So you’ve had a few months off from the gym and decided to get back into training again. You go to your cupboard and find that good old protein that you have leftover from last time. You scratch your head wondering, how long does protein power last?
From time to time, we all need a break from the gym and training. Whether it’s because of an injury, a holiday, or you just need to take some time, I’m sure you will be wondering what will happen to all that protein powder that you’ve got lying around.
Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Below we have cleared it up once and for all and looked at how long your protein powder will last and some of the best ways to store your protein once you’ve opened it. After all, this stuff isn’t cheap!
Table of Contents
Does Protein Powder Expire?
The first question we need to address is whether the protein will expire or not. Of course, you won’t be surprised to learn that it all depends on what type of protein it is, what the ingredients are, and where you have had it stored.
Unfortunately, all protein powder will expire at some point, and you will need to throw it out. They contain ingredients that will eventually become unsafe for human consumption. This is why they have an expiry date in the first place.
However, they won’t go bad and spoil in the same way that your meat and dairy products do.
Eventually, the protein powder will start to have a chemical reaction with some of the sugar that is present in the mix.
When this happens, the protein levels begin to change, and it will make the powder start to go bad. It’s best to steer clear once this process occurs.
How long Can You Keep Protein Powder?
This all depends, but for a standard tub of protein powder, the average expiry date is around two years after the time of manufacturing.
You can usually find the expiry or best before date located somewhere on the container that it came in.
If you have already opened it, then it should be consumed within six to eight months of opening. As soon as you open the tub, you are exposing the ingredients to bacteria, speeding up the process which makes it go bad.
Can It Still Be Used After It Expires?
Unfortunately, this answer is not a straightforward one as it all depends on the protein and what conditions it has been left it. Technically, it is still safe to consume after the expiry date, as long as you have stored it correctly.
Protein powder is an extremely dry and nonvolatile substance that does not attract a great deal of bacterial growth. This makes it safe for consumption after the expiry date in most cases, but not indefinitely.
Something to bear in mind is that the expiry date on the tubs is a quality date, not the time when the product becomes unsafe to consume. Manufacturers put a date on the container that signifies when they believe the product will be best to drink by.
This means you are free to continue using your powder for days, weeks, and even months after the expiry date on the tub. If this is the tactic you’re going for, then there are a few signs you need to look out for to see if your protein has gone bad.
For the record, we would advise you to throw out any old protein that is past the expiry date and buy new. In our opinion, it’s not worth getting ill over some lost protein.
However, if you are going to use your protein after the date, then read on to see our tips on how to spot if your protein has gone bad.
How can you tell if protein powder went bad?
There are three simple tests that you can do to check if your protein has gone bad or not. If it fails any of these criteria, then it is best to dump the protein for a new one.
Does it smell bad?
Rely upon your good old nose for the first test. If the protein doesn’t smell too great, then it’s probably ready for the trash. Protein powder should be relatively odorless when it is safe to consume, so if you smell anything strange, then throw it.
Give it a taste
Take your finger and get a tiny amount of the powder on your fingertip. Give it a taste and assess whether the protein has gone bad or not. It should still have at least some of the flavor that is described on the container
If it doesn’t, and it tastes a little like cardboard, then its time to say get rid.
Assess the texture
If you don’t fancy giving it a taste, then have a good look at the protein and its texture. The powder should be fine and not stuck together at all. If you see that the powder has clumped together, then that is a bad sign.
Clumping would suggest that there is water present, which is not good. Moisture in the powder mix would create a breeding ground for bacteria and would significantly increase your chances of getting sick.
How long does protein powder last once mix?
I’m sure we have all made a protein shake and forgotten about it at some point, only to remember about it later that night or even the next day. So is this safe to drink?
As we mentioned earlier, it depends. If it has been left in a hot and humid car in the baking sun all day, then its probably best to avoid that one. But who would want to drink that anyway?
If the protein has been mixed with water and has been left in the fridge, then you can consider it safe to drink for at least a couple of days if you have left it out of the refrigerator then best to drink it on the same day.
This changes slightly if you have mixed it with milk. As you know, milk goes bad relatively quickly. If you combine your powder with milk, then drink it straight away and try not to leave it too long.
If you leave it in the fridge, you can probably get away with consuming it a day later, but not more.
Best way to store protein powder after opening
If you predict that you won’t get through your protein before the expiry date, then it would be wise to store it in a way that will keep it fresh for as long as possible. Here re some instructions to follow to keep it safe to consume for longer.
- Store in a cool, dry place
- Avoid humidity
- Make sure your scooper isn’t wet
- Keep it in the same container it came in
- Make sure the container is sealed correctly
- Keep it out of sunlight
The best bet is to secure the lid on the tub that it came in and leave it in your kitchen cupboard. That way, you can ensure that your protein will keep for as long as possible.
So if you were ever wondering how long does protein powder last, now you know. It is all about how the powder is stored and whether bacteria have had the chance to manifest themselves.
Something to bear in mind is the effectiveness of the protein after the expiry date. As we mentioned earlier, after a while, the protein levels start to change as the mixture reacts with itself.
You may find that even though the expired protein may not make you sick, it may not give you the desired effects you are looking for. So even if the protein smells good, tastes good, and isn’t clumpy, you may be unknowingly giving yourself a placebo dose!
We strongly recommend sticking to the protein that is still within the expiry date, or at most one month after the date of expiry.
If you decide to go longer than that, then keep in mind our tips on how to spot protein that has gone bad and our best practices on keeping your protein safer for longer after opening.