Are you looking for the best protein powder for weight loss? Protein powders are becoming popular in the general population and are no longer exclusively used by bodybuilders and serious athletes. As the benefits of protein powders are becoming more commonly known, it’s understandable that people hope to take advantage of them.
Protein powders are used for a variety of reasons. These supplements are ideal for building muscle, but can also offer incredible advantages for weight loss. But, how? And if you do decide to take a protein powder, which one should you take? This article will explain how protein powders can help you shed a few pounds, explore which is the best protein powder for weight loss, how you should take the powder and how to incorporate it into your overall weight loss plan.
Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Your Buying Guide
Type in protein powder into a search engine and you’ll be bombarded with hundreds of brands and types of powders to purchase. You’ll see they list certain amino acids, boast their excellent flavor, and are available in GMO free, gluten free, dairy free, organic and an infinite number of other formulas. What do you buy? The best protein powder for weight loss may not be the first one to appear on the list.
First, you need a basic understanding of proteins. Our bodies need protein, which is made of amino acids. Some of these amino acids are produced right within our bodies themselves. However, 9 amino acids, which are known as the “essential amino acids” must be sourced from food.
Complete proteins are foods that contain all of the essential amino acids. Proteins that come from meat, dairy, eggs and some plant sources such as hemp, quinoa, buckwheat and soybeans are all examples of complete proteins. This is good news for vegetarians and vegans! You can get complete proteins from plant sources. (6)
When searching for the best protein powder for weight loss, seek out a product that meets these requirements:
- It tastes good: You’ll be consuming this on a daily basis. If you don’t like it, you won’t stick with it.
- It’s a complete protein: Give your body the best by making sure your protein powder contains all essential amino acids.
- High protein content: To get the best bang for your buck, you’ll want at least 20 g of protein per serving. The best protein powder for weight loss will meet this requirement.
- It’s low in carbohydrates: Since you’re on a weight loss plan, you want to avoid excess calories that aren’t dedicated to protein. The most common sources of carbohydrates in protein powders is sugar! So beware of ingredients like dextrins and maltodextrins. At a max, the best protein powder for weight loss will include 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Also, beware of protein powders that are focused on helping people gain weight, as these are also popular on the market.
When viewing carbohydrate content, don’t forget to check if any of it is in the form of fiber. So, if a product has a high carbohydrate content, but it’s also high in fiber, it might be ok. However, if the carbohydrates are all sugars and other carbs, take a pass. Fiber can help with weight loss, as has been proven in this study.
How does it work? Fiber makes you feel fuller without adding calories (7). Basically, fiber usually just passes through your digestive system, which is why it’s also recommended for improving symptoms of constipation.
In addition to these considerations, there are many types of protein powder to consider. Take a look at the options below:
Livin3’s Runner Up: ViSalus’ Fiber Intensive (Meal Replacement Protein Powder)
- The Shake Mix that tastes like a cake mix!
- Low fat, sodium, sugar
- Full Serving of Fiber. Non-GMO Soy protein Isolate for heart health.
Why We Love It
For weight loss, you want to choose a protein powder that includes as few calories as possible. ViSalus’s Vi Shape protein powder keeps the calorie count low so that you can sneak this one into your diet easily. We love that this protein powder is nutritionally balanced to serve as a quality meal replacement, heavy on the protein, so that you can chug this down with confidence for a low-calorie, but filling breakfast or a snack.
- 24 servings per bag
- Just 90 calories per serving in water, 180 calories in skim milk
- Features nutritional additives making it an ideal meal replacement
- Protein is a mix of soy and whey
- Very low in carbohydrates, <1% in sugars, the rest is weight-loss friendly fiber
- Contains 12 g protein per serving
Things to Consider
This is a great protein powder for weight loss, however, the more complex formula means that it contains more than just protein. You’ll have to adjust the rest of your diet around what this product offers to make sure your weight loss is successful. In addition, you’ll need to be more conscientious of how often you use it, due to the nutritional supplements it contains.
Customers love the flavor, texture and ease of using this product. Many also report that they’ve been able to achieve weight loss with Vi Shape shakes. Users report that they are able to lose the weight without suffering, as the powder helps stave off cravings and hunger.
Who Should Purchase This Product
If you’d prefer to use your protein shake as a meal replacement, this product offers a ready-to-go powder featuring complete nutrition. Don’t worry about missing out on vitamins and minerals you’d usually get by eating food over a shake, you’ll still get them with Vi Shape’s powder! However, if you’re really focused on upping your protein intake, you may prefer to purchase a purer product like our top pick, 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate.
Livin3’s Honorable Mention: Legion’s Grass-Fed Protein
- THE CLEANEST AND PUREST FORM OF WHEY PROTEIN POWDER - WHEY+ is 100% whey protein isolate, which is 90%+...
- MADE WITH MILK FROM SMALL IRISH DAIRY FARMS - WHEY+ is made from exceptionally high-quality milk from small...
- NO ARTIFICIAL JUNK - WHEY+ is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored and contains no GMOs, hormones,...
Why We Love It
Legion’s Whey+ is a high quality protein that limits synthetic and any superfluous ingredients. Featuring protein isolate as the main ingredient, Legion’s Whey+ certainly deserves an honorable mention for its purity and high quality ingredients. Depending on the flavor, there are a variety of other ingredients such as xanthan gum, tapioca starch and natural colorants and flavors. However, you can also opt for a “flavorless” option that contains fewer extras.
- 30 servings per bag
- 100 calories per serving
- Protein is sourced from the milk of 100% grass fed Irish dairy cows
- Low in carbohydrates, 3g per serving
- Contains 22 g protein per serving
Things to Consider
If you like variety in flavors, you might prefer Legion’s Whey+, which is actually very similar to our top pick. However, Transparent Lab’s product does have the advantage of fewer additives and extra ingredients while packing in more protein, 28 g compared to Whey+’s 22 g.
Customers love the delicious flavors offered by this Legion protein powder for weight loss. In addition, they note that the protein powder doesn’t cause uncomfortable bloating like some other products.
Who Should Purchase This Product
If you’re interested in purchasing a protein powder made from mostly natural ingredients that offers a great dose of protein, Whey+ is a great choice. In addition, Whey+ is available in 8 flavors, meaning you’ll never get bored and there’s always another flavor to try.
Livin3’s Alternative: Budget Friendly Protein Powder
- 30 grams of protein per serving with superior whey protein, whey peptides and whey protein isolate for lean...
- Caffeine free, enhanced weight loss with scientificaly studied dose of C. canephora robusta
- Advanced whey protein formula features L-carnitine, green tea & CLA
Why We Love It
MuscleTech’s Nitro Tech Ripped protein powder features a formula specialized for weight loss. Not only will you get a whopping 30 grams of protein, you’ll also gain the benefits of supplemental ingredients that are known for their weight loss properties. Although there are some additives included in the formula, overall Nitro Tech Ripped focuses on what you really need in a weight loss protein powder. The best part? It’s a bit cheaper than some of the other brands offered, which is why it’s worth considering as an alternative if you can’t fit the higher quality products in your budget.
- 21 servings per bag
- 170 calories per serving
- Protein is mainly whey
- Low in carbohydrates, 4g per serving
- Contains 30 g protein per serving
Things to Consider
Although Nitro Tech Ripped includes some conventional additives like sucralose, cellulose gum, and xanthan gum, among others, it also features some great supplemental ingredients for weight loss. For example, green tea extract and CLA oils are known for their weight loss properties and are included in the formula. So, if you want to boost your natural ability to lose weight on top of adding protein to your diet plan, Nitro Tech Ripped is a great choice.
Customers rave about the results they’ve achieved while using Nitro Tech Ripped. Most are happy with the flavor, although the occasional user reports that they’ve had to mix in additional water than what’s recommended because the taste is too strong or sweet. Some customers also mention that it’s easy to digest this protein in comparison to other products.
Who Should Purchase This Product
Opt for this product if you are looking for a decent product that isn’t overstuffed with additives and fillers, but you’re ok with some unnatural ingredients. Nitro Tech Ripped is a great choice for those who want to take quality protein, but don’t have an unlimited budget. This product is also a great choice for those who are interested in adding weight loss supplements to their routines, as this protein powder includes a few.
Livin3’s Choice for Women (High Quality Protein)
- 20 grams of protein per serving from grass fed cows free of rBGH
- Natural flavors and gluten free
- Only 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fat per serving
Why We Love It
This product caters to women by offering a low calorie, smaller protein dose of the same high quality protein offered by other brands. Women generally need a bit less protein than men, so this brand offers an easier, appropriate dosage for women. Her Natural Whey contains exactly what the name advertises: natural whey and not much else. All flavorings are natural, although some additives such as fructose and xanthan gum are included in small amounts.
- 16 servings per bag
- 110 calories per serving
- Protein is mainly whey and sourced from the milk of grass-fed cows
- Low in carbohydrates, 3g per serving
- Contains 20 g protein per serving
Things to Consider
This product contains a very simple formula that gets straight to the point: high quality sourced whey, from the milk of grass-fed cows that aren’t pumped up with hormones or antibiotics. You can consume this product with confidence knowing it contains only a few high quality ingredients, so you aren’t getting a bunch of fillers.
Customers are pleased with both the taste of the product and the weight loss achieved while taking it. Many dieters have made it part of their keto lifestyle and love that this powder has a low carb count.
Who Should Purchase This Product
If you’re a woman looking for just the right dose of a high quality protein powder, this Her Natural Whey is an excellent choice. Featuring high quality protein from the best source possible, grass-fed cows, you can drink this shake with confidence. Made in a GMP certified facility by a reputable company, this shake even offers a money back guarantee.
How to Use Protein Powder for Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, you’ll want a broader plan that includes exercise and a healthy diet. As mentioned earlier in the article, it’s best if you can reduce your calorie intake, which may require counting calories while you get used to your new diet. But, where does protein powder for weight loss fit in? Once you’ve found the best protein powder for weight loss for your needs and preferences, you can use it in a number of ways:
- Use it in meals. Add protein powder to your healthy, whole-grain pancake, diet-friendly oatmeal and muffin batter to make these foods more filling. You can often substitute about 1/3 of the flour in these types of recipes with protein powder. Avoid adding any more, as it can really affect the texture of baked goods. With the punch of protein in your meals, you’ll feel satiated for longer, which will make it easier for you to cut down on your calories overall.
- As meal replacements. Use a serving of protein powder in water, milk or a delicious smoothie to serve as a meal replacement. You should really opt for casein over whey when using your powder as a meal replacement. Because casein protein is absorbed slowly, you won’t feel like you’re starving before you plan to have your next meal. When making smoothies, be sure to count your calories with care so that you don’t end up with something that includes even more calories than your meal would have.
- As snacks. You can cut down on calories in your meals by eating healthy snacks to get you through the day. Have a quick protein shake using your best protein powder for weight loss in water mid-morning to give yourself a burst of energy and keep you full while only adding about 120 calories. This will also help you control your portion size at lunch as you won’t be famished when it’s time to eat.
Remember, for best results, you also have to exercise! Muscle is built when your muscles have been stressed through exercise. If you aren’t exercising, your body won’t really build muscle, it will simply retain the muscle you already have. You want to build muscle to increase your lean body mass, which is not only healthier but will give your metabolism a boost, helping you continue to lose weight.
Including protein powder as a part of a larger plan to reduce calories and get exercise will help you achieve your weight loss goals. Remember to make your protein account for about 25% of your overall calories. As mentioned before, on a diet of 1800 calories, you would need to consume 113 grams of protein (5). That means if you include two servings of your protein powder a day, you’ll probably get in about 50 grams of protein. The remaining 63 grams can be gotten by eating 4 oz of skinless, boneless chicken breast, which will give you about 35 grams of protein and a few other protein-heavy foods like black beans, eggs, cheese, fish and milk.
Pro Tip: Protein powders are the perfect complement to the keto diet. This plan helps you change your body’s fuel from glucose to ketones, which can be very effective at helping you slim down. There are many wonderful keto supplements to purachase that will help you get started on this diet and enjoy a successful weight loss journey.
How Does Weight Loss Work?
To understand how protein powders can help you lose weight, you need to understand how weight loss functions in general. With this understanding, you’ll be able to identify the role protein powders will play in your overall weight loss plan. Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill for losing weight. So, you can’t just start adding a protein shake to your routine and wait for the pounds to melt right off.
Weight loss is really about simple math. You need to use up more calories than the ones you’re consuming in the food you eat. Successful weight loss usually involves two elements as a result: diet and exercise. You can start losing weight by reducing the number of calories you consume each day. Then, if you add exercise, you’ll use up more calories, also creating a net calorie loss.
How Many Calories Do You Need to Cut Out to Lose Weight?
To lose one pound of body fat, you need to burn or eliminate 3,500 calories. That’s a lot! The average woman should consume 2000 calories a day to maintain her weight while the average man should consume 2500 calories per day (1). Of course, this depends on your activity level, size, age and a number of other factors. However, this puts things in perspective. No wonder losing weight is so tough!
Even if you cut out 250 calories per day in your diet and also walk 2 miles each day, burning an additional 200 calories, it would still take a full eight days to lose one pound (2).
What Other Factors Play a Role in Weight Loss?
You’ve probably heard about your metabolism and how some people have “slow” or “fast” metabolisms. This is a factor in weight loss, but luckily you have more control over it than you might think. Your metabolism is essentially a measure that shows how many calories your body consumes when at rest. Some people have high metabolisms that consume lots of calories at rest, while other people don’t consume as many calories at rest.
You can improve your metabolism by building muscle. The more muscle in your body, the more calories your body consumes at rest. Specifically, 10 pounds of muscle can burn 50 calories a day when resting, while 10 pounds of fat only burns 20 calories under the same conditions (3). It may not seem like much, but if you consider the overall effects of increasing your muscle mass, over time, it starts to add up.
Before continuing, it’s important to remember that weight loss isn’t the holy grail of health. Yes, it’s important to keep your weight in check, but you should be paying attention to more than just the numbers on the scale. You can be thin, or have an acceptable BMI, but still have high body fat content. This is not ideal. For optimum health, you should have low body fat content and higher lean body mass, which basically refers to muscle.
Studies show that body composition, or how much fat or muscle you have in your body, is a better indicator of health than just BMI. A factor in this is also visceral fat, or the fat around your midsection. Fat in this area is bad news for your health. But, through a general weight loss plan, you can slim down and improve your health outcomes (4).
Why You Should Take Protein to Lose Weight
Have you ever heard of the Atkins diet, a low carb diet, the boiled egg diet or the Keto diet? These diets are all high in protein. Using similar principles, these diets take advantage of the benefits protein can have on your body to help make weight loss easier, and even more effective. So, what does protein do?
Benefits of Protein for Weight Loss
- Helps You Meet Daily Protein Intake Goals: The average man should consume 98 grams of protein, while the average woman should consume 68 grams of protein per day. However, if you’re hoping to lose weight, you should up your consumption to make protein represent 25% of your daily calorie intake. This means that on a diet of 1800 calories, you should consume 113 grams of protein (5). A 4 oz serving of chicken breast offers 35 grams of protein, but many other protein sources are much more modest in content. One large boiled egg offers 6 g of protein while a half a cup of boiled black beans contains about 7.5 g of protein. This means that you may struggle to meet your protein intake goals. That’s where the best protein powder for weight loss comes in! A quality protein powder can help you get enough protein.
- Helps Build Muscle: One of the reasons you should be taking the best protein powder for weight loss while dieting is that it can help you build muscle. As discussed in the previous section, muscle is better for your metabolism than fat. If you can improve your body composition, which is also good for your health in general, you’ll make your metabolism work for you.
- Avoids Loss of Muscle: Weight loss generally doesn’t discriminate. When you lose weight, you lose fat and muscle. However, studies show that individuals who consume a high protein diet versus a high carbohydrate diet lose more fat mass than muscle mass when trying to lose weight. You want to avoid muscle loss for a number of reasons, but principally because having greater muscle content in your diet is good for your metabolism. This also improves your body composition, since you’ll lose more fat, which is considered unhealthy.
- Helps You Feel Full: Studies show that eating a diet high in protein can improve satiety. In other words, you’ll feel fuller when eating a protein-heavy diet, meaning you won’t be as tempted to snack outside your meals. So, if you struggle with portion control, eating a larger percentage of your daily calories in the form of protein may really help you reduce the urge to snack.
Protein powders can form part of a healthy diet that promotes weight loss. Getting enough protein in your diet can really be a struggle even if you eat plenty of low-fat, high-protein foods like chicken breast, legumes and low-fat dairy. Boosting a meal using the best protein powder for weight loss or adding in a shake as a protein-intensive snack can really make the difference. Not only might the addition of protein powder in your diet help you lose weight, but as you can see it may also improve your overall health outcomes. When you improve your body composition, not just through weight loss, but by increasing your muscle mass and decreasing the fat content in your body, you become healthier and reduce your chances of an early death. This finding was published in a study that showed that high body fat percentages are associated with mortality, even when a low BMI is present.
It’s also very important to note that as we age, our protein requirements simply increase. Studies suggest that we become less efficient at absorbing and using protein over time, resulting in muscle mass loss and losses in strength as well. By doubling your protein intake and aiming to get 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight, you can improve your health and stave off muscle loss.
By now you’re probably sold on taking protein to promote healthy weight loss. But, what is the best protein powder for weight loss? The next section delves into the details of what protein powders are best.
Protein Shakes for Weight Loss: Fantastic Recipes that Taste Good
Whether you’ll be having a shake as a meal replacement or a healthy snack, it can get boring to simply have a scoop of your powder mixed with milk or water. It works for when you’re tight on time, but when you can, it’s nice to indulge in a really great shake. These protein shakes for weight loss include lots of fruit which will give you a boost in fiber. In addition, they’ll help satisfy your cravings for dessert! Just always remember to use the best protein powder for weight loss that meets the requirements outlined above for the best results. Here are some great recipes to try:
Apple Pie Smoothie from Blender Happy
This smoothie tastes just like apple pie in a glass! Here are the ingredients and a rough estimate of how many calories you’d get from this shake:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk – 15 calories
- 1 apple – core and seeds removed (leave the skin for extra fiber!) – 95 calories
- 3/4 cup fat-free greek yogurt – 100 calories
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (use the best protein powder for weight loss for best results!) – 120 calories
- 1/8 tsp of nutmeg- 0 calories
- 1/8 tsp of cinnamon – 0 calories
- 1 cup of ice – 0 calories
TOTAL CALORIES: About 330 calories, give or take depending on the exact ingredients used. As a breakfast, this could be a great, protein-heavy choice!
Banana Blackberry Protein Smoothie from Fitty Foodies
This delicious smoothie sneaks in some vegetables as well! A boost in fiber is always good for your diet.
- ⅓ cup rolled oats (uncooked) – 100 calories
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk – 15 calories
- 1 large banana – 105 calories
- 1 cup raw cauliflower – 25 calories
- 1 scoop vanilla protein (use the best protein powder for weight loss for best results!) – 120 calories
- ½ cup Blackberries – 30 calories
- Handful of ice cubes – 0 calories
TOTAL CALORIES: About 395 calories. Skip the rolled oats to reduce the calorie count a bit. Either way, this smoothie is a great way to get your fiber from the fruit and vegetables while also getting a great dose of protein. Ideal for a meal replacement, this shake is sure to keep you going.
Generic Fruit Smoothie
Use this recipe with any of your favorite frozen or fresh fruits such as peaches, berries or bananas and your favorite protein powder. You’ll notice that vanilla is a popular flavor for adding to fruity shakes. However, banana pairs nicely with chocolate flavors too!
- 1/2 cup milk (almond or non-fat regular milk) – 15 – 40 calories
- 1/2 cup water – 0 calories
- 1 cup mixed fruit – 50 – 100 calories depending on fruit
- 1 scoop of protein powder (use the best protein powder for weight loss for best results!) – 120 calories
- 4-5 ice cubes – 0 calories
TOTAL CALORIES: 185 – 260 calories depending on the milk, fruit and protein powder type. This makes for a great healthy snack or even a meal replacement.
Take control of your weight with the best protein powder for weight loss! Eating right and getting the proper amount of protein can make a world of difference in ensuring your weight loss is focused on eliminating fat, while preserving your lean body mass. This way, your weight loss will work for you, helping you maintain a great metabolism.
Weight loss is hard, but it can be easier when you’re not starved and your metabolism is working in your favor. Protein powder can make this happen.
Do you have a favorite protein powder for weight loss? Tell us all about it in the comments!