As a personal fitness coach, I have tested many protein powders over the years.
And while most people simply use the scoop that comes with protein supplements, there is sometimes a very good reason to understand how many tablespoons or grams of protein powder are in each scoop.
The reason this might be important to athletes is that many people don’t want to take the commonly suggested dose or serving size.
So, I teamed up with my dietitian to do some research into how to accurately measure protein in grams and tablespoon measurements.
- There is no international standard for scoops of protein powder, but you can make rough calculations based on average volume.
- A tablespoon is about 15 grams of protein powder, but every supplement scoop could be a different size.
- To work out the number of tablespoons of protein powder per scoop, you have to know the scoop size of your preferred supplement.
What Size Is a Scoop of Protein Powder in Tablespoons?
A typical scoop of protein is about 25 grams, which is equivalent to 1.7 tablespoons of protein powder.
But how do you calculate protein scoop content?
Let’s take a look.
Based on generally accepted measurements, one tablespoon is just under 15 grams . That means that one scoop of 25 grams of protein powder is about 1.7 tablespoons.
However, you’ll find that protein shakes have a wide range of protein scoop sizes, which is partially down to the target audience and the source of protein.
For example, on the nutrition facts label of whey protein containers for performance athletes, you’ll typically find anywhere from 23 to 30 grams per scoop of whey protein powder.
At the same time, a plant-based protein scoop is often just under 20 grams.
These are values that I have gathered from researching dozens of different products for this website.
And the important thing to understand is that you also need to look at the exact protein content per scoop.
Let me explain.
How Much Protein Does Each Scoop Contain?
Each scoop of protein powder will contain anywhere from 30% to 90% protein. This is largely dependent on the type and processing. For example, whey concentrate can be as low as 30% raw protein, while isolate is typically 90% .
“The percentage of protein in WPC [whey protein concentrate] depends on how concentrated it is. Lower end concentrates tend to have 30 percent protein and higher end up to 90 percent.”
- Natalie Olsen, R.D., L.D., ACSM EP-C, medicalnewstoday.com.
So, if the average scoop of whey-based protein powder is 25 grams, then an isolate would contain about 22.5 grams of pure protein.
That’s important to understand for performance athletes with strict macro diet guidelines.
And if you need a specific amount recommended by a dietitian, then you might need to take more or less than one scoop size. That’s where measuring in tablespoons can become convenient.
But there is a better option.
Is It Better to Weigh Protein Powder?
Yes, it can be better to weigh your protein powder to get the exact grams of protein powder.
Let’s say that your dietitian recommends that you have a whey protein shake with 15 grams in the morning and with 30 grams after your workout.
But your protein scoop size is 23 grams, and that makes working it out in scoops or tablespoons of protein powder a bit difficult.
Here’s what I do.
In the morning, I mix up my protein smoothie by using kitchen scales. I then also measure out the exact amount I need later in the day and transfer the powder into my shaker.
It’s then ready to mix with water in the afternoon once I complete my workout.
Ultimately, that kind of approach gives you a lot more control over your macros for building muscle and losing fat, and you don’t have to calculate how many tablespoons you might need to add.
How to Compare Different Protein Products?
I mentioned above that pretty much every brand will have a slightly different size scoop of protein powder.
But you have to look at the finer details on the label to figure out how the products compare to your personal needs.
Serving Size vs. Protein Content
One thing I hate with some whey protein suppliers is that they list the grams of protein powder on the front rather than how much pure protein each scoop contains.
For example, you might see big, bold writing on the front that a product contains 25 grams of protein powder per serving.
But if this is whey protein concentrate, then you might only be getting 15 grams of pure protein.
So, always check the label for details about what each protein scoop contains.
Personalized Servings per Container
You also need to calculate how many scoops of protein powder you personally need per day.
For example, I take 20 grams in my morning smoothie and 30 grams after my daily workout.
That’s a total of 50 grams on a typical day. In that case, buying 10-ounce containers (about 300 grams) won’t get me very far.
So, always work out your personal needs and then aim to buy larger containers.
You can check our recommended protein powders on the market here:
Is There a Standard Protein Powder Scoop Size?
No, there is no standard protein powder scoop size. Each product has different grams of protein powder per serving, but most of them range from 20-25 grams per scoop.
Can You Use the Scoop From a Different Protein Powder?
Yes, you can use the scoop from a different protein powder. However, this is quite likely going to give you a different number of grams of protein powder, but it can be a convenient trick to get an exact dose that’s different from the scoop in the packaging.
Get Your Protein Powder Dosage Right
I recommend that all of our readers spend time working out how many grams of protein powder they need on a daily basis.
And if that is a multiple of 15 grams, then using a tablespoon is a very convenient way to get an exact amount.
If you need some further advice on choosing the highest-quality protein powders, then we have some dedicated guides you should check out:
Our team has extensively researched and tested these supplements so that you have the confidence to buy the highest quality.
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