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  • Writer's pictureMark Edwards

9 Best Grass Fed Whey Protein Powders for 2024

Updated: Apr 11


Jersey cow and goat grazing in a green field

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a reviewed product. These are products I’ve personally used and stand behind. This site is not intended to provide medical advice and is for informational and educational purposes only.



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(Following a plant-based diet? Check out the Best 9 Plant Based Protein Powders!)


What Are the Best Grass Fed Whey Protein Powders?


Introduction


What is the best whey protein powder? This is a question that can cause a lot of confusion. Every manufacturer will obviously claim that they make the best protein powder. That includes whey protein powders and supplements that contain dodgy or even crap ingredients, may taste awful, or other negatives that you won't find out about until you buy it and try it.


Some whey protein powders that I've tried were virtually unpalatable.


But the beauty of buying grass-fed protein powder is that the company making such a product already knows that the potential buyer is choosy about ingredients.


Therefore,, that buyer is more likely to read the label, so the producer is going to do whatever they can to keep crummy ingredients out of their product and off the label.


Fact: 20% of the nutritional supplements tested by the US FDA contained substances not stated on the label, including pharmaceuticals.


Recently, there have also been incidents of banned substances making their way into various supplements, which then apparently resulted in some athletes failing drug tests.


Thankfully, some products have a "safe for sport" certification, which ensures third-party testing.


But that costs money. Most companies won't go this extra mile.


By choosing grass-fed protein powder, you've already made the process of getting a quality product much easier on yourself. The simplicity of the ingredients in these products means that contamination is far less likely.


Still, the way forward begins with the ingredients. Read the label. Generally speaking, the fewer the ingredients, the better. Artificial ingredients? Few to none. Dare I say that a good grass-fed whey protein powder is likely the cleanest whey protein available?


Then try it. Does it mix well? Is that a factor for you? Does it taste reasonably good on its own? If not, will it make a good base for adding things like fresh fruit if you use a blender?


The downside to choosing and buying quality will always be the cost.


You don't get something for nothing. There's always a tradeoff. EVERYTHING has a tradeoff.


One big caveat: all protein powders should be considered supplementary to a varied and balanced diet. These are NOT meal replacements and shouldn't be used as such.


Eat as much whole, fresh food as possible.


I live and coach in Tokyo so here's another interesting point if you're one of the many expats who live and work here. Buying protein powder locally from a shop in Tokyo, or even from Amazon Japan, tends to cost 2-3 times more than ordering from some online retailers based in the US such as iHerb,com


Not always, but very often. Too often.


Strange world we live in.


If you're in the US, then this isn't a consideration at all. But it's definitely a factor for those of us living and working in Japan.


Let's get straight to the top 9, and then continue with an in-depth explanation of the benefits and details of Grass-Fed Whey Protein.



Top 9 Grass Fed Whey Protein Powders




Perfect Sports Ultra Fuel Grass Fed Whey


I'm starting off the top 9 with my current favorite, Perfect Sports Ultra Fuel Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder. While I like every product in this list, the big plus with Perfect Sports is the price. Review the ingredients and it covers all the bases. Then the price seals the deal. It's easily the most affordable in the list.


Perfect Sports offers some great products for both vegans and the rest of us. This one is for the rest of us.


Perfect Sports Ultra Fuel Grass Fed Whey Protein covers all the important bases. It's banned-substance free, sourced in New Zealand, tastes great, and is significantly less expensive than other brands.


This one is one of my top go-tos.


Positives:


  • 24 grams of pure protein and less than 2 grams of carbs,

  • 11 g EAAs

  • Undenatured. Cold-temperature cross-flow micro-filtered.

  • No artificial colors

  • Gluten-free

  • Peanut and nut free

  • Banned substance free

  • Zero trans-fats

  • Very cost-effective.


Negatives:


  • None that I can identify. This is a quality product at a very reasonable price. The only caveat is that it's whey protein concentrate, not isolate. For me, that's a plus since I don't want a fast-digesting whey protein. If you're looking to shed pounds, I suggest that you opt for whey concentrate.







Perfect Sports Diesel New Zealand Whey Protein Isolate Powder


Another great offering from Perfect Sports. This one is Whey Protein Isolate, which means your body will digest it more quickly than whey concentrate. It's simply quicker to digest. That comes at a cost, however, since whey isolates are more expensive than concentrates.


Perfect Sports Diesel is at the high end for protein content at 27 grams per serving and contains no carbs and no fat.


Positives:


  • 100% New Zealand Whey Protein Isolate sourced from New Zealand Grass-Fed and Pasture-Raised Dairy

  • Informed Choice 3rd Party WADA Banned Substances Free Tested

  • No sugar, no fat, no carbs

  • No artificial growth hormones (no rBST, rBGH)

  • No antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs

  • No artificial colors or flavors

  • 13 grams EAAs, 7 grams BCAAs

  • Peanut and nut-free

  • Gluten-free

  • un-denatured protein


Negatives:


  • A little pricey, but still a very good value for a 5 lb container

  • No other negatives identified







Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate


I discovered Bluebonnet via Tim Ferris' podcast 7 or 8 years ago. I believe that Bluebonnet was one of the first brands to use Grass-fed milk. Bluebonnet is a high-quality whey protein powder that tastes great and has the best ingredients available. Bluebonnet is definitely among the best. I always rotate back to Bluebonnet. They seem to have achieved a really nice flavor balance: mild, not overly sweet, creamy.


Positives:


  • Each serving contains 26 grams of Crossflow Microfiltered Whey Protein Isolate, 4.9 g BCAAs, and 3.9 g of glutamine.

  • Sourced from rBGH/Antibiotic Free, Grass-Fed, Free-Roaming Cows.

  • No caloric sweeteners (original flavor) or Artificial Colors/Flavors. Stevia is used in BlueBonnet's flavored whey protein.

  • 98% Lactose-Free

  • Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, Kosher Dairy, Non-GMO


Negatives:


  • Bluebonnet is a little more expensive than regular brands of whey powder. But cheaper is not usually better.


Bluebonnet Nutrition Grass-Fed Whey protein powder is a great choice for those who want the best quality grass-fed protein with MCT. Bluebonnet is one of my go-to's and has been for several years.





Mt. Capra Clean Whey Protein

Goat? Goat? You must be kidding.


That's what I thought at first. But then I tried it and dug into the ingredients and then dug into the benefits of goat milk, and I was converted.


Mt. Capra Grass-Fed Whey is a high-quality protein powder made with grass-fed whey protein concentrate from goat milk. It is also non-GMO, gluten-free, hormone-free, chemical-free, pesticide-free, soya-free, and antibiotic-free.


Mt. Capra has covered all of the bases in a unique whey protein powder sourced from goat milk.


Whey sourced from goat milk has a higher biological value than any other whey protein, including whey from bovine (cow) milk. That's not to say there's anything wrong with whey sourced from grass-fed cows.


This protein powder contains 24 grams of protein per serving and has the highest levels of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) found in any natural food source.


So why goat milk protein?


Positives:


  • High bio-availability.

  • Made from goat milk! Who can argue with that? Gotta love goats.

  • No additives other than natural flavors (eg natural vanilla bean) in Mr. Capra's flavored options.

  • No rBGH, rBST, or other synthetic hormones.


Negatives:


  • A little pricier

  • Some users report that when mixed plain, the taste is too strong.


As I noted, some users may be sensitive to the flavor when mixed plain in a shaker bottle with water. However, if that describes you, a good workaround is to use Mt. Capra in a blender with fruit, avocado, and any other healthy ingredients to create a healthy, highly digestible smoothie.


Mt. Capra goat whey is a great choice for those who are looking for a goat whey protein concentrate that is easy to digest as well as high in protein and BCAAs. I love this stuff.





Vital Performance Protein Powder


Vital Proteins Grass-Fed Whey Protein is a clean and healthy protein powder made with grass-fed whey protein concentrate. It is also non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free.


This protein powder contains 25 grams of protein per serving including 10 grams of collagen peptides. It's also lactose-free and NSF Certified For Sport®.


It also contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT oil) and is sweetened with monk fruit extract and stevia for a pleasing flavor.


It's another of my favorites, flavor-wise and ingredients-wise.


Positives:


  • Non-GMO

  • Gluten-free

  • Contains acacia fiber (a pre-biotic)

  • NSF Certified For Sport®

  • Great taste, even mixed with plain water instead of milk or almond milk


Negatives:


  • Again, a little more expensive than standard brands


Vital Proteins Grass-Fed Whey is a great choice for those wanting a grass-fed alternative that tastes great even just mixed with water in a shaker bottle. It just might be the best tasting grass fed whey protein I'vve tried. You don't have to use a blender loaded with fruit or nut butter to mask the flavor of Vital Proteins. It tastes good enough on its own.







Simply Tera's Goat Whey Protein


I've already touched on the benefits of goat whey, so I won't repeat that.


So here we have Tera's Whey. Tera's Grass-Fed Whey is a high-quality protein powder made with grass-fed whey protein concentrate from goat milk. It's also non-GMO and gluten-free.


Tera's whey contains 19 grams of protein per serving and 5 grams net carbs, and since it's sourced from goat milk, Teras has high bioavailability. It doesn't contain rBGH, rBST, or other synthetic hormones.


Positives:


  • Non-GMO

  • Gluten-free

  • Only 5 natural ingredients: Whey protein, organic vanilla & honey, organic stevia, and sunflower lecithin (to avoid clumping)

  • High bioavailability

  • Goats!


Negatives:


  • A little more expensive


Tera's whey is a great choice for those who are looking for a natural, healthy, sustainably sourced protein powder. Their bovine-sourced whey protein powders are also top quality. Whether to choose Tera's whey or Mr. Capra is pretty much going to come down to personal taste preference.








Garden of Life Certified Grass-Fed Whey



Garden of Life Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is a clean and healthy protein powder made with grass-fed whey protein sustainably sourced from small Irish family farms. Ah, Ireland. Irish farmers, please don't cull your cows, regardless of what your misguided government is trying to force you to do.


There's nothing as quintessentially Irish as the vision of an Irish dairy farm.


Let's look at this whey protein powder.


Garden of Life Grass Fed Whey Protein contains 24 grams of protein per serving, 6 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as well as 4 grams of glutamine and glutamic acid.


It is non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free. It's rBST, rBGH, and antibiotic-free. It also has no added sugars. And Garden of Life is NSF Certified for Sport®. That's an important distinction for anyone in competitive athletics, even at the regional level, like CrossFit®.


Because athletes need to know that their supplements are trustworthy and compliant, every batch of an NSF Certified for Sport® product is tested for compliance with label claims and to ensure the absence of more than 200 substances banned by many major athletic organizations, including stimulants, narcotics, steroids, diuretics, beta-2 agonists, and masking agents.



Positives:


  • NSF Certified for Sport®, Non-GMO Verified, Informed Choice Trusted by Sport®.

  • Gluten-free

  • rBST, rBGH, and antibiotic-free

  • No added sugars.


Negatives:


  • A little more expensive than standard whey products.


Garden of Life Grass-Fed is a great choice for those who are looking for a protein powder that is clean, healthy, and certified to be free of banned substances. Garden of Life also makes a high-quality collagen powder that I use daily—highly recommended. Give 'em hell, Irish farmers!







Solgar Grass Fed Whey



Solgar makes some fantastic products. Their supplement lineup is first-rate, super-high quality, and has a great reputation. Although Solgar products tend toward a higher price point, I've found that their products are well worth the extra money.


Solgar® is real quality.


Solgar® Grass Fed Whey to Go® is another high-quality protein powder that is made with grass-fed whey protein concentrate. It is also non-GMO, soy-free, and gluten-free.


It contains 20 grams of protein per serving and only 2 grams of sugar. In fact, it contains only TWO ingredients: whey protein concentrate and sunflower lecithin. It doesn't get any simpler than that.


Solgar® Grass Fed Whey to Go® is completely rBGH-free and sourced from pasture-raised New Zealand cows.


Positives:


  • rBGH free

  • Sourced from New Zealand grass-fed cows

  • Simple, clean ingredients


Negatives:


  • Solgar products are all high-end. That's reflected in the price.


This whey is a great choice for those who are looking for a protein powder that is sustainably and ethically sourced and contains the simplest of ingredients.


Other Solgar products (their supplements) are also super-high quality. I don't know of any other supplement manufacturer that packages their product in GLASS bottles (their whey, of course, is in a plastic container).







Simply Tera's Grass-Fed Pure Whey Protein



I've already discussed Tera's Goat Whey, but they also make a great bovine-sourced whey.


Tera's Pure Grass-Fed Whey Protein is sourced from grass-fed, pastured cows raised on family farms. Tera's is made from milk without the use of GMO feed, rBGH, or other synthetic hormones.


Tera's whey is cold-pressed and lightly blended with natural bourbon vanilla flavor, for a uniquely smooth and creamy taste.


This is a gluten-free complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids and 2g net carbs.


I love Tera's goat whey, and this also doesn't disappoint.


Positives:


  • Cold-pressed and undenatured, meaning that it retains all of its natural nutrients.

  • Raised without growth hormones

  • Free of additives and artificial sweeteners.


Negatives:


  • Tera's Whey tends to be more expensive than some other brands. You get what you pay for.

  • Only available in 340 g containers.




Now for the ins-and-outs, the what-have-yous.


What Is Grass-Fed Whey Protein?


Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps to build and repair muscle tissue, as well as other tissues in the body. Whey protein in particular is a high-quality protein supplement that is derived from milk. Grass-fed whey protein powder may be even more beneficial, as it contains higher levels of nutrients and health-promoting compounds.


And there's no easier or more convenient way to increase that crucial protein intake than a good protein shake.


Of course, the name “grass-fed” tells you that the cow (or goat) was fed on grass. Many people prefer grass-fed whey over “ordinary” whey protein derived from regular milk.


Any whey protein, whether it’s derived from typically grain-fed cows or grass-fed cows and goats, confers benefits including the ability to boost muscle growth and repair, promote weight loss, and improve overall health.


All whey protein powders are also a great source of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Furthermore, they’re rich in essential amino acids (EAAs) and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are especially important for athletes and bodybuilders.


What are the Benefits of Grass-Fed Dairy?


Grass-fed milk, grass-fed butter, grass-fed meat, grass-fed whey. What's the big deal?


A cow's diet is the key mechanism by which its nutritional and processing characteristics can be manipulated. Pasture feeding has a positive impact on the nutrient profile of milk, increasing the quantity of some beneficial nutrients such as alpha-linolenic acid (a beneficial Omega-3 fatty acid shown to be protective against heart disease) vaccenic acid (a natural trans-fatty acid that can reduce heart disease, diabetes, and obesity risk factors), and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to have anticarcinogenic, antiobesity, antidiabetic and antihypertensive properties., while reducing the levels of Omega-6 fatty acids and palmitic acid.


While Omega-6 and palmitic acid are essential to good health, excess levels of these are associated with atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.


So grass-fed cows do in fact produce milk and meat that is nutritionally different than non-pastured ruminants. Grass-fed dairy and grass-fed meat may have a healthier nutrient profile, according to some research.







Is Grass-fed Whey Protein Really Better?


When whey protein powder is produced, most of the fat is removed. However, if you choose whey protein concentrate instead of isolate, some of the omega-3 fatty acids remain. So in that sense, it has a slightly better nutrient profile than conventional whey protein.


The amino acid composition of the actual protein remains similar, however. There may be variations in the concentrations of specific amino acids, fat content, etc, but that comes down to the location of the cows used to produce the milk in the first place.


Milk from pasture-raised cows in New Zealand, for example, will have a different nutrient profile than milk from grass-fed cows in Ireland.


That's perfectly normal.


Grass-fed cows will usually also have a growth hormone-free diet. You'll see disclaimers on some brands' labels that state that there are no rbST hormones contained. It's unclear whether the use of those hormones by some US dairy producers has a negative effect on humans, according to reliable research.


But if that is a concern for you, the brands recommended here state on the label that they don't contain whey from dairy cows treated with those hormones.


"Ordinary" whey protein powders are not necessarily "bad." But look at the label of a popular brand that is widely marketed and you'll often see a list of additives, fillers, and other usually unnecessary ingredients.


I prefer to avoid that kind of food whenever possible.


So Why Buy Grass-Fed Whey Protein?


Here's the rundown:

  • it may have a better nutrient profile.

  • there may be fewer or no growth hormones used on the cattle (or goats).

  • dairy cows live in a more humane state when they're allowed to freely roam pastures.

  • grass-fed dairy and meat are usually produced on farms that practice "regenerative agriculture." So if you don't want to contribute to massive factory farming that appears to have negative effects on water and soil systems, grass-fed is a better choice. Coen Farm and TK Ranch are two great examples of regenerative farming in Alberta, Canada.

It all comes down to possible nutritional benefits over conventional whey, definite humanitarian benefits for dairy cows, and positive effects on soil health and water quality.


You won't find any soy protein or pea protein in this list, or any post on this site. I'm not a fan of highly-processed plant-derived proteins.


But if you ARE a plant-based eater or vegan, then there are some quality products on the market for you, but the long and short is that they'll never match the ingredient profile of whey.


What Should I look for when I buy Grass-fed Whey Protein Powder?


Start with some Frequently Asked Questions:


  • Do I want the least amount of ingredients, or do I want a whey product that might contain things like digestive enzymes, probiotics, and ingredients that might make it more palatable and easier to mix?

  • Do I want a whey protein product that contains a small amount of sugar? Do I want whey protein with a natural sweetener (stevia)? Or do I want a completely unsweetened protein powder?

  • Am I competing in sanctioned competitions? If so, third-party testing is essential. And even if you aren't, there's no denying the higher quality for your post-workout feed.

  • Is price an issue? What are the tradeoffs with cheap whey protein powders (take a look at the labels of cheap products to see a huge difference with the protein powders on this list)?

Some people avoid soy lecithin, an emulsifier that reduces clumping. While there is no reliable research that proves any health drawbacks from it, there is some research suggesting that it can dramatically decrease serum LDL and total cholesterol.


That's a BENEFIT of soy lecithin. Research proves it.


However, many people prefer to see sunflower lecithin on the label instead of soy lecithin. Sunflower lecithin also has several benefits, including boosting brain function and lowering cholesterol.


Either way, it mostly comes down to whether or not you can tolerate some clumps (if you're mixing using a shaker bottle).


  1. Look for "grass-fed" on the label, of course.

  2. Check the label for added sugars. The best brands will use very little or no added sugar. Some will have no sweeteners at all, while others may have sweeteners like Stevia.

  3. Whey protein isolate? Or whey protein concentrate? Grass-fed whey concentrate is not only a better value but also a better choice. As I previously mentioned, it contains some of the beneficial omega-fatty acids that are removed when making whey isolate. It also digests more slowly. This is a GOOD THING.

Unless you're a professional athlete competing in several events on the same day or have problems digesting lactose, a fast-digesting whey protein powder may not be the best choice for you. A longer digesting time, for many, will help them feel satisfied longer and give their body time to utilize that protein.


So some brands contain a combination of both whey protein isolate and whey concentrate. This can be a sensible compromise.


That's not to say that there's anything wrong with whey protein isolate. Just realize that whey isolate and whey isolate/concentrate can have specific applications. Most likely, you won't notice the difference.


And, as mentioned, whey concentrate has some benefits that whey protein isolate doesn't have.


Summary


There are literally hundreds of different protein powders on the market. Some are quite cheap. But keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Cheap whey protein may often contain substandard ingredients and the source may be unknown or questionable.


ALWAYS check the label and if the source is questionable, don't buy it. Saving a few bucks isn't worth the risk of consuming an adulterated product, and I prefer, when feasible, to support smaller farms that practice regenerative and sustainable animal husbandry. I'm not giving up quality food to give more money to Big Ag. I'm not into the dubious practice of eating bugs as a questionable way to "save the planet."


By the same token, I attempt to buy what I can afford, as do most people when it comes to the food they consume. If a coach is telling you that you need to consume only non-GMO, grass-fed beef massaged by yogis on a pristine mountaintop, I'd start to question that coach's competence.


As far as whey protein goes, a sizeable number of grass-fed whey products are sourced from smaller dairy farms, and if you buy real "grass-fed", at least you can be sure that the cows spend most of their lives outdoors. Grass-fed whey protein powder is a low-friction, reasonably-priced way to partake in regenerative, sustainable farming.


I'm not going the route of eating bugs.


If you're using whey protein to enhance and support your health and fitness, then it stands to reason that you would want to use the best quality that you can afford. You can't go wrong with any of these 9 choices!


And always remember: whey protein is a supplement. These are not meal replacements. Always eat high-quality food in reasonable amounts.



References


Alothman M, Hogan SA, Hennessy D, Dillon P, Kilcawley KN, O'Donovan M, Tobin J, Fenelon MA, O'Callaghan TF. The "Grass-Fed" Milk Story: Understanding the Impact of Pasture Feeding on the Composition and Quality of Bovine Milk. Foods. 2019 Aug 17;8(8):350. doi: 10.3390/foods8080350. PMID: 31426489; PMCID: PMC6723057.


Carta G, Murru E, Banni S, Manca C. Palmitic Acid: Physiological Role, Metabolism and Nutritional Implications. Front Physiol. 2017 Nov 8;8:902. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00902. PMID: 29167646; PMCID: PMC5682332.


Frestedt JL, Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA, Ward LS, Bastian ED. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008 Mar 27;5:8. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-5-8. PMID: 18371214; PMCID: PMC2289832.


Hoffman JR, Falvo MJ. Protein - Which is Best? J Sports Sci Med. 2004 Sep 1;3(3):118-30. PMID: 24482589; PMCID: PMC3905294.


Koba K, Yanagita T. Health benefits of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Obes Res Clin Pract. 2014 Nov-Dec;8(6):e525-32. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Nov 5. PMID: 25434907.


Mourad AM, de Carvalho Pincinato E, Mazzola PG, Sabha M, Moriel P. Influence of soy lecithin administration on hypercholesterolemia. Cholesterol. 2010;2010:824813. doi: 10.1155/2010/824813. Epub 2009 Dec 28. PMID: 21490917; PMCID: PMC3065734.


St-Onge MP, Bosarge A, Goree LL, Darnell B. Medium chain triglyceride oil consumption as part of a weight loss diet does not lead to an adverse metabolic profile when compared to olive oil. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Oct;27(5):547-52. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2008.10719737. PMID: 18845704; PMCID: PMC2874191.



Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase a reviewed product. These are products I’ve personally used and stand behind. This site is not intended to provide medical advice and is for informational and educational purposes only.


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