TLDR here’s an overview of our top recommended grass fed whey protein powders, all available via Amazon. To find out more about each product, scroll down for our detailed reviews and verdict. To read the Amazon reviews of these powders, just click through and scroll to bottom of the Amazon product page. All have 100+ positive reviews.
What is Whey?
Whey is one of those supplement products you regularly see in the health stores but what actually is it? Milk comprises two proteins known as casein and whey. Whey is an exceptionally good source of protein that is derived from milk as a by-product of the cheese-making process. Here, the solid curds are separated from the thin milky liquid whey. Whey is a 5% solution of lactose in water with minerals and lactalbumin. It is this lactalbumin that whey protein powder is made from.
Whey Protein Powder Amino Acids
Whey is considered to be a complete protein source as it contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs to build tissue and muscle mass. These amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, valine, phenylalanine, threonine, methionine, histidine, lysine and tryptophan. Called ‘essential’, these amino acids can’t be created by the body from scratch – a process scientifically referred to as de novo – but must be ingested through diet.
Whey protein powder is a dried form of this treasure trove of beneficial nutrients and you usually add one or more scoops to a drink to take it. The processing of the protein powder often includes denaturing, a term that doesn’t sound that beneficial. But denaturing is a straightforward heat treatment that helps make the protein more digestible. Denatured milk products are less likely to upset people with lactose intolerance. A trade-off though is that this can slightly reduce the overall level of amino acids present.
Milk issues today
The chances are that if you are reading this then you are likely to be clued up on health issues and what you put into your body. Considering that the source of whey is milk, it’s important to take into account that not all milk is created equal. In the U.S. around 20% of all milk production is from dairy herds that are routinely given a growth hormone. This growth hormone is known as rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) or rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin). This artificial compound is synthesized and sold by controversial company Monsanto.
By giving the herd this hormone their milk production is unnaturally increased and this leads to unpleasant side effects including the painful udder condition, mastitis. To counter the infection, antibiotics are routinely given. Both the hormone and the antibiotics can make their way into the milk and then into the drinker, although 85%-90% is supposed to be removed by pasteurizing1 .What’s of concern to many is that we live in an age of increasing antibiotic resistance and infections in humans we can no longer treat. The jury is still out over the dangers posed by ingesting the growth hormones though instinct would tell us to err on the side of caution. Thirdly, there is the animal welfare issue to mull over. Little wonder then that milk from these herds is banned across the border in Canada and overseas in Europe.
Traditionally, cows always grazed on grass and converted the energy to muscle quite easily. Farmers wanted to speed up nature so ended up feeding them grains in feedlots, a food totally unnatural to the cow. Calf’s can be taken from 80 pounds to 1200 pounds in under year!! These grain pellets can actually harm cows, so they then have to be given large does on antibiotics to keep them healthy. All chemicals we do not want passed through to us.
Luckily, when you choose the right whey protein powder for you, there is a clear choice between growth hormone sourced and non growth hormone sourced. Regardless whether you feel the treated milk may be good or bad, the non-hormone sourced whey protein powders proudly proclaim their ‘natural’ credentials.
What is Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder?
‘Grass fed’ as you may already suspect, is used on packaging to tell you that the dairy source is free from rBGH/rBST. In fact the herd’s nourishment typically comes from year-round pasture feeding only and never given grain pellets. Other interesting tidbits of note to look out for are terms like additive free, gluten free, hormone free, GMO (genetically modified organisms) free. Certified organic is also a fine indicator of the natural provenance of the milk. If you’re after the purest whey protein powder then check the label for no soy, no artificial sweeteners and no artificial flavorings too.
Benefits of Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder
First and foremost, grass-fed whey protein powder is a natural product which is free from any kind of additives or hormones that may cause you harm. Whey protein has a number of benefits for aspiring and training athletes. Each scoop of protein includes the full range of essential amino acids that your body uses to build and maintain new muscle. In particular, the three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) of leucine, isoleucine and valine are so well known for muscle-building that they can be purchased separately!
In studies2 that were carried out since 2000, links have been found for a range of positive health improvements. We have to stress that these findings are not conclusive but they are compelling and we await new articles with bated breath.
1) Weight loss: A study of 160 people published in 2008 concluded that consumption of whey powder was linked to a significant loss of body fat and a greater propensity for ‘preserving lean muscle’. This is one of the main reasons why whey protein powder is such a favorite among weight trainers.
2) Lowering cholesterol: ‘Bad’ cholesterol or low density lipid (LDL cholesterol) is widely considered to be a major factor in heart disease and stroke. A 2010 report3 studied 70 overweight men and women over a three-month period. Following a whey supplemented diet the subjects had significantly better LDL and insulin levels.
3) Reducing blood pressure: Another cause of heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure (hypertension), was found to be reduced among young men and women who had whey protein powder added to their diet.
4) Asthma alleviation: While not a general health benefit, for those who suffer from this condition, whey powder’s link to an improved immune response could mean all the difference for fitness fans. This finding was from a small sample of 11 children conducted in 2006.
Side effects of whey protein powder
Whey protein powder is generally easily absorbed with few side effects if you follow the instructions. If you consume too much then you may experience stomach cramps and pains, nausea and reduced appetite. This is typically due to your body not being able to handle such a high level of concentrated protein. Other reported side effects include fatigue and headaches. None of the side effects are usually serious, just uncomfortable and unlikely when the product is used correctly.
Three types of grass-fed whey protein powder
When you’re in your local store checking the shelves for whey protein powder it’s worth recalling that it’s available in three broad varieties.
1) Whey protein concentrate: Sometimes abbreviated as WPC, this product is processed to minimize its levels of fat and carbohydrate. Cheaper brands only have around 30% protein whereas higher end brands are around 90% protein.
2) Whey protein isolate: This product has undergone further processing compared to WPC so that it has all of the fat and lactose removed. Lactose removal aids in digestibility particularly in those with a mild intolerance. Protein levels typically start at 90% but can be higher.
3) Whey protein hydrolysate: The third product is one where the protein has been partially hydrolysed. Hydrolysis is a chemical and biological process that occurs naturally during digestion and is the first step towards breaking down the proteins into easier-to-digest essential amino acids. However it is difficult to find a grass-fed, organic brand.
Our grass-fed whey protein powder concentrates/isolates best buys
Our best buys are the concentrates or isolates as these offer the best value and quality for money and availability.
Pure Whey Grass Fed Protein Powder
- 100% GRASS FED WHEY PROTEIN - Our Whey Protein is Cold Processed, Undenatured and Sourced from Premium US Dairy Farms. Sourcing from High Quality Grass Fed Cows means a Superior, Cleaner and More Pure Whey Protein that Tastes Amazing! You'll see, try it out for yourself. (SIZE = 5 lb / 75 servings)
- ALL NATURAL WHEY PROTEIN - Our Unflavored Grass Fed Whey Powder is contains Zero Additives, No Added Sugar, Sweeteners, Colors, Flavors, Preservatives. + Hormone Free, rBGH Free, GMO-Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free.
- ONLY ONE INGREDIENT - rBGH Free Non GMO Whey Protein Concentrate is the Only Ingredient you will see. We made this Whey Protein Powder as Pure as Possible. Make your own Custom Smoothies with this Unflavored Whey Protein! It's Unflavored so you can Mix with Anything!
- HIGH PROTEIN PROFILE - Our Whey Protein is Packed Full of Amino Acids. Each Serving contains 24 grams of Protein, 2.5 grams of Fat, 1 gram of Carb and Only 122 Calories.
- MONEY BACK GUARANTEE - We believe so much in our 100% Grass Fed Unflavored Whey Protein that we offer a 100% Money Back Guarantee! If you aren't 100% Satisfied with your Results, Return for a Full Refund.
Pure Whey is one of the most popular brands on the market today. Their product is 100% Californian grass fed dairy that they are proud to say gives a clean, pure protein source. It’s hormone free, rBGH free, GMO free, gluten free, and soy free. Boosting its credentials, the Pure Whey supplement contains zero additives and no added sugar so it is unflavored allowing you to mix it with whichever drink you prefer.
Each serving is 24 g that comprises 2.5 g of fat, 1 g of carbs and only 122 calories.
It comes in two sizes; a 2 lb and a 5 lb and also in three flavors. So you can opt for the unflavored powder, chocolate or vanilla.
Pure Whey believes in their product and offer a money back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied with it.
Raw Grass Fed Whey Cold processed undenatured protein powder
- ONLY 1 INGREDIENT: 100% Pure Grass Fed whey protein from the milk of jersey cows that graze freely on lush, green pastures year round. These small-farm cows are not only healthier but we believe happier too!
- Highest Quality, Cold Processed, NON-GMO, A2 Milk, Soy Free, rBGH/rBST Hormone Free, Gluten Free, Grass Fed, Heavy Metal Free
- No added sweeteners, preservatives or fillers & NO SOY lecithin. Processed WITHOUT acid or bleach
- Sourced 100% from US Sustainable Small Farms. Cow's diet consists of a variety of wild grasses and clover - producing milk rich in omega-3s and CLAs
This premium grass fed protein powder product comes from sustainably farmed Jersey cows right here in the States. Although we can’t be sure, we are still fairly certain that these less intensively farmed cows that graze on lush green pasture are going to be healthier and happier than those in other conditions. This can be an important buying consideration if animal welfare is high on your agenda. Due to the grass fed diet the milk has the added benefit of being rich in omega 3 and CLAs.
It’s certified as being free from GMO, gluten, hormones, heavy metals, soy and rBGH. The processing procedure involves no environmentally damaging bleach or acid. The product contains no fillers, additives (including colorants or dyes) or sweeteners.
It’s supplied in several size containers ranging from 12 oz to 5 lbs.
Amazon Elements Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
- 100% non-GMO whey protein isolate from grass-fed* cows
- 25G protein per serving; 30 servings per container
- Natural vanilla flavor sweetened with stevia leaf extract
- No added or artificial sugars. No artificial colors or flavors
- Soy free, gluten free, no added rBGH/rBST
Amazon markets its own brand of grass fed protein powder manufactured by Glanbia, a global nutrition company. This is whey protein isolate that contains 25 g of protein per 31 g serving. It comes in two tasty flavors: natural chocolate and natural vanilla, both available in 2 lb containers. Amazon’s product is premium quality, and free from the usual suspects like rBGH, GMO, artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners.
It’s blended right here but sources some ingredients abroad. First among these is the milk that comes from a cooperative of dairies in Ireland. The liquid whey is ultra-filtered for purity and then dried before it is shipped over to Illinois.
Amazon is keen to proclaim its safety and quality standards, going so far as to allowing you to check your own batch’s certificate of analysis on its mobile app. The tests are run by an independent ISO (International Organization for Standardization) accredited lab which also examines the potency and purity of each batch.
Levels Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
- PERFORMANCE NUTRITION: Each scoop of our Unflavored Whey has 25g Protein, 5.9g BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), and no added sugars. Customers choose Levels for a clean way to build lean muscle, enhance fitness, lose weight and improve their overall health.
- BEYOND ORGANIC: Our 100% grass-fed whey protein comes from pasture raised dairy cows that eat a nutrient rich, diverse diet of grasses, which creates a higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients.
- PURE PROVISIONS: Levels Whey Protein is made in the U.S.A. and goes through rigorous testing to meet the highest quality standards. Our paleo and keto friendly whey is gluten free, soy free, antibiotic free, rGBH/rBST hormone free, and contains no artificial flavors, no so-called "natural flavors", no artificial sweeteners and no GMOs.
- SUPERIOR STANDARDS: Levels Whey Protein is undenatured and undergoes cold process micro-filtration to protect bioactivity and naturally occurring growth factors. Our whey is never bleached and contains no fillers.
- MIXES INSTANTLY: Our whey protein is blended with less than 1% non-gmo sunflower lecithin for added nutrition and so your protein will mix instantly. Try it in a shake, smoothie bowl, oatmeal, cookies, pancakes or your own homemade bars.
The Levels product comes in no fewer than five delicious flavors: chocolate mocha, pure chocolate, vanilla cinnamon, vanilla bean, and unflavored. It’s one of the most versatile tasting whey supplements available today. Coming in 2 lb and 5 lb containers you can pick up supplies that will last you months.
Just one scoop of the unflavored variety has 25 g of protein, 5.9 g of which are BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) that will give you all the anabolic goodness your developing muscles need. This product will help you build lean muscle, enhance your fitness and lose weight. It’s 100% sourced from grass fed cows who subsist on a diet of varied, nutrient-rich grasses. This yields a product that Levels boasts provide a high concentration of vitamins and minerals.
By now you’ll be expecting that this offering is free from those ingredients which are found in inferior products, and you’ll be right! It’s free from gluten, soy, rBGH/rBST hormones, antibiotics, artificial flavors, fillers, and GMOs. It’s suitable for people on a paleo or keto diet like the Atkins Diet.
Due to its cold processing it’s undenatured which means that more of the amino acids survive intact. The Levels Protein isn’t bleached either which helps preserve its natural bioactivity.
The only additive is 1% of non-GMO sunflower lecithin which increases nutrition and also makes it mix more thoroughly to your chosen beverage or food. This helps prevent it forming clumps so it looks better and more appetizing whether in smoothies, cookies, bars or oatmeal.
In this article we’ve covered the benefits of grass fed whey protein powder and suggested our selection of the best products. We have to give our standard legal disclaimer when looking at products and their labeling: Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.
Jamie is a running addict and gym junkie. He trains 7 days per week and is currently doing an MA in nutrition and sports science