The best protein shake for losing weight, tried and tested by us

If weight loss is your goal, then read on to find the best protein shake for losing weight

The best protein shake for losing weight, including Optimum Nutrition, MyProtein, and more
(Image credit: MyProtein/Decathlon/PhD/Optimum Nutrition/Future)

Looking for the best protein shake for losing weight? We've tried and tested a selection of the best powders from both UK and US markets to discover which ones offer the highest protein to lowest calorie ratio, ideal for maintaining that all-important calorie deficit. 

Protein is one of the body's most vital macronutrients. It's essential for muscle growth, repair, and maintenance. It helps keep our metabolism working hard and as it's also one of the most filling nutrients, a high-protein diet is likely to keep us fuller for longer and less likely to snack between meals. A real game-changer for anyone looking to lose weight.  

Simply by maintaining adequate protein levels, you can help your body hold on to muscle mass and help ensure healthy, sustainable weight loss. But finding the best protein powders for weight loss can be tricky, with so many out there to choose from. Here, we've taste-tested and reviewed various protein shakes for weight loss depending on how well they would fit into a weight loss program, so you can make the best choice for your goals. 

How we tested the best protein shake for losing weight

Why you can trust Woman & Home Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

There are a range of protein shakes that can help us with weight loss out there but what exactly should you be looking for in a product? "Most protein shakes contain around 80% protein, are high in essential amino acids, and low in calories," says Alex Glover (opens in new tab), senior nutritionist at Holland & Barrett. "Diet whey is a good choice for those cutting calories and products containing whey, soy, and milk proteins can help you feel fuller for longer. Vegan protein shakes are now also widely available and tend to be made from soy or pea protein, both of which still contain plenty of essential amino acids for building muscle."

To find the best protein shake for losing weight, we assessed a number of different factors including:

  • Type of protein - the three main types of protein include: concentrate, isolate, and hydra. Experts believe that isolate is often better for weight loss, as it’s often lower in carbohydrates and fats.
  • Ingredients - included in protein shakes are whey, casein, soy, rice, and pea protein as a base, along with added ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, vitamins, prebiotics, and even electrolytes.
  • Flavor - the best protein shake for losing weight had to be one that tasted good, so we also rated our products on flavor.
  • Sugar content - protein shakes with a low carb intake (ideally less than 5g per serving) are best if you're wanting to lose weight. 
  • Calories - if weight loss is your goal, then you need a protein shake low in calories to stay within a calorie deficit. We marked shakes on the number of calories they contained per serving, which ranged from 91-215 calories per serving. 
  • Protein per serving - powders with a higher protein content will help keep you fuller for longer and keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders. Anywhere upwards of 20g of protein per serving is ideal. 

Best protein shake for weight loss 

Best protein shake for weight loss UK

Decathlon Isolate Whey Protein

(Image credit: Decathlon)

1. Decathlon Isolate Whey Protein

The overall best protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving : 118
Protein per serving: 24g
Protein type: Whey isolate
Sizes available: 900g
RRP: $30.32 / £22.99

Reasons to buy

+
Mild taste 
+
Low fat and low sugar
+
High-protein amount per serving

Reasons to avoid

-
Unsuitable for vegans or lactose-intolerant people 

You might associate Decathlon better with sports equipment, but the brand also does a great range of protein powders. Our testers tried the Isolate Whey Protein from the range, and were pleasantly surprised at how high-quality the powder was for just $30.32 / £22.99. Many protein shakes have an overpowering taste of protein, however, this shake had a mild (but still chocolatey) flavor when blended with nut or oat milk. This also makes it a great choice for anyone on a diet who is also trying to cut back on sugar. 

It was a bit of an issue when we wanted to blend the powder with just water, as some of this powdery flavour came through. But it wasn't unpleasant at all and its mild taste means you could add it to smoothies, and even make your own high protein ice cream, without the risk of making it too sickly. 

In terms of ingredients, the shake uses grass-fed whey and is low sugar, with just 3g per serving. It also has a high amount of protein (24g) per serving when compared to some of the other best protein shakes for weight loss, making it ideal for those who want to keep their protein intake high while keeping their carbohydrates and sugars down. Our testers agreed that for the price and quality of ingredients, you can't really go too wrong with this one if you're wanting to lose weight. 

Bulk Gourmet Vegan protein powder in strawberry flavor, one of the best protein shakes for losing weight

(Image credit: Bulk)

2. Bulk Gourmet Vegan Protein

Best vegan protein shake for weight loss

Specifications

Calories per serving: 128
Protein per serving: 23g
Protein type: Pea protein isolate, sunflower protein, chickpea protein
Sizes available: 700g
RRP: £26.99

Reasons to buy

+
Three delicious flavors 
+
Easy digestion 
+
Blends well with both water and milk 

Reasons to avoid

-
Only available in one size 

When it comes to vegan protein, Bulk is up there with the best. One of the latest additions to the range, Gourmet Vegan Protein is made up of three premium types of vegan protein - including sunflower and pea protein - and available in chocolate, strawberry, and caramel. It's also only 128 calories with 23g of protein per serving. 

Much like Decathalon's whey isolate, this shake avoids the powdery pitfall that many don't. Not only does the powder blend well with both water and milk, there's no chalk-like aftertaste and it goes down easily. The flavor is solid too, as even when combined with just water, it tastes exactly like a milkshake of the same flavoring and offers that sweet kick without the calories. 

Bulk's Gourmet Protein also feels easier on the stomach than some of the other powders on our list, which studies by the University of Limerick (opens in new tab) would suggest, is down to the triple combination of vegan protein rather than animal-based protein sources. 

At £26.99, it's certainly one of the more expensive options on our list but we think it's worth the price if your budget can stretch, thanks to the delicious flavors and easy digestion. If not, the brand offers plenty of alternatives worth checking out too - like the traditional Vegan Protein Powder (opens in new tab) at £17.99, or the standard Pea Protein Isolate (opens in new tab) at just under £10 for 500g. 

Innermost Strong Protein, one of the best protein shakes for losing weight

(Image credit: Innermost)

3. Innermost The Strong Protein

The best muscle-building protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 147
Protein per serving: 34g
Protein type: Whey Concentrate, Whey Isolate, Casein
Sizes available: 600g or sample size, 3 x 40g
RRP: £29.95 / $44.95

Reasons to buy

+
Highest in protein 
+
Contains creatine, another muscle-building ingredient

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited flavors available

Losing weight while gaining muscle is a delicate balance: you need to eat enough to fuel the muscles but go over your calorie deficit and you'll stop losing weight. Enter the best protein powder for growing muscle, Innermost's The Strong Protein. 

Naturally you'll have to combine this powder with enough strength training and exercise to put the muscles under strain but at 34g of protein per serving, this is one of the highest protein shakes on our list with relatively low calories at just 147 per serving. It also contains creatine, a substance naturally found in the muscle cells that many studies - including one from Arak University (opens in new tab) - prove helps with growth. 

While we didn't test the shakes long enough to determine if it made any substantial change to our muscle mass level, this was certainly one of the shakes that kept us fullest for the longest post-workout. 

It's made up of two different types of whey protein and casein, another type of protein that's slower to digest than the other two. So while this probably isn't the protein to go for if your stomach is particularly sensitive to protein powder, as our tester found they were a little bloated after drinking the shake, for most people it will likely be perfectly fine. Blend with water or milk, whatever you prefer, our testers found similar results. 

Protein Works Diet Meal Replacement Extreme

(Image credit: Protein Works)

4. Protein Works Diet Meal Replacement Extreme

The best filling protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 214
Protein per serving: 24g
Protein type: Blend of Soy and Casein Protein
Sizes available: 500g, 1kg, 2kg, 4kg
RRP: $16.49 / £12.50

Reasons to buy

+
Filling 
+
High protein 

Reasons to avoid

-
Powdery aftertaste

Protein shakes are often best taken in conjunction with a healthy diet, however, many people use meal replacement shakes if they're short on time, or don't get enough protein at every meal. The Protein Works Diet Meal Replacement Extreme is high in protein (coming in at 24g per serving) and packed full of vitamins and minerals.

The idea of the shake is to help you lose weight, maintain muscle mass and also help keep hunger at bay. This was a higher-calorie shake than some of the others we tested, coming in 214 calories per serving, however, as this is meant to replace either your breakfast or lunch, it's only natural that the calories would be a little higher to keep you satiated. 

Experts advise caution when using meal replacement shakes as a weight-loss tool, as many don't contain the micronutrients and fiber that our bodies need. However, as a short-term solution, they can be effective for weight loss. Our testers did notice that the 500g packet was a little small (especially as you'd be wanting to drink this at least once a day), so if you do like this protein, then size up to one of the bigger bags available. 

PE Nutrition Performance Lean

(Image credit: PE)

5. PE Nutrition Performance Lean

The best low fat protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 98
Protein per serving: 12g
Protein type: Protein Isolate
Sizes available: 900g
RRP: $26.38 / £20

Reasons to buy

+
Blends well
+
Low in fat and sugar 
+
Added prebiotics

Reasons to avoid

-
Low amount of protein per serving 

This was undoubtedly the best protein shake for losing weight for those on a low fat diet, or looking to cut back on their fat intake. The lean vanilla shake from PE is formulated with green tea extract and prebiotics, so the ingredients in this shake were a huge added bonus. Testers commented that they didn't feel bloated after consuming this shake and that it blended perfectly with zero lumps. 

PE also comes recommended by the experts. "PE Nutrition offers a variety of different products for those wanting to reach their goals, from Simply Whey, to Performance Gainer and Performance Lean, which can people on their journey to lose weight and tone up," says Glover. "Opting for this lean protein means that you can maintain muscle while losing weight."

With only 98 calories and 1.7g of sugar per serving, it scored well in our testing, however, one point of concern was the lack of protein per serving. In fact, this shake scored lower than most of the other protein shakes did, coming in at only 12g per serving. Also, compared to other brands, there aren't as many variations in flavor available. PE only stocks Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry, which could put people off from investing in the brand. 

Form Peakblend

(Image credit: Form)

6. Form Peakblend

The best low-sugar protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 177
Protein per serving: 17g
Protein type: Pea Protein
Sizes available: 1.3kg
RRP: $65 / £49

Reasons to buy

+
Compostable pack
+
No artificial flavors or sweeteners
+
Plant-based option

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than other brands

Form provides many different protein options depending on your goals, but if you're wanting to lose weight, then their Peakblend Vegan Meal Replacement can be a good option. This nutritionally complete protein is high in protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, containing 26 vitamins and minerals, as well as other natural ingredients to support gut health and immunity. 

Testers agreed that this was a great low sugar protein shake to help people reach their weight loss goals. Even though the calories per serving were a little higher, this shake provides a meal replacement option, so the extra calories will keep you fuller for longer. Of course, with any low sugar product, it does take a little while for your tastebuds to adjust to the change in sweetness – but that's not to say that this shake is unpleasant. The only negative our testers could find was the price. At £49 for a 1.6kg bag, it was the priciest protein powder that we tried, but Form's attention to detail with formula and packaging comes through. 

Bulk Pure Whey Isolate

(Image credit: Bulk)

7. Bulk Pure Whey Isolate

The best flavored protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 108
Protein per serving : 24g
Protein type: Whey Protein Isolate
Sizes available: 500g, 1kg, 2.5kg and 5kg
RRP: $26 / £19.44

Reasons to buy

+
Different size options available 
+
Good variety of flavors

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly higher in sugars 
-
Can become frothy

For those not interested in vegan protein, Bulk has another great pick at a low calorie point. We opted to try the Pure Whey Isolate Powder for review, which comes in at 108 calories per serving and contains 24g of protein per serving. 

Testers enjoyed the consistency of this shake, as it dissolved well with milk and water, and the taste was neither too overpowering nor underwhelming. Our testers did point out that the shake was a little frothy, but some people like this, so that is very much down to personal preference. In terms of taste, this shake scored highest out of all the protein shakes we tried and the good news is that it comes in a variety of different flavors, meaning if you get bored with one then there are plenty of others to choose from. 

PhD Diet Whey

(Image credit: Holland & Barrett)

8. PhD Diet Whey

The best budget protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 91
Protein per serving : 17g
Protein type: Whey and Soya Protein
Sizes available: 500g, 1kg, 2kg
RRP: $12 / £8.99

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable price 
+
Pleasant taste

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 17g of protein per serving

Another well-established protein brand in the fitness industry is PhD. PhD offers a high-protein lean matrix option for those looking to lose weight and tone up. Like PE nutrition, it combines protein with fat-burning ingredients such as l-carnitine, CLA and green tea to help people meet their weight loss goals. 

Our testers had high hopes for this protein but felt it didn't blend as well as some of the other powders and shakes we tried. Also, the flavor was a little too sweet, leaning towards sickly at times. Nutritionally, it's still low in sugar (under 3g), but it does contain only 17g of protein per serving, which our testers found a little disappointing. 

Overall, this is a great budget option if you're looking for the best protein shake for weight loss, but we'd recommend sticking to shakes with a high amount of protein per serving to keep you fuller for longer and to help you retain muscle mass. 

Best protein shake for weight loss US

Optimum Nutrition flavor protein powder, one of the best protein shakes for losing weight

(Image credit: Optimum Nutrition)

1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder

Best protein shake for losing weight US

Specifications

Calories per serving: 110 calories
Protein per serving: 24g
Protein type: Whey protein and hydrolyzed isolate
Sizes available: 2 - 10lb
RRP: $35

Reasons to buy

+
Smooth taste 
+
Higher amount of protein per serving
+
Blends well with different milks and water
+
Lots of flavors to choose from

Reasons to avoid

-
Flavor not as palatable as other powders on the list

Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard is one of our overall favorites when it comes to protein powders and it's ideal especially for those who are trying to lose weight as it contains two different types of protein: whey and hydrolyzed isolate. This not only means it's super digestible, but there's more protein per serving that some of the other picks on our list - and only 110 calories per serving. 

This shake blends relatively well in a standard shaker but it can retain some lumps, especially when blended with water. If you like shakes smooth then we recommend using plant or cow's milk and blending your protein mixture before drinking, rather than just shaking. 

We went for the French Vanilla flavor for testing purposes, but I've tried the Chocolate Malt before as well. In this case, the vanilla was quite artificial in flavor and overpowering - so much that we took the advice of some reviewers online and tried blending it with coffee. Delicious! The Chocolate Malt is a more laid-back flavor with a biscuity edge to it. 

Premier Protein coffee flavor

(Image credit: Premier Protein)

2. Premier Protein Whey Powder

Best protein shake for added caffeine

Specifications

Protein per serving: 30g
Calories per serving: 150 calories
Protein type: Whey
Sizes available: 1.75 lb
RRP: $20.89

Reasons to buy

+
More protein in grams per serving 
+
Blends easily
+
Unique coffee flavor

Reasons to avoid

-
Package may arrive in different sizes 
-
Only three sizes to choose from

It's pretty uncommon for protein powder to offer additional extras, after all, it often just does what it says on the tin. If you're a coffee lover and want a shake pre-workout, this Premier Protein powder in Café Latte flavor is the one to go for. Along with a good 30g of protein per serving, which is higher than many of the other picks on our list, there's an impressive 95mg of caffeine per serving as well. That's a little more caffeine than a can of Red Bull. 

I tried this protein powder with normal milk, plant milk, and water, and found that almond milk was the best out of the bunch as it blended smoothly and created a rich, creamy texture. The water combination didn't do much to enhance the flavor and there were some lumps left at the bottom of the shaker. You could also try oat milk for an even thicker and creamier texture. 

MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate

(Image credit: MyProtein)

3. MyProtein Clear Whey Isolate

The best non-milk based protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 89
Protein per serving : 20g
Protein type: Hydrolysate
Sizes available: 522g or 1.6kg
RRP: $35.59 / £26.99

Reasons to buy

+
Great for people who don't like milky shakes 
+
Easy to prepare 
+
Lowest in calories

Reasons to avoid

-
Sugary compared to other shakes

Many people find milky protein powder difficult to stomach. One of the great benefits of protein powder is that it can come in many different forms. So for those people, the Clear Whey Isolate from MyProtein is a great alternative. Available in a range of alternative fruity flavors that don’t follow the traditional route of protein powder, such as Orange Mango, Peach Tea, Bitter Lemon, and Watermelon, this shake makes a nice change from the usual types of protein powders.

Testers liked this protein powder for its squash-like drinkability and how tasty it was with just water. In terms of weight loss, this protein powder scored extra points for being a whey isolate protein and at 90 calories a serving, it's great for people looking to up their protein intake while keeping their daily calorie count low. However, there are a lot of artificial flavors and sweeteners in this shake, so best to avoid this shake if you want to try and cut down on sugar in your diet. 

Misfits Vegan protein shake in cookies and cream flavor

(Image credit: Misfits)

4. Misfits Protein Powder

The best sweet protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 113
Protein per serving: 20g
Protein type: Pea Protein, Organic Sunflower Protein
Sizes available: 500g
RRP: $28 / £20

Reasons to buy

+
Natural ingredients, including sweeteners
+
Variety of flavors 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can become sickly after a while

If you have a sweet tooth, one of the hardest things about losing weight is often having to moderate your intake of chocolate, biscuits and other 3pm-snack essentials, which is why we had to include a sweet protein powder on our list. 

Misfits Vegan Protein Powder comes in three flavors: Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Cookies & Cream, and Vanilla. While it's lower in grams than many of the other protein powders on our list, if a sweet treat is what you're after, then Misfits certainly delivers. While many sweet protein powders taste artificial, this one really doesn't - probably because it's made of all natural ingredients. 

Testers particularly loved the cookies & cream flavor of this protein powder as it was sweet at the first taste but had a moreish biscuit finish. They also found it blended well with different types of milk and as it's a plant-based protein, it was easily digestible even when drunk after a meal. For those learning how to stop eating chocolate as part of their weight loss journey, this is the best protein shake for having the best of both worlds.

One note would be that this protein powder can get a little sickly after a while. We found it's best prepared with a sugar-free alternative milk like almond or oat and served in a short glass rather than as a long shake. If you find it's too much, Misfits Vegan Protein Powder is also available in bar form as one of the best high protein snacks to enjoy. 

Pulsin Pea Protein Powder

(Image credit: Holland & Barrett)

5. Pulsin Pea Protein Powder

The best unflavored protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving : 41
Protein per serving: 8g
Protein type: Pea Protein
Sizes available: 250g
RRP: $20.71

Reasons to buy

+
Vegan option
+
No added ingredients 
+
Good for adding to smoothies and bakes

Reasons to avoid

-
Low in protein compared to other brands

Unflavored protein powders aren't to everyone's taste, but they can be great for adding to smoothies, yogurts, and bakes, because they take on the flavor of whatever you choose to pair it with. 

Testers loved the minimal ingredients in this powder (it only contains pea protein) and noticed that following the taste test, they experienced very minimal bloating – a good sign that your body is digesting the protein well. If you're looking to eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet, then this is a great option for you, as it contains no more than 0.1g of sugar per serving. However, it doesn't pack as much protein as some of the other brands, with each serving only containing a measly 8g of protein. 

Testers agreed that while this is a great plant-based, unflavored option, it might not help you reach your weight loss goals, unless you add a few servings to your daily meals. 

Do protein shakes help with weight loss?

If you're looking to lose fat, then protein shakes can definitely help you along your journey. "As well as helping with fat loss, protein supplementation can help you retain your lean muscle," says nutritionist Glover, "This makes it an effective, easy, and scientifically-proven way to help with sustainable weight loss."

Protein is more satiating than fat and carbs, as it takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, which helps us feel full. This results in fewer cravings and reduced snacking. "What’s more, digesting protein burns more calories than digesting carbohydrates, meaning that eating more protein will increase metabolic rate; meaning you burn more calories at rest," he adds. 

Of course, protein powder isn’t a magic weight loss powder. If you want to lose weight, you'll need to make sure you're in a calorie deficit. This is when you burn more calories than you eat every day, and it's normally achieved through a combination of diet changes and exercise. Even if you add the best protein shake for losing weight to your daily diet, you won’t lose weight overnight, but it is one of the best foods if you're wondering what to snack on when dieting.

Are protein shakes good for women?

Yes, protein shakes can be just as beneficial for women as men. As protein is our source of amino acids (the building blocks that our body needs to repair and renew muscle, hair, and skin cells) and is responsible for building brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that support mood and sleep, it's important that we get enough in our diet. 

Here, our experts why this food group is key for both genders:

"Men and women do carry weight differently, however when it comes to weight loss, the same rules apply for both genders," says Glover. "Some protein powders are marketed more towards women and avoid words like ‘muscle’ to dispel the myth that protein powder makes you pack on bulk. However, the formulas are generally the same, save the occasional addition of vitamins and minerals associated with women’s health are added to the protein, such as folic acid, vitamin B6 and iron."

"For women, in particular, maintaining healthy bone mass is an important part of healthy aging and adequate protein is important for this," says nutritionist Daisy York (opens in new tab), an expert in personalized nutrition. "Including protein at every eating event is a valuable clinical pearl that we share with clients whose goals are linked to weight loss. Not only does this allow the body to gain all the building blocks it needs for optimal function, it stabilizes energy levels, helps us to feel fuller for longer, and reduces the temptation for snacking."

Stacey Carter

With five years of experience working across print and digital publications, Stacey is a journalist who specializes in writing about the latest developments in health and wellbeing. She has also previously written for Women’s Health, Get The Gloss, Fit & Well, Stylist, and Natural Health magazine, covering current health trends and interviewing leading figures in the wellness space. 


When she’s not talking to health experts, you can probably find her hiking somewhere in the Welsh countryside or near the coast. Her favorite two ways to switch off are a Pilates class and a glass of wine with a home-cooked meal.