What are the best protein drinks for weight loss? Protein powders have long appealed to people who want to build muscle and become stronger.
But they can also help those who want to shed weight.
As a convenient and tasty way to increase your protein intake, these powders offer many weight loss benefits — such as appetite control.
They’re highly concentrated dairy- or plant-based sources of protein that may contain added ingredients to aid weight loss as well.
What are the best protein drinks for weight loss?
Here are the 7 best protein powders for weight loss.
1. Coffee-Flavored Protein
From Snickerdoodle to birthday cake, cookies and cream, there’s no shortage of protein powder flavors.
Add coffee-flavored protein powders to the mix, often containing coffee grounds packed with stimulating caffeine, which boosts metabolism.
For example, this mocha-flavored whey protein from Dymatize contains 25 grams of protein and 113 mg of caffeine (36 grams) per scoop – slightly more than an average 8-ounce (237 ml) cup of coffee (1 ).
In addition to boosting metabolism, caffeine also increases your endurance during exercise, allowing you to burn more fat and calories (2 ).
This makes coffee-protein shakes a perfect snack 30-60 minutes before exercise.
What’s more, the protein in these products can promote weight loss by reducing your appetite and allow you to reduce the total number of calories you consume each day (3 ).
However, not all coffee-flavored protein powders contain caffeine, so read the nutrition label carefully.
SUMMARY Many coffee-flavored protein powders contain caffeine from coffee grounds. Taken together, protein and caffeine enhance weight loss.
Whey protein is probably the most popular protein powder today.
Because your body easily digests and absorbs whey protein, it is often taken after exercise for muscle building and recovery.
This product from Optimum Nutrition contains 24 grams of whey protein (30 grams) per scoop and can support both muscle gain and fat loss.
A review of nine studies found that overweight or obese people who supplemented with whey protein lost more weight and gained more muscle mass than those who did not take it (6 ).
The same review reported that whey protein users also experienced significant improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar control, and cholesterol levels (6 ).
Studies suggest that whey protein is effective for weight management, as it helps you feel full longer and thereby lessens your appetite.
3. Casein Protein
Casein, the other milk protein, is digested much more slowly than whey but shares many of its weight loss properties.
Casein protein forms curd when exposed to your stomach acids. This means a long time – usually 6-7 hours – for your body to digest and absorb it.
However, the slow digestion rate of casein can help you eat less by reducing your appetite (9).
In one study in 32 men, they consumed a carbohydrate drink or casein, whey, egg, or pea protein 30 minutes before eating an unlimited meal. Researchers noticed that casein had the greatest effect on satiety and resulted in the fewest calories consumed (10).
However, not all studies agree.
In another study, those who consumed whey protein 90 minutes before a buffet meal had less hunger and fewer calories than those who consumed casein (8).
These results suggest that casein may be superior to whey protein when taken only 30, not 90 minutes before a meal. However, more research is needed to compare casein with whey and other protein powders.
Casein is also a great source of calcium.
For example, this casein protein powder from Optimum Nutrition contains 60% (34 grams) of your daily calcium value.
Several observational studies have linked higher calcium intake to lower body weight, but this effect has not yet been observed in randomized controlled trials – the gold standard of scientific evidence (11, 12, 13, 14).
Casein protein may help you shed weight by controlling hunger levels. Its high calcium content may aid weight loss as well.
4. Soy Protein
Soy protein is one of the few plant-based proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids that are essential for human health.
Therefore, it is a high-quality protein source that appeals to vegans or those who cannot tolerate dairy proteins.
It has been shown to have an effect on appetite.
In one study, men were given pizza an hour after consuming whey, soy, or egg white protein (15 ).
Although whey protein was associated with the greatest reduction in appetite, soy was more effective than egg white protein at reducing appetite and reducing the number of calories consumed.
Soy protein has also been shown to benefit women.
In a randomized study, postmenopausal women drank 20 grams of soy or casein protein shakes daily for three months (16).
This is the same amount of soy protein found in a scoop of EAS soy protein powder.
Those who consumed soy lost more belly fat than those who drank casein, but the differences were not significant (16).
Similarly, another study in both men and women found that soy protein is comparable to other types of protein for weight loss when used as part of a low-calorie meal replacement program (17).
Soy protein is a plant-based protein shown to enhance weight loss comparatively to dairy-based proteins like casein.
Plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains are the best sources of dietary fiber (18 ).
The benefits of getting enough fiber in your diet include normalizing bowel movements, lowering cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, and achieving a healthy weight (19, 20, 21 ).
Like protein, fiber has been shown to reduce food intake and, as a result, body weight (21).
Unfortunately, most – if not all – of the fiber is removed during the production of plant-based protein powder.
However, some mixed plant-based protein powders are fortified with fiber. These types of products combine various protein sources such as peas, rice, chia seeds, and chickpea beans.
Protein and fiber together create a synergistic effect that helps to lose more weight than the individual ingredients.
Look for mixed plant-based protein mixes that contain more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.
For example, every 43 grams of Fit bucket produced by Garden of Life packs 28 grams of protein from various plant-based sources along with 9 grams of fiber.
Similarly, this protein powder from Orgain contains 21 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber for every two scoops (46 grams).
Dietary fiber has many health benefits, including weight loss. Many mixed plant-based proteins are fortified with fiber for added weight loss benefits.
6.Egg White Protein
If you don’t like or can’t tolerate dairy proteins, egg white protein is a good alternative.
While the essential nutrients of eggs are found in the yolk, egg white protein, as the name suggests, is only made from whites (22).
It is created by powdering dried chicken egg whites.
Egg white protein products – such as those produced by NOW Sports – undergo a process called pasteurization.
This prevents Salmonella and neutralizes a protein called avidin that binds with vitamin B biotin and prevents its absorption (23).
If you’re sensitive to dairy products, egg white protein powders are a reasonable alternative. Keep in mind that the weight loss benefits are subdued compared to whey or casein.
7. Pea Protein
Like soy protein, pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
However, pea protein’s amino composition is not comparable to dairy-based protein powders since it’s low in some essential amino acids.
It’s hypoallergenic, making it a safe choice for those with intolerances or allergies to milk, soy, or egg.
What’s more, pea protein powder is a good plant-based alternative to dairy-based proteins for weight loss.
In one study examining protein and fullness, men consumed 20 grams of a carbohydrate drink or casein, whey, pea, or egg protein 30 minutes before a meal (10).
Pea protein is a plant-based protein made from yellow peas. It’s hypoallergenic, making it suitable for those with food allergies or intolerances. Pea protein can aid weight loss by helping you eat less.