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The 5 Best Low Carb Protein Powders

Published December 10, 2018 (Revised: November 16, 2019)
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/11/low-carb-protein-powder-thumbnail-0030.jpg" } }, "headline":"The 5 Best Low Carb Protein Powders", "datePublished":"2018-12-10", "dateModified": "2019-11-16", "description":"If you're on a low-carb diet, you shouldn’t just use any protein supplement. Here's a list of the 5 best low carb protein powders.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/11/low-carb-protein-powder-thumbnail-0030.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Can you have protein powder on keto?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Yes. Common protein sources on keto include meats like fish, beef, and poultry, but there's no rule stating you can't use protein powder.<br>There is one main consideration, though: you need to eat a maximum of approximately 50 grams of carbs (or less) per day to stay in ketosis—the state where your body burns stored fat as its fuel source.<br>Therefore, you should limit your options to low-carb protein powders only." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What happens if you don't eat enough protein on keto?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Two things will likely happen: you won't recover from workouts as well, be hungry more often, and have more difficulty losing weight. Consider what the science says: <br>A 2017 study in ObesityFacts found that people who adhered to a high protein diet lost more weight than those on a standard-protein diet.<br>Plus, protein has a natural satiating effect (a.k.a. it makes you feel full).<br>Also, if you work out on a regular basis, protein intake is even more important.<br>According to a 2018 study in Frontiers in Nutrition, there is a robust amount of scientific evidence that confirms taking protein powder before or after workouts helps increase muscle protein synthesis, or the repair of muscle tissue.<br>On the keto diet, protein is only second to fat in terms of daily calorie intake. If you don't eat enough, you may be tempted to replace those calories with carbs, which will knock you out of ketosis." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Which Protein Powder Is Best For A Keto Diet?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Collagen protein, Whey protein isolate, Casein Protein, Egg Protein, and Plant-based protein (hemp, pea, etc.)." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">Can You Have Protein Powder On Keto?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Protein On Keto?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Which Protein Powder Is Best For A Keto Diet?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Best Low Carb Protein Powders: Wrap Up</a></li> </ul> </h3> <section> <p>The benefits of protein are immense. Studies show that high protein diets help add lean muscle, promote weight loss and weight management, and improve nutrient absorption<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25757894" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup>.</p> <p>As a result, many people use protein supplements. Taken in powder form, they are a convenient and effective way to ensure you're getting enough protein in your diet.</p> <p>But not all protein powders are the same. Many are made with unhealthy fillers, additives, and sugar—which is less than ideal if you're on a low-carb diet.</p> <p>Here's a look at the best low carb protein powders, and how and why low-carb dieters can benefit from supplementing with protein.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>Can you have protein powder on keto?</h2> <p>Yes. Common protein sources on keto include meats like fish, beef, and poultry, but there's no rule stating you can't use protein powder.</p> <p>There is one main consideration, though: you need to eat a maximum of approximately 50 grams of carbs (or less) per day to stay in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/87-things-to-avoid-on-the-keto-diet" rel="noreferrer">ketosis</a>—the state where your body burns stored fat as its fuel source.</p> <p>Therefore, you should limit your options to low-carb protein powders only.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>What happens if you don't eat enough protein on keto?</h2> <p>Two things will likely happen: you won't recover from workouts as well, be hungry more often, and have more difficulty losing weight. Consider what the science says: </p> <ul> <li>A 2017 study in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5644969/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">ObesityFacts</a> found that people who adhered to a high protein diet lost more weight than those on a standard-protein diet.</li> <li>Plus, protein has a natural satiating effect (a.k.a. it makes you feel full)<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295702/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup>. </li> </ul> <p>Also, if you work out on a regular basis, protein intake is even more important. </p> <ul> <li>According to a 2018 study in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142015/" rel="nofollow noreferrer"><i>Frontiers in Nutrition</i></a>, there is a "robust" amount of scientific evidence that confirms taking protein powder before or after workouts helps increase <i>muscle protein synthesis</i>, or the repair of muscle tissue.</li> </ul> <p>On the keto diet, protein is only second to fat in terms of daily calorie intake. If you don't eat enough, you may be tempted to replace those calories with carbs, which will knock you out of ketosis.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>Which Protein Powder Is Best For A Keto Diet</h2> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-collagen-protein-0030.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-collagen-protein-0030.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-collagen-protein-0030.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-collagen-protein-LR-0030.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="low-carb-collagen-protein"> </picture> <h3>1. Collagen protein</h3> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/collagen-protein-the-missing-link-of-the-modern-di" rel="noreferrer">Collagen</a> is the most abundant protein found in the human body<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup>. It keeps our muscles, ligaments, joints, cardiovascular system, fingernails, and other body tissues strong. </p> <p>The reason collagen protein powder tops this list is because of its many diverse benefits. Along with helping you add muscle, collagen is good for skin health, relieving joint pain, preventing bone loss, and even cardiovascular health<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213755/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup> <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8378772" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup> <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25314004" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a></sup> <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4188798/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></sup>.</p> <p>It's nutritional profile also works favorably for a low-carb diet. </p> <p>For example, one serving of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made's Go2 Protein</a> contains: </p> <ul> <li>100 calories</li> <li>4 grams of fat</li> <li>4 grams of carbs</li> <li>13 grams of protein</li> </ul> <p>Finally, collagen is known for its anti-aging effects<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213755/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></sup>. But Go2 protein has even more anti-aging benefits with the addition of antioxidant-rich <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/extraordinary-health-benefits-of-gotu-kola/" rel="noreferrer">gotu kola</a>, also known as the 'herb of longevity'<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116297/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">10</a></sup>. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-whey-protein-isolate-0030.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-whey-protein-isolate-0030.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-whey-protein-isolate-0030.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-whey-protein-isolate-LR-0030.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="low-carb-whey-protein"> </picture> <h3>2. Whey protein isolate</h3> <p>Of all the protein powder supplements out there, whey protein is probably the most popular. One reason is because of its effectiveness.</p> <p>A 2013 study in the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24015719" rel="nofollow noreferrer"><i>Journal of American College of Nutrition</i></a> found that compared to other protein powders like soy, whey protein was more effective for promoting lean body mass.</p> <p>Whey is a milk byproduct. Whey protein powder is made by removing most of the lactose, water, and minerals from the whey. There are several different types of whey protein, but <i>whey protein isolate</i> is considered the purest form of powder<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905294/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">11</a></sup>. </p> <p>Whey isolate undergoes a second, and more intense manufacturing process. Fat and lactose are removed to the point that the powder is 90 percent (or more) protein. </p> <p>The end result is a low-carb protein powder that digests quickly—faster than casein powder, which we'll look at next<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042376/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">12</a></sup>.</p> <p>For example, one scoop of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/OPTIMUM-NUTRITION-Isolate-Chocolate-Shake/dp/B0178ENEY4" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Optimum Nutrition's Whey Protein</a> Isolate contains:</p> <ul> <li>120 calories</li> <li>1 gram of fat</li> <li>3 grams of carbs</li> <li>25 grams of protein</li> </ul> <p>Because it takes longer to manufacture, whey isolate tends to be more expensive than other protein powders.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-casein-protein-powder-0030.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-casein-protein-powder-0030.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-casein-protein-powder-0030.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-casein-protein-powder-LR-0030.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="low-carb-casein-protein-powder"> </picture> <h3>3. Casein Protein</h3> <p>Casein protein is another milk-based protein powder like whey. The main differences are that casein digests slower than whey and it has more calories<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924180/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">13</a></sup>. </p> <p>For these reasons, casein powder is more commonly used as a meal replacement or overnight supplement as opposed to a post-workout supplement. For example, a 2017 study in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164527/" rel="nofollow noreferrer"><i>Nutrients</i></a> found that taking casein before bed improved markers for muscle recovery overnight.</p> <p>As an example, serving of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/Dymatize-Absorbing-Overnight-Digesting-Chocolate/dp/B002SG7NDQ/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=casein+protein&qid=1573319106&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzMk1LRVoyNUdTWUQzJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTA0MzAxOUdZVUxROVFaVUw3JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA2MjU3OTQxVThVOUJYS0Q2OFcyJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Dymatize Elite casein protein</a> powder contains:</p> <ul> <li>130 calories</li> <li>2 grams of fat</li> <li>2 grams of carbs</li> <li>25 grams of protein</li> </ul> <p>Be sure to read labels if you're considering using casein powder. Some of the unfiltered varieties have up to 20 grams of carbs per scoop, which is too many if you're trying to stay in ketosis.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-egg-protein-powder-0030.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-egg-protein-powder-0030.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-egg-protein-powder-0030.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/low-carb-egg-protein-powder-LR-0030.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="low-carb-egg-protein-powder"> </picture> <h3>4. Egg Protein </h3> <p>Eggs are a staple of many low-carb diets due to their high nutritional value. They're packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11023007" rel="nofollow noreferrer">14</a></sup>.</p> <p>A 2017 study in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073477/" rel="nofollow noreferrer"><i>Nutrients</i></a> found that a high-protein diet that included eggs promotes both lean mass retention and weight loss.</p> <p>Egg protein powder is made by dehydrating egg whites and grinding them into powder. As a supplement, it's a natural fit for any low-carb diet.</p> <p>For example, one serving of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/Paleo-Protein-Powder-Servings-Pouches/dp/B01LJRU7HI/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=egg+protein+powder&qid=1573319442&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExSkpMSEMyNUdMRldLJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNjU1MTMxM084NEpGUjNRRFJSMCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMzE4MzIxRENTU01FOVFRTlBRJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==" rel="nofollow noreferrer">PaleoThin egg white protein powder</a> contains:</p> <ul> <li>108 calories</li> <li>0 grams of fat</li> <li>1 gram of carbs</li> <li>25 grams of protein</li> </ul> <p>Compared to whey, collagen, and casein, though, egg protein is often less accessible (fewer supplement companies make it) and therefore more expensive. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/plant-protein-low-carb-0030.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/plant-protein-low-carb-0030.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/plant-protein-low-carb-0030.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/plant-protein-low-carb-LR-0030.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="plant-protein-low-carb"> </picture> <h3>5. Plant-based protein (hemp, pea, etc.)</h3> <p>As plant-based diets have grown in popularity, so have their protein powders. There are many different types of powders. Examples include hemp, pea, pumpkin seed, and even brown rice.</p> <p>The key to plant-based proteins effectiveness is their amino acid profile<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6245118/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">15</a></sup>. While there are twenty different types of amino acids*, only nine are considered essential for human health<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4897092/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">16</a></sup>.</p> <p><i>*Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that repair muscle and other body tissues.</i></p> <p>Compared to animal-based proteins, essential amino acids are usually lower in plant-based proteins<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6245118/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">17</a></sup>. Many are considered "incomplete" proteins because they are missing 1 or more of the 9 essential amino acids.</p> <p>If you're considering a plant-based protein, some options include soy, brown rice, pea, corn, or potato protein*. Soy is the only complete protein on this list, so you'd need to combine the others with another protein source to ensure you're getting enough amino acids.</p> <p><i>*Due to the high amounts of carbs, rice, corn, and potatoes are not usually consumed on a ketogenic diet. But as they are dehydrated to create isolated protein powder, many of the carbs are removed. Definitely check the label before eating whichever powder you want to try, as some are high carb from added sugars.</i></p> <p>Overall, plant-based powders are great for low-carb diets. For example, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/New-Chapter-Organic-Original-Chocolate/dp/B07QQ1TDR8/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=soy+protein&qid=1573843581&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzSTk4VDVHUFhNS1A2JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzg3NTUzTVFGTjYzQVZYME9DJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA2Mjg2MzIzNE5LT1pRSzIxMk9RJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Protein+ Original power</a> contains:</p> <ul> <li>110 calories</li> <li>2 gram of fat</li> <li>3 grams of carbs</li> <li>20 grams of protein</li> </ul> <p>Similar to casein, be sure to read labels. There are plenty of plant-based proteins on Amazon, but many are mixed with sugar. This might improve the taste, but isn't beneficial if you're tracking carbohydrate intake.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Best low carb protein powders: wrap up</h2> <p>When it comes to the best low carb protein powders, take into account things like carbs and protein per serving, cost, and taste. Also consider when you'll take it—for example, choose whey protein isolate if you want something to take after a workout.</p> <p>The benefits of protein powder are well-documented and plentiful, but not all powders are good if you're on a low-carb diet like keto. </p> <p>For what it's worth, we recommend <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made's Go2 Protein</a>, because of the many additional health benefits collagen can provide. Regardless: do your research, read labels, and try samples before you buy if you can. This will help you find a powder that works best for your needs.</p> </section> </article>

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