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The 11 Best Protein Powders for Weight Loss in 2024, According to a Sports Nutrition Coach

We tested 50+ of the best protein powders for weight loss alongside a sports nutrition coach, while looking at taste, calories, macros and protein content.

The products featured in this article have been independently reviewed. When you buy something through the retail links on this page, we may earn commission at no cost to you, the reader. Sports Illustrated editorial staff are not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more here.

As a certified weight loss coach who has worked with dozens of clients, I know that adequate protein consumption is crucial to weight loss success. This is because protein helps preserve lean muscle mass, helps us feel full and burns the most energy during digestion compared to fats and carbs. For these reasons, I often recommend my clients consume at least one protein shake throughout the day to ensure they hit their daily protein target, but they often feel confused about which shake to choose.

I'm no stranger to protein—having tried over 100 protein powders. Several of my colleagues have also tested many of these protein powders, and together we narrowed it down to the 11 best protein powders for shedding fat and gaining muscle. We also talked with several registered dietitians about what they look for when recommending protein supplements to clients who want to lose weight. Our top picks include Transparent Labs, XWerks and Legion Athletics (you’ll learn more about each one later).

About Our Scoring System

All the protein supplements we test receive an overall score between 1 and 5 based on several categories weighted for importance. The scoring criteria includes the protein source, taste, use of sweeteners, percentage of calories from protein (rather than fats and carbs) and the price per gram of protein. Products with quality credentials such as third-party testing may receive additional points. Each of the protein powders on this list has a sensible protein-to-calorie ratio and macronutrient profile to help ensure that carbs and fats don’t diminish the benefits of healthy protein intake. 

Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement to make sure it's safe for you.

Our Picks for the Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss in 2024:

Best Overall Protein for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate

A woman in a gym setting scooping Transparent Labs whey protein powder into a shaker bottle full of water

Overall Score: 4.9/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 28 grams
  • Nutrition facts: Depends on the flavor, 120–150 calories, 0–3 grams carbs, 0.5–2.5 grams fat
  • Protein source: Whey protein isolate
  • Sweeteners: Stevia
  • Flavors: Milk Chocolate, French Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon French Toast, Mocha, Strawberry, Vanilla Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Subscription: Subscribe and save $6, plus free shipping
  • Price per serving: $2.00 (one time), $1.80 (subscription)

Why I picked it:

For Transparent Labs 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate to be the best overall protein powder for weight loss, it must excel in multiple areas, including high protein but low calorie content, minimal artificial ingredients and easy digestion. Transparent Labs whey checks all these boxes—it's free of artificial ingredients, third-party tested by Informed Choice and contains a whopping 28 grams of protein per scoop—the highest protein per serving on our list.

My favorite flavor is the Chocolate Peanut Butter, which has a rich, chocolatey flavor profile with just the right amount of peanut butter to balance out the taste. The protein also mixes incredibly well in a conventional shaker bottle, leaving a creamy texture and little or no clumping. Tester Anthony O’Reilly says, “This is definitely one of the best protein powders I’ve ever had, and I’m not just saying that. I feel full, it’s tasty and there’s no bloating or upset stomach.” Other flavors we've enjoyed include Cinnamon French Toast and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Bottom line: Transparent Labs 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate is one of the best protein powders for weight loss with 28 grams of protein and an average of only 130 calories per serving. This high protein content is essential for muscle growth and recovery, making it a great addition for those looking to maintain or build lean muscle mass while on a weight loss regimen. Plus, it tastes great, which should make using it enjoyable.

Check out our Transparent Labs Whey Protein review for more in-depth insights on this protein powder.

What we love:

  • 28 grams of protein per scoop
  • Multiple dessert-inspired flavors with zero grams of added sugar (sweetened with stevia)
  • Third-party tested, including Informed Sport certified
  • All of our testers noted this protein was easy to mix and enjoyed the flavors

What to consider:

  • Some of our testers didn’t like the taste of stevia in the product
  • $2.00 a serving without the subscription discount (most competitors are under $2.00 per serving)
Transparent Labs Grass-fed Whey

Best Whey Protein for Weight Loss: XWerks Grow

A man sitting on a weight bench in a gym and pouring XWerks Grow whey protein powder into a shaker bottle

Overall Score: 4.6/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 25 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 110 calories, 1 gram carbs, 0 grams fats
  • Protein source: Whey protein isolate
  • Sweeteners: Stevia
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, Strawberry
  • Subscription: Subscribe and save 5%
  • Price per serving: $1.97 (one time), $1.87 (subscription)

Why I picked it:

A quality whey protein for weight loss should be low in calories and sugars, high in protein and contain minimal additives or fillers, which is why we chose XWerks Grow. Each serving has 25 grams of protein and six grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)—your body's building blocks for making protein and aiding in muscle recovery. Grow is also microfiltered (basically, extra filtered) to remove excess carbohydrates and fats, offering consumers a significant amount of protein at only 110 calories per serving.

O’Reilly compared the Chocolate XWerks Grow to a chocolate milkshake. "It's incredibly smooth," he said. "This is the finest protein powder I've ever had." He also mentions the smooth texture made the powder very easy to mix. "No problems at all. You barely need a blender ball." Another tester, Jordan Smith, said, “While it's sweetened with stevia, it doesn't come across as too strong like other proteins with artificial sweetener, which I liked.”

All of our testers noted that this protein was very versatile; it was tasty as a protein shake with both water and milk, or even as a post-workout protein smoothie in a shaker bottle with other ingredients. 

Grow is also well-known for its true-to-taste flavor profiles, using cocoa beans, vanilla beans and real peanut butter to flavor the protein powder. I can personally attest the Chocolate flavor tastes authentic, similar to a dark chocolate bar that isn’t too sweet. It’s also really smooth, and I usually recommend this one to my clients who have a tough time adjusting to other proteins because of flavor. 

Check out our XWerks Grow review for more insights on this whey protein powder. 

What we love:

  • Our testers thought the Chocolate was delicious, resembling a milkshake
  • Subscription allows you to customize shipping frequency
  • Microfiltered for the highest, purest quality whey protein isolate
  • Whey sourced from New Zealand, known for its high-quality dairy standards and products

What to consider:

  • Not compatible with a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • No third-party testing listed on the website
The backside of a bag of XWerks Grow whey protein powder and a shaker bottle with water on a weight bench in a gym

Best Tasting Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Legion Athletics Whey Protein

A bag of Legion Whey+ protein powder in French Vanilla flavor on a table with other bags and containers of protein powder.

Overall Score: 4.6/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 22 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 110 calories, 4 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fat
  • Protein source: Whey protein isolate
  • Sweeteners: Stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract
  • Flavors: Dutch Chocolate, French Vanilla, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cocoa Cereal, Fruity Cereal, Honey Cereal, Cinnamon Cereal, Cookies & Cream, Mint Chocolate, Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Mocha Cappuccino, Pumpkin Pie, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Banana, Unflavored
  • Subscription: Subscribe and save 10%
  • Price per serving: $2.00 (one time), $1.80 (subscription)

Why I picked it:

Known for its 15+ delicious flavor options, Legion Athletics was an easy choice for our best tasting protein powder for weight loss. Tester Rachael Harris said the Cinnamon Cereal flavor was one of the best whey proteins she's tried mixed with only water (she usually makes smoothies). "It tastes like the milk after you eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal," she said. She also tried the French Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors, which she said both tasted good, but the Cinnamon Cereal was her favorite. She also said the vanilla flavor reminded her of sugar-free vanilla yogurt. (If you blend blend the vanilla protein with frozen fruit and chia seeds, you'll have a balanced snack.) 

I tried the Dutch Chocolate and thought it was a bit too sweet, but Joana Neziri found that it satisfied her sweet craving for the day, and she says she’s “definitely going to figure out how to make more fun recipes with this one.” Neziri added she’ll go for the unflavored options on days she just wants a quick scoop of protein with her water, and it doesn’t give her any problems with clumping. 

Legion Athletics Whey+ is a whey isolate, meaning it contains over 90 percent protein by weight. Whey+ has a protein content of 21–23 grams and a calorie content of 100–130 calories per serving, depending on the flavor you choose. Either way, you can get a high-quality, tasty protein powder with limited calories. 

What we love:

  • Harris thought this was one of the best tasting whey proteins
  • 25 grams of protein per scoop
  • Sweetened with a natural sweetener, stevia
  • Wide range of flavors

What to consider:

  • $2 per serving is more expensive than the industry average of $1.50
  • One tester said the powder was clumpy and hard to mix without her blender
Legion Whey+ Protein

Harris shows the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor of Legion Whey+ mixed with water in a blender.

Best Affordable Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Jacked Factory Authentic ISO

A man scooping Jacked Factory ISO whey protein powder into a shaker bottle half full of water

Overall score: 4.4/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 25 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 110 calories, 1 gram of carbs, 0.5 grams of fat
  • Servings per container: 30
  • Protein source: Whey protein isolate
  • Sweeteners: Sucralose and stevia extract
  • Flavors: Milk Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Blueberry Muffin, Cinnamon French Toast, Unflavored, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla Oatmeal Cookie, Vanilla, Peanut Butter
  • Subscription: Save 15%
  • Price per serving: $1.33

Why I picked it:

When it comes to quality supplements at an affordable price, it’s hard to beat Jacked Factory Authentic ISO. At 110 calories per serving, 0.5 grams of fat and only one gram of carbs, you get a protein powder that delivers 25 grams of high-quality, grass-fed whey isolate for less than $2.00 per serving, which is considerably cheaper than comparable proteins at $2.00–$2.50 per serving.

Authentic ISO is available in eight flavors, as well as an unflavored option for those interested in incorporating it into baking recipes or blending it into smoothies. I tested the Cinnamon French Toast flavor, and it reminded me of the milk left behind after eating the beloved cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and who doesn’t love leftover cereal milk? That said, the product was very sweet due to the use of both sucralose and stevia extract. I also wished there was a stronger cinnamon note to balance out the flavor. Overall, our testers thought the protein was pleasantly creamy and mixed well with both water and milk, so we gave it a pretty high rating. “I enjoyed the flavor of this product, it was a good consistency that made drinking it easy and enjoyable,” said tester Brandon Lunsford.

As a lean protein powder, Jacked Factory wouldn’t be able to replace a meal replacement shake, and it lacks some of the additional micronutrients that are necessary for a well-rounded post-workout recovery supplement. That said, if you’re looking for a protein powder that will boost your overall protein intake without blowing your budget, Jacked Factory Authentic ISO is the best option. For even more savings, individuals who participate in Jacked Factory’s subscribe and save program will earn an additional 15% discount.

Related Post: Meal Replacements vs. Protein Shakes: Why The Differences Matter

What we love:

  • Contains 25 grams of protein per serving
  • Cinnamon French Toast tasted true to the flavor
  • Eight flavor options
  • Low calorie, low carb, low fat and sugar-free

What to consider:

  • Uses both sucralose and stevia, making it very sweet for some testers
  • Contains some artificial flavors
Jacked Factory Authentic ISO in a black container with a yellow label, blurred weight plates in the background

Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss for Men: Gainful


Overall score: 4.2/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 19–27 grams (varies based on your personalized formula)
  • Nutrition facts: Depends on your specific formula, and ranges from 120-150 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 1 gram carbs
  • Servings per container: 14 servings
  • Protein source: Depends on your formula, and may include whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, micellar casein, organic pea protein or organic brown rice protein
  • Sweetener: Monk fruit or Stevia leaf extract
  • Flavors: Rich Chocolate, Sea Salt Caramel, Madagascar Vanilla, Caffe Mocha, Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies & Cream, Cinnamon Toast
  • Subscription: Subscription only
  • Price: $45

Why I picked it:

If you’re looking to shed pounds but stay fueled during your workouts, a protein powder that's low in carbs and sugar seems like a no-brainer. That’s why the whey-based version of Gainful is our choice for the best protein powder for weight loss for men.

We chose Gainful because it isn’t your average protein powder that you can find on Amazon or at the local GNC. Instead, it’s a subscription based service that creates customized supplements specific to your needs. To get a weight loss formula on the Gainful website, all I had to do was select the whey option under "Select a Base." Then, I got the option to “Pick a Goal Boost,” and I chose lose weight. The lose weight option should give you a formula of around 110 calories, one gram of carbs, one gram of fat and less than one gram of sugar. Gainful's weight loss blend contains both whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate, which contain all nine essential amino acids needed to increase muscle size.

The protein comes unflavored, and you can choose from eight flavors in individual packets to add to your powder. I’ve tried several flavors now (I just keep ordering more), and Chocolate Peanut Butter is easily my favorite. The peanut butter isn't too strong and the chocolate isn't too sweet—it's the perfect balance of both.

Our team tried the mocha flavor. Testers Emma Witman and Neziri liked that the flavor was subtle and not too sweet. Harris said if she didn’t already know the flavor, she would have guessed it was chocolate or vanilla. 

You can also take a five-minute quiz on the Gainful website so that a registered dietitian can formulate a customized blend based on your specific needs. As a bonus, a subscription to Gainful also grants you access to meetings with a registered dietitian at no additional cost. This is an amazing perk that I highly encourage anyone with weight loss goals to take advantage of.

For more insights on this protein powder, check out our Gainful review.

What we love:

  • High-protein, low-carb and low-fat
  • Personalize your protein with flavor boosts
  • Customized formula for your diet goals
  • No artificial ingredients

What to consider:

  • Expensive at over $3.00 per serving
  • Subscription only

Best Protein Shake for Athlete Weight Loss: OWYN Plant-Based Protein Shakes

Five bottles OWYN Plant-Based Protein Shakes on a kitchen table, including the flavors Cookies & Creamless, Dark Chocolate and Double Shot Mocha Fudge

Overall score: 3.8/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 20 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 180 calories, 8 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fat
  • Servings per container: 1 shake, or buy in packs of 12 or 36 bottles
  • Protein source: Pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic flax oil
  • Sweeteners: Monk fruit extract and organic cane sugar
  • Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Cold Brew Coffee, Smooth Vanilla, Strawberry Banana, Cookies and Cream
  • Subscription: 20% off 
  • Price per serving: $3.08 per bottle, $2.21 if you subscribe 

Why I picked it:

Losing weight or burning body fat can be challenging for athletes. They need to carefully manage the mix of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in their diet to perform their best.

If you’re very active and trying to lose weight, I recommend a convenient protein shake like OWYN. I personally tried Cold Brew and thought it tasted fantastic. The higher-protein options (35 grams per shake) kind of clump up if you leave them in the fridge too long, but I usually finish them quickly and in one serving. 

The other shakes have 20 grams of protein (an adequate amount to keep you satiated) plus a blend of essential and non-essential amino acids that can help repair your muscles after a workout. Athletes need a little bit more carbs than the average person, so I like that this shake provides a bit more than the average protein powder, but at only 180 calories, it shouldn't impact your off-season diet too much.

This is Neziri's favorite protein shake. She's tried almost all of the flavors, and notes that her favorite is Dark Chocolate. "This feels like I'm having dessert; it's so great," she says. "I've tried so many shakes, but they all leave a weird aftertaste. OWYN actually tastes pretty good, and I love that its low in sugar and contains added greens."

Related Post: The Best Protein Powders for Muscle Gain

What we love:

  • Contains all nine essential amino acids for muscle building and recovery
  • Our tester was surprised by the creaminess and variety of flavors of this plant-based shake
  • Supports ketogenic and low carb diets
  • Convenient pre-mixed, bottled form
  • Free of all major allergens like gluten, soy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts

What to consider:

  • Some testers noted that the flavors were much sweeter than expected
  • Expensive at over $3.00 per bottle without a subscription
A person holding a bottle of OWYN Plant-Based Protein Shakes and showing the Nutrition Facts label

Best Organic Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Orgain Organic Protein Powder

A tub of Orgain organic protein powder in Cookies 'n Cream flavor  on the floor of a Crossfit gym

Overall score: 3.9/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 21 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 160 calories, 15 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fat
  • Servings per container: 20
  • Protein source: Pea protein, brown rice protein, chia seeds
  • Sweeteners: Erythritol, stevia
  • Flavors: Vanilla Bean, Creamy Chocolate Fudge, Chai Latte, Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Churro Caramel Swirl, Cookies 'n Cream, Fruity Cereal, Horchata, Iced Coffee, Peanut Butter, Strawberries & Cream, Vanilla Horchata, Natural Unsweetened
  • Subscription: Save 25%
  • Price per serving: $1.90 (one time), $1.61 (subscription)

Why I picked it:

If you prefer an organic, plant-based protein powder instead of an animal-based whey, then Orgain is a great option. Not only does it use protein-rich plant sources such as organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein and chia seeds, but also contains all the essential amino acids needed for muscle maintenance and weight loss.

Our team really enjoyed the Vanilla Bean, Creamy Chocolate Fudge and Cookies 'n Cream flavors. O'Reilly noted that the Vanilla Bean tasted exactly like vanilla, not overpowering but just right. Neziri agreed, saying that she loves putting Vanilla Bean in her smoothies. When I tested the Creamy Chocolate Fudge flavor I noticed the same thing for myself. While I thought the flavor was decent, there was a slight grittiness that’s often common in plant-based protein powders. That said, it wouldn’t be enough to dissuade me from purchasing the product again.

Orgain also offers a similar organic protein powder with a superfood blend that has 50 different superfoods. This powder will deliver over 20 percent DV of iron, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and thiamin along with a handful of other micronutrients in varying amounts. These added nutrients may be particularly beneficial for individuals who are following a weight loss protocol and significantly restricting their calories. 

For more insights on this protein powder, check out our Orgain Protein Powder review.

What we love:

  • USDA-certified organic ingredients
  • High marks for taste from all of our testers
  • 21 grams of organic protein per serving
  • 15 flavor options, including an unflavored version

What to consider:

  • Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that may cause upset stomach and headaches
  • Higher calorie-, carb- and fat-content (which is normal for plant proteins)
A tub of Orgain organic protein powder in Cookies 'n Cream flavor on a granite countertop

Best Plant-Based Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Vega Protein and Greens

Two open tubs of Vega Protein & Greens protein powder in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors on a kitchen counter

Overall score: 3.4/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 20 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 130 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, 3 grams of fat
  • Servings per container: 16–18 (small tub), 25 (large tub)
  • Protein source: Pea protein
  • Sweeteners: Stevia leaf extract
  • Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry, Coconut Almond, Plain Unsweetened 
  • Subscription: 20% when you subscribe
  • Price per serving: $1.94 per serving (small tub), $1.88 per serving (large tub)

Why I picked it:

We chose Vega Protein and Greens as the best plant-based protein for weight loss because of its high quality plant protein sources and simple, sugar-free ingredient list. 

Harris tried the Chocolate and Vanilla flavors of Vega Original plant-based protein powder. She said, “I preferred the chocolate flavor. It was more true to flavor than the vanilla version, probably because it has actual cocoa powder in it, whereas the vanilla only has natural flavors.” She noted that this protein was less sweet than other plant options she's tried, but there is a stevia aftertaste.

Some plant-based protein powders have high-quality ingredients, but don’t mix as well as their whey counterparts. Harris says that's not the case for Vega protein powder: “Vega Original Protein powders are smoother than other plant protein mixes I’ve tried, possibly because of the coconut oil powder in the formula.” Both of the flavors mixed well in a shaker bottle with cold water. "I shook up the chocolate flavor a little more than the vanilla because I’ve noticed that chocolate proteins with cocoa powder don’t mix as quickly," Harris adds.

One serving of Vega protein powder has 130 calories, 20 grams of protein, seven grams of carbs and 2.5 grams of fat. This Vega protein powder is a good choice for weight loss because it has fewer calories and carbs than many plant-based proteins, staying below the typical 160–180 calories. This makes it less likely to interfere with weight loss efforts, which is why we favored it.

What we love:

  • Low calories and carbs for a plant protein
  • Mixes well and has a smoother texture compared to other plant-based protein powders (Harris recommends blending Chocolate with frozen dark cherries and Vanilla with frozen banana and strawberries)
  • Non-GMO Project verified ingredients
  • Vega plants a tree for every order 

What to consider:

  • Only 16–25 servings per container compared to 30 for other supplements on our list
A person holds a shaker bottle filled with vanilla Vega Protein & Greens powder mixed with cold water.

Harris shows what the vanilla Vega Protein & Greens looks like mixed with cold water.

Best Whey Isolate Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Dymatize ISO100 Whey Protein

A kitchen counter with a container of Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Powder in Gourmet Vanilla flavor, a red scoop of Dymatize protein powder and a shaker bottle

Overall score: 4.5/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 25 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 120 calories, 1–3 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of sugar
  • Servings per container: Varies by size selection, between 20–71 servings
  • Protein source: Hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, whey protein isolate
  • Sweeteners: Sucralose
  • Flavors: Birthday Cake, Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cocoa Pebbles, Cookies & Cream, Fruity Pebbles, Fudge Brownie, Vanilla, Dunkin’ Glazed Donut, Dunkin’ Cappuccino, Dunkin Mocha Latte
  • Subscription: Depends on the retailer
  • Price per serving: Depends on flavor and size, between $1.06–$1.33 per serving for the 5-pound tub

Why I picked it:

Dymatize ISO100 is made from whey protein isolate, a form of whey that's low in fat, carbs and lactose—primarily offering high-quality protein. It's a great choice for those on a weight loss program looking for a high-protein, low-calorie protein shake. Plus, it features hydrolyzed whey isolate for quicker absorption, aiding faster muscle repair and recovery.

As someone who’s used Dymatize protein powder for many years, I believe that this product provides exceptional value for the money. Although there was no hydrolyzed version at the time, Dymatize Elite was my protein powder of choice throughout my college swimming career. I remember the 10-pound bag costing around $75, which was perfect for my budget as a student-athlete. (For reference, affordable protein cost around $10 per pound at the time, so $75 was a steal.)

Back then, I also only remember them having Chocolate and Vanilla flavors available, so it’s great to see that they have stepped up their game in that department. You now have over 10 flavors to choose from, including collaborations with cereals like Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, as well as Dunkin’ Donuts. I’ve recently had the chance to test out the Dunkin’ Glazed Donut flavor, and it really surprised me. It wasn’t overly sweet, which I liked, and it had a classic glazed donut aftertaste. If you're a fan of donuts, then this might be the perfect solution to curbing your sweet tooth.

Our testers thought this one mixed really well, wasn’t too thin or thick and tasted delicious. Tester Cory Kessler, tried the Fruity Pebbles flavor and said, “It tasted exactly like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles cereal when I mixed it with milk. Mixed with water it tasted a little watered-down, but still very close to Fruity Pebbles.” He didn’t notice any aftertaste, and also noted that it wasn’t overpoweringly sweet. Harris loved the vanilla flavor, and said it reminded her of a vanilla malt milkshake.

What we love:

  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • Our testers appreciated texture, taste and solubility of this one
  • Informed-Choice certified
  • Sugar-free dessert-inspired flavors
  • Low carb, low fat, low calorie formula

What to consider:

  • Our testers preferred milk over water with this protein
  • Artificial sweetener sucralose has an aftertaste that some may not like
Dymatize 100 Protein Powder_hero

Dymatize ISO100 mixed really easily with water in a shaker bottle.

Best Unflavored Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Naked Grass-Fed Whey

A man pouring a scoop of unflavored Naked Whey protein powder into a clear shaker bottle half filled with water

Overall score: 3.6/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 25 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 120 calories, 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of sugar
  • Servings per container: 76
  • Protein source: Whey protein concentrate
  • Sweeteners: None in unflavored option, organic coconut sugar in flavored options
  • Flavors: Unflavored, Chocolate, Double Chocolate, Chocolate PB, Vanilla, Strawberry
  • Subscription: Save 20%
  • Price per serving: $1.00

Why I picked it:

Made with 100 percent grass-fed whey protein concentrate, Naked Nutrition Whey Protein is a pure whey supplement that’s great for anyone looking to eliminate unnecessary calories and ingredients in their diet. The unflavored version offers 25 grams of protein with only 120 calories per serving and minimal carbohydrates and fats. Plus, it contains only one ingredient: whey protein concentrate from small dairy farms in northern California and Idaho.

The unflavored version of Naked Whey is unsweetened, so I thought it tasted the best blended in a fruit smoothie or added to high protein baked goods like pancakes. O’Reilly felt it tasted like nothing, which is honestly a win for an unflavored protein, and he plans to make protein pancakes with it and add original flavors. The other three flavors—Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry—are lightly sweetened with organic coconut sugar and flavored with natural ingredients like organic cocoa powder, organic dried strawberries and organic natural flavor.

Whey protein is great for weight loss because it supports muscle maintenance and recovery. Choosing a grass-fed whey like Naked Whey ensures you're getting essential amino acids for muscle repair. This can lead to better workout performance, helping you burn more calories, recover quicker and lose weight more effectively.

What we love:

  • Includes 18 essential and non-essential amino acids per serving
  • Sweetened with natural ingredients like cocoa powder and dried strawberries
  • Testers appreciated the limited ingredients and the transparent label on this product
  • Uses whey from 100 percent grass-fed cows
  • Informed-Choice Certified

What to consider:

  • Uses whey concentrate instead of whey isolate
  • Each serving contains to natural grams of sugar
The backside of a five-pound tub of unflavored Naked Whey protein powder showing the Nutrition Facts with gym equipment in the background

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Ora Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder

A tub of Ora plant protein powder on a white table next to a shaker bottle with mixed Ora protein powder and water

Overall score: 4.4/5

Key features and specs:

  • Protein per serving: 22 grams
  • Nutrition facts: 130 calories, 22 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat
  • Servings per container: 20
  • Protein source: Organic pea protein, organic rice protein
  • Sweeteners: Organic monk fruit extract and organic stevia extract
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Vanilla Chai, Unflavored
  • Subscription: Save 20%
  • Price per serving: $2.00

Why I picked it:

Ora Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder stands out as an exceptional choice for vegans who are trying to increase their protein intake during weight loss because it is derived from plants, making it an ideal cruelty-free way to ensure vegans can fill any potential gaps in their nutrition without compromising their dietary ethics.

Neziri tried three flavors: Vanilla, Vanilla Chai and Unflavored. “The Vanilla surprised me,” she notes right off the bat. “It tastes creamy like whey protein, but it also feels fine enough for me to know it's not one.” On the other hand, she wasn’t too fond of the Vanilla Chai or Unflavored, noting that the Chai was very strong and making anything with it or even drinking it with water was difficult, and that the Unflavored actually had a strong aftertaste and kept leaving clumps. Overall, she appreciated how Ora made her feel the most. “Many protein powders give me digestive upset, but none of these did, so I would be comfortable taking them every day,” she added.

As a nutrition coach, I really like this particular protein shake for vegans because of the formula. It contains both pea protein isolate and pumpkin protein sources, both of which are well-supported by research for their benefits. For one, pea protein may digest easier than whey or casein, so your body can use its nutrients without causing gas or stomach issues. Plant proteins have also consistently been found to be beneficial for maintaining good health and managing diabetes. Pumpkin is a potassium-rich ingredient, known for promoting good heart health and providing fiber to keep you satisfied longer. Besides keeping you feeling full, the prebiotic fiber inulin used in this protein powder may also help stabilize your blood sugar levels.

What we love:

  • All organic and plant-based protein
  • Our testers noted the protein was fine, but creamy enough to drink
  • Zero grams of added sugar
  • USDA-certified organic ingredients

What to consider:

  • The Unflavored option left a strong aftertaste
  • $2.00 per serving is higher than other plant proteins

Other Protein Powders We Tested

As we searched high and low for the top protein powders to help with weight loss, we stumbled on some pretty awesome contenders. Even though these didn't make it to our elite list, they're still worth a shout-out. Each one brings something special to the table, but they didn't tick all the boxes based on what we were really looking for. Here they are:

  • Happy Viking SuperFood Meal: This protein meal replacement boasts a rich nutrient profile, complete with essential vitamins and minerals. However, it's higher in calories compared to our top picks, making it less ideal for those strictly focusing on weight loss. It might be better suited for individuals looking for a nutrient-dense protein snack instead of a low-calorie protein shake.
  • Ghost Whey Protein: Known for its exceptional taste and mixability, Ghost Whey Protein is a favorite among many gym enthusiasts. Its downside for weight loss is added sugars and calories from the included cookie crumbles that make it taste so good. Although, it's a great dessert replacement for those battling a sweet tooth while trying to cut calories.
  • Transparent Labs Organic Vegan: This vegan protein powder is made with organic, non-GMO ingredients, appealing to eco-conscious consumers. Although it's a healthy choice, its protein content per serving is slightly lower than our top selections, which may affect its effectiveness in muscle repair and satiety for weight loss purposes.
  • KOS Organic Plant Protein: Our time especially enjoyed the chocolate flavor of KOS Organic Plant Protein, but its slightly higher carbohydrate content was the main factor that kept it from our top list, despite its overall quality.

How Does Protein Powder Help With Weight Loss?

To effectively use protein powder for weight loss, it's crucial to understand the importance of protein in your diet. Protein helps build and repair your muscles, makes enzymes and hormones and supports your immune system. When you're trying to lose weight, eating enough protein can help you feel full longer and maintain lean muscle mass during calorie restriction.

However, getting enough protein solely from food can be challenging. This is where protein powders come in handy. They offer a convenient and lean protein source, ideal for post-exercise recovery, meal replacements or meeting daily protein requirements. It's essential to select a protein powder that suits your dietary needs and health objectives, and to incorporate it into a well-rounded diet full of whole foods. Remember, while protein plays a significant role for both men and women, successful weight loss and overall health depend on a comprehensive approach that includes a balanced diet, consistent exercise, proper hydration and rest.

How to Use Protein Powder for Weight Loss

Although protein powders are typically mixed with water and then blended or shaken, some people might mix it into yogurt or a smoothie. Nutritionist and holistic health coach Christina Amado says palatability is great, but watch out for those extra calories.

"If protein powder is being added to smoothies and yogurt bowls, one with a higher protein count but lower calorie count would be ideal for weight loss. That way, fruit and fats and other things can be added without creating a calorie surplus," she said.

Amado recommends using your protein powder of choice once or twice a day in addition to your main sources of dietary protein (animal sources, plant sources and so on). "This is usually ideal for weight loss, lean muscle mass and hitting sufficient protein goals for macros."

It's also worth noting that research suggests plant-based protein powders with complete protein sources are just as effective at building muscle as whey protein.

What to Look for When Choosing a Protein Powder for Weight Loss

Here are the main factors you should take into account as you decide on the best protein powder to help with weight loss:

  • High protein-to-calorie ratio: In most cases, this means choosing a protein isolate that’s been filtered to remove a lot of the carbohydrates and fats. Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends a protein-to-calorie ratio of at least 15 grams of protein per 100 calories.
  • Simple formula: Amado recommends protein powders with the fewest ingredients that use a sugar-free sweetener like stevia instead of cane sugar and contain zero artificial dyes and colors.
  • Digestibility: One of the reasons for the popularity of whey isolate as a protein supplement is that it's quickly digested. It's often preferred by consumers who have difficulty digesting lactose, since a majority of the lactose is removed during processing. Among plant protein sources, pea protein may be easier for your body to digest, making you less likely to experience bloating or an upset stomach.
  • Compatibility with dietary restrictions or preferences: For example, vegans should avoid milk-derived proteins like whey and casein in favor of pea, soy or other plant-based proteins. You should also check product specifications to see whether they're kosher or Halal.
  • Flavor options: Don't think of taste as just a perk. A protein shake that you actually look forward to drinking can help you stay motivated to stick with your weight loss regimen. 

What to Avoid When Choosing a Protein Powder for Weight Loss

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for, here are some factors to watch out for:

  • High calorie counts: The ideal calorie-to-protein ratio for weight loss is 100 calories per 20–25 grams of protein. This ratio is easy to find with whey protein, but plant-based proteins tend to have more calories than whey proteins. Look for plant protein powders that don't surpass 150–180 calories per 25 grams of protein.
  • Added sugar: Although the ideal amount is zero, protein powder with one or two grams of added sugar per serving probably won't derail your weight loss plan. Still, always check the label to make sure you're not buying what could essentially be a liquid dessert with a side of protein.
  • Excessive additives: While most additives improve the texture or flavor of protein powder, too many can add up to empty calories that make it harder for you to keep your calorie count to a minimum.

Methodology: How We Chose Our Best Protein Powders for Weight Loss

We chose products for our list of the best protein powders for weight loss based on a number of factors reflected in our whey protein and plant protein scoring methodologies. These include:

  • First-person experience: We tested each of these protein powders for taste, smell, solubility and versatility when used in everyday life, and I recommend them to my clients who want to lose weight.
  • Protein source: Whey protein is available as a concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate or whey blend. We rank whey isolates and hydrolysates higher than concentrates because they are easier to digest and filtered to remove carbs and fat. Common sources of plant protein are soy, pea, hemp, brown rice, lentil, chia seed, pumpkin seed and plant blends. We look for plant protein sources that yield a high amount of protein per serving.
  • Complete protein (plant protein only): The best plant-based proteins are complete protein sources—containing all nine essential amino acids.
  • Macronutrient calories per serving: We prioritize protein powders with the most calories from protein (as opposed to fat or carbs).
  • Total protein per serving: While everyone has varying protein needs, 25–30 grams of protein is generally recommended with each snack or meal. This amount is also the best value per serving of protein powder.
  • Price per gram of protein: While price isn't always indicative of quality or value, we do reward protein powders that are more affordable, though we give this category less weight than the others.
  • Sweeteners: We consider research about common sweeteners when assessing which protein powder formulas provide the least health risks to users.
  • Bonus credits: Protein powders can earn small bumps in their overall score by having third-party testing credentials, no proprietary blends, an organic certification, sustainable packaging and the addition of digestive enzymes.

We also received input from our panel of expert contributors, which includes registered dietitians and highly credentialed experts in sports nutrition and exercise science. 

Learn more about our nutrition and supplement review process, our whey protein powder scoring methodology and our plant protein powder scoring methodology

Protein Powders for Weight Loss FAQs

What type of protein powder is best for weight loss?

A protein powder supplement will be most effective for weight loss if it: 

  1. Is an isolate, which means it's been processed to remove most of the fats and carbs, leaving you with a purer form of protein that has fewer calories
  2. Has a low calorie count in order to prevent overconsumption (the primary cause of weight gain)
  3. Has simple ingredients that won't cause inflammation and slow down your weight loss

While taste, how well it mixes with liquids and the price are also worth considering, they shouldn't be your main focus if your goal is weight loss.

Can protein powder be used as a meal replacement?

The best protein powder for weight loss (or even the best protein bar) should be able to serve as a quality snack, but not a full meal replacement option. That being said, protein powder can be part of an effective meal replacement strategy. For example, using the protein powder in a smoothie with frozen fruit, spinach and flax seeds would make it a phenomenal meal replacement. There are also protein supplements available that are made specifically to be meal replacement shakes.

Does protein powder help you lose belly fat?

You can’t pick and choose where you lose body fat; however, once you’re in a caloric deficit and begin losing weight, you’ll lose fat across the body, including the mid-section. Interestingly, 20–30 percent of the calories ingested from protein go into digesting it, so when you eat 100 calories from protein, 20–30 calories are used to both digest and absorb it. In other words, increasing your daily activity levels and eating a protein rich diet are a recipe for success for any weight loss journey—including those targeting belly fat.

Does whey protein powder help you lose weight?

Whey protein can be beneficial for weight loss as part of a protein-rich diet, but it's not superior to other protein sources like casein, egg, hemp or other plant-based proteins. The key is ensuring your protein source contains all essential amino acids and helps you stay in a caloric deficit. Protein powder, whether whey or plant-based, is just one tool to help achieve this goal.

Related Post: Pea Protein vs Whey Protein: Which Is Better?

How much protein do I need per day to lose weight?

Based on the USDA guidelines, the amount of protein you need should be somewhere between 10–35 percent of your total daily calories. In fact, you actually need to eat more protein when you’re trying to lose weight because it helps ensure that the weight lost is from fat and not muscle. On a weight (fat) loss program, you should look to consume between 1.6–2.4 grams per kilogram of body weight. This amount will help to preserve as much muscle as possible.

Related Post: How Much Protein Should I Eat to Lose Weight?

How effective is protein powder for weight loss?

Protein powder can help with weight loss when used as part of a balanced diet and exercise regimen. It can increase feelings of fullness, reduce cravings and preserve lean muscle mass, all of which are important during calorie restriction. However, it's not a magic solution; the key to weight loss is creating a sustainable caloric deficit. Protein powder should complement a diet rich in whole foods and a healthy lifestyle.

Final Thoughts on the Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss

A protein powder really can be a valuable tool to aid your weight loss journey. It offers a lean protein source to help support your muscles during a calorie deficit, while also increasing your satiety between meals. Personally, I always reach for a protein shake when I'm trying to lose weight and feel hungry. With the help of our testers, we've picked out the best protein powders for weight loss available, coming in many delicious flavors and also standing out in terms of protein quality, usability and overall functionality. However, remember that losing weight isn't just about protein. A balanced diet and regular exercise are essential for reaching your goals.

Expert Contributors

Chris Mohr, RD and PhD

Chris Mohr is a registered dietician who holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. He has worked with athletes ranging from NFL players to WWE wrestlers, along with celebrities and executives worldwide. He has been a featured speaker at many conferences around the world.

Mike Roberts, PhD

Dr. Roberts is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University where he serves as the Director for the Nutrabolt Applied and Molecular Physiology Lab. He currently has over 190 publications in several preeminent physiology and nutrition journals, serves in senior editor roles for various physiology journals, and has given numerous lectures at regional, national, and international scientific conferences and venues.

Eddie Jo, PhD

Dr. Eddie Jo is a Professor of Exercise Physiology and Director of the Cal Poly Pomona Human Performance Research Lab. His research serves to innovate and advance the application of exercise training methodologies, nutrient intake, and technologies for the optimization of human health and performance, energy metabolism, body composition, and endocrine function. He has over 8 years of experience as Expert Witness: exercise-related personal injury.

Jenevieve Roper, Ph.D, CSCS.

Dr. Jen Roper is an Associate Professor of Health and Human Sciences at Loyola Marymount University. She received her PhD in Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science in 2015 from the University of New Mexico, with a specialization in Exercise Science and Biomechanics. She currently teaches a wide variety of courses, including Nutrition, Kinesiology and Scientific Principles of Strength & Conditioning.

Tim Ziegenfuss, PhD, CSCS, FISSN

Tim Ziegenfuss is a standout in the world of sports nutrition and exercise science, bolstered by graduate degrees from Purdue University and Kent State University. Beyond academia, he serves as a Past President and Fellow of The International Society of Sports Nutrition, steering the field toward higher standards. As CEO of The Center for Applied Health Sciences, his focus is overseeing innovative research with real-world impact and guiding product ideation and creation for major retailers all around the world.

Christina Amado, Nutritionist and Holistic Health Coach

Cory Kessler, Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer


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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.