Top 10 Low Carb Protein Powder Supplements for Keto Diet
With the keto diet sweeping the scene, it’s easy to see why low-carb supplements have become such an asset to a daily workout. Not only can they be healthier, but they offer the extra-added benefit of being created without excess sugar or simple carbohydrates which aren’t necessarily productive to a workout session. In order to sustain all the benefits that come with a low-carb lifestyle, supplements can be a great option.
Additionally, low-carb protein powders provide options for those who are eating keto, allowing them to gain essential proteins they need without breaking ketosis. With so many choices out there, choosing the right supplement for your body and your workout type can be tricky. So we’ve done the heavy lifting for you - no pun intended! Check out our list of the best low-carb protein powders out there and find out if your favorites made the cut.
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein
- Dymatize ISO100
- OPTIMUM NUTRITION GOLD STANDARD 100% Organic Plant
- Quest Nutrition Protein Powder
- Isopure Zero Carb
- Pure Label Nutrition Grass Fed Whey Protein
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein Powder
- Bodybuilding Signature Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
- ALOHA Organic Vanilla Plant Based Protein Powder
In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research
Only one gram of sugar
Combination of whey helps encourage muscle mass
10 Best Low Carb Protein Powders
1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein
Only one gram of sugar
Combination of whey helps encourage muscle mass
Double Rich Chocolate has a distinct aftertaste
It doesn’t take a whole lot to see why Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard is one of the leading brands in nutritional supplements. Their 100% Whey Protein is an excellent addition to any shake or beverage with only 3g of carbs per scoop. That’s well below the limit most people need to stick to when it comes to low-carb eating, and that’s not including the fact that this supplement has 24g of protein, only one gram of fat, and minimal sodium.Read more
Additionally, this supplement is gluten-free, which is amazing news for anyone with Celiac or anyone looking to avoid excess gluten in their diets. Optimum Nutrition’s Whey Protein comes in 20 different flavors which will keep things interesting while keeping them healthy. Their two most popular flavors are Double Rich Chocolate and French Vanilla Creme, both of which can be added to shakes, smoothies, and even coffee, pancakes, and waffles for an extra boost before hitting the gym.
A triple combination of whey peptides, whey protein concentrate, and whey protein isolate helps to encourage muscle growth while also providing that feeling of fullness. The formula has been instantized to prevent clumps, which any lover of protein drinks is familiar with — and no one likes getting a chunk of unmixed supplements in their sip!
2. Dymatize ISO100
Certified high-quality with cross-flow micro filtration
Comes in a variety of dynamic flavors
Versatile in its usage
Not the best for those with a lactose sensitivity
ISO100 is stepping up the game when it comes to low carb counts! With only two grams in this delish supplement, ISO100 is also providing 25 grams of protein in every scoop. Weight-lifters, this might just be the recipe for you.Read more
A combination of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) and Leucine, muscle growth is the main goal of this drink additive. It’s a great option for those who want to keep their workouts lean and for anyone looking to find the healthiest alternative to some other protein additives. Dymatize has tested their formula time and time again to ensure that it’s fast-acting and fast-digesting, which is great news for those who are always on the go.
This high-quality supplement is also available in an array of flavors, including four types of chocolate, four dessert flavors, two peanut butter flavors, and three different fruit flavors that are perfect for smoothies. No matter your preference, ISO100 has an option for you.
3. OPTIMUM NUTRITION GOLD STANDARD 100% Organic Plant
Great for recovery support
Contains a full array of grains
All-natural for healthy diets
Carb count is a bit higher than many others
For starters, let’s explain the difference between your average protein supplement and a plant-based supplement. Whereas an ordinary supplement (such as the original Gold Standard protein) might be composed of additive compounds that are not plant-based, this formula has been created with nothing but plants.Read more
Rather than your typical health supplement, this one contains peas, rice, and sacha inchi as its plant-based foundation, all of which are certified organic. They’ve also been certified non-GMO, as well as added nutrition from plant sources like amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and chia. This all-natural formula, despite having so many grains in it, is still only seven grams of carbs per scoop. That’s still well within a good range for most people eating low-carb and is doable for those who are on strict keto.
This formula also contains a generous amount of amino acids, which help muscle recovery after those achy workout sessions. With 24 grams of protein, this is a great option for those who are not only live a low-carb lifestyle but lead an all-natural one as well.
4. Quest Nutrition Protein Powder
Trust brand in the low-carb world
Contains the least carbs on the list
Protein comes in other options such as cold brew and oils
Anyone who leads a low-carb lifestyle is likely well aware of the brand Quest, who has been a leading contender in low-carb foods, specifically protein bars and sweets such as cookies. While they continue to put out more foods with fewer carbs, their protein supplements remain top of the line as far as gym nutrition is concerned.Read more
If you didn’t know that Quest has its own line of supplemental pre-workout powder, then we’re happy to report that not only does it contain less than one gram of sugar, but one scoop only contains five grams of carbs. With that being said, the final total of one scoop only has two net carbs, which is one of the lowest counts on this list.
With 20 grams of protein, it’s not the best yet it most certainly is not the worst, especially for those looking to keep their carb counts down to a minimum. Since this brand has been well-trusted when it comes to continuously provide low-carb options, it’s one that can be trusted. And if you can’t take our word for it, then just try one of their six flavors!
5. Isopure Zero Carb
No carbs at all
Can be used for weight control as well as muscle gain
There’s not much in it besides protein to encourage muscle growth
There’s low-carb and then there’s no-carb, and that’s what Isopure happens to do well. This supplement contains no carbs whatsoever, which is great for those on the keto diet and looking to remain in ketosis through their workouts. This also has the added benefit of lowering the calorie count, which is only 100 in one scoop!Read more
While you’re hitting macros and keeping that calorie count low, Isopure can be used any time of day, not just before workouts. With such low counts, it’s great to use in between workouts as well as in between meals when you can’t fit snacks in. With 25 grams of protein, it’s one of the higher-protein counts on this list and helps to support weight control while helping those on a low-carb regimen hit their goals.
Isopure is also unflavored, which could be hit or miss for some people but is a “pro” in our opinion. Without a strong flavor, this can be added to literally anything — including foods and drinks that aren’t smoothies or shakes.
6. Pure Label Nutrition Grass Fed Whey Protein
From a grass-fed source
Doesn’t dissolve as well as some other brands
The term ‘grass-fed’ might be a bit confusing when it comes to whey protein, but what Pure Label Nutrition means by that, is that the whey has come from certified premium dairy farms. Since whey comes from dairy, it’s important to know where that dairy comes from; in this case, it’s coming from an all-natural, grass-fed source, something many other brands can’t certify.Read more
This also means that the supplement arriving at your doorstep will be cleaner and much more high-quality than whey that has not been received from cows on a grass-fed diet. In one scoop of this whey protein, there are only two grams each of carbs and sugars. Additionally, Pure Label Nutrition certifies a myriad of things, including that the formula is hormone-free, cold-pressed, rBGH-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free.
This is a great muscle-building option for those who are looking to bulk up while using a supplement that has come from a verified source. With a unique blend of amino acids, muscle growth is encouraged while carb counts are held low, allowing both ketoses to work its magic. All you need to do is scoop, mix, and go!
7. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Great for a wide array of diets
Includes collagen for added benefits
Lower protein level
Usually, when we hear about collagen, it’s in regard to healthy skin rather than a protein shake. However, what many might not know is that collagen can work from the inside out just as well as from the outside in. That’s exactly what Vital Proteins thought of when they created this workout supplement, complete with a healthy dose of digestible collagen.Read more
The proper term for collagen that you can ingest is called bioavailable collagen, and it’s designed to be quickly absorbed by the body for the fastest results possible. Once this has happened, the results are nothing but positive: healthy, glowing skin, healthy nail and hair growth, and healthy bones and joints — which is obviously a huge perk when it comes to working out! This is a great option for anyone, but really holds a great added benefit for those in an older age range who might need a healthy pick-me-up.
Since there’s no added dairy, sugar, or gluten, this formula is great for low-carb diets, lactose-free diets, and gluten-free diets. It’s also friendly for paleo lifestyles and while the protein count is a bit lower at 18 grams, it’s still a viable option for those looking to get all they can out of a gym supplement.
8. Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein Powder
Triple blend of supplements
Beneficial for several areas of health
Only nine grams of protein per serving
Collagen and protein go hand in hand when it comes to essentials for a gym workout, and it’s easy to see why. While protein is encouraging muscle growth, collagen works to improve skin elasticity, hair and nail growth, as well as overall joint and bone health — thus allowing you to put forth all you’ve got in your gym workout.Read more
This supplement by Ancient Nutrition packs a punch in both categories, as it offers protein, collagen, and calcium, something our bodies need yet also something we tend to neglect. Additionally, this power-packed combination does more than just pure collagen can; healthy digestion is also an added benefit of this formula. It’s checking boxes off across the board, and not just as far as muscle-building! A combination of bovine, fish, chicken, and egg make up the essential peptides but all you taste is a neutral, flavorless supplement that can easily be mixed into most drinks.
You might be wondering where these peptides originate from and don’t worry — Ancient Nutrition uses only grass-fed, pasture-raised sources as well as wild, cold-water fish. Not only are you gaining all the health benefits a supplement should offer, but you can also rest assured that you’re getting the all-natural seal of approval, too.
9. Bodybuilding Signature Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
Formula is designed to offset fatigue
Encourages muscle repair
The only ingredient is monohydrate creatine
There are many big words in the name of this Signature supplement, but all you need to know is this: It’s crafted to bring together protein as creatine monohydrate, which helps to offset the gym fatigue many of us know so well. This dynamic duo of a combination is built to get you through a serious gym session without feeling completely wiped by the end of it.Read more
This fast-acting formula not only helps to delay fatigue, but it also encourages muscle recovery. That means you can hit the gym quickly while also counting on creatine to rebuild muscles at a faster rate than they were before. That means you can get to work on feeling stronger while knowing that all your muscle groups are being taken care of.
It goes without saying that improved muscle function leads to a more efficient, more intense workout… And that’s exactly what this supplement is intended for. Signature works to ensure that every one of its blends is healthy, wholesome, and effective, which is why they’ve been tested time and time again to certify that you’re reaping all the benefits.
10. ALOHA Organic Vanilla Plant Based Protein Powder
Sweetened with coconut sugar rather than cane sugar
Highest carb count on the list
We couldn’t make this list without including an option that was vegan-friendly, and ALOHA is just the brand to showcase. Their plant-based supplement is free of dairy, stevia, and is also non-GMO, soy-free, and certified USDA organic.Read more
With four natural flavors to choose from (banana, chocolate, mixed berry, and vanilla), there’s something for everyone with this versatile formula. While it does have a higher carb count with 10 grams per scoop, it makes up for that with its all-natural ingredient list. The protein in this supplement is also plant-based, in the form of brown rice, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seed, which has shown to have added benefits beyond simple protein. Coconut sugar is used in place of regular sugar which is why the carb count is a bit higher, however, it’s an all-natural form of sugar rather than the typical simple sugars that are used to flavor most foods.
The calorie count is low for this supplement and it’s also paleo-diet friendly, meaning you can fit it into your workout routine with added guilt over not staying within your routine!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
It’s so easy to judge a supplement based on the brand because the fact is, the brand name does matter. While we try to remain objective when it comes to choosing a brand over quality, sometimes a better brand does mean better quality. In the case of protein powders, this is true. While brands such as Gold Standard have the upper hand as far as history and positive reception go, we did include some lesser-known brands that offer benefits that bigger brands might not.
For example, ALOHA offers a vegan option, which is not something typically seen in a world ruled by whey protein. This option to have a plant-based supplement is one that is becoming increasingly popular, which is why we strive to include top-notch, quality options for those living a variety of lifestyles. We were also proud to include an option on here that is suited for paleo diets, which is another relatively new lifestyle change that has taken the world by storm. The pale diet refers to an all-natural way of eating, which means that all supplements should follow the same all-natural ingredient list. While there are several on here that are plant-based, one is specifically certified to be approved for a paleo way of living.
Additionally, we’ve included brands offering collagen-infused supplements, which are great for older age groups as well as those who simply like to gain as much nutrition as possible in their pre-workout. When broken down, the choice is both a personal one as well as which supplement is better-geared toward your health and the lifestyle you lead.
Having effectiveness as the main criterion was one of the main points in our research for this list. We could have listed plenty of popular supplements, but it wouldn’t mean anything if they weren’t effective in their usage. A supplement could have an extraordinary amount of protein but it could still lack the ability to encourage muscle growth, making it a dud.
Similarly, our goal is to include supplements that offer added benefits so that we can provide options, rather than simply answering the question. Many might not realize that it is possible to have a protein supplement, a boost of collagen, and a nutrition supplement (or several) all wrapped into one powder. It’s also entirely possible to find supplements out there which are geared toward natural lifestyles, including veganism, paleo diets and, in this case, low-carb lifestyles.
In the case of the latter, when most people enter into a low-carb diet, they’re putting their bodies into ketosis. This means that the body begins to naturally burn fat when the reserve from a carb intake is low, which is an extremely effective way to control weight and prevent additional weight gain. While this is going on, it’s common to also begin a gym regimen so that you can tone muscle while losing fat, which is why a low-carb protein supplement is so important.
Studies have even shown that whey protein can prove to be an effective form of stress relief. The reasoning behind this is likely similar to why people who eat more dairy have been shown to suffer less or more mild, symptoms of depression. It can boost levels of serotonin naturally and while not drastic, still remains an interesting scientific discovery.
This could also be linked to a reduction in hunger when it comes to midday and late-night snacking. Not only have studies shown that hunger is reduced, but the urge to go after something sweet or salty, which is the common downfall when it comes to low-carb dieting, has been minimalized. This could be due to the fact that protein supplements encourage people to incorporate food into the morning routines where it was not previously, or the fact that whey itself is very filling and can sometimes be enough to tide you over until the following meal.
Not all health supplements are created equal. Many include artificial flavorings or unidentifiable ingredients that, if we can’t pronounce, we probably shouldn’t be ingesting, right? It can be tough to discern between what’s healthy and what’s not, which is why product purity also became a big factor on our list of what’s worth it and what’s not.
If any supplements contained a long list of ingredients that we, ourselves, were not familiar with, then they simply were not added to the list. Additionally, if any ingredient lists were unable to be traced back to a viable source, they were crossed off. The things we like to see are “all-natural”, “USDA-certified”, “grass-fed”, and “local”. You’ll find many of these terms on our lists, including this one. In the long run, having a product that's pure in its ingredient list will help to better serve an all-natural diet as time goes on. The more natural the substance you put into your body, the healthier you'll be as time goes on. A good start doesn't just begin with a boost of protein -- it begins with a certified, natural protein that has been tested and certified to be so!
While not as big a factor as the other criteria, versatility did come into play. Could a supplement be used to support bone health as well as muscle growth? Could it be used for strict weight control while also helping someone to tone up? These are all questions that we needed to find answers for.
Additionally, we were thrilled to provide answers we weren’t even looking for — such as the addition of full amino acids and peptides, both of which encourage muscle recovery and regeneration. When it comes to working out, both of these are highly regarded, as they not only maintain overall muscle health but encourage new muscle growth as well. After committing so many days to the gym weekly, the last thing you wanted to be worried about is whether or not you're taking care of your muscle health.
Versatility doesn’t just mean in terms of health, though. We wanted supplements that could be thrown into shakes, smoothies, and even baked or cooked with. We found our answers in several of these supplements, several of which even come unflavored to prevent any aftertastes or undesirable results from a predetermined flavor.
Whey protein (as well as plant-based proteins, although more so whey) carry some hefty pros for those who are committed to a low-carb lifestyle. Since whey is essentially an excess that’s leftover in the dairy process, it doesn’t carry much in it besides a boost of protein. This is an essential factor in any low-carb diet, as your body needs something to sustain itself once carbs have been cut to a minimum. A proper balance of protein, fiber, and complex carbs (in moderation, depending on how strict your diet is) is needed in order to sustain a healthy mind and body while going through ketosis.
That’s why supplements are so valuable when it comes to low-carb dieting — they provide that much-needed boost that your body needs, especially when spending extra energy working out and blasting through calories. If you’re not getting a daily average count of carbs, then it must be introduced in another form.
Additionally, protein is a crucial part of anyone’s diet, period. They’re essential when it comes to repairing muscles as well as building them which, as you can imagine, is vital for a successful workout. Whey, in particular, also contains amino acids naturally. These help to build muscle and maintain overall muscle health. When a muscle is encouraged to grow, fat is encouraged to be burned, which then begins the healthy cycle we know and love as fitness.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Protein supplements can be great, but it’s important to learn how to use them in moderation. Take a look at your overall diet for the day and then decide how much protein to incorporate into your diet. Sometimes, it’s not a case of a “one-scoop serving”. Other days, we might need a heaping scoop in order to make up for a busy schedule or the lack of time we have to eat. Everything in moderation; that is the key to a successful (healthy!) diet and exercise routine. If you happen to notice any drastic changes in your body or sudden side effects, consult your doctor -- it might be time to switch brands or find a new method of getting protein into your diet.
Whey is the liquid that can be found floating on the top of the cream (or milk, if you get it locally). This liquid holds the key to all the amino acids and protein boosts you could ever want, which is why it’s so popular in its dehydrated form. Once the whey has been separated from milk or cream, it’s then turned into a powder form, which can be flavored, combined with other supplements, or left in its natural state. Its most powerful when combined with things such as collagen, peptides, or plant-based nutrients, thus enhancing the benefits we can gain from using it daily.
What do we mean by this? While protein supplements were originally intended to be mixed with some kind of liquid for fast consumption, things such as protein pancakes and protein muffins are revolutionizing the way we get our nutrients. One scoop of any brand of your choosing can easily be incorporated into a recipe and is most helpful when used in a breakfast item. This can make meal prep ten times simpler as well; one muffin recipe can be used throughout the week, and both pancake or waffle batter can be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Viola! How’s that for a variety?
Other Factors to Consider
While supplements are considered to be generally safe, that doesn't mean that they can't come with side effects. Mostly, they're minimal but still worth noting. Some of the side effects of too much protein powder include upset digestion, slight weight gain, headaches, bloating, and reduced appetite. All of the side effects are in line with receiving too much protein in your diet and can feel similar to how you would after eating a full steak dinner.
So how do you know when to ease off the protein? Consult your doctor, first and foremost, if you believe you might be having an adverse reaction. Much of the time, these side effects can be cured quickly with a change in diet and the elimination of supplements, or finding one that works well with your system. Additionally, if you feel as though you're too full or that you might be gaining weight rather than building muscle, it might be time to switch to a different brand. Everyone's body is different which means that something that works for someone else might not work as well for you, and vice versa. The process might be a bit of trial and error, but will prove worthy when you're counting your gains!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Will this dissolve fully?
Each supplement is formulated differently, which means the answer can vary from brand to brand. Most supplements nowadays are created to dissolve in any liquid substance, making them fast-acting and great for anyone who is always on the go. Alternately, there might be some formulas that have natural additives or more complex compounds which don’t break down as quickly, which can lead to some clumping. These are best shaken, especially when it comes to shakes and smoothies.
q: If I’m lactose intolerant, will whey affect me?
That all depends on the level of sensitivity you have toward dairy products. While whey is technically a byproduct of milk production, that doesn’t mean that it can’t still trigger a dairy allergy. The best way to avoid this is to check out plant-based supplements, which we’ve also included on this list!
q: Can these be used in recipes rather than mixed into a beverage?
Absolutely! Depending on the recipe, you’d likely just need to balance the liquids and dry ingredients (especially when baking), but when cooking, it won’t hurt at all to throw a scoop in every now and then.
q: What’s the shelf-life for these?
Each product will come with an expiration date. While nutrition supplements that have been dehydrated will usually have a longer shelf life, it’s always advised to keep them only until the expiration date. Not only will the product lose its potency and effectiveness past that date, but it can alter the flavor as well.
q: How many scoops can be used in a serving?
Most supplements come with a scoop so that everything is pre-measured. One scoop is advisable and we wouldn’t suggest using any more than that unless otherwise directed by a doctor. Keep in mind that this is a protein supplement, which means it’s essentially taking the place of one protein-packed meal.
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