Is It Bad To Drink Expired Liquid Protein Shake

  • Evidence based
  • Fact checked
expired liquid protein shake

Is It Bad to Drink Expired Liquid Protein Shake | Understanding the expiration dates | Expired protein shake signs | Potential risks | Factors | Tips to safely consume

Protein shakes are often used as a quick and easy meal replacement or as a workout supplement to help build muscle. But what happens when they expire? Is it bad to drink expired liquid protein shake? 

The short answer is no, it is not unsafe to drink a liquid protein shake a few days after its expiry date, provided it has been sealed until then

However, generally speaking, it’s not advised to consume any expired food or drink product, including protein shakes

Below, we look at the question in a bit more detail and also look at the signs of spoilage and deterioration in protein shakes so you can identify whether it’s safe to consume or not. 

Is It Bad to Drink Expired Liquid Protein Shake?

No, it is not absolutely unsafe to drink protein shakes past their expiry day if they have been stored properly.

That said, it is generally not recommended to consume expired food or beverages as the nutritional value and quality of the product can deteriorate significantly over time. 

Protein shakes that have been stored in a cool, dry place prior to expiry are usually still safe to consume. However, it is difficult to determine the quality of the product or any changes that may have occurred to the protein content, which is why it’s best to avoid expired products altogether. 

The expiration date on the package of your liquid protein shake is a guide to when the product will no longer be at its peak quality and potency. Once the product has expired, its nutritional content, flavor, texture, and its overall effectiveness are likely to be compromised. 

The results of consuming liquid protein shake past its expiration may range from harmless to potentially dangerous. 

Expired protein shakes will be less effective in providing you with the nutrition your body needs to build muscle. This is because amino acids in protein shakes are known to break down over time.

When liquid protein shakes expire, there is a huge risk of bacterial growth due to the presence of moisture

Understanding the expiration dates of protein shakes and protein powders

Protein shakes are basically protein supplements that come in the form of a liquid shake or as protein powders that can then be mixed with water or milk. 

These can be had as pre, mid, or post-workout drinks. The amino acids in these supplements promote muscle protein synthesis [1]frontiers: Amino Acid Trafficking and Skeletal Muscle Protein Synthesis: A Case of Supply and Demand, increase muscle mass and strength, promote fat loss, and help in muscle recovery. For this reason, protein shakes can be consumed on rest days as well.

The type of protein supplement you consume will affect how long it lasts before it expires. 

Liquid protein shakes and ready-to-drink meal replacement shakes usually expire quicker than dry protein powder supplements. Let us look at the average shelf life of each of these in detail.

Shelf life of common liquid protein shakes

The average shelf life of liquid protein shakes depends on whether you are consuming pre-packaged store-bought protein shakes or homemade protein shakes. 

Pre-packaged store-bought liquid protein shakes have a longer shelf life, typically lasting for up to two years, provided they are unopened and stored in a cool, dry place.   The expiration date printed on the package is the best guide here. 

Homemade protein shakes are more perishable. Once prepared, a refrigerated homemade shake may be good for up to 72 hours if refrigerated immediately.

In both cases, milk or dairy-based protein shakes expire faster than water-based ones.  

Shelf life of other protein supplements

The shelf life of other protein supplements is as follows:

Protein powders: Protein powders have a shelf life of approximately 1-2 years. It is crucial to store them correctly to preserve their quality and efficacy.

Protein bars: The shelf life of protein bars is relatively shorter than that of liquid protein shakes and powders. It usually falls between a few months to a year

Signs that your liquid protein shake has expired

There will be some tell-tale signs that indicate when your liquid protein shake has gone bad. Some of these signs include:

  1. Rancid smell: If a liquid protein shake has expired, one of the initial indications is a distinct change in its odor. If you notice a strong, foul, or rancid smell that is not typical of the shake, it could mean that it has gone bad or has harmful bacteria. Rely on your sense of smell and if the shake smells strange, it is better to throw it away.
  2. Change in texture: Expired protein shakes may undergo changes in texture or consistency. You may notice clumps, separation of ingredients, or a thickened or slimy texture. These changes can occur due to ingredient breakdown or the growth of bacteria or mold. If your protein shake has an unusual texture, it’s a strong indication that it is no longer suitable for consumption.
  3. Gas buildup or bulging packaging: If a liquid protein shake has expired, the container may bulge or feel pressurized due to gas buildup. This occurs because of microbial activity or fermentation, which can result in contamination.
  4. Foaming and fizzing: If your protein shake has expired, the presence of foam or fizz may indicate fermentation or microbial growth due to the product breaking down or becoming contaminated. It’s important to note that this is not a frequent occurrence in expired protein shakes.
  5. Taste has changed: If your protein shake has expired, it could taste sour, bitter, or just different from its usual taste. A strange or unpleasant taste may be a sign that the shake has gone bad or that its ingredients have deteriorated. It is better to be safe than sorry and avoid drinking it.
  6. Changes in color: Another visual indicator of an expired protein shake is a noticeable change in color. If the shake appears discolored, such as turning darker or exhibiting unusual hues, it could be that the product is past the expiration date. Any significant change in color is a clear sign that the product is no longer safe for consumption.

Potential risks of consuming expired protein shakes

While it is not absolutely unsafe to drink expired protein shakes, consuming them may put your health at risk. Depending on the type and degree of contamination, you may suffer from a range of negative health impacts and illnesses, including food poisoning. 

Below, we list some of the most common risks associated with consuming expired protein shakes:

1. Reduced effectiveness

As mentioned above, expired liquid protein shakes may not have the same level of nutrients that a fresh shake would offer. 

The breakdown of amino acids can reduce the efficacy of the shake, making it less effective in providing you with the nutrition your body needs to build muscle. This could mean that they are less effective in providing you with the nutrition your body needs to build muscle and stay healthy. 

2. Microbial growth and contamination

When consuming any expired food product, there is a risk of microbial growth and contamination. This is especially true for liquid protein shakes that contain milk, whey, or other dairy-based ingredients because they are more susceptible to spoilage. The result could be anything from an upset stomach to more serious health complications. 

3. Allergic reactions and food poisoning

Post-expiration protein shakes may develop mold, bacteria, or other contaminants that can cause allergic reactions and even food poisoning in some cases. Consuming an expired protein shake could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms. 

4. Muscular atrophy

In addition to the potential health risks discussed above, consuming expired liquid protein shakes could lead to muscular atrophy [2]Cleveland Clinic: Muscle Atrophy due to the lack of nutrients. When your body does not get enough proteins to match your level of physical activity, your muscles will start to atrophy(shrink). 

Factors influencing the safety of expired liquid protein shakes

Although it is not recommended to consume expired protein shakes, there may be instances when it is alright to do so. Here are a few factors that could influence the safety of an expired protein shake:

1. Storage conditions and temperature

The storage conditions and temperature of a liquid protein shake can have a huge impact on how long it will remain safe to consume. It is important to always store your protein shakes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. This will help extend the shelf life of the product and reduce the risk of spoilage or contamination. 

2. Packaging integrity and exposure to sunlight 

The packaging of the liquid protein shake can also be a factor in determining its safety and shelf life. If the packaging is damaged or compromised, then it could potentially open up your product to contamination from outside sources. 

Furthermore, if the packaging is not opaque and allows light to pass through, then this can lead to a decrease in nutrient content as well as an increase in spoilage rate. 

3. Product formulation and preservatives

 The formulation of the liquid protein shake can also affect its shelf life. Some products contain preservatives that help to extend their shelf life. Such products can be consumed a little after the expiry date mentioned on the package. 

It is important to look for these when choosing a product as they will significantly increase the safety and quality of the product if consumed beyond the expiration date. 

How to safely consume liquid protein shakes?

Ensuring that you consume safe and high-quality liquid protein shakes is important for both your overall health and performance. Here are a few ways to ensure that you get the best out of your protein shakes:

  1. Buy good and reputable products: It is important to buy liquid protein shakes from reputable brands that use high-quality ingredients and have good manufacturing practices.
  2. Check the expiration date: You should always check the expiration date before buying any liquid protein shake. This will help you make sure that the product is still safe for consumption. Check the packaging for any signs of damage or compromise, as this could indicate that the product has been exposed to outside contaminants.
  3. Buy in smaller quantities: Buying in smaller quantities will help you reduce the risk of wasting expired products. It is also important to use up any liquid protein shakes that you have before the expiration date to ensure that you are getting the most out of your product.
  4. Store in a cool, dry place: Dampness, sunlight, oxygen, and moisture can all have a negative effect on your protein shakes. To ensure that they last longer, store them in a cool dry place away from direct light, heat, or moisture sources. 
  5. Refrigerate your liquid protein shakes: Keeping your liquid protein shakes in the fridge will help extend their shelf life, as it will slow down the rate of spoilage. 
  6. Visual and sensory inspections before consumption: Check for the signs of deterioration mentioned above(taste, texture, smell). If you notice any changes in the product, such as discoloration or off-tastes, then it is best to discard it and choose a fresh product. 
  7. Consultation with healthcare professionals for specific dietary needs: Consult with your healthcare provider if you have any specific dietary restrictions or special nutritional needs. They can help you choose the best product for your individual health requirements.


While consuming expired liquid protein shakes is not recommended, there may be certain circumstances where it could be safe to do so. However, you should always take into consideration the factors listed above when determining whether or not it is safe to consume an expired product. Moreover, if you have any special dietary restrictions or nutritional needs, then it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Similar Posts