Any woman that takes her workout very seriously has at least considered a protein powder to enhance their physical improvement, strength and conditioning potential.
However, most enthusiasts are quickly disparaged by the myriad of products and options for complimenting their workout and diet regimen.
The promises of better definition, recovery and results are plastered to every plastic cylinder and many even contain the similar active ingredients (or at least claim to have the same ingredients).
Fortunately, according to our own research and the reviews provided by female fitness enthusiasts, the top pick for Protein Powder for women is: 100% Gold Standard Whey from Optimum Nutrition.
When you’re blending your smoothie or post workout drink, adding 100% Gold Standard to the mix is the most likely protein powder to give you the ingredients you need for a better recovery, higher quality workouts, burn fat in your trouble areas and tone up those glutes, thighs and shoulder muscles.
Scour the protein powder industry and you’re not going to find a better option, even among protein powders that are supposedly designed for women specifically.
Let’s now get into the details on why we think this is the best protein powder a girl can buy.
Top athletes, nutritionists, health experts and professional body builders seem to agree with our recommendation but for good measure, we’ve also incorporated a few runner-up options for you to consider.
Top Choice: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard
Why is Gold Standard 100% Whey the best protein powder for women?
According to strength and conditioning expert for Women’s Health Magazine Marie Spano, “Women actually benefit more from a protein powder/ supplement than men do.”
According to her, women’s diets are more likely to lack protein than men’s do because of their choices and lower calorie counts.
Clearly as the market has noticed various brands now target women with their products and advertising. However, the top protein powder, Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Gold Standard is a top pick both for men and women.
You would think that protein powders need to be gender specific for maximum effect. Although this can be true for other supplements, research has proven that this is not the case with protein based products.
When picking a protein powder, you are interested in the one that provides the protein with maximum quality, regardless of your gender, or your workout pattern.
Providing the Protein: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every woman consume at least 46 grams of protein a day, mostly through diet.
According to their research, an active 140-pound woman should consume between 76 and 108 grams of protein per day. 100% Whey Gold Standard Protein Powder provides 24 grams of protein of the highest quality per serving.
This is about one-third of the daily amount recommended for a healthy and active woman. This is particularly impressive considering the low calorie count and high quality of the protein in this product.
24 grams of protein is about the most any quality supplement can offer and Gold Standard does it with the highest quality processes and ingredients, in comparison to other products.
Whey is the way: In the world of proteins, there is nothing better than Whey protein. It digests quickly, absorbs amino acids fast and tastes pretty good, too.
It is great for building lean muscle and/or weight loss. According to a study done by the University of London, Whey protein develops faster amino acid absorption by the body than the commonly used Casein (Yves Biories, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2007).
When you’re looking into protein powders, Whey is obviously the ingredient that provides the most improvement and enhancement and there is no better choice for developing leaner muscles.
Protein is the best addition for strength and conditioning and Whey protein is the most effective supplement for consumption, especially if you are into hardcore fitness.
According to Women’s Health Magazine, “Whey has been shown to be more effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis in women, it’s affordable and it by far tastes the best according to reviews.”
The research and the experts are clear that Whey protein products far outperform the Casein and Soy competitors.
Additionally, Medical News Today reported that it is a complete protein that contains 9 amino acids. Additionally, it has less lactose than the Casein counterpart.
Nutrition & Metabolism Publication also published a case study that reported women consumers of Whey Protein lost more fat and maintained more lean muscle than those that drank from a control substance without it.
Finally, there have been indications that adding Whey protein supplements to diets might have positive benefits in blood pressure, cholesterol, female hormones regulation and even contain anti-cancer properties.
Clearly, Whey protein powder incorporates the components and outcomes desired by anyone adding supplements to their diet.
With benefits like essential amino acids and research indicating that it promotes fat loss and fast recovery, it is very likely the best choice.
The highest quality Whey protein: As any nutritionist knows, not all proteins are the same, not even all Whey proteins. When incorporating a fast digesting protein like Whey protein to your diet, it’s vital that you choose a brand that isn’t taking the easy road in producing the protein.
Brands often spike their powders with low quality protein or amino acids to give the illusion of a higher quality product. Unfortunately, the practice makes protein powders test for more quality protein than actually exists in the powder.
According to our research, 100% Whey Gold Standard is one of the only brands that can truly claim the full 24 grams of protein per serving it promotes in this product, which is the amount an average woman that works out would need after a rigorous fitness training session.
According to Optimum Nutrition, their goal is producing the highest quality protein powder using the most effective and enhanced methods available.
For this, Gold Standard uses microfiltration for producing Whey, which allows the protein powder to maintain the most valuable amino acids and doesn’t load up on fillers that won’t improve your health or recovery time.
This is something that ranks high in out book actually; the last thing you need if you are a multitasking woman with a tight schedule that trains, works and is raising children, is consuming a supplement that could cause you health issues and lose time while recovering in a bed.
Another way bad brands like to confuse consumers is by using Whey concentrate as the main ingredient as opposed to the higher quality Whey isolate.
Whey concentrate includes more lactose and thus is more likely to upset your stomach, particularly if you are prone to lactose intolerance (something very common in women).
Additionally, the processing of Whey isolate allows for more protein per serving than Whey concentrate and the concentrate also has more carbohydrates.
Finally, the Whey isolate has a quicker amino acid absorption rate associated with consumption.
There are researchers and athletic enthusiasts that downplay the difference between concentrate and isolate but considering that women are more likely to be concerned with weight gain, fast amino acid absorption and levels of lactose, it is clear that the additional processing associated with the Whey isolate is the better choice.
100% Whey Gold Standard is a blended product that is mostly Whey Isolate but does include Whey concentrate so that users receive the benefits of both types and have the small amount of recommended carbohydrate with their consumption.
Amino Acid Additions: In addition to the 24 gram of protein in every serving, Gold Standard also includes 5.5 grams of naturally occurring Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s). BCAA’s are important for maintaining muscle mass and to build lean muscle.
Additionally, there is indication that BCAA’s reduce the amount of tryptophan entering your brain and thus make it so you feel fatigue later and can workout longer. Amino acids have also been shown to be crucial in the repairing of muscles and tissues in the body.
Minimal sugars: There are certainly protein supplements without sweeteners or sugars (see our runner-up choices) but most of their reviews indicate they don’t taste great.
Gold Standard 100% Whey is a great blend of minimal added sugars while still having a worthwhile taste. Also, instead of using unhealthy artificial sweeteners, Gold Standard 100% Whey uses evaporated cane juice powder.
Best for Digestion: Competitive female athletes and fitness aficionados agree that 100% Whey Gold Standard is easy to digest and easy on their stomach.
Most athletes prefer to use the protein powder after workouts but some professionals have indicated that they also use it before workouts and this wouldn’t be possible if it upset their stomach.
100% Whey Gold Standard is, as far as we have researched, the product of choice for athletes looking to workout multiple times a day or needing a pre-workout supplement because of the ease of digestion.
If it is good enough for a professional athlete, it should definitely be good enough for a fitness mummy as well.
Low calorie count: As one reviewer put it, “you don’t want to waste you calories or carbohydrates on your protein powder, you’d rather eat them.”
At 110 calories per serving, 100% Whey Gold Standard provides a power punch of protein with minimal calorie count. For women looking to become healthy, lean, sexy and strong, this is a perfect combination.
Taste: While it probably isn’t the most important concern, the reality is: taste matters. Unless you are too hardcore of a girl, you probably aren’t willing to drink something that tastes worse than those celery smoothies you used to drink when you thought that was the best way to lose those post pregnancy pounds.
100% Gold Standard Whey comes in 10 different flavors and reviewers have promoted every single one. The Chocolate Peanut Butter, Rocky Road and Salted Caramel Flavors are fan favorites and surely make this the best tasting protein powder.
The nutrition team from Bodybuilder.com indicated that the taste is so good it can be sprinkled on yogurt or cereal as opposed to blended into a smoothie or shake.
Easy to mix: Most reviewers report that, this whey protein suplement is easy to blend into drinks or yogurt. If you’ve never had a difficult to blend powder, this might not matter much.
However, if you can’t spare 10 minutes to mix protein powder because you have diapers to change or kids to pick from school in 5 minutes, you will fully understand the value of a good protein supplement that blends easily.
The delicious taste and ease of mixing means that this powder will glide right into your routine adding the protein you need without much effort.
Brand Mechanics: Part of the popularity of this whey protein powder and all Optimum Nutrition products is that the products are all engineered and manufactured in house by their parent company, Glanbia.
The Whey is all produced in US manufacturing plants that meet US standards. This means the raw material for this protein powder is of a higher quality than other brands who can’t attest for the same.
Recommended Use: 100% Whey Gold Standard is recommended blended into a recovery drink or meal like oatmeal soon after a workout. Many athletes and workout enthusiasts prefer it in an already blended drink so they can have within minutes of completing their activity.
Users saw improvements in their recovery time, energy levels, weight loss and overall health as a result of adding this to their diet. After a few weeks of use, most reviewers also indicated an improvement in their muscle definition, lean look and ability to workout for longer periods.
Fans of the brand: Some of the most famous and committed female body builders only trust 100% Whey Gold Standard for their protein powder needs, according to what we could find out by checking out different interviews.
Jen Turnball and Jaquelyn Kastelic, both professional Crossfit atheletes that could put most men to shame in several athleticism feats, use this brand of protein powder after their workouts.
Gold Standard 100% Whey is certainly a top tier product but that doesn’t mean it comes without some considerations and it doesn’t mean that it is for every diet.
Consulting a doctor or nutritionist can help you consider possible adverse effects of protein powders and additional methods for physical improvement.
Whey Protein is derived from dairy: One consideration with this protein powder is that technically all Whey protein is derived from dairy. So, if you are lactose intolerant or vegan, this probably isn’t the product for you. Check our other recommendations for a non-dairy option if this is the case.
Not specifically designed for women: The label isn’t pink and there is a little bit of added sugar but there really isn’t a huge difference between a protein powder designed to market to women and one that isn’t as we have stated above.
If you’re seriously looking for a protein powder that has labeling for women and is sans-sugar because you think this is going to be a better product for you (regardless of the arguments we provided against this false idea) check out the runner-up, but Gold Standard 100% Whey is still the better buy if you are a woman, in our opinion.
Side Effects: As with any protein powder, there are possible side effects to including them in your diet.
As mentioned, Whey protein is derived from dairy and that can lead to upset stomachs, particularly during initial use. Stomach pain and digestive issues are the most common side effects associated with Whey protein and a doctor should be consulted if you experience this.
Runner Up: Gym Vixen Sexy Whey
Unlike our top pick for protein powders Gold Standard 100% Whey, Gym Vixen Sexy Whey is targeted specifically for women. The label is black and hot pink and has information about serving sizes and blending for women.
The brand claims to be dedicated to research and development of products specifically for women and this is no exception. The label touts being carbohydrate-free, fat-free and sugar-free while still incorporating protein strength and vitams.
Similar to 100% Whey Gold Standard, Gym Vixen Sexy Whey is centered on Whey isolate as opposed to Whey concentrate. This eliminates carbohydrate and fat. Additionally, the brand is committed to not using fillers.
Gym Vixen Sexy Whey claims that it has no sugar and no fats. There is artificial sweetener to improve the taste so don’t be fooled by the 0 sugars advertising. The brand is clearly looking to associate with the weight loss aspect of using protein powders.
According the brand, Gym Vixen Sexy Whey includes vitamins and nutrients that are often left out of women’s diets including: calcium, vitamin D and Folic Acid.
Comparing #1 and #2 in Protein Powders for Women
100% Whey Gold Standard and Gym Vixen Sexy Whey are very similar protein powders and have a lot of positive components in common.
For example, both protein powders are based on Whey isolate. This means they both incorporate less carbohydrate and fat than products that emphasize Whey concentrate.
Additionally, using Whey isolates as the central ingredient means that they both have faster amino acid absorption and are great for post workouts.
For lactose intolerant protein powder fans, the Whey isolate also includes less lactose product and is easier on the stomach than Whey concentrate.
Both products have significant amounts of protein, with 100% Whey Gold Standard at about 26 grams of protein per serving and Gym Vixen at 24 grams per serving but Gym Vixen has a lower calorie count than Gold Standard.
Reviewers of both products indicated that they saw an increase in energy and better recovery time as a result of using the protein powder. Additionally, most reviewers used the products directly after workouts for best results.
The pricing of the two products is about the same depending on the source you use for purchasing protein powder.
There are also significant differences between the Gym Vixen Sexy Whey and the top rated, 100% Whey Gold Standard protein powder that you should definitely take into account.
First of all, 100% Whey Gold Standard is produced by a trusted brand and name in the supplement industry.
Optimum Nutrition has been developing supplements and protein powders for over a decade and are one of the most recognized and trusted brands.
Gym Vixen, on the other hand has only been around since 2014 and the products haven’t been tested and tried to the extent of 100% Whey Gold Standard.
Also, they outsource the production of the Whey and it is not produced in the United States. While this can make the product cheaper, it also means the quality of the Whey protein isn’t guaranteed.
Taste and flavors is another area in which these two products diverge. 100% Whey Gold Standard comes in a large variety of flavors, most of which have high approval ratings for taste.
Gym Vixen Sexy Whey has fewer flavors and reviewers haven’t been as impressed by the taste it seems and say that it must be blended.
Unfortunately, Gym Vixen Sexy Whey reviews also indicate that the protein powder is also more difficult to stir or blend than other protein powders.
Part of the reason the two products taste differently is because Gold Standard is using natural sugar as opposed to the artificial sweetener used in Gym Vixen.
This allows the Gym Vixen brand to advertise as sugar-free when in reality they are incorporating an artificial sweetener.
On the positive side, Gym Vixen Sexy Whey does include nutrients like vitamin D and calcium that the brand claims is lacking in many female diet.
100% Whey Gold Standard does not incorporate those vitamins but claims it is committed to the truest form of Whey to achieve best results in bodybuilding and strength development.
100% Whey Gold Standard is readily available from a variety of providers including Amazon and GNC and regularly sponsors athletic events.
Gym Vixen is a lesser-known brand that isn’t part of the GNC product lines and is more difficult to purchase.
Additionally, the brand has fewer reviews and has been tested less than 100% Whey Gold Standard so there is significantly less information on this brand.
Additional Options for Protein Powders for Women
Swanson Organic Pea Protein Powder: This is a great vegetarian and vegan option and the same brand also produces a Soy Protein Powder version.
This powder includes a complete protein and pea and soy are considered the most effective sources for maintaining muscle found in plants. The experts agree that if you’re going to try to replace Whey with plant-based protein powder, pea and soy options are your best solution.
This protein powder is organic, all-natural and GMO free. However, it only has 15 grams of protein per serving, which is significantly less than that found in our top protein powder pick, 100% Whey Gold Standard.
The Swanson Organic Pea Protein Powder is only 80 calories and contains only 1 gram of fat per serving.
Reviewers indicated that the product tastes great and easily dissolves in liquid.
Swanson Organic Pea Protein Powder is more affordable than the more difficult to produce protein powders and can be purchased from amazon.com and in health food stores.
Isopure Whey Protein Isolate, Unflavored
Isopure Whey Protein Isolate: This protein powder is 100% Whey Isolate. Similar to our first runner-up, this product is stripped of any carbohydrate and fat because it is 100% Whey Isolate and not a combination with Whey Concentrate.
Most health experts continue to promote the blend as the best choice for results but many brands claim to be purists and commit to the 100% Whey Isolate.
Isopure, under the Nature’s Best brand, claims to be dedicated to developing the best and purist formulas for health improvement.
Unlike our top choice, 100% Whey Gold Standard, Isopure does not employ microfiltration with this product. This is a low cost way to develop Whey Isolate that incorporates the use of chemicals and that means the Whey Isolate is of a lower quality.
Additionally, the first amino acid ingredient is Taurine. This means that this product could be one of the aforementioned offenders boosting their amino acids without improving the quality of the product.
The Isopure Whey Protein Isolate has 25 grams of protein per serving and 5.6 grams of BCAA’s and comes in light at 110 calories. The product dissolves easily and comes in a few flavors including flavorless.
Reviewers indicated that the “flavorless” version is not actually flavorless but is just not sweetened. Most reported that they did not prefer the taste of the Isopure flavorless powder, so it may not be the best tasting protein supplement.
The chocolate and vanilla flavors incorporate an artificial sweetener, Sucralose, to enhance the taste.
Poor taste was a common theme on review boards for the Isopure Whey Protein Isolate. The more fruity flavors were described as “disgusting”.
Some users appreciate that the product is available in flavorless without sugars or sweeteners but admit that it must be fully dissolved into thick drinks or meals to be truly edible.
Isopure Whey Protein Isolate is available online from the Isopure brand and from Amazon.com. Unfortunately, many reviewers complain that the powder only comes in one and three pound packaging, which gives the illusion of it being cheaper than it actually is.
Additionally, many reviewers complained of issues with Isopure’s customer service when they had issues with packaging or taste.
The reviewers reported that the company was not easy to deal with and did not seem interested in improving their purchasing experience.
Carmen Stellar, former gymnast and now a champion diver, is a fan of the product and uses it after workouts.
Most protein powders are available online from various sources including their own brand’s websites. Our recommendations are no exception and can be easily purchased through their own brand, but there are other options.
Be aware that some providers have membership or reoccurring payment discounts
Amazon.com: All of the protein powders reviewed here are available on Amazon.com, which can be preferable because of their great shipping policies.
Unfortunately, some reviewers indicated receiving opened or incomplete packages of protein powders so be sure to choose a reputable seller when using this website.
Bodybuilding.com: This website sells a large variety of protein powders including our number one pick, Gold Standard 100% Whey.
Bodybuilding.com offers a myriad of special offers and often sells Optimum Nutrition products with “Buy one, get on 50% off” discounts.”
GNC Live Well: The well-known distributer of protein powders is a perfect place to purchase 100% Whey Gold Standard online or in-person.
GNC Live Well sells this and other protein powders in small quantities and in bulk versions. GNC members receive large discounts on 100% Whey Gold Standard and can receive discounts on shipping and supplement packs.
There is a lot to gain from incorporating a protein powder into your diet and workout regimen. Research has shown that women are less likely to get the recommended amount of protein into their diet and that active women need significantly more protein than their less active counterparts.
Protein powders allow women to get the necessary protein and amino acids to recover faster, build lean muscle and have an overall more effective workout and body.
That said, we know not all protein powders are created equally and there are a lot of marketing ploys and loophole tactics to help brands create lower quality products at a cheaper price.
It’s imperative to stay diligent and skeptical of new products that haven’t been tested and take a careful look at every content label. Remember that zero sugar doesn’t mean there isn’t sweetener and purchasing a protein powder you can’t stand eating won’t help, either.
Consider your nutritional needs and only put the highest quality products into your body.
100% Whey Gold Standard tops the list for protein powders for women because the brand has proved to be very likely the best option for female athletes (regardless of how serious they take their training) and has passed every test.
Women looking to improve their health, workout recovery and strength can rest assured that their getting high quality Whey protein, the best possible, from 100% Whey Gold Standard.
The protein powder tastes great and has a flavor for everyone and reviewers love the way it easily dissolves into every smoothie, blend or meal.
Adding 100% Whey Gold Standard by Optimum Nutrition to your diet is probably a great move and will be an aid both to your nutrition and training.
It’s easy to eat, easy to digest, and easy to purchase and that’ why it’s easy to trust.
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