The short answer is yes, expired protein powder is safe to consume. But there is a catch that you need to know about.
When you find out that your protein powder has expired you might naturally wonder if it’s still safe to consume or should you throw it out? Well, the short answer is that expired protein powder doesn’t spoil like other dairy products. Unless you open the tub and see mold or bacteria visibly growing on your protein it should still be fine to consume.
If your chosen protein is made from dairy, like whey or casein, how can it be safe to consume past the expiry date? Surely, spoilage is only natural for animal products. Well, the powdered form and the dry environment of a sealed tub actually protects it from microbes being able to survive and thrive like they would on other types of food products.
The same goes for plant-based protein powders as well.
So, unless you’re storing your protein in a poorly sealed container in a warm, humid place you should be fine to consume expired protein powder. However, there is a catch that you should consider.
Is expired protein powder effective?
Obviously the goal of using protein powder is to improve your recovery and muscle growth. So, when it goes past its expiry date you can expect it’s potency to reduce as well. This is due to a chemical reaction called Maillard browning in which amino acids (the building blocks of protein) react with sugars left over from the manufacturing process, resulting in gradual breakdown of lysine – a powerful amino acid with an important role in protein structure.
So, once your protein starts to lose lysine it will not be as complete of a protein and therefore be less effective for recovery and muscle growth.
Signs that your protein powder has gone bad
Other than the obvious telltale of checking the expiry date, there are a few signs to tell if your protein powder has gone bad. One way to check this is to put a little bit on your tongue to see if the flavour has faded, as this is one of the effects of Maillard browning.
If it tastes like cardboard, it’s probably best to just chuck it out.
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 23rd August, 2020.