Best Low Calorie Protein Powder That Actually Works | Reviewing and Rating The Top Brands

Choosing the right low calorie protein powder is often easier said than done. There are a slew of brands and tons of wrong information, so knowing which ones are the cream of the crop and which ones to steer clear from can be a challenging experience.

Rather than taking the shotgun approach and wasting money on low calorie protein powders that may or may not work, it’s best to invest a few minutes to learn a little about them and know if what you’re buying is the right choice for your goals, needs, and taste buds.

Lucky for you, here’s the rundown on low calorie protein powders and a quick list of the best ones to make this process as quick and easy as possible.

We focus only on products that work and that don’t have loads of filler and crappy ingredients. Marketing mumbo-jumbo is a no-go here.

Rating The Top 4 Low-Calorie Protein Powders

Rank

Whey Protein Powder

Protein

Calories

Our Rating

Price

#1. 

(EDITOR'S CHOICE)

22g

100

#2.

24g

120

#3.

25g

120

#4.

20g

110

Advantages of Low Calorie Protein Powders

Protein is a vital nutrient needed for muscle growth, strength, and recovery. Most protein powders, however, are loaded with unhealthy fats, carbohydrates, and tons of calories proven to negatively affect muscle definition and weight management.

The body needs protein for lean muscle growth, but it doesn’t need all of the extra calories packed into most protein powders. If you eat healthy and watch your calories, low calorie protein powders provide a convenient, effective way to support lean muscle growth and minimize fat gain.

When used as meal replacements and healthy snack options, low calorie protein powders also help you cut out the sugars and starches that are nearly inescapable in our modern diets. It’s not normal for you or anyone else to consume large amounts of refined carbs.

Your body breaks down carbs into sugar, so after eating a carb-filled meal, your blood sugar rises. This triggers the release of insulin, which works to bring your blood sugar, or glucose, back to normal levels. In addition to causing fat gain and poor performance, these blood sugar and insulin spikes promote type 2 diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis, and even cancer.

Low calorie protein powders can help prevent these diseases, promote optimal health, and more. In fact, here’s a list of their advantages and all they can do:

• Satiate you for longer
• Promote faster muscle gain and fat loss
• Boosts energy
• Improve heart health
• Repair muscles, skin, and hair
• Reduce water retention
• Make losing weight and feeling great easy!

How to Lose Weight with Low Calorie Protein Powders

Many people drink protein shakes to gain muscle, although they can also be used to lose weight, by packing more protein into a smaller calorie punch than a full meal.

As a “meal replacement”, they’re designed to replace a meal or two each day, with the whey or other type of protein mixed with milk or maybe a smoothie with some fruit. A lot of people actually only add water to limit their calorie intake.

Following a low calorie diet is a proven way to slim down – in fact, literally the only way to lose weight is to be in a caloric deficit, where you eat fewer calories than you burn – and since most protein shakes contain fewer calories than most meals you would normally consume, you’ll likely see results. The added protein will also help you grow and maintain muscle mass.

However, what if you could enjoy all of the benefits of protein with even fewer calories? Would you be even slimmer and more shredded? Of course you would!

Simply engage in resistance training regularly, limit your carb intake, and make sure you’re tracking your food with something like MyFitnessPal to stay under your TDEE, and the addition of a quality low-cal protein powder to your diet will help you achieve your goals. 

Choosing The Right One

Low calorie protein powders are a quick and convenient way to nourish your body, satisfy your hunger, build lean muscle, and keep your waistline slim. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle mass, boost your athletic performance, or simply improve your overall fitness, these low calorie protein-packed drink mixes are an optimal solution.

Unfortunately, choosing the best one for your goals, needs, and taste buds can be tougher than running a 4.4 40. So, how do you know which one is right for you?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, here are some general guidelines to follow based on your desired outcome:

Lose Weight

If losing weight is your goal, you should choose a protein powder with the fewest calories possible and no added dextrins or sugars. Protein powders with branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, should also be avoided as they actually promote weight gain along with muscle growth.

Build Muscles

When it comes to building muscle, protein powders with higher biological values work best. This is simply a measurement of the body’s ability to absorb protein and put it to use. Whey isolates and protein are ideal in this regard.

Lower Your Blood Sugar

If you’re diabetic, you should choose protein powders with zero added sugar. Powders with less than five grams of carbs per serving are also ideal.

Avoid Bloating and Gas

Protein powders are notorious for causing bloating, gas, and other gastrointestinal issues. For easier digestion, choose one without lactose sugars, dextrins, and artificial sweeteners. If you’re sensitive to gluten, make sure to pick a powder that’s gluten-free as well.

Maintain Your Vegan Lifestyle

The power of protein can’t be duplicated. Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there to accommodate your non-dairy lifestyle. Rather than choosing a whey or milk-based protein powder, select one consisting of 100 percent pure plant proteins. You’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of vegan-friendly options.

Rank

Product

Protein

Calories

Our Rating

Price

#1. 

(EDITOR'S CHOICE)

22g

100

#2.

24g

120

#3.

25g

120

#4.

20g

110

Ratings and Reviews Of The 4 Best Options

So, which product is the #1 and why? Let’s dive into our top four picks.

Protein

22g

Calories

100

Price

$$$

Our Rating

This 100 percent natural whey isolate formula is designed to help you get lean fast. With 22 grams of protein and only 100 calories per serving, it boasts one of the best protein-to-calorie ratios on the market today.

Legion Whey + is also lactose-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free. Plus, it’s derived from 100 percent non-GMO grass-fed cows, which is great if you care about what you put in your body. You do, don’t you?

It tastes surprisingly good for a protein powder, despite its somewhat noticeable stevia flavor. Plus, it blends well and won’t turn thick and clumpy like many of the other low-cal protein powders found on the market today.

Best of all, like all Legion products, Whey+ is made in the USA at an NSF-certified facility according to the strictest of quality control standards. Legion also offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

If you’re searching for quality protein that won’t add to your waistline, keep your muscle mass up, taste good, and live up to the hype, Legion Whey+ is the way!

Pros

  • LOADED WITH PURE PROTEIN ISOLATE
  • LOWEST CALORIES/SERVING
  • SUPER HIGH QUALITY - JUST WORKS
  • GREAT FLAVOR OPTIONS, WHICH BLEND WELL

Cons

  • SOMETIMES THE STEVIA TASTE CAN BE A BIT STRONG

Protein

24g

Calories

120

Price

$

Our Rating

Optimum Nutrition (ON) delivers twenty-four grams of the good stuff, four grams of natural glutamine, and 5.5 grams of natural BCAAs in every 120-calorie serving.

It contains a blend of concentrates, isolates, and peptides which are transported quickly to the muscles faster for steady, efficient results whether before or after a workout.

Look, we say it all the time…there’s a reason it has “Gold Standard” in the name.

It’s considered one of the top protein powders and is known for being consistently high protein and high quality. Great taste, great at mixing, consistent, and it just plain works.

In addition to the solid nutritional boost you’ll get from every ON shake you mix up, a big added bonus is the 20+ flavors available. That said, not all flavors are created equal – there’s a big range of flavor even among the chocolate varieties – so when in doubt, buy a one-pound bag for your initial trial run!

Pros

  • GOLD STANDARD QUALITY
  • BEST ALL-AROUND VALUE
  • LOW-CALORIE, GLUTEN-FREE, HIGH-PROTEIN, HIGH-BCAA
  • TONS OF EASILY-MIXABLE FLAVORS

Cons

  • CONTAINS SOME ARTIFICIAL ADDITIVES AND SUGARS

Protein

25g

Calories

120

Price

$$$

Our Rating

Naked Whey is a completely transparent company from source to end product, and it drives home that transparency with its clear powder jugs.

The powder contains one lone ingredient: 100% grass fed pure whey protein concentrate. It has no additives of any kind including sweeteners, flavors, or colors.

In that same vein, it’s GMO-free, contains no growth hormones, and is soy- and gluten-free.

Low-calorie, low-carb, low-sugar, and high protein, Naked Whey hits all the right notes in every nutritional department.

It’s cold processed, to prevent contamination by heavy metals or any kind of chemicals. Additionally, it’s manufactured without acids, bleaches, or high heats, therefore the integrity of the amino acids is preserved.

The only place this powder really falls short is flavorwise, given that it has only one ingredient. 

HOWEVER…you can get “LESS NAKED” whey, which includes two extra ingredients…a flavor (natural flavors…literally dried strawberries, cacao, or vanilla), and organic coconut sugar. Insane. 

So, now you’ve got a world of choice in front of you. We’re huge NAKED fans and we think you will be, too.

Pros

  • INSANELY HIGH QUALITY
  • ONLY ONE, NATURALLY SOURCED AND PREPARED INGREDIENT
  • COMES FROM GRASS-FED COWS WITH NO GROWTH HORMONES
  • NOW WITH ONLY SLIGHTLY LESS NAKED FLAVOR OPTIONS!

Cons

  • MORE EXPENSIVE
  • UNFLAVORED ISN'T PARTICULARLY TASTY, SO PUT IT IN A SMOOTHIE
  • CONCENTRATE, NOT ISOLATE

Protein

20g

Calories

110

Price

$$$$

Our Rating

Alright, bring out the fancy stuff.

This 100% grass fed whey protein powder has a whole lot going for it.

It’s the only one on this list that is 100% organic. It’s also the only whey protein on the market that is certified paleo friendly by the Paleo Foundation.

It’s got only three ingredients (all organic): undenatured whey (sourced from US farms), vanilla bean extract, and stevia.

Non-GMO and cold processed, without acids or bleach, they’ve preserved the purity of the amino acids. Gluten- and soy-free, including no soy lecithin, which is often added to protein powders as an emulsifier. Even so, it blends easily with your choice of mixer.

At 110 calories, with plenty of protein, calcium, and potassium, and less than a gram of sugar (naturally found in the milk the whey is derived from), this powder is exactly what your muscles need before or after a hard workout.

As a huge plus, all three flavors taste pretty darn good, too.

Pros

  • 100% ORGANIC AND PALEO-FRIENDLY
  • MADE WITH MILK FROM GROWTH-HORMONE FREE COWS
  • check
    TASTES GREAT AND MIXES WELL
  • check
    GLUTEN-, SOY-, AND ADDITIVE-FREE

Cons

  • MORE EXPENSIVE
  • LOWEST PROTEIN PER SERVING ON THIS LIST

And the winner is…

As you can see, there are a wide-variety of low-calorie protein powders to choose from, but which one stands out at the front of the pack? The answer is simple:

Legion Whey+

Featuring 22 grams of premium natural whey isolate from grass-fed cows and only 100 calories per serving, it’s easy to see why more and more people are turning to Legion for their daily protein needs. If you want to burn fat and gain lean muscle, chances are it won’t disappoint.

Combined with a healthy meal plan and regular exercise, this has the power to turn you into a fat-burning, muscle-building machine!

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