Have you checked the nutrition facts on your protein supplement? If you do, the sodium content might surprise you. Protein powders often include a significant amount of added sodium to enhance the products’ flavor.
But we all know that too much sodium in your diet can have a major impact on your overall health. Of course, sodium isn’t always bad. In fact, many sports drinks include relatively high levels of sodium for an important reason: to replenish the sodium our bodies lose through sweating. That said, it’s a good idea to be aware of the sodium content in any sports drinks or supplements you consume.
In fact, the average American consumes far more sodium than the 2,300 mg per day that most health experts recommend. As you’d expect, this excessive sodium intake can lead to a long list of health problems. This is why, for some, a low sodium option for protein powders can be very beneficial.
That’s why we’re going to focus our attention in this article on the best low sodium protein powders—that is, protein supplements that include less than 150 mg of sodium per serving. But before we get to our recommendations and buying guide for these lower sodium options, let’s first take a closer look at the overall benefits of these protein powders and why you might consider purchasing one.
Why Low Sodium Protein Powders?
Well, for starters, low sodium shakes are few and far between. This is largely due to the fact that adding sodium to the mixtures is an economical way for the supplement creators to dramatically improve the taste of these supplements.
And, let’s face it, as far as flavor is concerned, a lot of these shakes could use all the help they can get! Since quality low sodium shakes are often a bit more difficult to find, we thought you could use a little help in finding some good ones.
But beyond this more practical reason, we’re also taking into account the laundry list of negative health effects that can result from too much sodium consumption. Too-high levels of sodium in your diet can lead to everything from stroke and heart disease to kidney failure and several types of cancer.
With this in mind, it makes the astronomically high sodium consumption in our modern diets all the more troubling—, especially in the United States. While the CDC recommends adults keep their sodium intake under 2,300 mg per day, a typical American consumes a whopping 3,400 mg or more on average each day! So do you and your heart a favor and choose one of these low sodium supplements for your protein needs.
Overview of Our Selections
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Low Sodium Protein Powder
To make your life and shopping experience a little easier, before we get to the actual recommendations, we’ve put together this short, handy buying guide. This will give you a better idea of the things to look for and be mindful of when you start your low sodium protein shake search.
Since prices can vary considerably with protein powders, it’s always a good idea to do a little cost-benefit analysis before you make a purchase. Also, since you’re essentially getting a big dose of protein no matter which powder you choose, you should focus most of your attention on things like cost per serving and flavor, as these are likely to be the biggest determining factors as to whether you will ultimately be satisfied with the supplement.
While none of the protein powders we’ve recommended contain a great deal of sugar, you should still be mindful of the sugar content, especially if you are diabetic or are simply trying to lose weight.
Organic vs. Non-Organic
There is, of course, much debate about the merits of organic food products as compared to comparable non-organic foods. We won’t weigh in on that debate here. Instead, we just suggest that you do your research to guarantee that products that are listed as organic do, in fact, meet the necessary standards for this designation. That is, if you are interested in organic products.
You might think this would be the biggest factor to consider. You are buying a protein supplement, after all. But the truth is that you only need an additional 14 grams of protein per day to build one pound of muscle. That is, pretty much all of the protein supplements you will come across contain significantly more than that, so you really don’t need to worry all that much about just how much protein is packed into each powder.
Taste and Flavor Options
This, for us anyway, is the single most important factor when shopping for protein powder supplements. It’s simple: if you can’t stand the taste of the stuff or there aren’t flavor options you like, you simply won’t use it. So save yourself some money—and gagging—and find a good tasting protein powder that offers flavors you like, and stick with it.
Our Whey Protein Recommendations
Best Value: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate
Serving Size: 30 g
Cost per Serving: $0.53
Protein: 25 g
Sugar: 2 g
Sodium: 65 mg
- Great taste
- Most affordable option of the supplements we evaluated
- Very high in protein
- Relatively high in calories
While it’s not quite as delectable as Tera’s, the NutriCost protein powder is still very tasty. It comes in the standard two flavors: chocolate and vanilla, both of which are quite impressive. What’s more, it manages to create this excellent flavor without a ton of added sugar.
Another thing that NutriCost really nails is the powder’s mixability. In fact, this protein powder probably mixes more smoothly than all of our other recommendations.
But it’s really the value for the money that makes NutriCost a great option. At only $0.53 per serving, it is considerably more economical and budget-friendly than most of our other picks. Part of this has to do with the large, five-pound containers that you can get of the powder. If your pocketbook is a major concern for you (as it is for most of us), then buying this NutriCost protein powder in bulk this way is a great way to save money.
If there’s one aspect of the NutriCost protein powder that is somewhat disappointing, it’s its relatively high caloric content, as compared to our other recommendations. While 130 calories per serving is far from guilt-inducing, it might not be the best choice for those who are counting calories carefully with the intention of losing weight.
Best Low Sugar: NorCal Organic Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
Serving Size: 25 g
Cost per Serving: $1.81
Protein: 21 g
Sugar: 1 g
Sodium: 40 mg
- Clean! That is, it’s organic, non-GMO, gluten free, pasture-raised, non-denatured, and soy-free!
- Very low sodium
- Lowest sugar content of the powders we evaluated
- Quite expensive at $1.81 per serving
- Not the most appetizing flavor
If you’re like most health-conscious folks, you’re probably doing what you can to watch your sugar intake. Since high amounts of sugar is one of the leading causes of weight gain and diseases like diabetes, we would all be smart to reign in our sweet tooth a bit more. That’s what makes the NorCal protein powder such a good product. It only contains 1 gram of sugar per serving, a bit less than comparable protein powders.
Of course, this lack of sweetener has a downside: flavor. Admittedly, the NorCal protein powder is one of the powders that left the most to be desired with regards to taste. That’s not to say that it is undrinkable at all. Rather, we simply think there are more appetizing options available. That said, if you’re not a “super taster,” or you simply don’t mind taking bitter medicines, you should give the NorCal a try, as it has a lot to offer.
For instance, at 40 mg per serving, it boasts one of the lowest sodium contents of any protein powder we evaluated. Surely this has something to do with the less-tasty aspects of the powder, as well.
But what we liked best about the NorCal is how clean it is. You’ll find no GMOs, no growth hormones or antibiotics, and no gluten. So, if you’re a stickler for avoiding these kinds of additives, you’ll want to at least consider the NorCal.
Best High Protein: Bodylogix Natural Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder
Serving Size: 32 g
Cost per Serving: $1.18
Protein: 24 g
Sugar: 2 g
Sodium: 75 mg
- Pretty good flavor
- Several flavor options
- High protein content
- Relatively expensive
- High-calorie content
The Bodylogix natural protein powder is kind of like the middle child of our line up of recommendations. That is, while it does pack a particularly powerful protein punch, it’s sort of middle-of-the-road in most other categories.
It tastes good, not great. It’s cheaper than some, more expensive than others. It has some sugar, but not a ton. That said, there are a couple of areas where the Bodylogix protein powder does stand out from the crowd.
For one thing, it boasts one of the highest protein levels per serving of those we evaluated. For another, it has quite a few interesting flavor options, including caramel chocolate, decadent chocolate, vanilla bean, and my favorite: snickerdoodle!
But with the good comes the bad. We weren’t thrilled with the comparatively high-calorie count. If you’re watching your calorie intake for weight loss purposes, you’ll want to be careful with this option. It’s probably best to use it as more of a meal replacement than a supplement if you’re in that camp.
Best Tasting: Tera’s Whey Organic Protein
Serving Size: 28.4 g
Cost per Serving: $1.25
Protein: 21 g
Sugar: 4 g
Sodium: 50 mg
- Excellent flavor!
- Slightly high sugar content (no wonder it tastes so good!)
What can we say? It just tastes good. That’s no small feat for a protein powder, by any means! Though it only comes in three flavors—bourbon vanilla, dark chocolate, and plain—but those flavors really wowed us. This is easily the best tasting protein powder we’ve tried, which is especially surprising considering its very low sodium content.
But there’s more to Tera’s protein powder than its great taste. It also packs in a good deal of Potassium and is USDA certified organic, so you don’t even have to feel as guilty about that extra sugar content! In fact, it’s even cleaner than that. Not only is Tera’s organic, but it’s also non-GMO, and the whey protein is sourced locally from family farms in Wisconsin. Further, the cows used to produce the whey are not treated with any artificial growth hormones or antibiotics. It really is as clean as it is delicious.
And if the two available flavors of this protein powder don’t quite do it for you (though, we’d be very surprised!), the unflavored version is another great option. It truly is unflavored. We didn’t detect any added flavor at all—it basically tastes like nothing, making it a great alternative if you want to include it in your own smoothie recipe.
It’s especially versatile because it mixes so well. After only a reasonable amount of stirring, you’re left with a smooth shake without any of the unpleasant grittiness or chalkiness that is so common with similar protein powders.
Our Vegan/Plant-Based Recommendation
Best Organic: Nutiva Organic, Cold-Processed Hemp Seed Protein
Serving Size: 30 g
Cost per Serving: $0.56
Protein: 11 g
Sugar: 1 g
Sodium: 0 mg
- Zero sodium!
- Lowest calorie count of all our picks
- High in fiber
- Organic, non-GMO, and sustainably farmed
- Comparatively low protein content
Nutiva, our only vegan recommendation, is also our pick for the best organic protein powder. And it’s not just organic. It’s also non-GMO and is produced using sustainable farming methods.
But the Nutiva powder is also a top pick because it’s not just low sodium, it a fully a no sodium protein powder! And believe it or not, there’s even more to love about the Nutiva powder: it also has the lowest caloric content of all of our recommendations!
Now, of course, there are some drawbacks. For instance, that complete lack of sodium and a minuscule 1 gram of sugar per serving means that this protein powder is far for the most delicious option. But even if it’s not the tastiest protein powder out there, it’s not bad at all. Just as important, though, it mixes very well. So even if it’s not your favorite taste in the world, at least it goes down smooth without any nasty grit.
Our Overall #1 Pick: Tera’s Whey Organic Protein
Yes, it’s a bit high in sugar. Yes, it’s kind of expensive. And no, it doesn’t boast the highest protein content. But it’s just so dang delicious! We admit it: we’re letting our taste buds guide our decision here, but once you taste it, you’ll see why.
Certainly, there are other decent tasting options on this list, but they all pale in comparison to Tera’s. And yet, Tera’s does still pack in a lot of protein and is very low in sodium content. To us, that’s a win-win-win.