Protein powder has made a strong entrance into the wellness space over recent years. This convenient protein source helps individuals meet their daily protein goals while offering a promise to support overall health and energy. Because of its myriad of potential benefits and uses, protein powder has become a staple in many homes and daily habits.
But how long does protein powder last?
Like most pantry items, protein powder can become forgotten behind your collection of canned soups, dried pasta and miscellaneous spices. While finding it may come as a happy surprise, you might be curious if it’s still safe to consume.
Read on to learn how long protein powder lasts, how to tell if it’s expired and how to properly store it to extend its shelf life and reap its potential benefits for the longest amount of time.
How Can Protein Powder Benefit Me?
With protein being a primary component of a healthy diet, protein powder has the potential to enhance your overall health and wellness by delivering the protein your body needs to thrive. Many people use protein powder as a protein supplement or to encourage muscle growth and increase post-workout recovery.
Wondering how to use protein powder? It is often used as an additive to a shake or smoothie, but it can also be added to other recipes to enhance their protein content, including:
Blondies or brownies
Some people use protein powder as a tool to help develop higher stamina, endurance and recovery after each workout. Adding dry powder may provide you with the energy and stamina you need to finish a demanding workout while simultaneously assisting in lean muscle growth.
Protein powder can work diligently to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to build lean muscle mass and reduce body fat — making it possible to grow stronger with every scoop.
Other potential benefits of increasing your protein intake include:
May improve joint health
Can enhanced muscle strength
Can support weight loss
May reduce appetite
Can boost metabolism
May support immunity
Can Protein Powder Go Bad?
Yes, protein powder can go bad. But, it usually takes a little bit of time past the expiration date before you want to avoid the product completely.
So, when does the protein powder expire? Most manufacturers will include a “best by” date that specifies when the product will have the best flavor or quality. It’s important to note that this date is not a safety date. So, if you continue to consume a protein shake powder weeks or even months after the listed date, it’s rare you will experience any health-related complications.
However, if you notice obvious signs that your protein powder has spoiled, like a change in its texture or a foul odor, it's best to avoid the expired product completely.
So, how long can protein powder last?
The shelf life of a protein powder can depend on the specific ingredient in your protein powder, or what kind of protein your powder contains. Protein powders are made from a variety of plant and animal sources, including:
Soy – Soy protein contains vital vitamins and minerals and has been shown in some studies to potentially support weight loss.
Rice – Rice protein can potentially support a healthy body composition and may be able to enhance athletic endurance.
Milk – Milk-derived protein powders include whey or casein. Whey protein may reduce appetite, while casein protein may reduce the rate of muscle breakdown.
Egg – This type of protein may help people stay full for longer periods of time, which can help curb cravings for snacks and sweets during the day.
Collagen – Collagen may assist with tissue repair in order to reduce or improve recovery time after a workout.
Pea – Pea protein is rich in essential amino acids and may help with athlete performance and support body composition as well.
According to research, the majority of the different types of protein powder have a shelf life of up to two years. However, protein powders made with milk derivatives, like whey, may have a shorter shelf than other protein powders. The typical shelf life for whey protein ranges between 9 to 19 months. If you’ve made a smoothie out of it, and are wondering “can you freeze protein shakes,” then the answer is yes. It should last for as long as three months depending on the ingredients added to it.
Most protein powders also contain preservatives that extend their shelf life, including:
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid or ascorbate)
Sorbates (calcium, potassium or sodium sorbate)
Vitamin E (tocopherol)
If you choose a protein powder that does not contain preservatives, it may be more prone to spoiling and therefore expire faster.
Now, how long does protein powder last after opening?
Opened protein powder will have a shorter shelf life than an unopened container. Opened containers are exposed to various elements that make them more susceptible to expiring, including:
Air – Exposure to air can create a stale or off-putting taste in a protein powder.
Moisture – If not sealed properly, humidity can cause clumping or mold growth.
Heat – Exposure to heat can cause the protein powder to degrade and spoil.
Microorganisms – Microorganisms can make their way into the dry powder through vectors like hands or scoops, causing it to spoil more quickly.
How to Tell if Protein Powder Has Gone Bad
Now that we’ve covered whether protein powder can go bad (the answer is yes), you may be wondering what signs to look out for when assessing if your matured protein powder is safe to consume.
It’s important to peek into the container to notice any indications of spoilage before you begin scooping protein powder into your blender. A few signs to look out for include:
Taste – If your protein powder has a bitter flavor or an overall unpleasant taste, it may have spoiled. Most flavored protein powders should have a sweet flavor, though unflavored powders by default may not taste very good on their own. If you’re having trouble deciphering if your protein powder is safe, it may be best to pair this clue with your other senses.
Smell – If a four odor is emanating from your protein powder, this is a pretty clear indication that it has gone bad. Any rancid or sour smell lets you know that it may have been exposed to air or undergone chemical changes. Most protein powders should have a neutral, earthy or sweet smell.
Appearance – If you notice any change in color or clumping, your protein powder may have spoiled. An unspoiled protein powder should look uniform in color and have a dry, powdery appearance.
Will Using Expired Protein Powder Affect Me?
It’s generally not recommended to consume old protein powder that is clearly spoiled or expired. Not only can it possess an off-putting taste and smell, but expired protein powder may also lose its potency and effectiveness the older it gets.
In severe cases, adding spoiled protein powder to your shakes may cause you to develop gastrointestinal distress including:
Other symptoms you may experience if you consume expired protein powder might be:
More often, eating expired protein powder will cause you to display symptoms resembling food poisoning. You should consume plenty of liquids and rest accordingly until you begin to feel better if food poisoning occurs as a result of consuming expired protein powder. These symptoms will likely be mild, but to avoid an upset stomach and headache, it’s best to throw out any protein powder that you suspect may be spoiled.
If you are noticing more serious signs of illness, such as high fever, persistent dehydration or other prolonged symptoms, you should consult with a healthcare professional right away.
How to Properly Store Protein Powder
To avoid spoilage and extend its shelf life, it’s important to store your protein powder properly. Proper storage will help keep your protein powder smelling fresh and tasting the way it’s supposed to.
Some tips for storing your protein powder include:
Avoid heat – Exposure to high heat can denature the protein powder, causing it to go bad more quickly. One study found that the shelf life of whey protein can be reduced by half if it's stored at 95°F compared to room temperature (70°F). It’s best to store protein powder in a well-ventilated area that is far from any windows or heaters.
Eliminate extra moisture – Any humidity can cause the powder to clump or create an environment that is prone to microorganismgrowth. Store your protein powder in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing your protein powder in a room that generates lots of moisture, like your bathroom or kitchen. If you live in a humid area, you may consider adding a silica gel pack or investing in a specialized container that is designed to trap moisture.
Keep it sealed – After you’ve opened a container, make sure you tightly seal the lid after every use. This will ensure that air and moisture are kept away from your protein powder.
Keeping your protein powder cool, dry and free from contamination is the best way to avoid premature spoilage and extend your protein powder’s shelf life and quality.
INVIGOR8: A Protein Powder That Lasts
A quality protein powder can be an essential tool for anyone who is trying to increase their general wellness, health and vitality.
To guarantee that your protein powder is at peak freshness and effectiveness, it’s important to pay close attention to its taste, smell and texture. Any deviation may indicate a spoiled product.
With INVIGOR8 organic superfood powder, you can rest assured that you’re buying a high-quality protein powder designed to taste great (and work well) for as long as possible. Each product is created with natural ingredients and designed to control hunger, reduce body fat and tone your body to support whole-body health and wellness.
Simply add a scoop of our INVIGOR8 Shake to water or milk and experience the array of potential health benefits in each scoop.
Our weight-loss products all work great on their own, but they work even better together! Try our Superfood Shake in combination with our Collagen Peptides or Fat Burner to promote healthy weight loss.