Searching for a healthy weight loss food that’s perfect when you’re on the go? Look no further than a protein shake! Whether you’re sneaking in a nutritious breakfast before a busy day of work or refuelling after exercise, it’s hard to beat the convenience of protein powder. Protein is an essential macronutrient that can help reduce your hunger levels and appetite — which makes protein the perfect addition to any weight loss plan, even if you don’t consider yourself a gym junkie.
The best part is, gone are the days when protein powders tasted like cardboard. Now, there’s a wide range of options available that taste neutral (and in some cases, even delicious!) enough to add to any of your favourite smoothie recipes. But, with so many options available, it can be hard to know the best protein powder to choose.
That’s why in this article, we’ve rounded up the 5 best protein powders for weight loss.
What are the health benefits of protein?
But first, you might be wondering why you would want to consume a protein powder, when there are so many other, more delicious things you could eat (or drink!) Well firstly, protein is the building block for muscle — so fuelling your body with it can help increase muscle mass while building strength.
Plus, research shows that protein increases levels of appetite-reducing hormones like peptide YY while lowering levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Studies also show that protein can reduce food cravings and boosts your metabolism, so your body burns more calories.
Now, in a perfect world, you’d get all your protein from whole foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, and dairy. But, as we all know, perfect doesn’t exist! You likely live a busy life, and might not always have the time (or desire) to go grocery shopping, meal prep or cook an elaborate meal.
Protein powder makes a great backup when you’re in a pinch. It travels well, and can easily be mixed into smoothies, breakfast oats and cereals. Talk about versatile!
Which protein powder is best for weight loss?
Choosing the best protein powder for weight loss is easier than you’d think!
First, read the label of any protein powder to ensure that it’s made from high-quality ingredients (the less ingredients, the better).
And keep in mind that the amount of protein you need each day varies depending on your age, weight, and activity level.
After that, the most important considerations for using protein for weight loss are:
- Accommodating any dietary requirements you may have (more on that below).
- Avoid added sugars, which bump up the calories per serving.
Noom’s food logging feature includes many types and brands of protein powder. Look for protein powders that fall into Noom’s yellow or green food categories, which will fit into your calorie budget better. We recommend choosing protein powders that have 200 calories or less per scoop/serving.
It’s also important to consider whether you have any food intolerances or sensitivities.
Protein powders affect everyone differently. Whey, for example, is one of the most popular options out there — especially for fitness buffs. But whey contains lactose, which can cause an upset tummy for some. In that case, you might try one of the other proteins listed below, such as egg white protein or vegan protein.
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Finding the best protein powder for weight loss can be a trial-and-error process.
Ultimately, you want a protein powder that your body can easily digest, fits into your daily calorie budget, and keeps you feeling full.
Now that we’ve broken down our criteria, let’s look at some protein powder recommendations.
The best whey protein powder for weight loss
If you’re new to protein powders, our Noom Weight coach recommends starting with whey protein.
One of the most common protein supplements, whey protein is derived from dairy and contains all the essential amino acids. It’s also delicious and mixes well.
Whey is a great choice because it can increase muscle mass and offset muscle loss due to weight loss. Whey is also fast-digesting with an absorption rate of 2 to 3 hours.
Whey protein also spikes your amino acid levels, stimulating muscle growth and recovery. This makes it popular with athletes and fitness buffs. If you exercise regularly, whey is best consumed right before or after a workout.
Flavours: Vanilla ice cream, milk chocolate flake, banana, mint chocolate chip and more
Noom food colour: Yellow
The best casein protein powder for weight loss
Like whey, casein protein is derived from milk and provides all the amino acids your body needs to build and repair muscle.
The biggest difference is that casein protein digests more slowly than whey. If you have digestion issues with whey protein due to its fast absorption, casein can be a good alternative.
Referred to as a ‘time-release protein,‘ casein protein provides a slow, steady release of amino acids over several hours, making it a good choice before bed.
But casein can have a grittier texture than whey, so you may need to try a few different powders before you find one you like.
Flavours: Chocolate, vanilla, choc honeycomb, unflavoured
Noom food colour: Yellow
The best egg white protein powder for weight loss
Another front runner in the best protein powder for weight loss is egg white protein. This type of protein is made from dehydrated egg whites that have been pulverised into powder.
Egg white protein is rich in amino acids and absorbs quickly, making it ideal for muscle health.
And since it doesn’t include egg yolks, you avoid the cholesterol and calories that the yolk contains.
While newer to the scene, egg white protein powder is becoming an increasingly popular option for people with dairy allergies or sensitivities.
Since whey and casein both come from milk, they contain lactose.
In contrast, egg white protein powder is dairy-free and easy on the digestive system.
We like: Paleo Pro Egg White Protein Powder
Flavours: Vanilla, chocolate, and unflavoured
Noom color: Yellow
The best plant-based protein powder for weight loss
If you’re looking for a plant-based, dairy-free protein powder, pea and rice protein powder is a solid choice.
Pea protein on its own is low in the amino acids cysteine and methionine, but rich in lysine.
It marries well with rice protein, which is low in lysine but high in cysteine and methionine. Together, they provide a complete amino acid profile to help build muscle.
As a bonus, pea and rice proteins are not derived from any of the eight major food allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soy).
This means the protein powder is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, making it compatible with most diets.
We like: True Protein Vegan 85 Protein Blend
Flavours: Rich chocolate, French vanilla, salted caramel, mocha and coconut.
Noom food colour: Orange
Protein powder is just one component of healthy weight loss
Protein powders can be a helpful addition to a weight-loss plan, but they’re not enough.
Long-term, sustainable weight loss depends on many factors, like understanding calorie density and nutrition, food tracking, and resetting your habits around food.
That’s where Noom comes in. Noom’s comprehensive weight loss system breaks all foods down into orange, yellow and green categories based on their caloric density (CD).
Green and yellow foods are lower in calories yet rich in water and nutrients. Orange foods have the highest caloric density.
By entering everything you eat in Noom’s app’s food tracker, you’ll get to know which foods keep you feeling full while staying within your calorie range.
The three-colour system teaches you what a balanced diet looks like—including sources of lean proteins you may not have considered, like Greek yoghurt, edamame, and smoked salmon.
It also lets you enjoy your favourite treats in proper portions with equally satisfying nutritious foods.
Noom also explores the ‘why’ behind your eating habits. Our psychology-based approach includes daily lessons, personal coaching, and other techniques—helping you change your behaviors around food for the long term.