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

A selection of the best protein shake for losing weight options, including PhD, Huel, Innermost, and Misfits protein bars
(Image credit: PhD/Huel/Innermost/Misfits)

The best protein shake for losing weight could be one of the best additions to your weekly meal plan if you're looking to stay full while lowering your daily calorie intake. 

Protein is one of the body's essential building blocks, vital for processes such as growth and repair. It's also one of the slower macronutrients to digest (along with fiber), meaning protein-rich foods keep you fuller for longer. If you're trying to lose weight, adding a little more protein to your food can be a real game changer, helping you stay fuller for longer and less likely to snack on high-sugar, calorie-dense foods.

Even the best protein shake for losing weight isn't meant to be a meal replacement though. All but one of these shakes is designed to complement your regular diet, adding more protein to your weekly meals via the best protein powders for women. Here, we reveal our round-up of the best tried and tested shakes, plus advice from nutritionists on how to choose the best one for you if you're looking for the best high-protein low-calorie foods.

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, 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, I 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: The 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 - 400 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 but we have included a few on the lower end of the spectrum.

Best protein shake for weight loss, tested by a health editor 

Best protein shake for losing weight 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 (30g): 113
Protein per serving: 24g
Protein type: Whey isolate
Sizes available: 900g or 500g
RRP: £15.99 - £22.99

Reasons to buy

+
Mild taste 
+
Low fat and low sugar
+
Multiple sizes available
+
Various flavors available

Reasons to avoid

-
Unsuitable for vegans or those who are lactose-intolerant

You might associate Decathlon better with sports equipment, but the brand also does a great range of protein powders. I tried the Isolate Whey Protein from the range and was pleasantly surprised at how high-quality the powder was for just £15.99 for 500g. This shake also tastes pleasantly mild, regardless of which flavor you choose, and blends well with milk.  

Among the flavors are chocolate (the one I tested for this guide), vanilla, cookies and cream, and strawberry, an impressive selection to choose from when compared to many other protein powder options on the market. 

In terms of ingredients, the shake uses grass-fed whey and is low in sugar, with just 3g per serving. It also has a relatively high amount of protein (24g) per serving, making it ideal for those who want to keep their protein intake high while keeping their carbohydrates and sugars down. There are also only 113 calories per serving, which makes it a perfect snack if you're in a calorie deficit to lose weight. However, if you're looking for an option with a little more protein, the Innermost Lean Protein could be a better option for you at 31g protein per serving. For the price and quality of ingredients though, I believe you can't really go too wrong with this one.

The only downside of the Decathlon Isolate Whey Protein is that it doesn't blend too well with water, with some of the powdery flavor coming through more here. It wasn't too unpleasant though and this wasn't the case when I blended the powder with milk. The overall mild taste also meant it was easy to add to smoothies and I even made my own high-protein ice cream with it a few weeks ago.

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 losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving (35g): 128
Protein per serving: 24g
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. The Gourmet Vegan Protein is made up of three premium types of vegan protein, including sunflower and pea protein, and it's available in chocolate, strawberry, and caramel flavors. It's also only 128 calories with 24g of protein per serving. 

Much like Decathalon's Whey Isolate, our top choice for the UK, this shake avoids the powdery pitfall that many don't. The powder blends well with both water and milk, there's also no chalk-like aftertaste, and it goes down easily. The flavor is solid too, as it tastes exactly like a milkshake of the same flavoring and offers that sweet kick without the calories even when combined with milk. 

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 would suggest is the case generally with vegan protein, thanks to the triple combination of plant-based proteins rather than animal-based protein sources. 

While this protein powder is easy to blend, digest, and enjoy, the color of some flavors can be a little alarming. For example, the vanilla flavor appears greenish when blended. At £26.99, it's also one of the more expensive options on our list but I think it's worth the price if your budget can stretch and you don't mind its appearance. 

Innermost Lean Protein

(Image credit: Innermost)

3. Innermost Lean Protein

Best protein shake for fat loss

Specifications

Calories per serving: 148
Protein per serving: 31g
Protein type: Whey
Sizes available: 600g
RRP: £29.95

Reasons to buy

+
High in protein
+
Contains fat-metabolizing agents

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited flavors available

Losing weight and losing fat are two different things, although they tend to happen at the same time. If your focus is on losing fat while maintaining muscle, as it may be since you're looking for protein shakes for losing weight, Innermost's Lean Protein is a fantastic option. Along with 31g of protein, this mixture contains two agents proven to help with fat metabolism: Acetyl l-carnitine, which supports the process of breaking down fat for energy, and inulin, which encourages healthy bacteria in the gut linked to lower fat levels. Together, research by Xuzhou Medical University reveals, they can aid healthy weight loss.

Naturally, you'll have to combine this with exercise (and a healthy diet, as Innermost's protein isn't formulated as a meal replacement shake) but at 31g of protein per serving, this is one of the highest protein shakes on our list with relatively low calories at just 148 per serving. 

While we didn't test the shake long enough to determine if it made any substantial change to the rate of weight loss, this was certainly one of the shakes that kept us to the fullest for the longest. 

Innermost's Lean Protein is made up of just one type of protein primarily, so while this probably isn't the protein to go for if your stomach is particularly sensitive to powder, for most people it will likely be perfectly fine. Blend with water or milk, whatever you prefer, I found similar results between the two. 

Huel Ready to Drink

(Image credit: Huel)

4. Huel Ready-to-Drink

The meal replacement protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 400
Protein per serving: 22g
Protein type: Plant-based
Sizes available: 500ml
RRP: £23.99 for 6 bottles

Reasons to buy

+
Ready-made shake
+
High in fiber 
+
Vegan
+
Many flavors available

Reasons to avoid

-
Lower in protein than others

Most of the best protein shakes for losing weight are designed to be taken in conjunction with meals, as something to snack on when dieting. However, meal replacement shakes are useful if you're short on time or don't get enough protein at every meal. Huel Ready-to-Drink is not a meal replacement shake by design but it does contain the 26 essential vitamins and minerals needed to keep the body thriving through the day. 

With 400 calories per serving, it's significantly higher than many others on our list but that's because designed to replace an entire meal. If you're not losing weight in a calorie deficit and looking for a quick, easy, filling, and nutritious lunch option that's lower in calories than many high-street options out there, this could be the perfect one. 

I tested out the Salted Caramel flavor for a couple of days, replacing my regular lunch with one of these 500ml shakes. Overall, I found it kept hunger away for at least five hours, carrying me through from lunch to dinner. As someone with more of a savory tooth than a sweet one though, I did find this flavor a little much by the bottom of the bottle. Other flavors available include classic vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. 

PE Nutrition Performance Lean

(Image credit: PE)

5. PE Nutrition Performance Lean

Best low calorie protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 98
Protein per serving: 12g
Protein type: Protein Isolate
Sizes available: 900g
RRP: £25

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 and calorie intake. The lean vanilla shake from PE is formulated with green tea extract and prebiotics as well, so the ingredients in this shake are an added bonus for those who otherwise struggle to digest protein powder. I didn't feel bloated at all after this shake and found it blended perfectly with zero lumps, either using water or milk.

With only 98 calories and 1.7g of sugar per serving, it scored well in my 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, 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 is minimal compared to other products on this list, such as the Decathalon Whey Isolate.

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 help people on their journey to lose weight without dieting and tone up," says Glover. "Opting for this lean protein means that you can maintain muscle while losing weight, provided you pair it with exercise like strength training."

Form Performance Protein

(Image credit: Form)

6. Form Performance Protein

Best low-sugar protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 154
Protein per serving: 30g
Protein type: Pea Protein
Sizes available: 520g
RRP: £23

Reasons to buy

+
High in protein
+
No artificial flavors or sweeteners
+
Vegan
+
Great range of flavors 

Reasons to avoid

-
Very strong flavor

Form provides many different protein options but for healthy weight loss, the Performance Protein blend is the best. This plant-based mixture is high in protein (30g per serving) and contains 26 vitamins and minerals, as well as other natural ingredients to support gut health and immunity. And with 0.1g of sugar, it's certainly the top choice for those looking for something sweet while cutting back on chocolate and other sweet foods. 

Of course, with any low-sugar product that uses alternative ingredients to create flavor, 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. I found I could taste this protein shake when combined with fruits in a smoothie, water, and milk, so some people may find the flavor a little intense. For a mild alternative, try the Decathalon Whey Protein Isolate or Bulk Vegan Protein Powder. 

Bulk Pure Whey Isolate

(Image credit: Bulk)

7. Bulk Pure Whey Isolate

Best flavored protein shake for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 108
Protein per serving : 24g
Protein type: Whey Protein Isolate
Sizes available: 1kg to 5kg
RRP: £35

Reasons to buy

+
Great variety of flavors available
+
Blends well with milk and water
+
Different size options 

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly higher in sugars 
-
Can become frothy

For anyone searching for more unique flavors, Bulk has another great option. The classic Bulk Pure Whey Isolate comes in 14 different flavors, including Pistachio Ice Cream, Birthday Cake, and Chocolate Mint, along with the standard chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry varieties. 

I found this protein dissolved well with milk and water, turning into a shake easily, and in terms of taste, this shake scored among the highest out of all those I tried since the flavor wasn't too overpowering (I had the chocolate mint and vanilla flavors) nor underwhelming. For those wanting a reliable, animal-based protein shake, you can't go too wrong with this one, whatever flavor you choose.

The mixture does go a little frothy when shaken a few times but this settles down after a while and it doesn't affect the taste. As well, in contrast to Bulk's vegan option, the vanilla flavor of the shake doesn't turn a surprising shade of green when made. 

PhD diet whey protein powder

(Image credit: PhD)

8. PhD Diet Whey

Best protein shake for losing weight to buy online

Specifications

Calories per serving: 91
Protein per serving : 17g
Protein type: Whey and soya Protein
Sizes available: 1kg
RRP: £22

Reasons to buy

+
Available to buy from Amazon and most major retailers
+
Contains amino acids 
+
Low in calories
+
Available in various flavors 

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. 

A highlight of this protein powder is that it's available to buy from most major retailers and on Amazon. While this won't be the main dealbreaker for many people, it's something to consider when choosing your pick of the best protein shake for losing weight.

Compared to some of the other options on this list, including the options from Bulk and Innermost, it's also relatively affordable at £22. If you're buying from Amazon and have already signed up to Prime Delivery, this will include next-day delivery for all sizes and flavors. 

I had high hopes for this protein during taste testing as it's one of the most popular brands out there. Although the taste was pleasant and the powder blended into a shake very easily using milk and water, it didn't blend as well as some of the others. When blending to create a slightly more concentrated mixture, the flavor of the chocolate powder was a little too sweet, leaning towards sickly. I'd suggest adding a little more milk or water than usual when blending this one up. Nutritionally, it's still low in sugar (under 3g) and only contains 91 calories, but it does only offer 17g of protein per serving, which I found a little disappointing. 

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: $44

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 than 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. 

I 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 so that we took the advice of some reviewers online and tried blending it with coffee which made for a delicious alternative. 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 losing weight with added caffeine

Specifications

Protein per serving: 30g
Calories per serving: 150 calories
Protein type: Whey
Sizes available: 1.75 lb
RRP: $25.99

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 - 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, however, and there were some lumps left at the bottom of the shaker. If you're looking for a creamier, thicker texture, I'd suggest oat milk. 

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: $39.99

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. 

Pulsin Pea Protein Powder

(Image credit: Holland & Barrett)

4. 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. 

Misfits vegan protein bar variety pack

(Image credit: Misfits)

5. Misfits Vegan Protein Bar Variety Pack

Best protein bars for losing weight

Specifications

Calories per serving: 180
Protein per serving: 16g
Protein type: Pea Protein, Organic Sunflower Protein
Sizes available: 15g
RRP: $30 per pack

Reasons to buy

+
Low-calorie protein bars 
+
Vegan
+
Great variety of flavors 
+
Available to buy on Amazon

Reasons to avoid