If you think protein powder is something only CrossFit addicts and people who grunt at the gym use to make #gains, you’re seriously missing out on a potent ingredient that could help you lose weight.
“Protein plays a big role in weight loss because it keeps us full and satisfied so that we make it to our next meal without snacking in between,” says Brigitte Zeitlin, RD. It can also help you increase and maintain muscle mass—something necessary to burn fat, even when you’re not working out, says Zeitlin.
And here’s the thing: Even if you think you’re eating enough protein already, it can’t hurt to supplement with a bit more. “Adding some protein powder to a meal or snack that may otherwise be lacking in protein is a great way to balance your meals,” says Alyssa Lavy, RD, of Alyssa Lavy Nutrition & Wellness, LLC.
There’s just one small problem: With so many protein powders out there, it can be hard to choose the healthiest option. Zeitlin’s main suggestion? Focus on the unsweetened kinds. “They won’t add in sneaky sugars that could actually be sabotaging you.” Keeping that in mind, these are the best protein powders for weight loss:
1. RSP Nutrition AvoCollagen Protein Powders
“People tend to forget that fat is very satiating, so adding a fat-based product like AvoCollagen can [provide] the satiety one needs to prevent overeating later,” says Monica Auslander Moreno, RD, founder of Essence Nutrition. Plus the oleic acids in the avocado oil help fight inflammation and the collagen peptides go easy on the gut, and repair damaged tissue and muscles post-workout, she says.
Per serving: 90 calories, 4 g fat, (1 g sat fat), 4 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein
2. Quest Multi-Purpose Protein Powder
Adding powder to smoothies is nice and all, but this powder can be baked into peanut butter bars, tossed into tomato sauce, and mixed right into oatmeal.
Plus, “one scoop has only 100 calories and no sugar since it’s simply pure protein which makes it a perfect addition to any recipe to increase its nutrient density,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD.
Per serving: 100 calories, 0.5 g fat, (0 g sat fat), <1 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 115 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 23 g protein
3. RSP Nutrition TrueFit Protein Powder
Thanks to the “whopping 25 grams of protein per serving,” Moreno says you’ll squash any chance of an afternoon snacking marathon since protein balances blood sugar levels—and low blood sugar contributes to hunger. “You’ll sail until dinner” with a scoop of this stuff, she says. And if chocolate isn’t your jam, opt for one of the other four available flavors all packed with eight grams of prebiotic fiber (the stuff that nourishes the organisms in your gut) from sweet potatoes and five net carbs.
Per serving: 160 calories, 3 g fat, (2 g sat fat), 13 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 160 mg sodium, 8 g fiber, 25 g protein
4. Isopure Whey Protein Isolate Powder
Instead of adding a spoonful of honey or cocoa powder to your morning oatmeal, Leah Kaufman, RD, suggests sprinkling a serving of this powder on top instead since it’s sweetened with monk fruit, rounding out it’s sugar count to only three grams. It packs a huge punch of protein (25 grams, to be exact), in addition to satisfying even the pickiest sweet-tooth.
Per serving: 120 calories, 0 g fat, (0 g sat fat), 4 g carbs, 3 g sugar, 240 mg sodium, 25 g protein
5. Orgain Grass-Fed Whey
Simple, tasty protein powders are often hard to come by, but “Orgain is a superior option,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of The NY Nutrition Group, a private New York City-based nutrition practice. Snag this one when you want a good protein powder with zero artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
Per serving: 150 calories, 3.5 g fat, (1.5 g sat fat), 14 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 140 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 21 g protein
6. Ascent Native Fuel Micellar Casein
“Ascent uses only natural ingredients, and it has 25 grams of protein for only 110 to 130 calories, depending on the flavor,” says Tara Collingwood, RD, team dietitian for the Orlando Magic. “It’s also an excellent source of all essential amino acids.”
Per serving: 110 calories, 1 g fat, (0 g sat fat), 2 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 30 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 25 g protein
7. Naked Nutrition Egg White Protein
“Naked Nutrition uses clean ingredients and non-GMO eggs, and the only other ingredient is sunflower lecithin,” says Collingwood. “It doesn’t have any added sweeteners or colors, and it packs 25 grams of protein for 110 calories.”
Per serving: 110 calories, 0 g fat, (0 g sat fat), 2 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 380 mg sodium, <1 g fiber, 25 g protein
8. Navitas Organics Cacao & Greens Essential Blend
“This is a great vegan blend that consists of pea, pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds, flax, and hemp,” says Lauren Antonucci, RD. She also adds that it has added greens for fiber, as well as probiotics for gut health, which solidifies its place on the list of best protein powders for weight loss.
Per serving: 100 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g sat), 200 mg sodium, 10 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 12 g protein
9. Vega Protein & Greens
“I like Vega because it includes many nutrients that I’m interested in,” such as pea protein, brown rice protein, and organic kale powder, says Sharon Palmer, RD. It’s a tasty vegan option, as well.
Per serving: 120 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g sat), 270 mg sodium, 6 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 20 g protein
10. Solgar Whey-To-Go Natural Vanilla
This protein powder is whey-based, but it’s actually 98 percent lactose-free, which means it’s easily tolerated by those with lactose intolerance (unlike many other whey protein options), says Alyssa Lavy, RD. It’s also got just one gram of sugar, but still has a sweet flavor, she adds.
Per serving: 90 calories, 0.5 g fat, 55 mg sodium, 2 g carbs, <1 g sugar, 20 g protein