Finding the right protein powder for your needs can be challenging—especially if you have dietary restrictions or super-specific health and fitness goals. Throw the ketogenic diet into the mix and that search becomes even more complicated. We asked a dietitian to break down the best-of-the-best keto protein powders, so you can stop trying to decipher nutrition labels and get back to burning fat.
Why is Protein Important on Keto?
We all know fat steals the spotlight on the keto diet. After all, experts recommend consuming up to 80 percent of your daily calories from fat. Protein is still vital, though, too!
“Protein is important on a keto diet—and any other diet—to support and maintain lean body mass and structural strength,” says dietitian Randall Evans, M.S., R.D.N., L.D. “Our bodies cannot make certain essential amino acids, so we have to get them by consuming protein.”
Plus, since protein wards off brain fog, supports alertness and stamina, and repairs damaged muscles, it becomes especially important for performance and recovery if you’re training on keto.
How Much Is Too Much Protein?
Sad but true: Too much protein can interfere with your body’s ability to produce ketones and get into that fat-burning ketogenic state.
“For protein, we target 0.6 grams per pound of lean body mass per day, which is often 60 to 90 grams, depending on body composition,” says Evans. “We don’t want to overeat protein, because it can be converted into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis.”
So, that means protein powders that pack upwards of 40 grams of protein might mess with your fat-burning results. (Remember: On keto, fat must be your primary fuel source!)
Which Protein Should You Take?
Your holy grail keto protein powder should provide a moderate amount of protein, good dose of fat, and zero sugar. Here are five worthy options.
1. Ketologie Strawberry Keto Shake
With 25 grams of fat, 10 grams of net carbs, and 14 grams of protein, Ketologie’s Keto Shake is a great keto option. “I like that this powder contains collagen, as most of us need it, and that the ingredient list is pretty clean, meaning you can recognize the words and foods it comes from,” Evans says.
Another plus: It contains more fat than protein and carbs.
To make this pick even more keto-friendly, combine it in a shake with some canned coconut milk or avocado for extra fat.
2. Nature Fuel Double Chocolate Milkshake Keto Meal Replacement
Other Popular Flavors: Creamy Vanilla
Nature Fuel Meal Replacement powder has the perfect macronutrient ratio for keto, says Evans. (One shake contains 15 grams of fat and 15 grams of net carbs plus protein.) Evans also likes that it contains grass-fed collagen and butter.
To make this shake a complete meal, throw it in the blender with a few nutrient-dense foods. Adding in leafy greens, healthy fats, and high-fiber seeds will provide antioxidants, vitamins, and quality fat.
3. Ketologic Vanilla Keto Meal
Ketologic’s Keto Meal contains 22 grams of fat, so it’s a solid base for a keto shake, says Evans. It also contains 11 grams of protein and just 6.5 grams of net carbs.
Evans loves that this brand is lower in sodium, which can help reduce bloating. He suggests adding MCT oil, nut butter, avocado, or full-fat plain yogurt to bump up the fat content and creaminess.
4. Garden Of Life Dr. Formulated Chocolate Keto Meal Balanced Shake
Other Popular Flavors: Vanilla
If you’re aiming for a super-clean keto protein, Garden of Life’s Dr. Formulated Keto Meal is just for you. You’ll find ingredients you can pronounce on the label, a number of which are organic and grass-fed.
Evans recommends blending this one up with some nut butter to keep that fat-to-protein ratio on point and make a more satisfying meal.
5. Ancient Nutrition Vanilla Keto Protein Performance Fuel
Protein powder doesn’t just have to come from whey. Unlike many keto protein powders, Ancient Nutrition Keto Protein is derived from powdered bone broth, which is known for a slew of health benefits. It also packs an added bonus of antioxidants and adaptogens, which you don’t see in protein powders every day!
Evans likes that this powder contains MCT Oil, which can be a great source of quick energy on keto.