Does Whey Protein Expire?
Yes, whey protein powder does expire. The shelf life of whey protein powder can vary depending on factors such as the manufacturing date, the storage conditions, and the type of packaging. Typically, whey protein powder has a shelf life of around 1-2 years.
If expired whey protein tastes different, but not in a good way, and is well past its shelf life or use-by date, you might want to think twice about adding it to a smoothie. I cannot give you absolute rules on how long you can store whey protein past its expiration date, but if it seems to generally taste okay, and is only around six months past the expiration date, it is probably okay to use, though it will not taste as good as a fresh product.
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To ensure that you are getting whey that is not close to the expiration date, shop at places that sell lots of whey. As usual, I am not here to tell you what you should do, but I will tell you the notion that you should always throw out your whey once it hits the shelf life is completely unfounded. When it comes to whey, much of why it has an expiration date has to do with the fact that there is moisture trapped in the bag or the tub, and this is how molds or other unpleasant organisms are likely to grow.
Bacterial and fungal growth can cause the proteins expiration, and if you consume that, your stomach biome is disrupted. Protein does not break down on its own over time, so you should be getting the nutrients you paid for, but other macronutrients, namely fats, may be degraded.
Protein helps breakdown fat, but sadly, expired protein is not going to give you this benefit. Expiring protein is safe to eat, the essential amino acids within a protein may begin to degrade over time, making it less effective. Going deeper, expired protein powders may actually begin causing the protein to react with sugars that are in the product (even just a small amount), which may cause lysine (an amino acid) content to be broken down in the product.
If flavor starts to fade, or if you begin to see a browning, this could be a sign of Maillard reaction, which is when the protein reacts with sugars present in the product, slowly breaking down the lysine amino acid. Lysine, the amino acid in proteins that helps build muscle, can begin to break down over time through a process known as the Maillard reaction.
Breakage means expired products might not provide as much protein and amino acids as the fresh stuff. Keep that in mind, eating protein powder right after the expiration date is probably safe as long as the product has been stored correctly; however, protein powders may lose their protein content as they age. Sometimes protein powder goes bad or may develop rancid flavor prior to the expiration date, particularly if it has not been stored properly.
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As long as you use your protein powder within a couple years after purchase, and keep it somewhere that is cool or at room temperature, you will likely never need to worry about dried products such as protein powder going bad. An unopened tub of protein powder kept in a cool, dry environment–a kitchen cupboard that is not over your stove, for instance–can easily keep up to two years beyond its original best-by date. As far as shelf life goes, powders can last up to two years, sometimes more, when kept cool and dry.
One producer I worked for mentioned that you could consume a good protein powder up to three months past its shelf life, but I like to err on the side of health and safety. More importantly, like conventional foods, protein products have both a best-by date and use-by date, which you will want to keep in mind. If the protein product, be it whey or vegan, smells or tastes off, or if it is been several months since your protein products best-by date, treat yourself to a new package and follow storage instructions to the letter, so you can guarantee it is long-lasting.
Once you have mixed dried protein powders with other food products–especially perishable ones, such as milk or produce–the powders shelf life is not valid anymore. Whey protein may lose some potency over time, but it is certainly not like baking powder, which is practically worthless past a set time. Try as you might, unless you are the type who goes in for a scoop of whey protein (or soy, brown rice, or casein) whenever you are making a protein shake post-workout, it is going to be tough to consume all of those giant tubs of protein powder before they hit their shelf life.
This is particularly true during the summer, since you certainly do not want a protein shake sitting in your car while it is hot. You could likely keep the protein shake in the refrigerator for several days, but leaving a shake outside in a hot or warm environment will make you reluctant to consume the contents within hours. Generally, you can refrigerate a protein mixed shake for up to two days, but I have never heard anyone doing this on a regular basis, or even on an irregular basis.
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If you suck a protein shake only to realize that it is past its shelf life, you need not worry about that, as long as it is not stored in a hot environment. These examples reinforce the need to be a careful consumer, meaning reading all of a products labels before using, particularly if looking at an expired protein powder that is two years past its best-by date. In fact, you may continue using protein powder weeks and months past this date, suggests Jennifer Quinlan, PhD, an assistant professor at the Nutrition Sciences department of Drexel University. According to research published in the Journal of Dairy Sciences, proteins typically go bad 12 months after they are manufactured.
How long can you use protein powder after expiration date?
The taste is nearly impossible to deteriorate between six and 18 months after the expiration date. However, after this timeframe, it may begin to deteriorate and be unable to use for making a protein shake. If you notice any flavor changes, you can utilize the powder in your food rather than drinking it as a standalone shake.
How to know if protein powder is expired?
You could purchase large containers of whey powder in the mistaken belief that you can keep them for ever. They can, however, get spoiled, therefore this is not true. A rotten odor, harsh taste, color changes, or clumping are a few indicators that whey protein has gone bad. You can also look for expiry date on the whey protein tub.
Does protein powder expire if unopened?
When kept in typical storage circumstances, a container of unopened Whey protein powder has a shelf life of 9 to 19 months. The majority of protein powders have chemicals that increase shelf life by up to two years. So whether you open it or not, protein powder can expire.