Chances are you already know that protein is the most important macronutrient for packing on muscle. What you may not know is that it is also a major contributor to weight loss.
In fact, protein is arguably just as essential for weight loss as it is for building muscle (I’ll dive more into the science behind this later).
Table of Contents
- The Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss
- Our Methodology
- Why Use Protein Powder for Weight Loss?
- What is Protein Powder? Where Does it Come From?
- How Does Protein Powder for Weight Loss Work?
- Protein Intake for Weight Loss: Is the RDI Enough?
- Benefits of Protein Powder for Weight Loss
- Related Content and FAQs
However, this doesn’t mean that all protein powders are necessarily ideal for weight loss (many are not). Thankfully, a select few niche protein powders for weight loss can help you achieve a leaner, more defined physique.
Key Point: In this article, we explore the best protein powders for weight loss, why they work, and how to use them.
The Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss
Don’t have time to read the whole article? I’ll cut to the chase – our top recommended protein powder for weight loss here at RAVE is SHIFTED's Whey Protein Isolate. Not only is it a great-tasting meal replacement packed with 25 grams of protein, but it’s also easy to digest and keep you energized throughout the day.
Before I dive into all of the reviews, take a look at the chart below for my top picks:
SHIFTED Whey Protein Isolate
SHIFTED Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) comes from SHIFTED, a new name in the world of health and fitness supplements.
Why their products caught our eye is simple. SHIFTED has invested big time in high-end formulation science. Their Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Adam Gonzalez has a PhD in Exercise Physiology and works at the forefront of fitness supplement research and leveraged this expertise to develop products that stand apart from the rest.
In other words, SHIFTED offers top tier products that are formulated based on science, not the bottom-line.
This is particularly true for SHIFTED WPI, which comes jam-packed with amino acids and high quality 100% whey protein isolate. This is the best form of protein powder, in my opinion. It’s clean, it’s more easily digestible, and the most common downside–its price–is not present here.
Customers pay less than 7 cents per gram of whey protein isolate powder, which is very competitive. Large brands in the space often charge 8 to 9 cents or more per gram of whey protein isolate.
But the competitive pricing isn’t what one us over in the end — it was the combination of incredible flavors and low calorie count. Because in our minds, if a protein powder is low calorie AND great tasting, it’s just hard to beat. We loved both flavors that SHIFTED currently offers:
- Cookies and Cream (100 calories per serving)
- Chocolate Milk (110 calories per serving)
It’s common to see WPI products ranging from 120-150 calories per serving, so the fact SHIFTED WPI comes in at the low-end of calories while still nailing these rich and delectable flavors makes it our #1 pick by a significant margin.
Because after all, it’s much easier to commit to protein powders as a meal replacement if you look foward to tasting them on a daily basis. So whether you’re looking for an all-out meal replacement or a nutritious solution to protein supplementation, SHIFTED WPI will not disappoint.
- Exceptional dosage of whey protein isolate per serving
- Killer amino acid profile
- Great price per gram of WPI
- Best tasting protein powders we have ever tested
- 20 servings per container
- SUPERIOR PROTEIN POWDER: SHIFTED's premium protein formula is made up of 100% Whey Protein Isolate,...
- DELICIOUSLY FLAVORED PROTEIN POWDER: SHIFTED's Whey Protein fuels your muscles and satisfies your...
- HIGH PROTEIN POWDER: SHIFTED's Protein Isolate is packed with 25g of high-quality and easily...
Isopure Zero Carb Whey Protein Isolate
Isopure is the quintessential godfather of whey protein isolate powder. I fondly remember the good old days of buying the ready-to-drink Isopure Zero Carb Whey Protein Isolate at the local supplement shop and thinking, “How can something this tasty be purely protein?” Well, that was 15 years ago, and the brand is still doing what they do best: selling delicious zero-carb whey protein isolate.
Arguably, the toughest part about buying this protein is picking a flavor. Though, I will say Isopure excels in the fruitier options, particularly Alpine Punch, Apple Melon (my personal favorite after a workout), and Pineapple Orange Banana.
No matter which flavor you choose, Isopure Zero Carb comes with added vitamins, minerals, and L-glutamine to keep you performing at top speed. And since this protein is carb-free, you don’t have to worry about lactose, fillers, or gluten giving you stomach issues.
- 25 grams of protein per serving
- Zero carbs and gluten-free
- Micronutrients and L-glutamine
- Some inferior vitamin forms
- Artificial sweetener and color
- UNFLAVORED POWDER – one scoop easily mixes in your favorite beverage or food for a high-protein...
- 2 INGREDIENT PROFILE –profile consisting of only whey protein isolate and soy lecithin (to help...
- 100% WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE – a high-quality protein source providing 25g per serving to support...
Evolution Advance Nutrition Fit & Slim Weight Loss Protein
One of the top-selling protein powders for weight loss, EAN Fit & Slim Weight Loss Protein is light on calories (100 per 30-gram scoop) and oh-so-satisfying. Thanks to a blend of digestion-slowing inulin and glucomannan fibers, this protein will keep you satiated for hours without leaving you feeling bloated or gassy.
It only contains 18 grams of protein per serving, which isn’t a lot, but it’s quality grass-fed whey protein and naturally sweetened with stevia.
It’s also soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO. While I think this formula is great all around, the price is a bit steep, given the protein content. Regardless, if you have a little extra money to spend, you’ll likely be more than content with this weight loss protein.
- Non-GMO and grass-fed
- Prebiotic fiber to curb hunger
- Naturally sweetened
- 18 grams of protein per serving
- May be too sweet for some
- FIT PROTEIN POWDER BY EVOLUTION – Our concentrated blend is made from organic grass-fed cow's...
- HEALTHY FORMULA, NON GMO – This whey protein is an ideal supplement to improve sports performance,...
- VERSATILE SNACKS AND DRINKS – Fit & Slim will make you feel satisfied for longer, so you will have...
Dymatize Iso100 Hydrolyzed Clear
Looking for an all-natural, ultra-pure whey protein powder that tastes like fruit juice? Look no further. Iso100 Hydrolyzed Clear may be light on calories, but it packs 20 grams of protein from both hydrolyzed whey protein isolate and whey protein isolate in every 25-gram scoop.
Even better, this is one of the few whey protein isolates on the market that isn’t made with artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors.
In fact, it mixes completely clear, so you’d never even think it’s protein powder. Plus, Iso100 Hydrolyzed Clear comes in three fruit flavors, including Cherry Watermelon, Pineapple Orange, and Mango, each of which will satisfy a sweet tooth and keep you on track towards your weight-loss goal.
- 20 grams of protein
- Gluten-free, naturally flavored
- Only 90 calories per serving
- May taste overly sweet to some
- Not as filling as other proteins
- Gluten Free
- 20 grams of protein, No Artificial Flavors or Flavors, No Added Growth Hormones
- Fast Digesting, Clean Smooth Flavor, Sweetened with Stevia
Orgain Protein & Greens Plant-Based Protein Powder
Whether you’re a die-hard vegan or just someone who wants to make more high-protein diet choices, I ranked Orgain Protein & Greens as the best vegan protein powder for weight loss.
It’s admittedly tough to find any glaring faults with this protein powder: It’s made with completely organic, non-GMO, and certified vegan ingredients and actually tastes good (unlike many plant-based protein powders).
But there has to be a catch, right? In this case, note that it’s more of a meal replacement powder or a green smoothie than a pure protein powder. Each 49-gram serving only provides 21 grams of protein.
The remainder comes in the form of fats (4.5 grams) and carbs (19 grams). Nevertheless, these nutrients are derived entirely from organic greens (e.g. spinach and kale) and a blend of fibers that reduces the net carb count significantly. Since each serving is a modest 160 calories while being highly filling, it makes for quite a treat on a weight-loss diet.
- Non-GMO, USDA organic
- Great taste
- Only two flavors
- Higher in carbs and fat
- New look and label, same great product. Includes 1 (1.94 Pound) Orgain Organic Protein and Greens...
- 21 grams of organic plant based protein (pea, brown rice, and chia seeds), exclusive organic greens...
- USDA organic, vegan, non dairy, gluten free, lactose free, soy free, kosher, carrageenan free, no...
Jacked Factory Authentic Iso
Jacked Factory Authentic Iso comes from humble beginnings as a small supplement brand that initially offered one product, a clinically dosed pre-workout powder called Altius.
Thankfully, that was all they needed to spur immense growth over the years. Fast forward to today and JF was ranked as one of Canada’s top 30 startup companies in 2019. Their preeminent weight loss supplement, Burn-XT, has been a top seller on Amazon since 2018.
To no surprise, Jacked Factory Authentic Iso is another outstanding product from JF. This protein powder is made with 100% grass-fed whey protein isolate and arguably the most delicious chocolate peanut butter flavor you’ll find in a supplement. Another major selling point is that Authentic Iso is quite affordable, especially for a pure grass-fed whey protein isolate supplement.
About the only drawbacks are that it only comes in one flavor option, and it’s not as low in carbs as you might prefer. Regardless, Authentic Iso holds its own against the best protein powders for weight loss.
- 100% grass-fed, non-GMO
- Fantastic flavor
- Only one flavor option
- 5 grams net carbs per serving
- Ultrapure Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate Powder: Authentic ISO is a clean, delicious, fast-acting,...
- 25g of Protein per Serving: Authentic ISO is not your typical cheap-grade whey protein powder. Our...
- Enhance Recovery, Increase Strength, and Perform Your Best: Authentic ISO protein powder gives you a...
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant
If you’re not familiar with Optimum Nutrition (or “ON”), well… you’ve been living under a rock. Optimum Nutrition is one of the leading sports supplement brands across the globe and a purveyor of the industry’s most revered protein powders (which rank among RAVE’s best protein powders).
However, their success with the esteemed Gold Standard series of whey protein and casein protein powders might cause consumers to overlook their Gold Standard 100% Plant protein powder, which is not something to be trifled with.
Personally, I love this formula (and I’m not even on a vegan diet). It features 24 grams of protein per 38-gram serving from organic peas, brown rice, and sacha inchi.
These plant-based protein sources complement each other nicely to give you the essential amino acids necessary to support muscle repair and retention while you strive toward a leaner physique.
This vegan protein powder also packs a trademarked blend—AncienTrim—of organic grains that are suggested to promote satiety, making it easier to stick to a weight-loss diet.
- Brand reputation
- Gluten-free, non-GMO
- 5g carbs, 3g fat per serving
- Different texture and taste
- 24 grams of plant protein per serving
- Expertly crafted to provide premium muscle support
- Made with quality ingredients, from the leader in sports nutrition. With a Great-tasting blend of...
MuscleTech Nitrotech Ripped
MuscleTech is a ubiquitous sports supplement brand with hundreds of different products, a good chunk of which are protein powders.
While the company makes some pretty bold claims (every supplement company does) about their Nitro-Tech protein line, Nitro-Tech Ripped is a solid weight-loss variant that holds its own against other top contenders.
Amine Rahal from Gymless.org rates this as the best weight loss protein powder on our list:
“You can’t go wrong with MuscleTech’s Nitrotech Ripped. It’s been in the industry for a long time, and is among the leanest sources of protein you can find on the market. It also contains a diverse variety of peptides and amino acids to deliver extra muscle-building fuel to your body when you need it.”
The foundation of the formula is whey protein isolate, providing 30 grams of protein per scoop (44 grams). It’s not the best protein per gram content, but what sets Nitro-Tech Ripped apart from other protein powders for weight loss is the Ripped+ Matrix. This one is known to be one of the best protein powders for weight loss and muscle gain for males.
This blend of L-carnitine, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), coffee bean extract, rosehip extract, and kelp is purported to boost weight loss. These ingredients are sound and well-tolerated in clinical research, but the doses are fairly low, so it’s unclear whether they will produce any notable benefit.
The ingredients are what make it personal trainer and gym instructor Jason Cage’s top choice for a protein powder for weight loss:
“The main reason [MuscleTech] is my pick is that it contains C. canephora robusta. This is actually a coffee extract, however it was proved via numerous studies to contain effective weight loss properties. I’m aware that is a rather bold claim, so you can have a look at the research here.”
Regardless, Nitro-Tech Ripped is worthy of consideration when you’re trying to trim down a bit. It tastes pretty darn good, too.
- 30 grams of whey peptides
- Excellent flavor
- Added thermogenic ingredients
- Only two flavors
- 4 grams of fat and 170 calories
- PROTEIN POWDER for WEIGHT LOSS – MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Ripped is the ultimate protein plus weight...
- LEAN MUSCLE BUILDER – Each scoop contains 30g of ultra-clean protein from whey peptides...
- SCIENTIFICALLY TESTED WEIGHT LOSS – Features the key ingredient C. canephora robusta, which...
Protein2O Low-Calorie Whey Protein Drink
I first stumbled upon Protein2O Whey Protein Infused Water somewhat serendipitously when I was on a road trip and saw these ready-to-drink whey protein drinks next to the other sports beverages.
I was admittedly skeptical when I read the label, but to my amazement, these are pretty darn refreshing and pack a solid 10-15 grams of whey protein isolate per bottle (depending on which flavor you choose).
Since these protein-infused water drinks aren’t packed with sugar, fat, or fillers, they are very light on the stomach, almost like drinking Powerade Zero. Don’t expect Protein2O to fill you up like other protein powders for weight loss. Nevertheless, when you’re in a pinch for time or on the road, it can be a lifesaver.
- Only 50-60 calories per bottle
- Convenient & ready-to-drink
- Refreshing taste
- Not very filling
- A bit pricey
- Artificial sweetener and color
- Protein20 Blueberry Raspberry Energy Drink, Caffeinated, 16.9 Fluid Ounces (Pack Of 12)
Performance Inspired Nutrition Diet & Energy Ripped Whey
This up-and-coming supplement brand is now available at a range of retailers across the U.S. and certified as Informed-Sport, meaning every product batch is tested for banned substances. Their Diet & Energy Ripped Whey is distinct from other protein powders for weight loss in that it’s formulated with caffeine, green tea extract, and L-carnitine.
These three ingredients will keep your engine revving at full capacity throughout the day and encourage weight loss. Though, my scrutinous side is a bit underwhelmed by the doses of green tea and L-carnitine.
In any case, the pros of this protein powder certainly outweigh the cons, and it’s bound to satisfy your taste buds while keeping you full.
Just be sure to avoid drinking Diet & Energy Ripped Whey close to bedtime, as the caffeine content might interfere with sleep. Ideally, use this source of protein at breakfast or in the mid-afternoon to beat the crash at the office.
- Satisfying energy boost
- 5 grams of fiber per serving
- Added weight-loss ingredients
- Low dose of L-carnitine
- Low protein content per gram
- Only useful during the day
- This Amazing and Complex formula will help you with your diet and energy needs to fuel your day the...
- Full 25g all natural protein, A BIG 4g Leucine, 500mg of L-Carnitine, only 1g of sugar, low Carbs,...
- Professional athlete are owners in Performance Inspired like Draymond Green along with American Hero...
If I’m being completely forthright, I can tell you that supplements marketed as “thermogenic protein powder” or “fat-burning protein powder” largely prey on the credulity of consumers for otherwise low-quality products. After all, most of the decision-making process when you purchase supplements (or any consumer goods) is based on the label’s aesthetic, not what’s actually in the product.
The reality is that protein powder doesn’t need to contain any “special” fat-burning ingredients just to help you lose weight. Sure, there are some ingredients that might provide a little extra kick to keep you energized throughout the day, but they aren’t the main thing to look for in a quality protein powder for weight loss.
So, what is the main thing to look for?
When it comes to protein powders, the quality of ingredients varies significantly from one supplement to the next. It’s one thing for a protein powder to claim it has “20 grams of protein per serving,” but where does that protein come from?
We asked these questions:
- Has it been tested for purity and contamination?
- Does it contain added sugars?
- Is it loaded with artificial colors and preservatives?
Fortunately, there are a handful of (familiar) supplement brands that have recently launched high-quality protein powders that complement weight loss with exceptional ingredient profiles.
To rank these top protein powders for weight loss, I used the following criteria:
- Protein content per gram
- Ingredient quality (non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, etc.)
- Additional weight-loss support ingredients
- Taste and flavor options
- Value (cost per serving)
Why Use Protein Powder for Weight Loss?
Many people struggle to meet their daily protein needs through whole food sources.
Frankly, I can’t blame anyone for skimping on protein given the cost of protein-rich foods, like meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy.
Especially these days, sourcing all of your protein through whole foods can become quite expensive.
But we live in the 21st century, so you can hold your head high knowing that there is an affordable protein powder for weight loss to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Protein Powder is Only Part of Weight Loss
Now, as a “disclaimer” of sorts, I am not saying you should rely on protein powder for weight loss or as the sole source of protein in your diet. Rather, protein powder should serve as a supplement to a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of protein from whole foods.
And it goes without saying, you should hit the gym regularly and keep active if your goal is to lose weight. There is no replacement for exercise and a proper diet.
Nevertheless, high-quality protein powder for weight loss can serve as a great helping hand when you need it most. As a graduate student in the medical sciences and someone who has been writing about dietary supplements and nutrition for the last decade, I’ve gained quite a bit of insight into the realm of protein powders. In this guide, I will detail the best protein powders for weight loss and where you can find them for a bargain.
What is Protein Powder? Where Does it Come From?
You’ve probably heard of whey protein at some point. Or maybe you’ve been using a whey protein powder for years now and still wonder, “What the heck is whey protein, anyway?”
Cow’s milk is rich in dairy protein, which is Mother Nature’s predominant source of whey protein and casein protein. So, in short, whey and casein protein powder comes from dairy milk; more specifically, they are byproducts of the cheese-making process.
Whey protein and casein protein are exceptional sources of essential and non-essential amino acids. It might help to think of them as the “building blocks” of muscle tissue.
Takeaway: Protein powder can also be made from non-dairy foods, like egg whites, beef, and plants, particularly peas and brown rice. So yes, vegans can rejoice knowing that there are plant-based protein powders for weight loss.
How Does Protein Powder for Weight Loss Work?
Protein powder is one of the most competitive (and diluted) niches in the dietary supplement industry.
The differentiation between one protein powder for weight loss to the next often seems inconsequential, if not impossible, to discern. Though, if you take the time to read supplement labels and learn more about what goes into the products, it becomes apparent what sets them apart.
While some protein powders contain ingredients that may support weight loss, like green tea extract, caffeine, and glucomannan, it’s imperative to acknowledge that these supplements are not magical fat-burning elixirs.
However, don’t let that discourage you from investing in a protein powder for weight loss.
Takeaway: High-quality protein powder can absolutely facilitate weight loss by helping you meet your protein needs without adding a ton of calories (as carbs, sugars, and fat) to your diet.
How Does Protein Powder Aid in Female Weight Loss?
The market for dietary supplements, particularly protein powder, is highly competitive and diverse, making it challenging to identify the best protein powder for women focused on weight loss. When looking for what protein powder is best for weight loss, it is important to carefully examine the supplement labels. This reveals the unique qualities of each product for women’s diet.
While certain protein powders include ingredients that may aid weight loss, such as green tea extract, caffeine, and glucomannan, it’s important to remember they are not miracle solutions for shedding fat. Nonetheless, the right protein powder can be a valuable tool in a woman’s weight loss journey.
Takeaway: The best protein powder for weight loss for females is one that efficiently meets protein needs while minimizing additional calorie intake from carbohydrates, sugars, and fats.
Protein Intake for Weight Loss: Is the RDI Enough?
Dietary reference intakes (DRIs) are dietary guideline recommendations disseminated by the U.S. government. They are suggested to meet the nutritional needs of 97-98% of healthy individuals across the country.
For adults, the current DRI for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which comes out to about 0.36 grams per pound. (If you’re a gym-goer or athlete, you might have just let out a ghastly shriek as you read that… )
The DRI for protein has actually been an issue of reconsideration as of late, given the growing body of evidence that suggests higher amounts (in the realm of 1.8-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight) are beneficial for active people.
In fact, a recent research review concluded that high-protein diets (>1.2 grams protein per kilogram of body weight) are generally favorable for maintaining a negative energy balance, whereas low-protein diets may lead to the opposite.
Remember, weight loss ultimately boils down to burning more calories than you consume and being consistent. If anything, eating more protein will make your weight loss journey more tolerable and efficient.
As it stands, most people should be eating more protein for weight loss—upwards of 1 gram per pound of body weight per day.
For a more in-depth breakdown of how to calculate optimal protein intake based on your goals and activities, check out this video from clinical nutritionist, Autumn Bates:
So, what’s the best protein powder for weight loss? Let’s look at how we answered this question.
Benefits of Protein Powder for Weight Loss
In my journey towards healthier weight loss, I’ve discovered several key benefits of incorporating protein powder into my regimen. Here’s why I find protein powder to be an invaluable ally:
Enhanced Muscle Preservation
During weight loss, it’s crucial to maintain muscle mass. Protein powder, rich in essential amino acids, has been instrumental in preserving my lean muscle tissue. This is not just about keeping my metabolic rate up but also about ensuring overall strength and endurance. The benefits are especially noticeable post-workout when my muscles need repair and growth.
Increased Satiety and Appetite Control
Managing hunger can be a significant challenge in weight loss. Protein powders help immensely in increasing your sense of fullness, leading to a natural reduction in calorie intake. This effect stems from protein’s slower digestion rate, which helps control your cravings and reduce the urge to overeat.
Efficient Metabolism Boost
In the thermic effect of food, protein demands more energy for digestion than fats or carbs. By incorporating protein powder into your diet, you’re effectively boosting your my metabolic rate, aiding in more efficient calorie burning.
Versatility and Convenience
As someone with a busy schedule, I appreciate the versatility and convenience of protein powders. They easily blend into my smoothies, oatmeal, or baking recipes, offering a quick and nutritious protein boost.
Jason also explains that it’s a simple way to track calories, compared to other foods:
“The number 1 benefit of using a Protein Powder for Weight Loss is it is much easier to get in and track your daily calories. When it comes to food, it can be difficult to prepare optimal nutritious food regularly with our busy schedules. It is also hard to track what is in the food you are consuming, especially if you are eating out a lot.
With a protein powder, it is both convenient and effortless to track calories and long-term progress.”
Support for Workout Recovery
Ensuring adequate protein intake for recovery after exercising is essential. Protein powder helps replenish muscles post-exercise, aiding in repair and preparing you for your next workout. This support is crucial as regular exercise is a key part of any weight loss journey.
Catering to Dietary Needs
With the variety of protein powders available, like whey, pea, and rice, you can choose one that fits your dietary preferences and restrictions, whether that’s vegan, lactose-intolerant, or gluten-free.
Protein powders have been more than just a tool for weight loss; they’ve been a practical and adaptable component in maintaining a high-protein diet, crucial for a balanced diet and exercise plan.
The benefits of muscle preservation, appetite control, metabolic enhancement, and post-workout recovery make protein powder an integral part of any journey towards a healthier, sustainable weight loss.
Related Content and FAQs
If you’d like to learn more about burning fat and/or improving your fitness regimen, consider our other work:
- The 10 Best Paleo Friendly Protein Powders: Value, Post Workout, and More
- The 10 Best Fat Burner Supplements
- 10 Often Neglected Preparations for Before Your Workouts
- Best Foods to Eat Before You Work Out for the Best Performance
- What are the Most Important Ingredients in a Protein Bar?
And if you still have lingering questions about using protein powder for weight loss, then consider the frequently asked questions below.
Just click the question in blue for a drop-down answer.
Do I Need to Take Protein Powder to Lose Weight?
How Much Should I Eat to Lose Weight?
Is It Bad to Consume More Than the RDI of Protein?
Should I Take BCAAS if I Already Take Protein Powder?
What Is the Best Plant-Based Protein Powder?
When Should Women Drink Protein Shakes for Weight Loss?
Which Type of Protein Powder Is Best for Weight Loss?
Is Protein Powder Good for Losing Weight?
Selecting the right protein powder, particularly whey isolate or plant-based options, and integrating it into a balanced diet can significantly aid in weight loss. By enhancing muscle preservation, boosting satiety, and improving metabolism, protein powder becomes a valuable ally in achieving your weight loss goals effectively and healthily.