed to sustainability and must be certified by the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme which aims to help create a sustainable milk supply with a minimal carbon footprint.

Lastly, the dairy from a Truly Grass Fed certified farm is all 100% traceable as every single cow in Ireland is required to have a unique barcode to track where every single batch of milk comes from.[16]

If you’re an athlete, especially one why may be subject to drug testing such as collegiate or professional athletes, having NSF Certified for Sport and Informed-choice.org Trusted by Sport certification is crucial.  Most supplements and protein powders are not regulated or tested so there is no way to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy them unless there is some sort of certification to back them. There is no higher certification than NSF Certification for Sport.

One final huge bonus for athletes is that Garden for Life SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey adds 6 g of BCAAs and 4g of Glutamine to powder.  They also add BCAAs to their non-SPORT whey, but it only contains 4.7g. You will also see a 2 billion CFU of the clinically studied probiotic B.lactis BL-04 added which has been shown to support immune health during intensive workouts.

The only additional suggestion we might make in order to make this suitable for high-intensity athletes is the addition of carbohydrates to the shake as 6g/serving is fairly low for most athletes. Enjoying a piece of fruit with your shake or adding a beverage that contains a higher amount of carbohydrates would allow for a better macronutrient ratio for recovery.

What are the drawbacks of this whey?  We prefer not to see erythritol (may cause gut issues), stevia (increases the desire for sweetness), and vague flavoring like “organic creamer flavor” on the label.  Also, if you’re a bit of a light sleeper or caffeine sensitive, it may be wise to be careful taking this in the evening as their chocolate flavor contains 10mg of naturally occurring caffeine.

PS If you are an athlete and you want high-quality whey protein that is also NSF for Sport confirming it is free of banned substances, 👉check out our list of the best professional-grade grass-fed whey protein powdered on Fullscript.👈 By using our Fullscript link, you will receive 20% off all professional-grade supplements for life.

4. LADDER Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder 

  • NSF Certified for Sport certification- assures athletes being drug tested the product is clean
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • 2 Billion CFU probiotics to support gut health and the immune system
  • The only brand to include EAA’s in addition to BCAAs
  • Con: uses carrageenan 

Started by a partnership between LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ladder has brought some great supplements to market, including their grass fed whey protein isolate.  

Ladder Grass-Fed Whey Protein sets itself apart by being the only brand to include essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids. Additionally, they join Garden of Life and Vital Proteins as the only brands to have probiotics in their blend, which is often crucial for athletes going through hard and long workouts, which can strain gut health. 

In addition to having great support for muscle growth and gut health, Ladder Grass-Fed Whey Isolate makes for a complete protein supplement by including 480 mg tart cherry, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and enhance recovery. 

All in all, this is an excellent grass fed whey protein supplement and could make a case for being the top pick. 

5. Vital Performance Protein Powder, 25g Lactose-Free Milk Protein Isolate Casein & Whey Blend

A tub of Vital Proteins Performance Protein Powder + Collagen
  • One of the only brands to combine collagen and whey into one supplement
  • Includes hyaluronic acid, which helps support joint health
  • Includes the probiotic bacillus coagulants to aid digestion and overall health
  • Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows from Brazil.

Vital Proteins Performance Protein Powder is an awesome combination of grass-fed “milk protein isolate” that is a combination of casein and whey protein with collagen peptides as well as hyaluronic acid and probiotics.  If collagen protein is new to you, let us help explain the hype.

Collagen is a fundamental component of our skin, hair, nails, and joints. So, while it does not help with muscle building, it helps a lot with appearance (skin/hair/nails) and, more importantly, joints for active individuals.  The research on collagen appears to be quite strong, and a few highlights include:

  • A randomized placebo-controlled study found that 12 weeks of consuming 2.5g of collagen resulted in improved skin elasticity, roughness, density, and hydration sustained after 4 weeks of discontinuation of its consumption.[22] 
  • A 24-week randomized, placebo-controlled study on athletes with activity-related joint pain without any evidence of joint disease (i.e. arthritis on x-ray) found consumption of 10g of collagen led to a decrease in joint pain at rest as well as with standing, walking, running in a straight line, and when changing directions.[23] 

Long story short, there is substantial, high-quality research published and currently being done to show the support of collagen for everything from joint pain to skin, hair, and nail health. So, it makes sense to combine it into a whey protein powder for active individuals to essentially provide muscle protein synthesis from whey protein and joint recovery from the collagen.

If you’re someone with joint pain, have a concern about the future of your joints due to the nature of your activity (i.e. distance runner, life-long basketball player, etc.) or a family history of joint issues such as osteoarthritis (this is the #1 reason why I consume collagen regularly), or you’re interested in improving your complexion, Vital Proteins Collagen Whey is an awesome option. Don’t forget that it has some probiotics in there to help with digestion and gut health, too which is a nice bonus!

Are you looking for another idea or something new to try? Check out the super-tasty Vital Proteins Performance Protein Powder Cold Brew flavor! They also offer their Vital Performance Protein Powder in traditional vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry and all of them combine 25g of Lactose-Free Milk Protein Isolate Powder with 10g of grass-fed collagen peptides and amino acids!

6. WheyMeal by Designs for Health

  • Basically, it’s a multivitamin and whey protein in one!
  • Formulated to enhance protein absorption
  • Created by Designs for Health, a 3x winner of being rated a top supplement brand by Consumer Labs
WheyMeal by Designs for Health, one of the best grass fed whey protein powders and a great small meal replacement

Sometimes it is nice not to mix many antiinflammatory smoothie ingredients and take a bunch of vitamins in the morning. While it can’t completely replace all of those things, the WheyMeal by Designs for Health is arguably the best powder on this list to simply mix, go, and know you’re getting a balanced shake that will absorb quickly.

Specifically formulated with an ideal ratio of fat, carbs, and protein as well as vitamins and minerals to enhance absorption and speed recovery, this is an amazing grass-fed whey protein powder to use when you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like making a balanced post-workout recovery shake. Take note that this formula is best consumed within 15 minutes post-workout.

Made with grass-fed whey protein from New Zealand cows (or favorite) with cold processing and in a concentrate instead of an isolate form, you can be sure the protein you consume in the WheyMeal by Designs for Health is the highest quality on the market. Using some of the best protein on the market comes as no surprise, however, for a company that has won the Consumerlabs.com recommendation as a top supplement company. Consumer Labs does some of the best 3rd-party testing in the world, and winning this award multiple times is a true testament to the quality of supplements Designs for Health produces.

WheyMeal by Designs for Health is available on Amazon, but you can save over $30 🤯 by purchasing it from our favorite affiliate, Fullscript. Just 👉create an account with our unique Fullscript Link👈 and get ready to save loads of 💰 just like we do.

7. SFH FUEL Whey Protein

Bag of SFH FUEL Whey Protein Concentrate for supporting muscle protein synthesis and recovery.

Using the standard SFH PURE Whey Protein as its base (a really outstanding grass-fed whey protein by the way) but taking things a step further by combining coconut milk for its medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) and apple pectin for fiber, SFH FUEL Whey Protein is a really unique protein powder and perfect for in-between workouts.  

8. WheyCool by Designs for Health (*Unflavored)

Designs for health WheyCool Protein- a top pick for the best grass fed whey protein concentrate powder
  • Our top pick for a grass-fed whey protein-only supplement (only 1 ingredient)
  • Uses whey protein concentrate from grass-fed cows in New Zealand
  • Family-owned company with great customer service and research-driven company philosophy

As noted, Designs for Health produces some of the best supplements in the world as validated by 3rd party testing and their multiple awards. So, if you’re looking for the very best, purest, single ingredient in protein, it’s no surprise that it comes from Designs for Health.

Produced from New Zealand cows and left in a concentrate instead of an isolated form to minimize processing, The WheyCool by Designs for Health is the best grass-fed whey protein you can buy that is completely void of additives like sunflower lecithin that helps with mixing.

While the vanilla and chocolate forms of WheyCool are available on Amazon, their top-ranked, completely 1-ingredient unflavored version is only available on Fullscript, which is where we buy all our supplements. Fullscript is a high-quality supplement distributor and our favorite affiliate. Our massive discount is automatically included when you 👉create an account with our link👈. Feel free to create an account and use it to order all of your supplements and save massive money for life. 💪

Oh, and if you want to try the vanilla or chocolate WheyCool, it’s over $26 cheaper on Fullscript than on Amazon!

9. NAKED Nutrition Naked Whey (Unflavored)

  • Informed Choice Trusted by Sport certification- great for athletes who’re drug tested
  • Best option for athletes wanting something PURE
  • Best brand & price when buying in bulk
  • Only brand to sell 5 lbs sizes
Tub of Naked Whey Protein powder

When it comes to pure products, NAKED Nutrition is at the front of the pack. If you’re looking to take your diet to the level, then focus on using ultra-clean products like this one.

NAKED produces products that are just what they advertise- completely stripped of any added substances, artificial flavors, etc. They don’t even contain stevia for flavor or sunflower lecithin as a binding agent which

are often still used by many highly reputable and clean-focused brands.

While NAKED grass fed whey protein may not mix or taste as great as other options (works great if you just use our favorite blender: the Vitamix S50, which is powerful and compatible with their blender cups), your body will LOVE this stuff. It is protein in its most uncontaminated and sparkling clean form.

You simply can’t find a protein powder that’s any purer. Click here to get 10% off any Order with the coupon code NAKED10.

10. Propello Life Non-GMO Whey Protein

  • Sourced from ethically treated New Zealand cows grazing outdoors year-round and never given hormones 
  • Includes MCT’s making it great for in-between workouts and stabilizing blood sugar 
  • A small, family-owned company that partners with and supports their local Special Olympics branch
  • Outstanding taste and mixes easily with water 

A newer company on our list with really unique protein powders, Propello Life West Indies Cocoa Whey Protein is worth checking out.  

11. Garden of Life Organic Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder, Chocolate Peanut Butter

  • Best option for a (organic) peanut butter lover
  • Certified USDA Organic and American Humane Certified
  • Non-GMO Project Verified  (only grass fed whey with certification according to manufacturer)
  • Cows graze on grass “at least 300 days a year” [18]
  • Probiotics and digestive Enzymes to promote digestion.
  • Traceable: Each ingredient we use is fully traceable back to seed and farm it was grown on.
  • The company uses only renewable energy
  • Certified B Corporation that focuses to balance purpose and profit
  • Kosher
Garden of Life Certified Organic 21g California Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder - Chocolate Peanut Butter

Garden of Life Organic Grass Fed Whey Protein differs slightly from its SPORT Certified version. For starters, it’s certified organic, and instead of being sourced from Ireland, it’s sourced from California, where they claim the cows graze on grass at least 300 days of the year, and when feed is supplemented, it’s certified organic. It’s also missing Glutamine and has a lower BCAA content.

Similar to the SPORT Certified protein powder, it has added probiotics, is American Humane Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Kosher certified.  Unlike the SPORT protein, which only comes in chocolate and strawberry, their Organic Grass Fed Whey powder also comes in chocolate peanut butter, lightly sweet, vanilla, and strawberry.  We aren’t big fans of the erythritol and stevia, but I’m personally a big fan of anything with peanut butter so if you’re looking for a great-tasting, grass-fed protein powder and don’t want to take the extra step to add powdered organic peanut butter, this is an amazing choice. Sometimes, you can even 👉find it on Fullscript for a hefty discount.👈

A bonus to buying any Garden of Life product is supporting a socially responsible and humane company.  As a business, they are a Certified B Corporation that focuses on balancing purpose. They use renewable energy, and this specific protein powder is American Humane Certified.

12. Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate

  • Great option for everyone
  • Cold-processed, non-GMO
  • 1% of all sales to nonprofits
  • Transparent company with great customer service
Grass-fed whey protein isolate

In a highly competitive field, Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey sets itself apart with outstanding customer service and a quality product.  First, they’re completely transparent about their products and processing, and are quick to answer any questions you might have. Wondering if they produce one without any lactose? They’ll point you to their whey isolate, which has the lactose removed and is usually well tolerated even by those with a dairy sensitivity.

Are you looking for one with the least amount of processing and no other ingredients other than whey?  They’ll point you to their concentrate which is nothing but pure whey.

Don’t like GMO ingredients?  Don’t worry, their products are 100% non-GMO.  Even the sunflower lecithin, which is less than 1% of their isolate product, is non-GMO and they are clear about only using it to make mixing easier. Remember, whey isolate is naturally hydrophobic, making it difficult to blend in water.

Next, I LOVE protein powders sold in a resealable pouch. Why?  Multiple reasons.

Have you ever opened a new container and looked for the scoop and it’s nowhere to be found?

You think to yourself, do I dig my hand in there?  Do I use a knife or spoon to dig around and pull it up?  Or maybe just use a scoop from another container…until you finally find your original scoop after a third of the container is gone. And of course, you soon realize the scoops are two different sizes.

Having a pouch allows you to gently squeeze the pouch to feel where the scoop is and then push it to the top. #winning

Adding more to my love of the pouch is the feasibility when it comes to travel.  Do you ever travel and want to take your protein powder with you? Are you trying to decide how many scoops to bring and which container to bring them in since you can’t fit the bulky tub in your bag? 

Should you use a ziplock bag or a plastic container?

Well, there’s no need to worry about that with a pouch. Is Opportuniteas the only company to sell its powder in a pouch? No, but I had to put my rant about how much I love protein powder in a bag instead of a tub somewhere. 

It’s the little things…

Ok, now, onto the product.

Both unflavored whey proteins, grass-fed whey isolate and grass-fed whey concentrate, mix and taste as good as you’ll find. If you’re going to mix in a shaker bottle, like all concentrates and most isolates, you should anticipate clumpiness. If you use a high-powered blender (we use a Vitamix) you can mix either one, including concentrate, nicely in just a few seconds. I prefer the concentrate since it has only one simple ingredient.

Like many brands in this crowded field, they use cold processing immediately after collecting raw milk (no added hormones!) Wisconsin cows.  They only pasteurize their whey once and do not use any artificial flavorings, sweeteners, or GMOs.

Lastly, and most notably, this company is part of 1% for the Planet, which means they donate 1% of all their sales to nonprofits.  Once again, in a crowded space, it’s little things like this that make you choose one brand over another and why we rate Opportunitites Grass-Fed Whey Protein as one of our top picks for best grass fed protein powders.

13. Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate, Iced Coffee

  • Best option for coffee lovers
  • Cold-processed, non-GMO
  • Convenient packaging for travel and for finding the serving scoop
  • 1% of all sales to nonprofits
  • Transparent company with great customer service

Looking for a high-quality grass fed whey that also packs some flavor without a bunch of artificial sweeteners or additives?  Bored with the traditional vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate? Check out Opportuniteas Iced Coffe Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate which contains just 3 ingredients: whey protein isolate, coffee extract, and non-GMO sunflower lecithin.  Mixes and tastes great with water, but is unbelievably delicious with vanilla almond milk!

14. Tera’s Organic Grass Fed Fair Trade Certified Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Looking for a socially conscious company that puts a little heart into their product?  This is the craft beer version of whey protein.

  • Best option for a chocolate lover
  • Best option for staying Kosher
  • Socially responsible using Fair Trade cocoa
  • Certified USDA Organic, artisan crafted, cold pressed
  • Non-GMO
Can of Tera's Organic Fair Trade Certified Dark Chocolate Grass Fed Whey Protein

Tera’s is a small company that sources their dairy from local farmers in Wisconsin.  When they say they use high-quality ingredients, they mean it. They’re a rare company to take the extra socially responsible step to use Organic Fair Trade Certified Dark Chocolate as the flavoring in their chocolate offering.  With only 4 ingredients in their flavored whey (organic whey concentrate, organic Fair Trade Certified cocoa, organic stevia, and sunflower lecithin), this is hands down your best choice if chocolate is your jam.

15. Tera’s Organic Grass Fed Bourbon Vanilla Whey

  • Best option for vanilla lover

Not a chocolate lover? Looking for a vanilla option without tapioca fiber, gum acacia, xantham gum, erythritol, stevia extract, or some other vague ingredient like “natural flavoring”?

Check out their Organic Bourbon Vanilla Grass Fed Whey. Inspired by pastry chefs, this delicious powder is made with organic vanilla sourced from Madagascar.  Concerned about staying Kosher? All Tera’s whey options are certified!

16 Vanilla Organic Whey Protein by Thrive Market

Organic Whey Protein - Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein from Thrive Market

We buy a lot from Thrive Market because it takes the guessing game out of searching all over for clean and natural products. Simply pay a small annual subscription and then you have access to a site that ONLY lists products from clean companies & it allows you to even search by a specific diet.

Only want to see products that are Keto or Paleo-friendly? Well, simply check the box in the filter along the left side of the screen and you only get products that fit those diets. Looking for only grass-fed, certified organic, BPA-free, etc.? It’s SO EASY to find clean products on Thrive Market that having a membership is a no-brainer. Making matters better is the fact that once you have your membership, you get all kinds of amazing products from clean companies at a steep discount compared to your local stores and it’s shipped right to your front door.

For these reasons, we LOVE the Organic Grass-Fed Whey protein from Thrive Market. It’s clean, only has 3 simple ingredients, is completely void of any fillers or thickeners, and is sourced from cows that graze outdoors year-around.

Ready to try Thrive Market out? If you use our affiliate link to create a new account you’ll get 25% off your first order AND a free gift.

17. Mend Regenerate, Repair and Recover, Joint Replacement, and Cosmetic Protein Powders (Consolation Prize)

Although technically not grass-fed, we’ve added the Regeneratel, Repair & Recovery, Joint Replacement, and Cosmetic protein powders by Mend to our list because consumers should be aware of these incredibly unique and powerful protein supplements. 

Used by over 20 professional sports teams, Mend has a completely unique approach to their protein powders. Their aim is to produce protein supplements that help with recovery from injury, surgery, and optimize overall health vs other brands that are mostly focused solely on muscle recovery. 

The Regenerate protein powder by Mend is their powder aimed at optimizing overall health. This would be the best option for most people who are not injured or recovering from surgery. It would also be beneficial for those simply looking to feel strong and bounce back from workouts faster.

All Mend protein powders have a huge number of additional ingredients added to improve their effectiveness. A few of the highlights of Regenerate include the addition of HMB to reduce muscle damage and improve recovery, Aminogen which helps protein absorption, creatine to build muscle, as well as Resveratrol and grape seed extract to boost the antioxidants for fighting inflammation. 

Mend Repair & Recover, which aims to assist recovery after injuries and surgery, claims that this particular protein powder will help provide the fuel your body needs to, “fix fractures, wounds, and tissue faster.”

A few of the ingredients that should be highlighted in the Repair & Recover formula are zinc and vitamin A to assist with tissue repair and wound healing, iron to help immune cells, and glutamine to improve bone healing. 

Mend Joint Replacement Protein

The next formula worth highlighting is Mend’s Joint Replacement offering which aims to, “Get back on your feet sooner after joint replacement surgery. This targeted blend of nutrients protects your muscles after knee, shoulder, and keyhole surgery to speed up recovery.”

As a physical therapist, I can say that a few of the primary goals after surgery are to reduce swelling and improve range of motion so that we can use the muscles and reduce atrophy. I always encourage my patients to be conscious of their protein intake after surgery to help improve recovery and reduce atrophy. 

The ingredients that separate the Joint Replacement formula from the other Mend-produced options are the massive amount and variety of amino acids from L-isoleucine to L-threonine.  This specific combo will be extremely helpful with repair and recovery after an intense surgery such as a joint replacement. 

Mend Cosmetic Protein Powder

Lastly, the Mend Cosmetic formula, reportedly used by leading cosmetic surgeons, is an amazing option if you’re looking for one of the best protein powders on the market to help skin look healthy and strong as well to assist with healing post-cosmetic procedures. 

The differentiating ingredients in the Mend Cosmetic formula are proven to increase collagen and assist skin elasticity. Our two stars in this lineup are arnica and arginine. Arnica has the ability to reduce inflammation and arginine can improve blood flow and circulation. 

Why Should You Choose Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate Over Traditional Whey

In our post about Bulletproof Coffee, we previously discussed the benefits of butter from grass-fed versus indoor mixed-fed cows.

 Does it matter just as much when consuming Whey Protein?  

Absolutely.

If you take a look at various labels of protein powders, you will see the macronutrient similarity (protein, carbohydrate, fat) between grass-fed whey isolate to traditional whey protein isolate.  However, a closer analysis reveals major differences that can add up when it comes to health.

Improved Fat Quality in Grass Fed Whey Protein

Grass fed cows produce milk with higher concentrations of β-Carotene (the precursor to Vitamin A), unsaturated fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which are healthy components of fat.[1,2,4]  In fact, CLAs have been shown to have many positive effects, including being anticarcinogenic and helpful in regulating the immune system and type II diabetes.[4]

Infographic showing the greater health benefits of pasture raised dairy vs indoor fed dairy in terms of CLA, Beta-Carotene, and Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids

When comparing the nutrition labels of a grass-fed whey concentrate vs. one from non-grass-fed cows, a comparison shows higher cholesterol and lower calcium.  

Why?

Indoor-fed cows have more unhealthy fat and less of CLAs, omega fatty acids, and beta-carotene which are necessary for optimal health.

Overall Nutritional Quality of Grass Fed Whey vs Traditional Whey

Is there really a higher nutritional quality in grass fed protein powder vs conventional protein powder?

Without a doubt.

The value of minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, and manganese tends to be higher in grass-fed milk, especially when produced from cows grazing in a perennial ryegrass pasture.[3]🐄

Also higher in grass-fed organic dairy is α-tocopherol, iron, and conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). CLA is a fatty acid found in meat and dairy products with many purported benefits, such as assisting with weight loss while maintaining lean muscle mass and controlling type II diabetes. [6]

Grass fed dairy has also been shown to have high amounts of unsaturated fats such as PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids). These are considered healthy fats.

PUFAs and MUFAs have been shown to be helpful in many ways, including reducing the risk of heart disease, improving blood pressure, and improving blood lipid levels. They are actually considered an evidenced-based component of life-prolonging therapies for heart failure.[7,8]

Organic milk has a higher proportion of PUFA to MUFAs and of n-3 FA than conventional milk. Organic milk also contained a consistently lower n-6:n-3 FA ratio (which is considered beneficial) when compared to conventional milk. [9]

Cold Processed Grass Fed Whey vs High Heat Processed Whey

Most consumers seeking a grass-fed protein powder are well educated on the properties that make for the highest quality product.  So, a majority of grass-fed protein powders will advertise producing their whey protein with terms such as “cold-processed,” “un-denatured, cold-processed,” “micro-filtered,” “ultra-filtered,” and “low-temperature drying techniques.”

While most consumers know this probably produces a better product, what does it really mean?

It is well understood that using heat destroys the nutritional content of food. However, some processing is required to make the product safe for consumers.

In the U.S., the Department of Health and Human Services provides standards and regulations for dairy to be sold to protect the public.  An outline of these regulations can be found in their document, the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance.

Whey High Heat Processing Decreases Grass Fed Whey Quality

Some countries actually require high heat processing for dairy to be sold and don’t provide their farmers the flexibility to use cold processing of their dairy.  Fortunately, many countries producing grass-fed whey protein powder, such as the U.S., allow farmers to use cold filtration processing to purify the milk of harmful pathogens without disturbing the taste or nutritional qualities.

Extensive research has examined the effect of heat processing on whey protein.  A review of the effects of thermal processing on whey proteins demonstrated that several studies have proven that heat processing causes denaturing (destruction of the chemical properties) and aggregation (causing things to form into a cluster) of the proteins.[10]  Dairy from warmer climate countries like Brazil has also exhibited lower nutritional quality, including lower free essential BCAAs.[11]

In addition to destroying the protein, heating has also been found to disturb the flavor of whey protein.  A 2013 study found that heating whey caused increased sulfur flavors in whey.[12]

Furthermore, when combined with acidification, which is often done in conjunction with heat processing, increased the cardboard, potato/brothy, and malty flavors in whey and produced higher concentrations of aldehydes, ketones, and sulfur compounds.[12]  Hence why many grass-fed protein powder manufacturers will advertise producing their whey without acid or bleach processing.

Here are a few other tidbits about cold processing:

  1. Cold processing is just as effective as heat processing in treating harmful, pathogenic microorganisms. [13,14,15]
  2. Cold processing of other foods has been shown to improve food quality and flavor. [6]
  3. Cold processing can inactivate microorganisms and enzymes that cause spoilage while preserving the nutritional and sensory quality of foods. [15]

Whey Protein Isolate vs Concentrate: What’s the Difference?

If you read the labels for grass-fed protein powder, you will notice two types of whey protein are used: whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate.  What is the difference, and why would someone prefer one over the other?

The answer lies in the mixing and manufacturing process.  Its components, such as fat and protein, are mostly separated during dairy manufacturing.  When the protein is separated, it consists of two different types of protein, whey and casein.  Further processing makes a more pure product by dividing whey and casein, thereby creating a “concentrate”.  This “concentrate” of whey still includes a bit of fat, naturally occurring sugar, and lactose, even though it is 80%+ protein by weight.

Whey concentrate is a mostly pure form (containing some fat, sugar/lactose) of whey and is typically a great product.  However, in this form, it does not dissolve or mix very easily as protein is by nature hydrophobic (it repels water. Think RainX on your windshield). So, while this is a great product, many do not prefer it as it does not dissolve or mix well.

Because whey concentrate is hydrophobic and quite pure, this often leads to an undesirable mixing and tasting experience for consumers. As a result, many manufacturers further refine the whey concentrate to its absolute purest form, isolate.  Through further refining, whey protein is separated from the remaining milk components by removing most fat, sugar/lactose. In this form, it is known as “isolate” as it has been mostly isolated from other remaining milk components, thus making it 90%+ protein by weight.[17]

When looking at the labels of the cleanest grass-fed protein powders money can buy, the manufacturing difference between whey protein concentrate and isolate is clear.  Glancing at the label of an isolate, you will most often see 0g of fat and 0-1g of carbohydrates from sugar. A concentrate on the other hand, may contain a range of 2-3g of fat and 3-5 carbohydrates from sugar. Since an isolate has more protein by weight, there usually a few more grams of protein per serving.

Further analysis will reveal that many of the whey proteins that contain an added ingredient, including those powders which including only two ingredients- whey and sunflower lecithin, that concentrate is used. However, when purchasing a product that has only one simple ingredient, then a concentrate is used.

So all in all, it is confusing but important to remember that whey “isolate” is actually the purest and most concentrated form. However, you will rarely see isolate sold as the lone ingredient as it would be very difficult to mix.

The purest forms of grass fed protein powders that are sold as isolate usually have just one very small additive such as sunflower lecithin that helps the protein dissolve for easier mixing.

Why do Manufacturers use Whey Isolate More Often Than Whey Concentrate?

Being in an isolated form, protein powder manufacturers use isolate more often because it leads to more protein per serving.  So, it requires a smaller scoop to create their desired 20-25g serving size of the protein. This leaves more room for additives in the final product leading to better taste and consumer experience without taking up too much space in their packaging.

Through the use of isolate, additives such as sunflower lecithin, (added to reduce clumping) make for a better shake by means of better dissolution. Components such as lecithin can be added while still providing the customer with modest size packaging and serving sizes.

The Final Verdict on the Best Grass Fed Whey Protein Powders

So many options out there, how do you choose the best protein powder?

If your budget allows, go with something that has probiotics and other dietary supplements in it to enhance muscle growth like the SFH Fuel or Garden of Life SPORT. If you’re on a limited budget or prefer to add your own supplements, choose a single-ingredient clean whey protein such as from Naked.

For those who have a more sensitive gut, consider adding almond milk and a bit of Low FODMAP fruit to allow for easier digestion without neglecting taste. If you still find that you don’t feel great after the shake, it might be time to strongly consider trying an elimination diet in order to see which food(s) is causing your symptoms. Many drink whey protein without even realizing they are reacting!

As you can see, we love products without added ingredients and we try to stay on that road to the best of our ability. If you’d like more personalized help and dietary advice, check out our nutrition coaching packages and book a free 15-minute phone call to map out a plan to achieve your optimal health.

Not sure if nutrition coaching with FWDfuel is right for you? Consider checking out all our 5-star reviews on Google!

Have any questions about the best grass-fed whey protein and the best organic grass-fed whey protein? Don’t hesitate to reach out on Instagram.

Again, if you are an athlete who is routinely drug tested, be sure to use a NSF for Sport whey protein product. You may purchase them for a major discount compared to other websites when you order 👉through our Fullscript affiliate link and NSF Protein Powders List.👈

If you’re not going to use a blender and want something with great taste, don’t be afraid to upgrade to one of the flavored options on this list.  Every option on this list is excellent and will help you get one step closer to a clean, whole-food approach to post-workout recovery.

Lastly, if you didn’t catch it earlier, be sure to know how to properly calculate your protein needs and understand exactly what happens when you don’t get enough protein. Knowing the signs of low protein intake can help you get things on track before they turn into an injury or chronic problem.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133058/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030216307135
  3. https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0022030216306671/1-s2.0-S0022030216306671-main.pdf?_tid=c513550d-6c56-44de-9551-522a23f4bc1c&acdnat=1546032066_5a0bf39d0dee3b2a9e2b292746df9d72
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/conjugated-linoleic-acid
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030217308858
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26878105
  7. https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2017/04/11/Powerful-PUFAs-The-many-health-benefits-of-omega-3s
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213446/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16702257
  10. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1541-4337.12105
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26317267
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23332857
  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/cold-pasteurization
  14. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235330978_Microbial_decontamination_of_milk_and_dairy_products
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25629307
  16. Bastin, G. Opportuniteas Email Communcation, January, 2019.
  17. https://www.trulygrassfed.com/benefits-for-you/
  18. https://www.gardenoflife.com/content/product/organic-whey-protein/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17187912
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27784241
  21. https://www.futureceuticals.com/fruitex-b
  22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31627309/
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18416885/

About The Author

Michael Bogden

Dr. Bogden completed his residency training at the Cleveland Clinic and has completed two fellowships. He earned his undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from John Carroll University, graduating Cum Laude, and holds a Master of Science degree from Daemen College. He has collaborated with health professionals across the spectrum to form an integrative approach to health, enhancing his knowledge and expertise. Recipient of the Cleveland Clinic Health Educator of the Year Award, Dr. Bogden is passionate about mentoring others. Despite his lifelong advocacy for exercise and nutrition, he encountered unexpected challenges with fatigue and recovery that significantly impacted his training. Through a collaborative effort with his wife, Kylene, a dietitian trained in functional nutrition, he embraced a holistic lifestyle, witnessing a remarkable transformation in his energy levels and overall performance. In his practice, Dr. Bogden integrates a hands-on, spine-based approach to treating his clients along with functional sports nutrition. His experience as a Boston-Marathon qualifier and overcoming mold illness and recovery issues has allowed him to help recreational and elite athletes dealing with a wide variety of challenges. His unique integrative approach empowers his clients to achieve life-changing results and optimal long-term health.

22 Comments

  1. flamy

    Fantastic info on how to snoop labels to figure out quality (Cholesterol, Calcium)! Thanks!

    I’ll note though, that some of the products listed have Cholesterol (10 mg), and low Calcium. Taking me by total surprise the Amazon Elements has 0 cholesterol and high calcium, however it is no longer available. I found another product not on your list that has 0 cholesterol and 151 mg calcium, that I just ordered. Let’s see how that goes.

    Reply
    • Michael Bogden

      Thank you for the update Flamy! We’ll work on updating the post soon. Keep us posted on what you bought and how it works out for you.

      Reply
  2. Jackie

    Before reading your article I had done some searching for grass fed whey on NSF site. I did not see Naked Whey, but you listed it here as NSF certified. Is that correct? I’m looking for one to use that has that certification.Thank you for the very informative article!

    Reply
    • Michael Bogden

      Hey Jackie, thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry but Naked has either dropped the NSF certification or I made a mistake when typing the post. They’re not NSF certified but they are Informed Choice Trusted by Sport certified which is not as rigorous as NSF certification, but still acceptable for most athletes who may be drug tested.

      If you specifically want a brand that is grass fed and NSF certified then we highly recommend (and personally use) Garden of Life SPORT and SFH. Both make a great-tasting and high-quality product. Again, so sorry for the mistake but thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      Reply
  3. Arthur

    Truly this one is the best grass-fed whey protein powders review. Really helpful and informative. Keep sharing more like this to inform more people to be successful in their fitness journey.

    Reply
    • Michael Bogden

      Thanks Arthur!

      Reply
  4. uyen nguyen

    My wife and I have been using Collagen Whey Protein Powder for a few months now. We switched to this because it is one of the very rare whey protein brands on the market that not only doesn’t contain sugar, but it also doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners (if you are like me, you are sensitive to these). We drink this every day, and just add some coconut sugar in if we want a bit of sweetness to it. I feel like this whey protein needs more recognition in the fitness community!

    Reply
    • Michael Bogden

      Hey Uyen, thank you for your comment! The Collagen Whey from Vital Proteins is an excellent product. Be sure you’re choosing one that is from grass-fed cows. Most all the products in this list have clean ingredients though some are better than others. Keep up the good work reading labels and looking for labels with simple and clean ingredients!

      Reply
  5. Bill J.

    This is a chock-full article of info with well-researched recommendations. For the Updated 2021 article can I suggest adding Grass-Fed Whey by a brand called agn roots (A Greener Nutrition)? As mentioned in the comments, this brand is literally the best of the best. When Ireland announced their nationalized grass-fed standard for claims made on all “grass-fed” dairy products back in late 2019, this is when I first heard about agn roots. Just a recommendation knowing that most so-called grassfed whey brands are a rip off. The only negative, stuff sells out in a week and then takes a month or two to get back in stock.

    Reply
    • Michael Bogden

      Hi Bill, thank you for your comment! We appreciate you sharing this info and a detailed reason why we should consider AGN Roots in our 2021 update. At first glance, the product is quite promising! We’re going to reach out to the company and investigate a bit more about them. We’ll definitely consider them pending our research. Thanks again!

      Reply
    • Michael Bogden

      Hi! Thank you for your comment and for showing us another product to checkout. The BN Grass Fed Whey looks like a good product but in a crowded marketplace it does not stand out. It’s not organic and there isn’t anything unique about the company that stands out compared to those that support charities or have a unique feature to them to stand apart. Examples are being 1% for the planet, using solar in their processing, etc. Furthermore, it is sourced from cows in Wisconsin which can actually only be truly “grass-fed” for part of the year compared to whey sourced from cows in NZ or Ireland. So, feel free to use this product, it looks very good. But, in a crowded marketplace, in our opinion, it would not be one of the best ones available.

      Reply
  6. KHANH HO

    I bought Garden of Life Sport looking for a replacement for my Beachbody performance recover, something with protein and BCAAs. I love the taste of this, it’s a smooth milk chocolate taste. It might not mix as well as some other protein powders I’ve had but there difference is very slight, not worth taking away a star. I don’t review often but I would recommend this product. I will buy it again.

    Reply
    • Kylene Bogden

      Awesome!! Keep up the great work Khanh!

      Reply
  7. Sonia

    But if protein isolate loses all the fat don’t you then lose all the benefits from grass-fed?

    Reply
    • Michael Bogden

      Hey Sonia, great question! However, Isolate does not have ALL the fat removed, ~10% is still left. Also, grass fed whey is more likely to have fewer harmful traces of pesticides, growth hormones, and other undesirable chemicals.

      Reply
  8. mANGAZINES

    Thanks for your efforts for this article. It was very helpful to me.

    Reply
    • Michael Bogden

      Thanks! mAngazines!

      Reply
  9. Emma

    This is truly a great article! Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for sharing something so helpful and keep up the good work!

    Reply

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Family picture of Dr. Michael Bogden and licensed dietitian nutritionist Kylene Bogden

Meet Kylene & Dr. Michael Bogden

Kylene is a licensed dietitian nutritionist board-certified in sports nutrition as well as Integrative and Functional Nutrition. She is a certified food sensitivity LEAP therapist and the Performance Dietitian for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael, a physiotherapist with dual fellowships, merges sports nutrition with rehab to enhance client recovery.

Together, they've conquered personal health challenges that hindered their athletic pursuits including mold toxicity, Celiac disease, SIBO, and food sensitivities. Inspired by their journey, they founded a thriving private practice in 2017, now boasting three expert-trained dietitian nutritionists specializing in functional nutrition.

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