Best Keto Protein Shakes

for 2021

If you've spent any time researching how to best build muscle, lose excess fat, or both, you'll know that using protein powders and shakes are great ways to hit your goals. 

Today, the science is clear that diets with excess carbs and sugar lead to weight gain while a diet high in protein and healthy fat fuels a lean and fit physique. Both protein powders and the keto diet have been around for a long time, but in recent years have re-emerged in the health and fitness world. The ketogenic diet transitions the body into a similar state as intermittent fasting. The keto diet was first introduced in the 1920s to help treat epilepsy. The treatment was standard for nearly two decades until the modern era of antiepileptic drug treatment took over. [1]

Protein powder goes back much further, to nearly 8000 years ago when the art of cheesemaking was first developed. When milk was treated with acid, people noticed that a coagulated milk gel was left, and the solids could be turned into cheese. The liquid-like by-product left over from the process was discarded, used as a starter culture for the next day's cheese, or used as a pig feed. This by-product is known as whey. Although it took thousands more years to refine raw whey into powder form, today it's one of the most widely marketed types of protein powders sold. 

Now that you have a little background and perspective on protein powder and keto, you'll better appreciate what you're about to discover here as you read. We're assuming you know that a ketogenic diet is one of the most effective diets for shedding fat. You also know that a low-carb or no-carb keto-friendly protein shake will be essential as you progress through your journey. 

However, there's an endless amount of keto protein shakes to choose from. How do you know which one will give you the best results? Keep reading and find out.

We're going to look at the best keto protein shakes available in 2021 and break down what makes them different, why certain types of protein are better, and give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. 

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types of protein powders

Types of Protein Powders  #

The first step in choosing the best keto protein powder is understanding the types of protein powders available and what makes them different.

Protein powders are concentrated protein sources from animal or plant food, such as dairy, eggs, rice, or peas.

There are three common forms:

1. Protein Concentrates  #

Protein concentrates are produced by extracting protein from whole food using heat and acid or enzymes. They typically yield 60-80% protein and 20-40% fat and carbs. Whey protein powder is the most common form.

2. Protein Isolates #

Protein isolates require an additional filtering process to remove additional fat and carbs, yielding a more highly concentrated protein powder. Protein isolate powders contain around 90-95% protein.

3. Protein Hydrolysates #

Protein hydrolysate powders go one step further by adding additional heat, acid, or enzymes to break the bonds between amino acids. The result is a protein powder that’s more quickly absorbed by your body and muscles. The problem with hydrolysates, especially in the case of whey protein, is that they raise the body’s insulin level faster than other forms. This is not ideal if your goal is to burn fat.

most common protein powders

Most Common Protein Powders #

Now that you understand the different forms of protein powder, let’s take a quick look at the seven most common protein powders you’re going to encounter. We’ll tell you what they are, where they come from, and why they fall short compared to the best keto protein shake.

Whey Protein Shakes #

As you know, whey protein comes from milk. It is the liquid that separates from the curds during the cheesemaking process. It’s high in protein and one of the most affordable protein powders on the market.

Whey protein shake cons:  

Whey protein contains lactose, a milk sugar that many people have difficulty digesting. This sugar can also cause massive spikes in insulin and rapid weight gain.

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Casein Protein Shakes  #

Like whey, casein is a protein found in milk. However, casein is digested and absorbed much more slowly. Casein forms a gel when it interacts with your stomach acid, slowing down stomach emptying and delaying your bloodstream’s absorption of amino acids.

Casein protein shake cons: 

Clinical evidence points out that casein may cause adverse reactions in some people, especially those with lactose intolerance.

Egg Protein Shakes  #

Egg white protein powder contains about 25 grams of protein in a 30-gram serving size. It has about as much protein as whey and casein-based protein powders. Egg white protein powder, however, lacks the lactose contained in casein and whey.

Egg protein shake cons: 

Egg white protein shakes are not very filling compared to other options, so if weight loss is your goal it might not be the best option. Also, some people with dairy allergies find it intolerable.

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Pea Protein Shakes  #

Pea protein powder is especially popular among vegetarians, vegans, and people with allergies or sensitivities to dairy. It’s made from the yellow split pea, a high-fiber legume containing all but one essential amino acid. Pea protein is also particularly rich in BCAAs.

Pea protein shake cons: 

Pea protein is low in methionine+cysteine, which makes it an incomplete protein. These shakes are also high in carbohydrates, which is not ideal if your goal is losing weight.

Hemp Protein Shakes  #

Hemp protein powder is another plant-based supplement that is gaining popularity. Hemp is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and several essential amino acids.

Hemp protein shake cons: 

Hemp is not considered a complete protein because it has very low levels of the amino acids lysine and leucine. Better options exist if your goal is to maximize muscle growth and shed excess fat.

Brown Rice Protein Shakes  #

Protein powders made from brown rice have been around for a while now, but they are generally considered inferior to whey protein for building muscle.

Brown rice protein shake cons:

Although rice protein contains all of the essential amino acids, it is too low in lysine to be a complete protein. Rice protein shakes are also high in sugars, which is not suitable for losing weight.

Health Benefits of Drinking Keto Protein Shakes

Health Benefits of Drinking Keto Protein Shakes #

There are a lot of benefits packed into a keto protein shake. For most people, the primary benefit is the variety of protein smoothie recipes. Some people use almond milk, and others use coconut milk. One person adds chia seeds and the other peanut butter or almond butter.

The more carbs you add, the less keto-friendly your shake is, but small amounts can keep you within the threshold. Unsweetened cocoa powder and unsweetened almond milk are favorites in keto recipes because of their low calorie count per serving.

So what are the benefits people enjoy when bringing keto protein shakes into their lives?

Keto Protein Shakes are Convenient  #

Whole food should be the base of any healthy diet, but whole food protein sources aren’t always easily available, especially if you’re traveling, between the gym, the office, and even at home.

Keto smoothies make a low-carb diet tolerable. You can choose a recipe, put everything in a blender, and blend. If you want something with minimal prep time, just mix your powder with water and drink it.

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Keto Protein Shakes Help you Build Muscle Faster  #

Along with keeping you on track with your low-carb diet, keto protein shakes are instrumental if muscle growth is your goal. [ 3 ] High-quality, fast-absorbing keto protein shakes that you drink right after your workout provide tremendous support for recovery and faster muscle growth.

Keto Protein Shakes Help You Lose Weight  #

The biggest challenge for most people trying to lose weight is fighting off hunger pains. To lose weight, you must restrict calories, but that doesn’t mean you have to be hungry. A lot of overweight people have been eating “empty calories.” These are high-calorie foods that do little to satiate hunger. These foods taste great and are highly addictive due to engineered flavors and added sugar. Once you substitute high-calorie “empty calorie” foods with high protein low-calorie protein shakes you’ll notice you have more energy, feel less hungry, and can better maintain your weight loss.

Best Protein Powders for Keto Dieters

Best Protein Powders for Keto Dieters #

Hopefully, you’re now getting a sense of the types of protein shake options out there. But what about the keto protein shake?

The keto protein shake is essentially a low-carb protein shake. Many of the protein shake options available pack a lot of carbs, so eliminating them from your choices for the best keto protein shake is easy. But even after you eliminate carbs, you’re still faced with an overwhelming number of keto protein shake options.

What to Look for in a Keto Protein Shake

What to Look for in a Keto Protein Shake  #

To choose the best keto protein shake, you need some criteria to guide you. The metrics we’re using for this include four areas of consideration:

  • Carbs & Sugar - Low carbs and sugar is a must

  • Protein - The higher the protein concentration per serving, the better

  • Flavor - Being able to tolerate the taste or even enjoy it is worth something

  • Price - We all don’t have an unlimited budget

$ = $30 or less

$$ = $30-45

$$$ = $45 or more

Best Higher Carb Keto Protein Shake  #

Ketologie Collagen Keto Shake

Price: $$$
Nutrition per serving (2 scoops)

  • Calories: 300
  • Carbs: 14 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 14 grams
  • Fat: 25 grams
Ketologie Collagen Keto Shake

This keto marketed protein powder has the highest amount of carbs per serving on our list. Although if this is your only form of carbs throughout the day, two to three servings can keep your body in ketosis.

The protein comes from grass-fed bovine (cow) collagen. It packs a lot of fat with each serving.

Reviewers say the chocolate flavor is appetizing.

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Best Plant-Based Keto Protein Shake  #

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein Powder

Price: $$
Nutrition per serving (1 scoop)

  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 17 grams
  • Fat: 2.5 grams
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein Powder

This plant-based keto protein shake does a great job at cutting carbs, unlike most plant-based protein powders. The blend is a combination of pea and hemp protein powders. Coconut is added for MCT oil and Goji berry for antioxidants.

The flavor is not the best, or the worst, according to reviewers. Still, the low carb keto shake scores high on net carbs, and low on the protein per serving scale.

Best Whey Based Keto Protein Shake  #

Apollo Pure Protein Powder

Price: $$$
Nutrition per serving (1 scoop)

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Protein: 25 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
Apollo Pure Protein Powder

This protein shake is a combination of grass-fed whey, micellar casein, and egg white. If you can handle dairy and don’t bloat from consuming it, this can be a good option.

In the flavor department, you get eight flavors to choose from, including cinnamon roll and banana cream pie. The company says birthday cake flavor is their best seller.

Best Flavorless Keto Protein Shake  #

Ancient Nutrition Keto Collagen Powder

Price: $$
Nutrition per serving (1 scoop)

  • Calories: 70
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams
Ancient Nutrition Keto Collagen Powder

If you’re not a fan of flavored protein powders, this is a great option. It’s tasteless and odorless, making it perfect for baking.

The collagen is sourced from pasture-raised, non-GMO cows and is hormone and antibiotic-free. The Protein per serving is on the lower end, so you may need to double up on the serving to meet your daily protein goals.

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Best High Protein Keto Protein Shake  #

Vega Sport Premium Protein

Price: $$
Nutrition per serving (1 scoop)

  • Calories: 160
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Protein: 30 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams
Vega Sport Premium Protein

This one places second to our best overall keto protein shake in the protein department, Vega sports packs a surprising amount of protein per serving for a vegan powder. It’s made from a blend of pea, alfalfa, pumpkin seed, and sunflower seed protein.

It’s available in vanilla, chocolate, and berry flavors. Warning: each serving does come with 2 grams of sugar.

Best Grass-Fed Whey Keto Protein Shake  #

LevelUp Grass-Fed Keto Protein Powder

Price: $$
Nutrition per serving (2 scoops)

  • Calories: 95
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Fat: 6 grams
LevelUp Grass-Fed Keto Protein Powder

This keto-friendly protein powder is made from a mix of grass-fed bovine collagen and grass-fed whey protein isolate.

If you’re looking for simple, clean grass-fed whey protein powder, this is a good option. It comes in two flavors: vanilla sweet cream and chocolate cream.

Best High Collagen Keto Protein Shake  #

Perfect Keto Collagen Protein Powder

Price: $$
Nutrition per serving (1 scoop)

  • Calories: 70
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Sugar: <1 gram
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Fat: 3.5 grams
Perfect Keto Collagen Protein Powder

This keto protein powder is packed with collagen but still flavorful. The salted caramel flavor is the most popular choice. There’s also vanilla, chocolate, and an unflavored option.

The protein per serving is the lowest on our list, so you’ll likely need to find other sources of protein to supplement with while using this product.

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Best Overall Keto Protein Shake #

Fortagen

Price: $$
Nutrition per serving (1 scoop)

  • Calories: 4
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 50 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
Fortagen

Fortagen tops our list for the best keto protein shake. Fortagen is not only the ultimate muscle-building protein, crushing the competition at 50 grams of protein per serving, but it’s the ultimate fasting protein powder because it’s fermented and engineered with the perfect amino acid profile.

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Why is Fortagen the Best Keto-Friendly Protein Powder?  #

Fortagen was created to fill the gaps in the keto protein market. Consumers wanted a vegan protein with zero carbs, low calories, and high protein. People were looking for a protein shake they could use to not only build muscle, but one the body would fully utilize to better help with recovery.

The Perfect Amino Acid Profile  #

Fortagen outperforms whey protein and other essential amino acid supplements because it’s designed to provide the amino acid profile your body needs, in the perfect ratio. Whey protein is loaded with nonessential amino acids your body already has a surplus of.

Superior Bioavailability  #

When it comes to the impact of different proteins, bioavailability is one of the most important metrics to consider. Fortagen is digested in under 30 minutes, while whey or vegetable-based proteins can take up to 6 hours.

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Gentle on Your Digestive System  #

Intestinal irritation to protein powders is one of the most common complaints. Lactose intolerance leads to bloating, gas, and stomach cramps. Milk proteins can cause inflammation even for those who are not lactose intolerant. Excess mucus production is a classic sign of inflammation.

Minimal Calories  #

Standard protein powders come packed with calories. It’s not uncommon to see a powder with 120 calories per scoop. If you’re on a calorie-restricted diet or intermittent fasting, typical calorie-packed protein powders will hinder your progress. Fortagen has the lowest calories per serving at just four calories.

Insulin Response #

Fortagen is a sugar-free powder that will not trigger an insulin response. Your energy remains balanced, and if you’re fasting, you’ll have a powerful tool to keep you from breaking your fast. For those trying to lose weight on a keto diet, having a zero-carb/zero-sugar protein powder with high protein per serving can make the journey a lot more comfortable.

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Faster Recovery Time   #

Fortagen is designed for increased protein synthesis post-workout. The reality is Fortagen has cracked the perfect essential amino acid profile code. EAAs offset muscular and systemic fatigue that hurt muscle gains when delivered in the right combination.

A 2017 study [ 4 ] showed that supplementing with essential amino acids outperformed passive recovery and rest after varied and exhaustive exercises. Another 2018 study [ 5 ] showed EAA supplementation delayed fatigue, improved endurance capacity, and prevented muscle failure compared to a placebo.

Perfect for Weight Loss #

Fortagen comes in at just four calories per serving. If your goal is to lose weight, a calorie-restricted diet is a must. Ideally, you will keep your muscles while shedding the excess fat. However, muscle gains require a minimum of .7-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

If you are looking to build muscle solely from whole food protein sources, you will need to consume a lot of food.

A 2012 weight loss study [ 6 ] showed that participants who received EAA supplements lost more fat and less lean muscle tissue than those using meal replacement shakes. Another study found EAA supplementation has a promising therapeutic effect [ 7 ] in treating obesity.

Protein usability of Fortagen compared

Fortagen is 5x More Efficient Than Standard Protein Sources  #

References: #

[1]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19049574/

[2]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18679613/

[3]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142015/

[4]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28870476/

[5]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6107748/

[6]. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-11-105

[7]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7455583/

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