Does Protein Powder Expire?

Protein Powders and Expiration Dates

Hello to all nutrition and supplementation enthusiasts! We’ll delve into the world of protein powders and their mysterious expiration dates. As a committed nutritionist aiming to provide accurate and useful information, I seek to shed light on whether these proteins, so popular in the realms of fitness and diet, have a shelf life.

Why do many of us choose to incorporate them into our daily routines? From enhancing muscle growth to aiding in post-exercise recovery, protein powders have proven to be valuable allies. But what happens when we encounter the dreaded expiration date? Are protein powders immortal, or do they have a consumption limit?

We’ll explore whether it’s safe to consume them after their expiration date and what precautions we should take to ensure that our nutritional choices remain beneficial and, above all, safe. Let’s unravel the mystery of protein powders and their expiration!

Some benefits of protein powder:

Protein powder is a processed product that provides a significant amount of protein per serving, quickly and conveniently helping us meet our daily protein needs according to our individual requirements.

Meeting our protein needs is crucial, as this macronutrient serves vital functions within our bodies, primarily structural and tissue repair functions:

  • Participates in cellular structure.
  • Acts as a carrier of substances such as oxygen.
  • Contributes to enzymatic structure.
  • Plays a role in the structure of antibodies and other immune system proteins.
  • Participates in muscle mass production.

Protein powders can come from various sources, such as:

  • Milk protein (whey or casein)
  • Soy proteins
  • Pea proteins
  • Egg white proteins
  • Rice proteins
  • Collagen

Some brands often mix different types of proteins to reduce costs, enhance absorption, improve amino acid profiles, and subject them to processes that make them more digestible, such as hydrolyzation or isolation processes.

Therefore, it’s clear that protein is an ESSENTIAL nutrient for our bodies, yet it’s challenging to obtain in sufficient quantities due to being the macronutrient that generates the most gastric work. This brings us back to protein powder as a great solution for vegetarians, vegans, or omnivores, providing an easily digestible protein source with low osmolar load.

Can protein powder be kept indefinitely?

In the case of protein powders, the expiration or “best by” date indicates the recommended time window for consuming the product within a 100% safe period. However, surpassing that date does not necessarily pose health risks. Instead, it affects the quality, taste, texture, and consistency of the product.

According to research conducted by Iandola et al. in 2016, the duration of protein was approximately 9 months at 35°C and up to 18 months when stored at room temperature (21°C). Another study by Goddik, McDaniel, and Sithole in 2005 found that whey protein can maintain its quality for over a year, ranging from 12 to 19 months under normal storage conditions (21°C with 35% humidity). Both studies suggest a shelf life close to two years when stored properly.

Is it dangerous to consume expired protein powders?

So, does protein expire? Yes, protein powder does expire, but unlike other protein-rich foods like cheese, meat, eggs, and milk, its expiration date doesn’t imply an imminent biological risk. Instead, the main issue is the gradual loss of organoleptic properties, such as taste, consistency, solubility, and moisture. However, this doesn’t mean the product is one hundred percent safe; in addition to losing its organoleptic properties, the product gradually increases the risk conditions that raise the possibility of creating a favorable environment for the production and growth of bacteria.

How do you prevent protein powder from losing its organoleptic properties?

Within the expiration date, there are several things we can do to protect the properties of proteins, such as:

  1. Proper storage: Store protein powders in a cool, dark, and dry place. Exposure to light, heat, and humidity can negatively affect the quality and taste of the product. Use airtight containers to prevent air and moisture entry.
  2. Avoid abrupt temperature changes: Extreme temperature fluctuations can affect the texture and taste of protein powders. Store them in a place with a constant temperature.
  3. Opaque packaging: opt for opaque packaging that protects protein powder from light. Light can break down some protein components, affecting taste and quality.
  4. Proper sealing: Ensure proper container closure after each use to prevent air entry, which can contribute to oxidation and alter organoleptic properties.
  5. Stay away from strong odors: Avoid storing protein powders near strongly odorous foods, as they can absorb unwanted odors.
  6. Avoid cross-contamination: Use clean and dry utensils when handling protein powder to avoid cross-contamination that may affect taste and quality.
  7. Do not mix with very hot liquids: Use slightly cold liquids at room temperature when mixing protein powder. Extreme heat can affect the texture and solubility of some proteins.


Protein powders are a great ally in meeting our protein requirements, providing large amounts of protein in an easy-to-consume and digestible form. However, being a processed product, it has an expiration date that primarily indicates no imminent biological risk. Instead, its organoleptic properties are mainly affected. This doesn’t mean that when the product surpasses its expiration date, it immediately becomes unsafe; rather, the risk gradually increases as it loses its preservative properties.

In conclusion, consuming expired protein powder up to 6 months after the expiration date shouldn’t pose a significant risk. However, it’s always preferable to consume the product within its safe consumption date and always under the supervision of a doctor or nutritionist.

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Current Version
December 6, 2023
Edited By
Damla Sengul
December 5, 2023
Written By
Guido Forti
  • Desobry-Banon, S., Desobry, S., Scher, J. y Thomas, M. E. (2004) Milk powders aging: effect on physical and functional properties: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. doi: 10.1080/10408690490464041
  • Goddik, L.M., McDaniel, M.R. y Sithole, R. (2005) Rate of Maillard browning in sweet whey powder: Journal of Dairy Science. doi: 10.3168/jds. S0022-0302(05)72835-6
  • Iandola, S.K., Mukhopadhyay, S, Onwulata, C. I., Singh, M. Thomas-Gahring, A. Tomasula, P.M., Tunick, M.H…. y Qi, P. X. (2016) Physical and chemical changes in whey protein concentrate stored at elevated temperature and humidity: Journal of Dairy Science. doi: 10.3168/jds.2015-10256