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People often associate protein powders with muscle gain. However, they can also assist people with weight loss by helping them feel full for longer.

Having enough protein can help boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and lose fat without losing muscle. This all contributes to weight management.

Medical News Today has tested some of the products below. Reviewers may have received some products from the manufacturers for free, which does not influence their review. All opinions are the reviewers’ own.

Below is a comparison table of the best protein powders for weight loss in this article.

PriceProtein per servingCalories per servingFlavors
Orgainfrom around $22.7921 g150• Creamy Chocolate Fudge
• Chai Latte
• Churro Caramel Swirl
• Natural Unsweetened
Premierfrom around $22.9130 g 150• Chocolate Milkshake
• Vanilla Milkshake
• Cafe Latte
NOW Sportsfrom around $24.2624 g130• Unflavored
Optimum Nutritionfrom around $44.9924 g120• 22 different flavors, including:
• Extreme Milk Chocolate
• Vanilla Ice cream
• Double Rich Chocolate
Nakedfrom around $22.7925 g120• Chocolate
• Vanilla
• Strawberry
• Unflavored
GNCfrom around $28.4930 g170 • Chocolate Fudge
• Vanilla Cream
• Strawberry
Thornearound $55.1021 g100 • Chocolate
• Vanilla
Ora Organicfrom around $33.2922 g130• Unflavored
• Vanilla
• Vanilla Chai
NuFyxfrom around $4.90 18 g 100• Creamy Vanilla
• Dreamy Chocolate
• Plain
Dymatizefrom around $31.7625 g120• Cafe Mocha
• Chocolate
• Rich Chocolate
• Cookies & Cream
• Strawberry
• Gourmet Vanilla
Muscle Milkfrom around $2332 g280• Chocolate
• Vanilla
NutraBiofrom around $4725 g120• Vanilla

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: Products suit a wide range of budgets.
  • Ingredients: Products list all ingredients clearly, with manufacturing processes outlined.
  • Safety: Products contain ingredients deemed safe for ingestion.
  • Reputation: Products are from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.

Medical News Todayfollows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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People may wish to consider the following factors when purchasing a protein powder for weight loss.

Ingredients

When choosing a protein powder, people should choose one that is low in calories and carbohydrates and high in protein. Some people may avoid products with additives and some manufacturers may add sugars and artificial ingredients to make the powder enjoyable.

Protein source

People should consider the protein source, as this determines the quality of the protein powder. Some sources, like whey protein, are complete proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids. Other sources, such as plant-based proteins, may not be as complete but will be a more suitable source for vegans.

Some research shows whey protein and pea protein produce similar outcomes. However, research is still ongoing in this area.

Dietary needs

People should choose a protein powder that fits their dietary needs. For example, vegans may select a vegan-friendly protein powder containing plant-based proteins like peas, hemp, or rice.

People looking for a dairy-free protein powder may choose one with dairy-free ingredients such as soy or pea protein. Alternatively, those who follow a gluten-free diet may wish to consider gluten-free protein powders.

Taste and texture

People may wish to choose a protein powder brand with various flavors. Others may wish to look for an unflavored powder.

The texture is also important, especially if a person wants a powder to mix with other ingredients. Some powders may be gritty or chalky, while others have a creamier texture and may be preferable.

Customer reviews

When choosing a protein powder, people may wish to read customer reviews. This can give them an idea of the quality of the product and how well it works for other people. For example, some people may have experienced side effects from a particular product.

Price

The price of protein powder can vary depending on the brand and product quality. People may wish to compare prices before purchasing and look for any money-saving promotions or discounts. Some companies may offer taster sachets of its protein powder so people can try them before investing in a tub.

Product quality

People should check the product’s quality before purchasing. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has CGMPs that companies must follow to ensure the purity, identity, and composition of their products.

These CGMPs prevent the manufacturers from adding the wrong ingredients to the products. It also reduces the chance of contamination or improper labeling.

Some independent organizations put their products through third-party testing. This shows the consumer that the product contains the ingredients listed on the label and is contaminant-free.

A 2020 study shows that nutrient-dense protein shakes twice daily improved participants’ weight loss and body fat. However, people should note that participants in this study were following a calorie-reduced diet.

However, people must also focus on eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking protein for best results. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week.

There are three main ways protein may help with weight loss:

It may help people feel fuller for longer

Protein is one of the most satiating macronutrients. It changes the levels of specific hormones that manage people’s appetite, cholecystokinin CCK, and glucagon-like peptide 1 GLP-1.

Proteins increase the levels of these hormones and decrease levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. This helps keep people’s appetite balanced throughout the day, thus reducing the urge to snack.

It may help increase people’s metabolism

A person’s metabolism is responsible for converting calories into energy. Muscle mass is the main factor in a person’s metabolic rate. Consuming more protein and regular exercise may help build muscle mass. Therefore, more muscle mass may result in a healthier metabolism and burning more calories.

It may help people maintain a calorie deficit

If a person feels fuller for longer, they are less likely to eat more food than they need, keeping their body in a calorie deficit.

A person’s body uses more energy when digesting protein than other macronutrients such as fats and carbs. This means that people may also burn more calories and body fat.

Researchers refer to this as the thermic effect of protein.

People should not replace a balanced diet with protein shakes. As with all foods, too much protein may add too many calories to a person’s diet and cause weight gain.

Consuming protein shakes may make maintaining a calorie deficit easier by managing hunger but taken on their own, they will not help a person lose weight.

Balance is the key to successful weight loss, and other factors must be considered. These include the following:

Changing lifestyle habits

This involves a lifestyle with healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity, although sleep, age, genetics, diseases, medications, and environments can also contribute to weight management.

Setting realistic weight loss goals

The CDC recommends gradual, steady weight loss of about 1–2 lb per week is more likely to sustain weight loss than quickly losing weight.

Healthy eating

A healthy eating plan should include the following:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • fat-free or low fat milk and milk products
  • protein foods, such as seafood, lean meats, eggs, legumes, soy products, nuts, and seeds

Food should be low in added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Additionally, calorie consumption should stay within the person’s daily calorie needs.

Physical activity

People should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week.

Before starting any weight loss journey, people should consult with a healthcare professional or dietitian to ensure that their chosen diet is sustainable and compatible with any health conditions they may have.

There is no one-brand-fits-all protein powder for weight loss. People should choose a high-quality product containing all the essential amino acids when purchasing a protein powder. Additionally, it should be high in protein but low in fats, carbohydrates, and calories.

High-quality protein powder will help people lose weight if it contains a high amount of protein and is low in fats, carbohydrates, and calories.

The type of protein people choose is a matter of choice and dietary requirements. For example, someone with no intolerances or allergens may choose a whey protein or casein protein powder. Both are high in nutrients, boost the metabolism, and promote weight loss.

People who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may choose a plant-based protein powder. These protein powders are lower in calories and fats than their animal-based counterparts.

Research reports that plant protein may offer similar benefits to whey protein and that the amount of protein is more important than the type.

Yes, protein powder can aid in weight loss if people combine it with a calorie-controlled diet and exercise program.

Protein powder may help people lose weight with a healthy lifestyle, such as healthy eating and regular exercise.

When purchasing a protein powder, people should always opt for one that has been third-party tested and contains all the necessary nutrients and amino acids.

A person should consult a healthcare professional or dietitian before purchasing a protein powder and commencing any weight loss program to ensure that both are compatible with their health conditions.