The keto diet has a stringent set of rules.
A high-quality, low-carb keto protein powder is a necessity for keto dieters who need a meal replacement, or a pre- or post-workout supplement. For us, the AAKG (L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate) Powder by Bulk Supplements tops our list of all the best keto protein powders. It is a one-of-a-kind protein powder that supplies ketones to feed the citric acid cycle, and arginine to keep your blood and muscles pumping. It’s our top pick for the best keto protein powder.
If you are new to the keto diet or have been eating keto for quite some time now, you may be in need of a keto-approved protein powder. One that is, of course, high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. Standard protein powders, such as whey, can be very low in carbs but tend to be super high in protein and mostly fat-free. These do not fit the magic ratios of keto, where 70% of your diet is fat.
There are many keto-friendly sources of protein for protein powders, some vegan like pea protein, and some animal-based like bovine collagen. There are advantages to both, depending on your dietary restrictions and eating preferences. At RAVE, we think there is a place for both.
We want to bring you our best keto protein powders that deliver quality, the right macro balance, and of course, flavor. On top of that, we considered quality ingredients that are natural and healthy. So here we have it, our top picks for the best keto protein powders.
The Keto Protein Powders We RAVE About
You can use protein powders in your daily routine to increase protein consumption, replace meals, or supply amino acids as a pre- or post-workout supplement. In other words, protein powders are versatile. We see many people using protein powders for various reasons.
Who Uses Protein Powder?
Bodybuilders (or even your everyday gym junkie) are some of the most frequent protein powder users because using them is an effortless way to get in a lot of protein. Why is this important? Protein powders contain amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscle. So, it makes sense that women and men who are trying to get their pump on at the gym and gain some serious muscle mass are big users of protein powder.
Another everyday user of protein powder is someone trying to lose weight. Protein has the ability to help you feel fuller for longer, increase your metabolic rate, and help you lose weight. As you can see, replacing a meal with a protein shake could help you avoid overeating and drop a few extra pounds.
Variables in Protein Powders
Some of the most common (and classic) protein powders are made from whey (which comes from milk) or plant proteins such as pea or brown rice. These proteins are water-soluble, so they are easily mixed into smoothies, juice, or even plain water. However, there are many other types of protein powders.
Whey protein powder is probably the most typical protein used in protein powders. It is easy to mix into smoothies and drinks and has a great texture. Plus, it can help support you in gaining muscle mass, wound healing, and even malnutrition.
Plant-based protein powders are suitable for everyone, but are primarily geared toward vegans who do not eat any animal-based products, including dairy. There is a variety of plant proteins that can be used to make powders, including oat, soy, rice, and pea.
Some protein powders are made from only amino acids, such as branched-chain amino acid protein powders. These powders are geared toward people looking to support their time pumping iron at the gym, and to help increase their muscle mass.
This isn’t the end—there are many other types of protein powder varieties out there, but these are some of the most common.
Aside from protein, protein powders can include an array of other ingredients—some good, some bad, and some ugly. Usually, protein powders are flavored and sweetened in some way, so you can generally find sugar or sugar substitutes in protein powders. If weight loss is one of your reasons for using protein powder, or if you are eating keto, added sugar or corn syrup may be a big no-no.
Healthier alternatives like stevia are also available in many of the more “health-savvy” products. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and sugar alcohols in protein powders as well. These have little to no carbohydrates, but some are less health-promoting than others.
Some protein powders are flavored naturally, with ingredients like real cocoa. On the other hand, others contain unnatural flavoring agents as well as artificial colors. It is essential to look at the label and see what ingredients are in your protein powder, as they vary widely from brand to brand. Make sure your protein powder is both clean and keto.
Trends in Protein Powders
Move over whey protein powder—there is a new sheriff in town. Bone broth-based protein powders have become more and more popular among health-conscious people. Bone broth is made by boiling the bones from beef or chicken for 12-48 hours (much longer than your typical broth). Boiling the bones for this long period of time pulls out various micro and macronutrients and creates an uber-healthy broth.
Bone broth is known for numerous health benefits due to its high mineral, vitamin, and collagen content. It contains amino acids and vitamins, which can help repair the digestive tract lining, protect the joints, and build muscle. Bone broth protein powders are a popular choice for people who want more from their protein powder.
You may have heard of superfoods, which are typically high-antioxidant fruit, veggies, herbs, or even algae. Acai berry, spirulina, and matcha green tea are all superfoods. A trend we are seeing in protein powders is the addition of superfoods to make an all-in-one powder.
The addition of superfoods to protein is especially common in vegan protein powders. They are sometimes marketed as a meal-replacement smoothie, as they contain many different fruits and veggies, which supply lots of vitamins, minerals, and plant polyphenols (the super healthy pigments in fruits and veggies).
When it comes to choosing the best keto protein powders, there is a lot to consider. From the macronutrient profile to the price to the taste—we looked at it all. We searched high and low to bring you our best keto protein powders that not only serve up flavor but keep you on track with your diet. We made sure none of our picks had too many carbohydrates to throw you out of ketosis, or a price tag that will drain your piggy bank.
- Nutrient profile: How many carbs does the powder have? Is it high in fat? Is it a source of fiber?
- Synergistic ingredients: Are there herbs that support energy and stamina? Does it include MCT oil for fat and readily available energy? Are there other health-promoting ingredients?
- Taste: What is the flavor like? What is used to flavor the powder? Are there multiple flavors available?
- Price: Is the price fair? Are similar products more or less expensive?
- Artificial ingredients: Are there synthetic flavors? Artificial colors or sweeteners? Does it contain binders or fillers?
- Reviews: What do the reviews say? How many reviews are there?
The Best Keto Protein Powders
Bulk Supplements AAKG (L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate) Powder
This AAKG powder stands out from your run-of-the-mill protein powder. It is made of AAKG, or L-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, which is a go-to for bodybuilders. AAKG is said to help increase nitric oxide levels, causing blood vessels to dilate. Why is this a good thing? Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to muscles, feeding muscle cells, allowing them to work hard and pump longer, potentially increasing muscle gains.
The other star ingredient, alpha-ketoglutarate, is a ketone that feeds the citric acid cycle, which is the energy-producing cycle that every cell uses in your body. Pretty important stuff! L-arginine with alpha-ketoglutarate is a winning combination for stamina and muscle gains.
Aside from the two-star ingredients, this powder contains nothing else: no fillers, binders, gluten, or sugar. It is perfect for getting your pump on while following a keto diet, and for us at RAVE, it is our best keto protein powder. Another bonus is that for 38 servings, it only costs $12.96.
- Free of sugar and allergens
- Increases stamina and muscle
- Not a meal replacement
Ancient Nutrition, Keto Protein
When eating keto, good sources of fat and protein are helpful to keep you satiated and support your time pumping iron in the gym. Ancient Nutrition’s Keto protein has the perfect macro combination for staying on track with keto. This protein powder is made from high-quality bone broth, which not only provides protein but healthy fats and a dose of minerals and vitamins. Bone broth is known for numerous benefits for your digestive tract and overall health. It is packed full of vitamins as well as collagen, which may help joint health.
In addition to bone broth-based protein, this powder also contains ashwagandha and reishi mushroom, two herbs that benefit energy, stamina, and your adrenal glands, which help you respond better to daily stressors. Plus, it contains MCT oil which is an easily absorbed fat that can provide quick energy. The powder is free from fillers and binders and is sweetened with a natural maple flavor and stevia.
Each scoop contains 170 calories, 2 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fat, and 15 grams of protein. As you can see from the fat content, this is a true keto powder. The keto powder costs $40.35 and contains 17 servings per container. It is somewhat on the pricey side compared to other protein powders, but keep in mind that it is not an average, basic protein powder.
- High in vitamins and minerals
- 11 grams of fat
- Herbs for stamina and energy
- Expensive at $40.35
- Lower in protein than others
BPI Sports Keto Peptides
BPI Sports Keto Peptides is so much more than just a protein powder. We often see whey- or plant-based protein powders, but this one is different. It is derived from collagen, which is not only a source of protein but of minerals and the building blocks of both muscles and joints.
The collagen is hydrolyzed, which means it is in an easily absorbed form. Plus, this powder contains MCT oil, which can be quickly absorbed for energy—something that many keto dieters appreciate. The powder is sweetened with acesulfame and sucralose, two artificial sweeteners (which might be a turn-off for some people). There is also a bit of cocoa in there for a chocolatey taste.
A 20-serving container costs $34.99, which is on the more expensive side. Each scoop contains 70 calories, 10 grams of protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fat. As you can see, each scoop is very low in carbs and only moderately high in both fat and protein. In a way, this protein powder is more of a supplement to support bone and joint health than a high-protein shake. There aren’t many reviews on BPI Sports’ website, but they come in at a five-star average!
- May help joint health
- Contains MCT oil
- Very low in carbs
- Artificial sweeteners
- Not high in protein or fat
Orgain Keto Collagen Protein Powder
Orgain is an all-natural collagen protein powder. Its first ingredient is collagen peptides, and there are no synthetic sweeteners, colors, or additives. It is available in a chocolate flavor (from organic cocoa) and its sweetness comes from organic stevia—very au naturel. Another bonus is the coconut-derived medium-chain triglycerides, a readily available form of fat that can be taken up by intestinal cells quickly and used for fuel. It doesn’t appear that the collagen peptides themselves are organic, however.
A 20-serving container runs for $32.99. In the realm of collagen protein powders, it is average, but compared to regular protein powders, it may seem expensive. Keep in mind, collagen is not just amino acids that support muscle, they may help with bone and joint health as well.
One scoop contains 90 calories and 10 grams of protein. There are 5 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber. We don’t usually see this much (if any) fiber in protein powders, so this is a high selling point. Not to mention, getting enough fiber on a keto diet is one of the biggest challenges for most people. On their website, Orgain boasts a five-star average from reviewers! If you are in the market for a semi-organic collagen protein powder, Orgain is a great choice.
- No synthetic sweeteners
- Contains MCT oil
- Contains fiber
- The collagen is not organic
- More expensive than others
Vega Protein Smoothie
The Vega Protein Smoothie is a keto-friendly smoothie made from pea protein and sweetened with stevia—an all-natural sweetener. It is much more than a simple protein powder, as it contains a mix of powdered high-antioxidant greens. So really, this smoothie is like a green powder and protein shake in one. There are alfalfa, broccoli, and spinach powders, which add beneficial phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
The cost of the Vega Protein Smoothie is $16.99 for 10 servings. One scoop has 110 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 15 grams of protein—a pretty decent amount! Each serving also contains 5 grams of carbs (4 net carbs, as 1 gram is fiber). It is slightly higher in carbohydrates than some of the other keto protein powders we reviewed. There are only 2 grams of fat in each serving, which is lower than we would like to see. But Vega recommends adding a scoop of MCT oil to your smoothie when you make it at home.
Unlike many keto-friendly foods, this protein smoothie is vegan and entirely free of animal products. It is gluten-free and dairy-free, making it a versatile product for people who follow keto, vegan, or paleo diets—or all three. Reviews of this smoothie are generally good, coming in at a 3.4-star average. However, some people are not fans of the taste.
- A good amount of protein
- Contains antioxidant veggie mix
- Small container
- 5 grams of carbs
Sparta Nutrition Keto MRP
The Sparta Nutrition Keto MRP is designed to be a meal-replacement smoothie. It has 190 calories, 14 grams of fat, 12 grams of protein, and 3 grams of carbohydrates, with 1 gram of fiber. The amount of fat in this smoothie is impressive, and comes from coconut oil, avocado oil, MCT oil, and ground flax—all healthy forms of plant fats. The protein is a combination of pea protein, egg white, and brown rice protein. Although the powder is vegetarian and dairy-free, because of the eggs, it is not vegan.
The powder is sweetened with stevia (all-natural? Check!) and flavored with matcha green tea (high-antioxidant? Check!). Matcha green tea is a go-to for energy, stamina, and quenching inflammation. We appreciate meal replacements that use real food ingredients and leave out synthetic ingredients and fillers. However, there are some thickening agents like xanthan gum and a gum blend that borders on being a filler.
Price-wise, this meal replacement powder is quite expensive: At full price, it is $57 for 15 servings. However, there are usually sales which can bring down the cost significantly. Right now, there are no reviews on the website, so it is tough to know what customers think about Sparta’s keto-friendly meal replacement smoothie.
- Contains matcha green tea
- Good fat content (14 grams)
- Very low in carbs
- Pricey ($57 for 15 servings)
- Not vegan-friendly
- Contains thickening agents
Ground Based Nutrition Keto Fit Protein
Although a hot, gooey cinnamon roll may be out of the question on a keto diet, Ground Based Nutrition’s Keto Fit Protein might be the next best thing! This protein powder is made from a combination of pea, pumpkin, and quinoa protein, and comes in a mouth-watering cinnamon roll flavor (naturally flavored, we might add).
The real stand-out ingredients are herbs that support blood sugar balance. There is turmeric (known for its anti-inflammatory benefits), as well as cinnamon and ginger, which are warming herbs that promote digestion and blood sugar balance. Plus, there is MCT oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil for healthy fat. But wait, there is more—there is also Aquamin, a seaweed-derived supplement which contains 72 trace minerals.
As far as nutrition goes, there are 200 calories in one scoop, with 0 net carbs and 2 grams of fiber. In total, there are 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat—an outstanding amount of both! Ground Based Nutrition’s website currently has some reviews, which average five stars. This protein powder is one of the more expensive we reviewed (perhaps even the most expensive). However, with everything that is included in this protein powder, we are still impressed.
- High in protein and fat
- Zero net carbs
- Promotes blood sugar balance
- Pricey ($59.99 for 15 servings)
- Only one flavor available
- Few reviews
Perfect Keto Collagen Peptides
Perfect Keto Collagen Peptides is one of our best keto protein powders because of the taste, quality, and low carb nutrient profile. This protein powder is made from grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen and has only 2 grams net carbs per scoop. It mixes easily into smoothies or drinks and comes in four different delicious flavors that represent some of the best ice cream flavors (just saying): chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, and unflavored (okay, unflavored isn’t an ice cream flavor, but you get my point).
One scoop contains 10 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fat, which mostly come from MCT oil. For a keto diet, this is not very much fat—you may want to add an extra scoop of healthy fats into your Perfect Keto smoothie. Since this protein powder is made from collagen, you may benefit from both joint and muscle health support. On the other hand, if you want a big dose of protein after working out or as a meal replacement, you may not get quite enough from just one scoop.
For those of you with food allergies, this protein powder is free from gluten, dairy, corn, soy (all the most common allergens)—check! And for those of you who want clean ingredients, there are no artificial sweeteners, colors, binders, or fillers—check! One point to consider is the cost: Each container has 20 servings and sells for $38.99. Not bad in the keto world, but definitely more expensive than some of the other protein powders out there.
- Four delicious flavors
- Made from grass-fed collagen
- Free of artificial ingredients
- Four delicious flavors
- Made from grass-fed collagen
- Free of artificial ingredients
Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel
Primal Kitchen’s Collagen Fuel is packed full of collagen peptides and coconut milk powder. Each scoop provides 70 calories, 10 grams of protein, 1 gram net carbs, and 2.5 grams of fat. For a keto protein, we would expect a higher amount of fat per serving, as 2.5 grams of fat and 10 grams of carbs does not quite fit the ideal fat to protein ratio in a keto diet.
The highlights of this protein powder are that it is all-natural and free of synthetic sweeteners, colors, flavors, and fillers. It is sweetened with natural vanilla flavors and stevia—a super low-calorie natural sweetener. Also, type 1 and 3 collagen peptides are used to support joint and bone health, as well as skin health. You might not only feel better, but look younger with this protein powder! Keep in mind collagen is an animal product, so this protein powder isn’t appropriate for vegans or vegetarians.
On Primal’s website, there are hundreds of reviews with a 5-star average rating. The price of this powder is $39.99 for 24 servings, which is moderately priced. Overall this collagen protein powder is straightforward and high quality. The main downer is that it doesn’t contain MCT oil, and there aren’t any synergistic herbs or functional foods to really get us excited.
- Free of synthetic ingredients
- Supports bones and joints
- Hundreds of 5-star reviews
- Low in fat by keto standards
- Not vegetarian-friendly
- No synergistic ingredients
Real Ketones Grass-Fed Protein with Ketones
Real Ketones has a keto protein that even the most trained palate may confuse with an ooey, gooey dessert. Their Grass-Fed Protein with Ketones comes in two mouth-watering flavors, fudge brownie and vanilla creme. Don’t worry, they are sweetened with stevia. Every scoop has 170 calories, 9 grams of fat, 9 grams of protein, and 8 grams carbs. Since each scoop also contains 3 grams of fiber, there are 5 grams net carbs per serving.
Real Ketones takes things up a notch with their research studies. They have performed clinical trials on their grass-fed protein in regards to fat loss and lean tissue. The results? A 528% improvement in lean muscle to fat tissue ratio. Now that’s something to get excited about. Each tub has 15 servings and costs $49.99, which is expensive compared to other similar keto protein powders.
Inside every scoop, there are 25 grams of their proprietary keto protein blend, which consists of whey protein, ketones, and MCT and coconut oil fats. In addition to the mega-dose of protein and ketones, this protein powder is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. While some vitamins and minerals are in their most bioavailable form, some—such as folic acid and zinc oxide—are in unfavorable forms.
- Low in fat by keto standards
- Not vegetarian-friendly
- No synergistic ingredients
- 5 grams net carbs
- Pricier than similar products
- Varying bioavailability
What is the difference between carbs and net carbs?
When you adopt a keto diet, you have to learn a lot about macronutrients—protein, carbs, fat—as well as ratios. Sorry if you don’t like math! One thing that confuses a lot of people is carbs versus net carbs. It is an important distinction to understand, since following a keto diet involves strict adherence to proper fat to protein to carb ratios.
Carbohydrates come from sugar and starch-containing foods. In 1 gram of carbohydrates, there are 4 calories, which becomes metabolized into quick fuel for the body. There is a caveat: net carbs. When you read a nutrition label, you may notice that under “carbohydrates,” there is an indented line that says “fiber” and, in some cases, another line below that which lists “sugar” and perhaps “sugar alcohols.” What the label shows is first, the total amount of carbohydrates the food contains, and second, what components (sugar, fiber, etc.) make up those carbohydrates.
Total carbs are listed at the top of the section. So what are net carbs? Ready to take out your calculator? To calculate net carbs, subtract both fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates. For example, if a food has:
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Sugar Alcohols: 1 gram
There are 6 grams of carbs in total, and 1 gram of net carbs. The reason why this number is important is because both fiber and sugar alcohols do not contain calories like sugar and starch do. In a way, they “don’t count” as carbohydrates. This is important for people eating keto to know, because it makes a difference in their daily macronutrient intake.
What is the difference between regular protein powder and keto protein powder?
As you search for a protein powder, you may wonder if it is important to buy only protein powders that are “keto-approved.” The answer to this is, not necessarily. Some protein powders that aren’t marketed explicitly at keto are still suitable for a keto diet. Let me explain.
First and foremost, to be “keto-approved,” a protein powder has to be low in net carbohydrates. What is low? In general, less than 5 grams of carbs per serving. There are many protein powders available that check this box. However, eating keto means eating a high ratio of fat, which is another important aspect to consider.
It is common to find protein powders with zero or minimal fat. This isn’t ideal for a keto diet because the goal is to switch your metabolism into fat-burning—but you need to eat enough fat to do so. In many keto protein powders, there is added coconut oil, MCT oil, or another type of fat for this very reason. However, you could always add MCT oil or another oil to your regular protein powder at home.
Lastly, with a keto diet, you don’t want to consume too much protein, as the majority of your energy should come from fat. Keto protein powders tend to be lower in protein than a standard type. As you have probably gathered, there are lots of factors to consider when looking at keto versus regular protein powders. The protein powder doesn’t have to be specifically for people eating keto, but it should have low carbohydrates.
What is the best keto protein powder?
The answer to this question isn’t an easy one, but here at RAVE, we think we found the best of the best keto protein powder: Bulk Supplements AAKG (L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate) Powder. There is a lot to love about this protein powder, and there are unique ingredients we don’t often find in other similar products.
This isn’t your basic protein powder. It contains arginine and alpha-ketoglutarate, which makes it stand out from the crowd and especially appealing to people on a keto diet. How so? For starters, arginine is an amino acid that creates nitric oxide, which causes blood vessel dilation. When your blood vessels dilate, they can bring oxygenated blood to your muscles more efficiently. Long story short, you can really get your swole on at the gym.
If you read “alpha-ketoglutarate” carefully, you’ll notice the word “keto” in it. This is not by chance. Alpha-ketoglutarate is actually one of the ketones your body produces. It helps to regenerate one of your cell’s energy cycles: the citric acid cycle. This means that it can help your body to become a lean, mean, energy-producing machine.
This Bulk Supplements protein powder is a unique and special combination of two ingredients that are ideal if you are on a keto diet or want to optimize your time in the gym. If you ask us, it is the best keto protein powder on the market.
If you are looking to take your health to the next level, check out some of our other top picks for health and wellness:
- Transparent Labs Mag Bisglycinate: This magnesium is super bioavailable (easily absorbed) and comes at a killer price.
- Kanibi: For CBD that is high quality, pure, and effective, it’s simple: Kanibi is always the go-to.
- Barsetto Grind and Brew Automatic Coffee Maker: That morning cup of joe is hard to beat, and this coffee maker is our favorite to quickly brew a delicious, steaming pot to start your day off right.
- Ninja BL660 Professional Countertop Blender: This blender is the best for turning your keto protein powder into a tasty smoothie.