Can Protein Powder Make You Fat?

If you are trying to lose weight, you are undoubtedly reassessing your diet. Whether protein powder is already a part of your current diet or you are considering adding it to your weight loss plan, you likely are wondering- can protein powder make you fat?

The short answer is no. Protein powder won’t inherently make you fat. But a chocolate bar won’t make you gain weight either if you’re eating within your body’s correct daily calorie allowance. 

So, we’ll explore the scenarios in which protein powder may and may not pack on the pounds.

Does Protein Powder Make You Gain Weight

Protein powder won’t make you gain weight as long as consuming it doesn’t cause you to go above your ideal daily allotted calorie intake. 

So, how do you know how many calories you should be eating?

Forbes offers a calorie calculator to get you started. Although most nutrition labels provide dietary advice based on a 2,000-calorie diet per day, the reality is that every person has different calorie needs. These needs depend on their age, height, current weight, and activity level.

Once you determine how many calories you need based on your current weight, you’ll need to deduct calories to create a deficit. 

It takes approximately 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat. However, it’s dangerous for your health to reduce your calorie intake excessively. Therefore, you should aim to cut 500 calories from your diet per day if you’d like to lose one pound per week.

As you’ll soon learn, there are potential weight loss benefits to consuming protein powder, so you might want to keep it on your list of diet foods. 

Understanding What Causes Weight Gain

When considering the question, “Can protein powder make you fat?” it’s crucial to understand that eating more calories than you burn causes weight gain, not the types of food you eat.

Therefore, if you’re considering incorporating protein powder into your weight loss diet, it’s vital to check the nutrition label. To maximize weight loss, it’s often helpful to look for a protein powder that’s low in:

  • Calories
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat

That’s not to say that carbohydrates and fat are inherently bad. These, along with protein, make up the three essential macronutrients your body requires.

However, protein powder that contains high amounts of carbohydrates and fat comes with more calories. Furthermore, the manufacturers may have even designed it to help people gain weight, which many bodybuilders seek to achieve. 

Muscle Weight vs. Fat Weight

You’ve likely heard the saying, “Muscle weighs more than fat.” We hate to break it to you, but this isn’t true. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat.

The difference is that if you look at a pound of muscle and the equivalent amount of fat, the muscle will appear smaller than the fat. That’s because muscle is denser than fat. So, it takes a lot more fat in volume to make up for the equivalent of space in muscle.

How does this relate to protein powder, you wonder?

The amino acids in protein are responsible for helping muscles repair themselves when they tear during an intense cardio workout or a weightlifting session. Each time they rebuild your muscles, a little extra muscle tissue forms, creating the toned look that so many people want.

However, people who have the idea in their heads that muscle weighs more than fat may fear that consuming protein powder will make them fatter.

You can now see this isn’t true. So, there’s no need to remove a low-calorie protein powder from your weight loss regimen if you’re worried about it making you fatter via muscle gain. 

Benefits of Protein Powder for Weight Loss

According to studies, protein, and thus, protein powder, may support you with your weight loss goals. It does so in several ways, including:

  • Reducing hunger
  • Causing the metabolism to work harder
  • Creating muscle, which burns more calories

Protein helps reduce hunger because it lowers the ghrelin hormone. Ghrelin is responsible for making you feel hungry, leading you to eat more calories than you burn throughout the day. Therefore, protein powder can help you feel full even while eating less food.

Another reason why protein powder can aid with weight loss is that it’s a thermic food, meaning that the metabolism has to work harder than other foods to break it down. As a result, your body will burn more calories digesting protein than fat and carbohydrates.

Finally, you already know that protein powder can help build muscle. And it just so happens that muscle burns more calories than fat. Experts estimate that ten pounds of fat burn about 20 calories, whereas ten pounds of muscle burn around 50 calories.

Side Effects of a High Protein Diet

You’re likely familiar with trendy high-protein diets like Atkins and the Zone diet. So, if you’d like to use protein powder to increase your protein intake for weight loss, we recommend speaking with your doctor.

Below are some of the side effects you may experience if you consume too much protein powder or other protein sources:

  • Constipation
  • Bad breath
  • Dehydration 
  • Calcium loss

In more severe cases of long-term high protein consumption, you might experience bone disorders, renal and liver function issues, and an increased risk of cancer.

So, it’s best to consume protein powder within your daily calorie and protein allowance. According to Harvard Health, the average adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. 

That said, other factors could influence this number, such as your age, sex, and fitness goals. Using an online calculator can help you narrow down your ideal protein goal. From there, you can work protein powder into your diet plan. 


Are you still curious about how protein powder can affect your weight? Read on for details.

Does whey protein make you fat?

Whey protein won’t make you fat as long as it’s not tipping you over the edge of consuming more than your recommended daily calories. So, determine how many calories you should be eating to maintain or lose weight and work your whey protein powder consumption around it.

Is protein powder good for weight loss?

Many protein powders can support weight loss. As long as you choose a low calorie, low carb variety and ensure you remain within your daily allotted calories, you can expect to see weight loss. Protein helps build muscle mass, which in turn burns calories. It also reduces hunger.

Can I take protein powder without working out?

Yes, you can take protein powder without working out if you need help meeting your minimum daily protein intake from food. It’s also an excellent option for controlling hunger, which can lead to weight loss.

Start Burning Those Calories

So, can protein powder make you gain weight? Technically, yes. 

However, most protein powders are low in calories and carbohydrates, making them an excellent option to include in your workout and weight loss routine. 

Remember, calories in versus calories out is the golden rule. So, as long as consuming protein powder doesn’t push you to retain more calories than you burn, you can expect to experience weight loss.