Best protein powder for weight loss to help keep you fuller for longer

The best protein powder for weight loss can help you to reduce cravings, stay fuller for longer and aid lean muscle growth

Protein sport shake and powder
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re aiming to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way, the best protein powder for weight loss can help to keep you full between meals, while aiding muscle growth to help you burn fat. 

But not all protein powders are the same. While they can all help you to hit your daily protein goals, some contain ingredients that could actually hinder weight loss, such as mass gainers. That’s why we’ve tried and tested the best products you can buy, tailored to weight loss goals. It’s similar to our guide on the best protein powder for women, but these products are designed specifically for men and women looking to support their weight loss journey.

But knowing which protein powder to buy can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to create a calorie deficit to lose weight and keeping an eye on your macronutrient ratio. To make things easier, we’ve identified how much protein, fat, sugar, and carbohydrates are in a serving of each powder. We’ve also picked out some vegan-friendly options to help plant-based eaters to reach their goals. Despite the plant protein vs whey protein debate, both options provide very high portions of protein per serving.  

Keep reading to find out more about the options available in our guide to the best protein powder for weight loss, from immune-supporting to budget friendly options.

The best protein powder for weight loss you can buy right now

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% whey protein powder

(Image credit: Future)

1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Muscle Building and Recovery Protein Powder

Best protein powder for weight loss if you don’t like flavored protein

Specifications

Serving size: 30g
Protein per serving: 24g
Carbs per serving: 1.3g
Sugar per serving: 1g
Fat per serving: 1.2g

Reasons to buy

+
Unflavored
+
High-quality ingredients

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for vegans
-
Can't easily recycle tub

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein unflavored is an excellent unflavored protein powder that is both decent value for money and also incredibly adaptable. We loved how easily it mixed into liquid, leaving no lumps or grainy bits, and creating a smooth texture that was neither too gluey nor too thin.

In our testing, it impressed with its pleasantly neutral, milk-like flavor that vanished when mixed in with even the lightest flavors. When we tested it with flavor drops it created a lovely shake, and it stirred easily into mashed potatoes to add a welcome shot of protein.

It’s popular amongst reviewers, earning mostly positive reviews. Users are mostly happy with the price (with just a few pointing out recent rises in the cost) and like the quality and texture — they also note that it doesn’t have an aftertaste. Reviewers would prefer recyclable packaging, but that’s just a small issue compared with the widespread enthusiasm.

What the users say

Averaging 4.5 stars out of five on Amazon, this protein powder has been praised for its flavor, quality, and value for money. According to reviewers, this whey protein works well with water or milk and is ideal for giving you a boost just before your workout. However, if you do order this protein in sachet form, be sure to double-check the number of sachets you receive.  A handful of buyers claimed they ordered 24 sachets and only received 23.


Muscletech nitro ripped protein powder

(Image credit: Future)

2. MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Ripped

The best protein powder for weight loss and boosting metabolism

Specifications

Serving size: 1 scoop (43g)
Protein per serving: 30g
Carbs per serving: 4g
Sugar per serving: 2g
Fat per serving: 3g

Reasons to buy

+
High-quality whey protein content 
+
Includes scientifically-tested weight loss ingredient C. canephora robusta  

Reasons to avoid

-
Not vegan-friendly (contains milk, eggs and fish) 
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Not suitable for allergies (soy, tree nuts, wheat) 

MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Ripped is super high in protein, packing in 30g per serving. This is the highest amount of any of the products we’ve tested. The protein is a combination of high quality whey protein peptides and isolate, which is generally easier on the stomach than concentrate. Nitro-Tech Ripped is also packed with fat-burning ingredients including scientifically tested weight loss ingredient C. canephora robusta, a non-stimulant green coffee bean.

It also has L-carnitine in it – a favorite with athletes who credit it for helping them burn fat and prevent muscle fatigue. This amino acid derivative plays a significant role in boosting the body’s metabolism, which in turn can aid weight loss. It does this by transporting fatty acids into your cells for energy. 

The powder is only available in three flavors; chocolate fudge brownie, French vanilla bean, and French vanilla swirl, although there is a choice of a 2lb or 4lb container. While it’s not the cheapest option ($39.99 for 2lb) the protein is good quality. 

We tried the chocolate fudge brownie flavor. The first thing that struck us was how fine the powder is. We then mixed a scoop with water and shook it in a standard ball-whisk protein shaker for 30 seconds. Although it looked like there were very small flecks of powder left, it was completely smooth to drink. The flavor was fudgey, but not too sweet or synthetic. It’s fairly ‘thin’, so if you prefer a thicker or creamier consistency, you might want to mix it with milk instead. We also tried the powder stirred into oatmeal, and found it mixed well with no lumps and a lovely chocolatey taste.

What the users say

On Amazon, this product scored 4.6 stars out of five. Positive reviews praise its ‘out of this world flavor’ and many buyers said the high-quality whey protein means it is easy on the stomach and doesn’t cause bloating. Negative reviews cited include ‘a bad aftertaste’, but we didn't find any issue with the flavor. In fact, quite the opposite.


PhD Nutrition diet whey protein powder

(Image credit: Future)

3. PhD Nutrition Diet Whey Protein Powder

The best protein powder for weight loss and those on a budget

Specifications

Serving size: 1 scoop
Protein per serving: 17g
Carbs per serving: 2.8g
Sugar per serving: 1.3g
Fat per serving: 1.4g

Reasons to buy

+
Low in carbs and sugar
+
Good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly artificial sweetener aftertaste
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Bag can be difficult to seal

Launched in 2010, PhD Diet Whey is one of the original weight loss management shakes, and it’s still going strong — for good reason. This high protein, low carb, low-calorie powder is macro-friendly, great for anyone trying to lose weight on the keto diet, and diabetics too.

It contains added nutrients to help boost fat loss and energy such as green tea (thought to help the body’s metabolism be more efficient), CLA (which helps the body mobilize stored fat), L-carnitine (another metabolism booster that moves more fatty acids into your cells to be burned for energy, increasing your ability to burn fat and lose weight) and flaxseed (the high protein content suppresses appetite and prevents overeating). It is slightly lower in protein per serving than others in this guide (17g), but the serving size is only 25g, so you could always add a little bit more to your shake if you wanted a bigger protein hit.

We tried the strawberry flavor. The label suggests mixing one (25g) scoop with 175ml of water for 10 seconds. We usually shake all of our powders for 30 seconds, but decided to put this claim to the test. We were surprised by how well it mixed in such a short time, and couldn’t really tell the difference when we mixed it for 20 extra seconds. One of the most surprising things was the consistency — the shake was lovely and thick (bordering on smoothie-like), despite only being mixed with water. It did have grains of flaxseed, but we couldn’t taste or feel these. There were a couple of clumps of powder left in the bottom of the shaker, however, but this could have been down to our basic-shaker bottle.

Flavor wise, it has a lovely berry taste that isn’t too tart, but not overly sweet either. The slow-release protein blend helps curb cravings in between meals. For sensitive tummies, it also digests very well. Plus it's available in 13 flavors, so even if strawberry is not your thing, you won’t get bored.

What the users say

On Amazon, this protein powder scored 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 8,000 global ratings. A total of 71% of all reviewers gave the protein powder 5 stars, with many praising the product for helping them lose weight and its ‘delicious taste’. However, a handful of buyers disagreed and marked the protein powder down for its ‘artificial’ flavor and its packaging.


The Protein Works Vegan Protein Extreme review

(Image credit: Getty)
The best protein powder for weight loss with collagen

Specifications

Serving size: 35g
Protein per serving: 28g
Carbs per serving: 2g
Sugar per serving: 1g
Fat per serving: 1g

Reasons to buy

+
Mix of protein sources
+
Large number of flavors

Reasons to avoid

-
Contains soy

The Protein Works Vegan Protein Extreme is a high-quality source of plant-based protein that is made up of five different sources of protein, offering a complete amino acid profile. For a vegan powder, it compares well to whey-based products in terms of protein content, providing 28g per serving. It’s also pretty low carb and is infused with additional vitamins and minerals (including 29% of your DV for iron) and digestive enzymes. 

The powder comes in a variety of flavors, from apple cinnamon swirl to classic smooth vanilla. We tested the chocolate silk and found the taste mild, pleasant, and not overpowering. It scores highly with most reviewers too, although anyone who likes sweet and strongly-flavored shakes might find it a touch on the bland side. We found the consistency thick and a bit claggy. The texture is always the biggest challenge with vegan protein powders, so we had expected it to be less smooth than a whey powder. Because the powder contains flax there were also some grainy bits which appeared to be unmixed bits of flax seed.

However, the product is available in three different sizes (14, 28 and 57 servings) which is definitely a draw. It’s also GMO free, palm oil free and gluten-free.

What the users say

Reviewers who like this protein powder (which is most of them) rave about the flavors. “Tastes like heaven”, says one. Some reviewers also appreciate the high protein content per serving and the addition of digestive enzymes. A few reviewers consider it quite expensive, though most believe it’s worth the investment.   


Innermost the lean protein

(Image credit: Innermost)

5. Innermost The Lean Protein

The best protein powder for weight loss and supporting fat metabolism

Specifications

Serving size: 40g
Protein per serving: 29g
Carbs per serving: 4.5g
Sugar per serving: 1.1g
Fat per serving: 1.2g

Reasons to buy

+
High protein, low calories per serving  
+
Contains ingredients to promote healthy and sustainable fat loss 

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two flavors
-
Only available in one size (18.3oz/520g)

Innermost’s The Lean Protein is formulated to “encourage healthy fat loss, reduce cravings and maintain energy levels”. One serving packs in an impressive 1oz (29g) of whey protein, made from a blend of whey concentrate and isolate, and just 0.2oz (4.5g) of carbohydrates. It also contains 1g inulin, a type of dietary fiber that can help to keep you fuller for longer and encourages the growth of good gut bacteria linked to lower levels of fat. 

Because The Lean Protein blend is specifically designed to help you reach your ideal weight, it also contains ingredients to support fat metabolism. These include acetyl l-carnitine, a non-essential amino acid used for transporting fat to the body’s power generating mitochondria, pomegranate extract, yerba mate and bilberries.  

The Lean Protein is vegetarian friendly, gluten-free, soy-free and GMO free. The downside is it only comes in two flavors — creamy vanilla or smooth chocolate. We tried the creamy vanilla flavor. It’s slightly more bitter than the likes of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% plant based protein, and if you’re used to a slightly sweeter flavor it might not be to your liking. This being said, we liked that it didn’t taste synthetic. It also mixes into oatmeal well, although due to the nature of being a whey protein, it can make the consistency a little runny. We’d recommend mixing it into the oatmeal and cooking it for a couple more minutes.

What the users say

On Amazon, the protein powder scores 4.2 stars out of five. Many praise how easily the powder mixes, with one customer noting, “Love how easy it is to shake up…not a single lump and not grainy at all”. Another says, “Tastes great and doesn’t make me bloat either”. More negative reviews, although few and far between, say that the taste is slightly too sweet for them. 


Isopure Whey Isolate Protein Powder

(Image credit: Isopure)

6. Isopure Whey Isolate Protein Powder

The best protein powder for weight loss and immune system support

Specifications

Serving size: 2 scoops (62g)
Protein per serving: 50g
Carbs per serving: 0g
Sugar per serving: 0g
Fat per serving: 1g

Reasons to buy

+
25g of protein in each 31g serving 
+
No sugar or carbs 
+
Boosts immune system 

Reasons to avoid

-
Contains milk and soy and nuts 

With 25g of protein per each 31g serving and zero sugar, carbs, and fat, Isopure protein powder is a great match for those who want to watch their calorie intake while retaining lean muscle.

But that’s not the only plus point to this whey protein powder. It will work wonders for people who want their protein shakes to work as hard as they do. That’s because it’s also packed with Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin E, and naturally occurring BCAAs. All of which can provide immune support and optimum muscle health.  

According to the manufacturers, the protein blend – which appears clear when you mix it with water – will help you stay full between meals to help you support your weight management efforts.

What the users say

More than 7,000 buyers have reviewed this protein powder on Amazon, with 77% giving it five stars. Positive points from the reviews touch on the ingredient quality, blending power, and the sheerness of the shake. While a handful of dissatisfied customers commented on the ‘unpleasant flavor’, and its chalky texture. 


Transparent Labs 100% grass fed whey protein isolate

(Image credit: Future)

7. Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate

The best protein powder for weight loss that’s low carb and high protein

Specifications

Serving size: 1 scoop (39.96g)
Protein per serving: 28g
Carbs per serving: 1g
Sugar per serving: 0g
Fat per serving: 0g

Reasons to buy

+
Zero fats and sugars
+
Great range of flavors

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively expensive
-
Not suitable for vegans

If you’re after a low carb, high protein supplement that’s clean and tasty, Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate is sure to tick your boxes. It contains a whopping 28g of whey protein isolate per scoop, which is easily digestible and provides an ideal ratio of amino acids to increase muscle protein synthesis. Meanwhile, it contains just 1g of carbs and zero grams of fat.

But the main draw is that Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate is sourced from grass fed, hormone-free American cows. It’s also free from artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten and preservatives, making it one of the cleanest protein powders we’ve tested. 

The powder is available in eight great flavors. We tried the Cinnamon French Toast flavor and found it moreish without being too sickly. We didn’t feel sluggish or bloated after drinking it either. In terms of mixability, we found the powder mixed really well with milk or water, with no lumps or chalky aftertaste. 

The downside is the price — Transparent Labs is the most expensive protein powder for weight loss we’ve tried, at $59.99 for a 2.2lb (989g) container. Having said this, we can see why it’s slightly pricier because of the quality of the ingredients, so if you’re after a premium product, this might be the product for you. 

What the users say

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate scores 4.7 stars out of five based on over 1900 reviews. Lots of customers seem to really rate the taste and the fact that it’s free from artificial ingredients, with one noting, “tastes and feels like a high quality supplement”.  


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% plant protein

(Image credit: Future)

8. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% plant based protein

The best protein powder for weight loss for smoothies and bakes

Specifications

Serving size: 36g
Protein per serving: 24g
Carbs per serving: 5.2g
Sugar per serving: 1.6g
Fat per serving: 2.2g

Reasons to buy

+
Fine powder which mixes well
+
Complete amino acid profile

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two flavor options
-
Vanilla flavor is very sweet 

Optimum Nutrition is a well-respected, reputable supplement brand. Its Gold Standard 100% Plant is made from 100% vegan ingredients with no artificial colors or flavors. In fact, it’s Vegan Society approved and Informed Choice certified. 

The powder is a blend of pea and rice protein, packing in 24g of protein per serving and a complete amino acid profile. In fact, it contains 4g of branch chain amino acids. Alongside this, it contains 91mg of vitamin C (114% of your daily recommended intake) and 0.52μg of vitamin B12 (21% of daily intake), the latter of which supports a vegan diet.

Gold Standard 100% Plant Protein only comes in two flavors — chocolate and vanilla. We tried the vanilla flavor and were surprised at how fine the powder is for a vegan protein powder. But don’t let this deceive you. We mixed a scoop with 300ml of water and shook it in a protein shaker for 30 seconds. It was surprisingly thick, and a little gritty. In fact, we found 500ml of water to be a more ideal ratio, so this powder definitely lends itself better to smoothies and bakes instead. Another thing to note is that the flavor is definitely on the sweeter side, and could be a little sickly for some people when drunk as a liquid. It did, however, mix really well into oatmeal and the flavor is pleasant topped with sliced banana. 

What the users say

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant Protein scores 4.2 stars out of five on Amazon. Reviewers seem to love it in their post-workout smoothies, and rate the high protein content for a plant-based powder. However, one (and we agree) reviewer notes that the smell isn’t too appealing, while a few people note the grittiness when mixed with just water. 


Woman and man drinking a shake made from the best protein powder for weight loss

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best protein powder for weight loss: What the experts say

Registered Dietitian Jasmine Carbon (opens in new tab) says: “Protein powders are an easy way to fortify your meals with amino acids (the building blocks of protein) which are essential for muscle growth and muscle maintenance. 

“Since these amino acids aren’t wrapped around tissue or plant fibers, they can be quicker to digest and utilized by the body much quicker making protein powders an ideal pre or post-gym ingredient. They also have the added benefit of satiety meaning that a higher protein meal should leave you feeling fuller for longer. And feeling fuller means you’re less likely to reach for those high sugar, salt, and fat convenience foods.”

Jasmine Carbon
Jasmine Carbon

Jasmine Carbon, a nutritionist and registered senior specialist dietitian, is the founder of professional nutrition service Carbon Nutrition & Dietetics (opens in new tab). With years of clinical experience in the NHS and health education fields, she’s well-placed to give us the lowdown on the best protein powders for weight loss.   

Carbon also says that if weight loss is the aim, she would recommend opting for sugar-free varieties. That way, you’re getting the benefits of the additional protein without the (sometimes) unnecessary additional calories.

“If you are dairy intolerant or allergic you should avoid protein powders with whey, casein/sodium caseinate, galactose, or lactose in the ingredients list,” she adds. “Similarly if you are gluten intolerant or have coeliac disease (an allergy to gluten) then – you guessed it – avoid gluten if that’s in the ingredients list.

“Some people prefer to avoid protein powders with added fiber or artificial sweeteners because it can cause stomach upset. This is not the case for everyone so there is no harm in trying and seeing how you tolerate it.”

FAQs

How to choose the best protein powder for weight loss

First up, study the ingredients list and nutritional content. Most powders will be high in protein, but if weight loss is your goal ideally you also need a product that is low in sugar and calories.

But of course, there’s more to weight loss than just calories – food and its macronutrient composition can influence how hungry or full you are, so just because 100 calories of kale and 100 calories of cake contain the same amount of energy, they affect your body and food choices differently. 

What we mean is in order to lose weight, the protein powder needs to have a balanced macronutrient profile – essentially the right mix of protein, carbs and fat to hit your body goals. Google ‘macro calculator for weight loss’ and you’ll find lots of free online tools to help you work out the right amount of carbs and fat you need to achieve your weight loss goals.

But there’s no need to get too bogged down with your “macro count” as lots of brands pack their powders with natural weight loss-boosting ingredients. If you see green tea, L-carnitine or CLA in the ingredients list, then it’s a good sign.

Let’s not forget the importance of taste. Just because a brand has lots of weight-loss boosting elements, doesn’t mean it’s going to be tasty, or have a good texture. Experiment with flavors and mix it up occasionally so you don’t get bored.

Common protein powder misconceptions

Protein, along with carbohydrates and fat, are one of the three main macronutrients that make up everything we eat. Proteins are amino acids that help maintain, build and repair damaged muscle tissue. The more you exercise, and the more you work your muscles, the more protein it's thought you need. 

When we exercise, the reason our muscles get sore is that we create small tears in our muscle fibers. Proteins, which are comprised of amino acids, help mend and repair those tears. Over time, this causes muscles to build up and swell as they're repeatedly used, torn, and come back stronger. 

Contrary to popular belief, protein powders are entirely unrelated to steroids. Unlike steroids, protein powders aren’t chemicals. Instead, they are derived from food, whether that's animal products such as whey or a vegetarian alternative such as pea protein. We get protein every day from sources such as meat, eggs, dairy, pulses, legumes, nuts and seeds: protein powder is just a concentrated form of that.

But protein isn't only for building muscle and bulking up. The best protein powders can play a critical role in helping you shed some pounds – especially whey protein.

This comes after researchers at the Geisel School of Medicine concluded that: “whey protein is a low-cost and readily available nutritional supplement that can be integrated into a weight loss intervention.”

While another study found that drinking a protein shake immediately after exercise reduced energy intake from food at your next meal, suggesting we consume fewer calories overall. Again, all of which can help you to shed some pounds. 

How do protein shakes help you lose weight?

But how do protein shakes help you lose weight? "Shakes with a high protein content can boost metabolism because of the number of calories needed to digest them. Up to 30% of calories from protein are burned compared with around 10% of calories from carbohydrates,” explains nutritionist and chef Dee Momi

“High protein drinks are also filling, and make us feel satisfied, which is essential when trying to lose weight and means you are less likely to give in to sugary cravings or mindless snacking."

"To get the most out of your protein powder, treat it like a balanced meal by combining it with carbohydrates and fat, such as frozen bananas, oats, berries, nut butters, avocado, or coconut milk, and consume within 30 minutes after a workout for optimal benefits,” says Dee.

Pea protein powder can be used as a weight loss supplement as it increases metabolism, reduces appetite and helps regulate blood sugar levels – so it can help reduce cravings and help people feel fuller for longer. One study by the British Journal of Nutrition found that 20g of pea protein consumed 30 minutes before eating pizza reduced the average number of calories consumed by about 12%. 

What happens if you drink protein shakes without working out?

This isn’t something to worry yourself about as everyone can benefit from consuming protein whether or not they have exercised that day. However, it’s worthwhile pointing out that a person who doesn’t exercise often won’t require as much protein as say a professional athlete will. If you have lower activity levels and overconsume protein those extra calories that aren’t being burned through exercise can lead to weight gain.

As mentioned above, you can use free online calculators to work out how much protein you should be consuming alongside your general exercise and diet regime. You also should be able to feel your body tell you when you are too full and respond

How much protein powder should I take?

The American College of Sports Medicine (AMSM) recommends that people who lift weights or take part in endurance training regularly, such as running or cycling, need between 1.2 or 1.7g of protein per pound of body weight every day, in order to build muscle and get stronger.

In general, according to AMSM, it’s recommended that 10-35% of your daily energy intake comes from protein. This means if you consume 2,000 calories per day, this would work out to be between 200 to 700 calories of protein per day. 

That’s a lot and it can be hard to get that much protein from three square meals a day. But thanks to protein shakes, you can have a convenient and affordable way to help pack some more protein into your diet.

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Vega Organic All-in-One Vegan Protein Powder French Vanilla | Was $28.94, now $22.62 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
This vegan-friendly protein powder is a great way for those following a plant-based diet to recover faster and build muscle. There's even 20g of protein per serving. Save 22% right now on this nine-portion tub of plant-based powder.