You blended up a delicious protein shake, then were called away to a meeting or important phone call before you were able to drink it. It has been about an hour and the protein has separated a bit from the liquid.
Is it still safe to drink? How long is a protein shake good for after mixing?
How Long to Protein Shakes Last?
Unmixed, dried protein powder, if stored in a sealed container in a dry place, should last 18 months or longer. If the product is excessively clumpy, has changed color, or has an odd smell, it is time to toss it.
Once the protein shake is blended, for optimal taste and quality, it should be consumed immediately. An unrefrigerated protein shake can last approximately two hours. A refrigerated protein shake can last up to 72 hours. Remember, treat rehydrated whey protein as essentially skim milk which we all know has a much shorter shelf life than dried milk.
The shake can last a bit longer, up to approximately 4 hours, if it is kept in a well-insulated cup.
The bigger issue is that the more time that goes on, the warmer it will be, and this may impact the taste. Colder beverages tend to taste better and less bitter.
If you add fruit to your protein shake, this may cause the color to change as the fruit oxidizes when it is exposed to air and light. It is not dangerous to eat oxidized fruit, but the color may not be very appealing.
How to Make Your Protein Shake Last Longer
Ideally, you should mix your protein shake and drink it within 30 minutes or so. But life doesn’t always happen perfectly. Just like any other food or beverage, keeping your protein shake in the refrigerator, out of the sun and/or a temperature-controlled cup is the best way to make it last longer.
Also, consider excluding fruit from your shake. Some fruits may turn brown and make it unappealing after a few hours.
If the liquid has separated from the solid protein, then all you need to do to refresh it is shake or blend it again. Add a few ice cubes to lower the temperature and freshen up the taste.
When it comes to food safety, if you are ever unsure if a food is safe to eat, it is always best to toss it. Food borne illnesses can cause serious symptoms and it is best to avoid food that might not be fresh.
- Tunick MH, Thomas-Gahring A, Van Hekken DL, et al. Physical and chemical changes in whey protein concentrate stored at elevated temperature and humidity. J Dairy Sci. 2016;99(3):2372-2383.