Weight-loss is one of the most popular uses of protein powder, even being used as total meal replacement shakes. So what should you look out for?

Weight loss protein powders – what to look out for - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

How do they work?

Proteins have a ‘thermic’ effect, meaning that they create heat in the body through the process of digestion. Since proteins take a lot of energy to digest, you burn more calories after eating a meal high in protein,” says nutritionist Rosie Mansfield.

What to look for

Accredited practising dietitian Duncan Hunter, has the following advice:

  • If the protein powder doubles as a meal is to check for a greater proportion of protein than carbs and minimise sugars.

  • Many popular meal replacement-style ‘shakes’ can contain up to 50 per cent sugar! Compare labels’ 100 g column for an easy reference.

  • If you’re buying a VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diets), seek out added fibre. 

  • Also check whether the product is part of a program with online or face-to-face support.

How much and when

Any time you’d normally eat a meal.


A meal replacement should provide slightly more energy than a snack – think 1,000 to 1,200 kJ compared to 400 to 600 kJ.

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