Protein powder has become an essential supplement for many health-conscious people, whether they are athletes, fitness enthusiasts, or people simply looking to supplement their diet with a protein supplement. But what about its shelf life? Well, the good news is that most protein powders are designed to have a long shelf life. But what actually happens when you consume an expired product? This is what we will see in this article.
What is the expiration date?
The expiry date indicated on protein powder packaging corresponds to the date by which the manufacturer guarantees the optimal quality of the product, in terms of freshness, taste and nutritional value.
After this date, protein breakdown and loss of nutrients accelerates. The product may become unfit for consumption and pose a health risk.
How long does protein powder last?
The good news is that most protein powders are designed to have a long shelf life. However, this can vary depending on the type of protein powder and its ingredients. Whey and casein proteins, which are derived from dairy products, may have a shorter shelf life than plant-based options such as pea or rice proteins.
Most protein powder manufacturers list a shelf life of two years from the date of manufacture. This date corresponds to the so-called DDM or Minimum Durability Date (ex DLUO for the date of optimum use).
On products marked in English, we find the phrase “BBE” for the better before the end. As with DDM, this is an indication of quality, not safety.
Are expired protein powders dangerous?
The question of the danger of protein powder after its expiration date is of interest to many bodybuilding enthusiasts who have purchased packages containing several kilograms of whey. However, unlike fresh produce, the risk of food poisoning remains very low for these dried preparations.
There is a common confusion between DLC and DDM
Many people confuse the use-by date (BDL) with the minimum durability date (BDM). DLC concerns products that can become dangerous after a certain period of time, such as meat or fish. MDD applies to foods that retain their gustatory qualities or sensory characteristics until the stated date. Such as rice, pasta or canned goods.
However, protein powders fall into this second category. Its low water content prevents the development of pathogenic bacteria even after the specified date.
Be careful, this is not a call to happily consume proteins that have expired years ago. It is still recommended to take some precautions.
To identify expired powder, look at appearance, color, odor (through a very scientific “sniff test”) and taste. Wet powder that has lumps, a rancid odor, or a bitter taste should be discarded.
In some cases, eating expired protein powder can cause digestive upset, such as bloating, gas, or upset stomach.
The importance of storage conditions
Over time, the conditions in which the powder is stored affect its shelf life.
Moisture is the main enemy of protein powder. Storage in a dry place, protected from air and light, will allow all its qualities to be well preserved after DDM. It is therefore necessary to close the container tightly after each use.
Conversely, powder stored in a humid room or at a high temperature will decompose more quickly. Humidity promotes the reproduction of bacteria and changes their composition. Excessive heat accelerates chemical decomposition reactions.
It is therefore necessary to store the precious powder in an airtight container, in a dry cupboard and at moderate room temperature. These good practices will allow you to use it without worry after the date written on the package.
What to remember
As long as the powder retains the same original appearance and smell, there is no risk of consuming it a few months after the expiration date. On the other hand, at the slightest sign of damage, it is better to get rid of it to avoid any inconvenience.
In short, expiration is not synonymous with danger in protein powders. But regular checks and good storage conditions are still necessary to benefit from its benefits in complete safety.
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