Low-carb protein powders differ from other protein powders in their macronutrient composition. As the name suggests, low-carb protein powders contain a lower amount of carbohydrates than other protein powders, typically containing less than 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving. This is achieved by using protein sources that are low in carbohydrates, such as whey protein isolate or egg protein, and by avoiding added sugars and other high-carbohydrate ingredients.
In addition to their low carbohydrate content, low-carb protein powders may also contain higher amounts of fat and fiber, which can help to promote feelings of fullness and satiety. Some low-carb protein powders also contain ingredients such as MCT oil or coconut oil, which are sources of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that have been shown to increase feelings of fullness and boost metabolism.
It is important to note that not all low-carb protein powders are created equal, and the nutritional content can vary between brands and products. It is important to read the nutrition label and ingredient list to ensure that the product fits within your individual dietary needs and preferences.
Research has shown that diets low in carbohydrates can be effective for weight loss and improving metabolic health, particularly in individuals with obesity or type 2 diabetes (1,2). In a randomized controlled trial, individuals who consumed a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet experienced greater weight loss and improvements in markers of cardiovascular disease risk compared to those on a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet (3).
However, it is important to note that low-carb diets may not be appropriate for everyone and should be discussed with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian. Additionally, relying solely on protein powder as a meal replacement may not provide all of the essential nutrients needed for a healthy diet.
- Dashti HM, Mathew TC, Khadada M, et al. Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects. Mol Cell Biochem. 2007 Aug;302(1-2):249-56.
- Saslow LR, Mason AE, Kim S, et al. An online intervention comparing a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and lifestyle recommendations versus a plate method diet in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. J Med Internet Res. 2017 Feb 13;19(2):e36.
- Tay J, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Thompson CH, et al. A very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet compared with a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet for the management of type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. Diabetes Care. 2015 Oct;38(10):1909-18.