Does protein powder expire?
Protein powders are the most popular supplement among fitness and health-conscious people. Depending on how long that old protein powder is sitting in your kitchen cabinet, you might be wondering whether it is safe to use or not. Does protein powder expire? Let’s find out in this post.
Protein powder basics
Protein powders are a relatively inexpensive and convenient way of increasing the protein intake in your body, especially if you follow a strict exercise routine. Protein consumption helps in muscle building, fat loss, blood pressure control, blood sugar stabilization, and bone health. Protein powders are extracted from many different sources like:
- milk — whey or casein
- egg white
Products that state one source of protein may also contain multiple sources to alter absorption rate and reduce the cost. For instance, some protein powders contain both slow-digesting casein as well as fast-digesting whey protein. Protein powders contain varying levels of nutrients such as vitamins, carbs, minerals, and fats.
These also contain additives like artificial and natural flavors, flavor enhancers and protectors, and also thickening agents to add creamier consistency.
How long does protein powder last?
The shelf life of a product refers to how long the food can retain its quality after production. Supplement manufacturers are not required to mention the expiration date on their products. However, companies provide expiration dates voluntarily along with manufacturing dates.
Researchers found that whey protein powder does not expire for 12 -19 months if stored in ideal conditions in a shelf-life test. The accelerated shelf-life test is a method to measure and estimate the stability of protein powder if stored in poor storage conditions like high humidity and temperature.
In another study, it was found that whey protein has a shelf life of 9 months when stored at 95 degrees F and 18 months when stored at room temperature that is 70 degrees 7 with 40-605 humidity levels.
It is still unknown whether this research holds true for other types of protein powder as well. However, if stored under similar conditions, it is likely that it will less or more last for a similar amount of time span.
Most protein powders available in the market contain additives like salt, lecithin, and maltodextrin that help increase the product’s shelf life by two years.
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Can you consume expired protein powder?
Except for infant formulas, the expiration dates of protein powders are not an indicator of safety but the quality of protein powder. These are low moisture foods and not prone to bacterial growth.
Consuming protein powders after their expiration date is safe if it is stored in ideal conditions. A study showed that amino acid lysine found in whey protein decreased about 5.5% to 4.2% in 12 months when stored at room temperature.
However, the protein used in research did not contain any additives like other brands available in the market to extend the shelf life of a product.
Sometimes the protein powder can also go bad before the expiration date when not stored under ideal conditions like cools and dry places. For instance, a study showed that when protein stored at 113 degrees f showed increased signs of oxidation, leading to the production of various compounds which cause undesirable changes in its taste.
Oxidation is the reaction of fats with oxygen which tends to increase with storage time and can damage the quality of protein powders. High temperature increases oxidation by upto ten times for every 50 degrees F. Like eating spoiled food; there are high chances that consuming spoiled protein powders can make you sick.
Protein powders are the most common supplements which are derived from both plant-based and animal-based resources. Like every other consumable product, protein powders can also go bad.
Research suggests that the shelf life of a whey protein is between 9 to 19 months. Some manufacturers also mention the 12 months expiration date on the packaging of the product, which is most likely to have additives for long shelf life.
If the protein shows no signs of going bad, then it is safe to consume. Some common signs of spoiled protein are bitter taste, rancid smell, clumping, and change in color.
If you see any of these signs, it is best to get a new one.