How Long Does Protein Powder Last? Can it Expire & Go Bad?

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: June 19, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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How long can protein powder last? Does it have an expiration date? This is one of the most commonly asked questions by individuals in the fitness sector. Well, everything has an expiration date, including protein powder.

Normally, protein powder has a shelf life of roughly 1-2 years. However, how you store your supplement also influences its shelf life.

Today, I will give you tips on how to evaluate if your protein powder has gone bad. Also, I will guide you on the best way to store your protein powder.

Quick Summary

  • Protein powder has a shelf life of between 1 and 2 years from the manufacturing date, and the expiration date is on the container.
  • Proper storage of protein powder in a cool and dry place is crucial to maintaining its quality and preventing spoilage.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, heat and moisture can significantly reduce the shelf life and effectiveness of protein supplements.
  • In my opinion, regularly checking the expiration date and storing protein powder correctly are key practices to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

Does Protein Powder Go Bad?

A scoop of supplement powder

It’s important to know that protein powders do indeed have an expiration date. You should always check the dates before you make those smoothies.

Protein powder products contain ingredients like soy, milk, or eggs that eventually expire.

According to insights from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whey protein is one example that is popular for a weight-loss diet [1].

It is not vegan-friendly because it’s made from cow's milk, and it does go bad just like any other dairy-based product.

The protein powder shelf life is usually 1 or 2 years. It’s easiest and safest to check the container for the protein powder expiration date.

So before you consume your supplements, make sure to check the label and verify the expiration date. Avoid the possible side effects of drinking expired products.

Is It Okay to Use Protein Powder Past Its Expiration Date?

A glass jar of protein powder spilled on a table

Based on my first-hand experience, I've found that expired protein powder loses its effectiveness.

I once used a protein powder past its expiry and noticed that the proteins had reacted with the sugars, leading to a breakdown in the formula and a noticeable decrease in its nutritional value.

Vitamins also naturally lose their potency as time goes on. People shouldn’t drink expired protein powder, as it doesn’t help them with their fitness or workout goals.

You can also watch this video by Lee Hayward to learn more about his take on consuming protein powders past their expiration date.

youtube

How Long Does Protein Powder Last Once Opened?

Contrary to popular opinion, the life expectancy of protein powder doesn't change based on when the container is opened.

The only factor that could change your protein powder expiration is making sure the protein powder is stored properly.

Through my practical knowledge, I've learned the importance of storing protein powder in a cool, dry place. According to the article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), heat can cause moisture to build up in any supplements [2].

The best place to store protein powder includes a kitchen cupboard, food pantry, or desk drawers.

The top of your fridge at home is probably not the best place for your protein powder to be stored properly. This may help prevent your protein powders from expiring too soon.

"Regardless of how you store it, protein powder should be consumed before it reaches its expiration date. Storing it in line with recommended temperature and moisture guidelines can help prolong its quality, but it doesn't mean you can use it indefinitely."

- Barbara Kovalenko, Nutritional Consultant with the Lasta App

What’s the Best Way to Store Protein Powder?

Close up shot of pink protein powder on a table

The best protein powders will normally come in an airtight container designed to keep out moisture.

It may be best to leave your protein powder in this container for maximum efficiency instead of other bottles or zipper storage bags.

Moisture is the sworn enemy of protein powder storage. Any kind of liquid will make the powder dissolve and become unusable faster.

So if you open your container of protein powder and notice any lumps, then that’s a signal that you have expired protein powder.

How Can You Tell If Protein Powder Has Gone Bad?

Close up shot of protein powder on a wooden bowl and spoon

As indicated by my tests, a strange odor is a clear sign of spoilage in protein powder.

I experienced this first-hand when I opened a container that had been sitting for too long, and the off-putting smell was an immediate red flag.

Anything that tastes awful means that it is expired protein powder and shouldn’t be consumed.

Don't consume it just because you don't want to waste your money, but hey, it will cost more if you go to the hospital because of side effects.

How Long Does Protein Powder Last When Mixed?

Yes, you should be drinking it as soon as possible or storing it in your refrigerator. Otherwise, bacteria will begin to grow and make it unsafe to consume.

Try to drink it within 24 hours for best results, and definitely don’t wait months to consume protein shakes. Your body will thank you.

By taking care of your protein powder, you’re also taking care of yourself. If you need help with your fitness goals, then reach out to us to learn how we can help you.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2289832/
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302162257.htm
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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