The best grassfed whey protein brand can be confusing to find. But, it’s important to find a good one because whey protein powders can add a lot of value to your diet, especially if you are trying to gain muscle or make up for a diet that is low in protein.
But, how do you choose a high-quality whey protein that is best for you and the planet? This post will break it down for you.
Also, find out about grass-fed whey protein benefits, how to find good brands and those with the least environmental impacts, and the ones that add value to the ecosystem.
Best Grassfed Whey Protein Brands (Organic Too)
Only 6 brands on the market today meet the criteria for high-quality grass-fed whey protein. See below for each of these products’ details and how to find them. Many of the brands here are certified organic too.
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Overall best grassfed whey protein
Raw Grass Fed Whey Protein powder stands out as the best whey protein powder because it is 100% pure and unadulterated whey protein concentrate. The cows are raised on small sustainable farms in the United States.
- Raw Grass Fed Whey Protein, contrary to what its name implies, is not technically raw whey protein powder due to food safety standards, but it is certified grass-fed AND organic.
- 97 calories and 21 grams protein per serving
- 100% Pure Grass Fed whey protein
- No artificial sweeteners or additives.
- Cows are fed wild grasses and clover on small dairy farms.
- The best value of all the grassfed proteins
- 90 servings per package
- Contains CLA, a beneficial type of fat that helps with overall health
- Cold processed whey protein
- Doesn’t list the amount of BCAAs (branch-chain amino acids), but undoubtedly has them
Best naturally-sweetened organic grassfed whey protein
Natural Force Grass Fed Organic Whey Protein Powder –is derived from A2 protein cows, which makes it easiest to digest. It is also Non-GMO Verified, Humane Certified, and third-party lab tested for toxins. Contains natural Real Vanilla Flavor, is low carbohydrate, and keto-friendly as well.
- Contains A2 protein, which is easier for some people to digest
- USDA organic protein powder
- Less packaging
- American Humane Certified
- 100% grassfed cows
- Naturally flavored with vanilla
- Third-party tested for purity
- Monkfruit as a natural sweetener for improved sugar-free taste
- Cold processed
- More expensive than most brands
Best grassfed whey for exercise and body building
BN Grass Fed Whey protein powder contains 24g of protein and only 140 calories in every serving. This protein powder ranks the highest for bodybuilding and exercise because it contains the highest amount of branch-chain amino acids per serving at 7.2 grams.
Guaranteed to be from cows that are raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, or genetically modified feed, and BN products contain zero artificial flavors, fillers, or sweeteners.
Fuel your body with quality non-GMO, rBGH/rBST hormone-free, gluten-free, and soy-free grass-fed whey.
- Made from grassfed whey protein concentrate, so it retains healthy fats
- USDA organic
- 24 grams of protein per serving
- 72 servings per container so this is a good value
- 7.2 grams of branch-chain amino acids per serving
- Humanely sourced
- Plain flavored, so you can mix it with just about anything
- Contains CLA, which is a healthy fat for the heart and is highest in grassfed cows
- Cold processed
Best chocolate-flavored grassfed whey protein
Promix Undenatured Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder contains 5 lb of chocolate-flavored grassfed whey protein concentrate and over 60 servings per container.
- GN Promix grass-fed whey protein certified, which has 3rd Party Verified standards.
- Contains 180 mg Glutathione, lactoferrin, CLA’s, and L-carnitine
- Best undenatured whey protein that is cold-processed
- 25g Protein and almost 6 grams BCAA’s and easy to mix
- Ready-to-serve when blended with water
- Contains L-carnitine and the antioxidant glutathione naturally
- Made from cold-pressed whey
- Cows are grass-fed year round
- Has CLA, a healthy fat
- High ratings for taste
- No chemical bleaching methods used
- Cold-processed whey
Contains sugar, but only 6 grams per serving
Best vanilla-flavored grass-fed whey protein
Garden of Life Sport Certified Grass Fed Clean Whey Protein Isolate in vanilla flavor. This is also Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten-free, Soy-free, NSF Certified for Sport. Contains 24g Grass-Fed Whey, 4g Glutamine, and over 6g BCAA amino acids
- Contains certified grassfed whey protein
- 24 grams of protein per serving
- 6 grams of BCAA amino acids
- 4 grams of glutamine per serving
- Natural vanilla flavor
- No sugar added
- Contains fiber and probiotics at 2 billion CFU’s per serving
- Contains natural CLA, a healthy fat that reduces risk of health issues
- Sweetened with erythritol, so there is no bad aftertaste
- More expensive than some of the other brands
- Some people are sensitive to erythritol
- Doesn’t contain CLA because it is a protein isolate
- Extraction method not listed on the label
Best grass-fed whey protein isolate
AGN Roots Grassfed Whey Protein is truly grass-fed certified organic whey protein isolate. Whey protein isolate benefits are that the protein is more highly concentrated per serving than whey protein concentrate.
This brand is Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World and is the best grass-fed whey protein isolate. It contains a lot of BCAAs (6.5 grams) per 25 grams of protein.
- Concentrated protein because it is whey protein isolate
- A Greener World & ASPCA Certified Brand List
- Stress-free natural environment for the cows herds
- Sustainable farming that supports a healthy ecosystem
- 6.5 grams of BCAAs per serving
- 47 servings per container
- Tastes great and gets great ratings
- Cold pressed and undenatured
- Doesn’t contain CLA because it is defatted
Best grassfed whey protein flavor varieties
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein is an affordable pure grass-fed whey protein powder that comes in 8 natural flavors from Cereal Splash which is natural cinnamon flavor, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Pastry, Milk Chocolate, Mocha, Salted Caramel, Strawberry, and Vanilla. *Note that the Cinnamon Pastry is not gluten-free. The rest of these whey products are gluten-free.
- Naturally sweetened with stevia
- The highest protein per serving with 28 grams of protein
- Highly rated for taste and quality
- Naturally fed, hormone-free cow whey
- Free of artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and preservatives
- Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is one of the healthiest protein powders on the market.
- Great for post-workout recovery and for people wanting to enhance their dietary protein
- Some people don’t like the taste of stevia
- Contains BCAA’s but the amount isn’t listed
- Doesn’t contain CLA because it is a whey isolate
- Extraction method not on the label
Honorable mention products
- Opportuniteas Grass Fed Protein powder in Chocolate is also chemical-free, and a good value, but doesn’t have a certification yet.
- Natural Force Organic Whey Protein is also a nice option in vanilla but isn’t grass-fed.
- Bodylogix Natural Whey Natural Force is a certified organic whey protein that is from A2 Grass-Fed Whey Protein Concentrate and is NSF certified with 3rd party testing. It is also safe for people with peanut butter allergies as it is made in a peanut-free facility. Great if you are on a budget.
- Naked Whey 100% Grass-fed whey protein isn’t organic, but it’s from cows on small farms in California.
Why add grass fed whey protein powder to your diet?
While whole foods rich in protein are ideal for health, they aren’t always practical or feasible with busy lives or if you are too fatigued to eat. That is why whey protein can be a big boon to health.
Grassfed whey protein powder can be an easy “whey” to fill in some gaps in your diets for amino acids like branch-chain amino acids, tryptophan, healthy fats like CLA, and L-carnitine for energy support.
Branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) are amino acids that are naturally found in grass-fed whey protein. Research shows that they help with improving muscle growth after resistance exercise [R].
And research shows that whey protein supplements can reverse muscle loss and frailty.
If you find yourself eating a lot of pasta and carbs, a protein powder may also help you with appetite control and also help you build lean tissue instead of fat tissue.
Caution: if you have a dairy allergy, you should choose a pea protein powder or another low-allergen type of organic protein powder, such as organic water lentils. Make sure to choose natural protein powders and avoid overly processed soy protein isolates with GMOs.
How is whey protein made?
Cow’s milk has two kinds of protein: casein and whey protein. How is whey protein made?
- Separation of milk: To separate casein and whey, milk is simply heated and then separated by enzymes.
- Saving all milk components: Whey protein is the by-product of cheese making so that none of the precious protein of milk is wasted.
- The casein is used to make cheese while the liquid whey is then filtered and dried to become a powder.
- Cheese by-product-This is one of the reasons that whey protein concentrate is considered a type of sustainable food. It is a by-product of cheese making. Prior to the 1970’s it was tossed and considered waste!
How are Organic and Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powders Different?
Should you choose certified grass-fed whey protein powder or organic whey protein powder? Or bother spending more than conventional whey on either?
The differences between grass-fed whey protein and organic are clear because it is more beneficial for the ecosystem than standard whey. Additionally, grass fed cows have a higher concentration of healthy fats called CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid.
There are some other important distinctions to be aware of between grass-fed and organic whey protein.
- Grass-fed whey protein is the whey protein that comes from cows fed strictly on a natural diet of grass. Cows are meant to graze on grass and not eat in a feedlot with grains. Grass-fed beef is the healthiest beef.
- Certified grass-fed whey protein or 100% pure grassfed whey protein takes it a step further, requiring 100% grass as a sole source of nutrition.
- This is the “whey” nature intended because cows are fed a natural diet of grass.
- Organic whey protein-Chemical free because the cow’s milk comes from cows without the use of pesticides or herbicides. Organic does not necessarily mean that the cows are fed the best diet or most natural diet for their health. It will also be free of GMO sunflower lecithin and all GMO ingredients.
- Certified organic grass-fed whey protein powder is the type of whey protein that meets the strict criteria for certified organic and is also from verified sustainable cows. It is also hormone-free.
- *This is the ideal choice for whey protein powders because it is the most nutritious and free from potentially dangerous chemicals.
Grass-Fed Whey is Better than Conventional Whey
Grass-fed protein is a better choice for your health and for sustainable agriculture as well. The following sections are the reasons why it is better and even healing for the environment to choose grass-fed whey.
Grassfed cows are not raised on CAFOs
Most conventional farms have cows mature in what are called CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), which are feedlots that mass feed cows, mostly with grains of soy and/or corn.
Most CAFOs are unsanitary, which requires the cows to be injected with antibiotics to avoid sickness. Additionally, cows are often pumped full of steroids for increased growth and beef output.
On the other hand, grass-fed protein powder will have NO feedlot time ever.
Grazing cattle is better for them and for you
Grass-fed cows are raised in a more traditional manner, free to graze the fields and eat naturally grown grass.
This is obviously more expensive, as the requirements for fertile land are far superior to those of a feedlot. Organic grass-fed whey protein derived from cows raised in the most natural way is the cleanest whey protein out there.
The best grass-fed whey protein will also have nutritional differences.
Bonus: Grass-fed beef is a natural fertilizer for plants.
Related post: The 15 Important Benefits of Grass Fed Beef
Why Choose Organic Whey and Grass-fed Whey?
Crops of plants require animals for the best ecology and soil enrichment. A healthy ecosystem can not be one without the other [R].
Whey proteins can be good for you and for a healthy planet too.
But, when we want to choose the best protein powder for our health as well as a healthy environment, there are a lot of things to consider.
- While a vegan diet may seem at first glance to be the only way to save the planet, we need to consider plant fertilization and soil ecology too.
- Plants need fertilization, and this fertilizer should NOT come from a chemical fertilizer bag, according to the Agriculture Sustainability Institute.
Grass-fed cows help the soil sequester carbon, retain moisture, and support a healthy soil ecology. This is also known as humus.
A complex ecosystem will include healthy animals as well as plant diversity to thrive. Sustainable agriculture, including certified grass-fed beef, certified grass-fed whey protein, and cheeses, can fit into a healthy diet too.
Note: always choose whey protein powders that use cold processing. This also helps avoid added chemicals. Cold processing also lends itself to the best-tasting protein powder.
Grass-Fed Whey Protein Nutrition
Grass-fed whey protein benefits are numerous. This is because most grass-fed cow farms do NOT use and don’t even need to use antibiotics, steroids, or pesticides, which have been found to pass down damaging effects to humans with the consumption of cow byproducts.
This leaves you with pure, unadulterated whey protein. Here are some nutritional differences between conventional whey protein and grass-fed whey protein [R].
To get the benefit of the healthy fats in a whey protein, make sure to choose whey protein concentrate, not whey protein isolate.
Omega-3s (made up of DHA and EPA) are fantastic fatty acids that are vital to proper cognition and mood, as well as decreased risk of heart disease. Grass fed whey protein concentrate contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is another fatty acid found in the highest amounts in grass-fed whey protein. Research shows that CLA may be helpful in reducing cancer risk, reducing body fat, and aiding in weight management [R].
CLA content is higher in grass-fed cows than in feedlot cows [R].
Glutathione is the body’s primary antioxidant and grass-fed whey protein labels claim that grass-fed contains a lot more than standard whey proteins.
Essential amino acids- grass-fed whey protein contains all essential amino acids to support building lean body tissue. So does conventional whey.
Antioxidants-grass-fed animals contain higher amounts of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, Vitamin A (retinol), vitamin E (tocopherol), and phytol from chlorophyll.
Branch-chain amino acids
According to AGN Roots, grass-fed whey protein almost always has more branch chain amino acids than conventional whey protein. These types of amino acids are essential amino acids that support healthy muscle building and help reduce weakness and frailty in older adults.
For recipes using grassfed whey protein, check out my post with whey protein smoothie recipes.
Here are some other simple recipes where you can simply substitute in the best grass-fed protein powder supplements for any protein powder ingredient:
Certified organic and certified grass-fed whey protein powders are the best whey proteins out there. They help nourish your body and support a healthy planet too. As with anything make sure to check with your healthcare provider before embarking on any healthy routine.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 20 years, has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. Has researched supplements and plants as medicine throughout her career. Loves helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.