Does Protein Powder Expire?

by Matt Berger

Despite its incredible shelf life, protein powder does eventually expire. Common protein powder ingredients like milk, soy, and eggs make it susceptible to going bad. However, powder still has the longest shelf life compared to other forms of protein.

If you’re wondering if it’s ok to consume your nearly expired or already expired protein powder, read this first. It can help you make a safe decision about your protein supplement.

Is It Ok to Use Expired Protein Powder?

How you store protein powder can help you determine if it’s ok to consume past its expiration. When stored in low humidity environments, the less likely it is to have bacteria growth. However, if you’re noticing weird clumps or clusters in the powder, dump it immediately. It may seem like you are dumping money in the garbage when throwing away expired protein powder, but it really may be your safest option.

How Long Does Protein Last Once Opened?

After opening the container and as the protein powder ages, its protein content changes. Protein can degrade over time, meaning you’re not getting the amount that’s displayed on the label per serving. A study on lysine, an amino acid found in whey protein, was found to degrade from 5.5% to 4.2% in 12 months when stored at 70°F (21°C) with 45–65% humidity.

But even at cold and dry temperatures, the taste of the protein powder can be affected. A study stored whey protein at 113°F (45°C) for 15 weeks. The result was a significant increase in oxidation (the reaction of fats with oxygen), which led to a less desirable taste

What Is the Difference Between Expiration Date and Shelf Life

Though sometimes used interchangeably, the shelf life of a product and its expiration date are two different things. The term shelf life generally refers to how long food or product retains optimal quality after its production. In other words, shelf life refers to how long protein powder can deliver its full content after your favorite brand produces it. The expiration date refers to the product or food’s quality and the safety of consuming it past that date.

Supplement companies aren’t required to include an expiration date on their products, though some do. As for the shelf life of your favorite protein, some studies have shown it to last anywhere from 9 to 19 months.

How Do I Know if My Protein Powder Has Gone Bad?

Does the Protein Powder Smell Like It’s Gone Bad?

Like most foods, your first tell of expired protein powder is a foul smell. Your protein powder should smell like whatever delicious flavor you bought. If it smells bad, you shouldn’t use it.

Does the Protein Powder Appear Discolored?

Chemical changes and bacterial growth in your protein powder composition can cause changes in its color. This might not make it safer to consume.

Does It Taste Different?

Does your protein powder no longer taste like the flavor you bought? This could be due to oxidation resulting from the way you stored it or a sign that it's gone bad.

What Happens if You Drink Expired Protein Powder?

If you’ve ever had a case of food poisoning, you already know how sick expired food can make you. Fortunately, you are less likely to get sick from expired protein powder, but the possibility still exists. Expired protein powder exhibits the same characteristics of foul smell, discoloration, and spoiled taste; however, it’s not to the extent of regular foods.

Don’t Risk Using Expired Protein—Find Your Favorite Brand Here

Protein powder has a long shelf life, but that doesn’t mean it’ll last forever. If your protein powder is discolored, tastes funny, or smells bad, it’s likely no longer good. So if you’ve had your protein powder for an extended period, consider giving it a visual, taste, and smell inspection.

Don’t risk getting sick or drinking bad-tasting protein shakes. Find your favorite protein powder brands at Nutrition Faktory.