The paleo diet, praised as a holistic return to our ancestor’s dietary roots, has grown in popularity since the early 2010s. Like with most diets, protein shakes are a popular supplement for those on paleo. Here, we’ve broken down the 11 best paleo protein powders.
Farther down, we present research and information on the paleo diet and protein powder itself.
(As a side note, strict paleo diets don’t allow dairy products, so this list will not feature any whey or casein protein powders.)
Best Overall: PurePaleo – Collagen Peptides Protein Powder
“Pure Swedish bone broth protein with just a handful of natural ingredients for flavor—the go-to paleo protein powder.”
Best for Weight Loss: RENOVATIO – Non-GMO Grass-Fed Bone Broth Protein
“This low-calorie, high-protein bone broth powder is a great paleo pick for weight loss.”
Best for Building Muscle: Organic Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth Protein Powder
“This is the best paleo protein powder when it comes to protein content. Perfect for building lean muscle.”
Best Taste: PaleoPro – Aztec Vanilla Paleo Protein Powder
“Available in vanilla, cacao, and mocha, this is delicious paleo protein with just a handful of natural ingredients.”
Best Keto Pick: Perfect Keto Collagen Peptides
“It’s in the name: Perfect Keto’s collagen peptide powder with MCT oil is perfect for hitting keto goals.”
Best Paleo Meal Replacement Shake: Equip – Beef Paleo Protein Powder
“In a rush? This beef collagen protein powder is a great alternative to a full meal here and there.”
Best for Women: Keto Collagen Protein Powder with MCT Oil
“This delicious, MCT-packed collagen peptide powder is a great paleo pick for boosting skin and hair health.”
Best Value: Bulk Supplements – Paleo Beef Protein Powder
“Bulk Supplements never disappoints when it comes to clean, inexpensive, high-quality protein powder.”
Best Egg White Protein: Paleo Thin – Paleo Egg White Powder
“Paleo Thin’s egg white protein powder is the go-to choice for anyone wanting paleo-friendly egg white protein.”
Best Bone Broth Protein: Ancient Nutrition – Bone Broth Protein Powder
“Available in 7 all-natural flavors, this is one of the best bone broth paleo protein powders.”
Best Collagen Protein: Grass-Fed Paleo Collagen Peptides Powder
“These 100% hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides are perfect for bone, joint, and skin health.”
Top 11 Best Paleo Protein Powders
Best Paleo Protein Powder Overall
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
This protein powder is 100% Swedish beef collagen peptides, with just a few natural ingredients. It’s a great paleo protein powder for weight loss, muscle building, or practically any other goal.
It may seem a little spendy, but this is nearly 2 pounds of powder. It’s a great pick for anyone wanting to stock up on healthy paleo protein shakes.
This beef collagen powder is one of the best paleo protein powders for any goal.
Best Weight Loss Paleo Protein Powder
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
Whether you’re sticking to paleo or just trying to eat clean, keeping a lower calorie count is essential to losing weight. Renovatio’s grass-fed bone broth protein has the fewest calories per standardized 30-gram serving on our list, without compromising on protein content.
If you want a delicious, low-calorie, high-protein paleo protein shake for weight loss, this is it.
Best Paleo Protein Powder for Building Muscle
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
This organic, single-ingredient bone broth protein powder has the highest protein content per 30-gram serving on this list. It’s a paleo- and keto-friendly protein powder that’s perfect for building muscle mass. It has no added flavor, so you’ll want to mix it into other ingredients (such as fruits) for your paleo protein shakes.
This is a super clean, high-protein bone broth powder is the best paleo protein powder for building muscle.
Best-Tasting Paleo Protein Powder
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
PaleoPro’s grass-fed beef and egg white protein powder is a great pick for anyone wanting a delicious paleo protein shake. Whether you’re using your powder for paleo meal replacement shakes or just as a supplement, this delicious, clean, all-natural powder is a great option.
Want some delicious vanilla, cacao, or mocha paleo protein powder? This is a great pick.
Best Keto Paleo Protein Powder
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
Also featured on our list of top keto protein powders, Perfect Keto’s collagen peptide powder is one of the best paleo protein powders for maintaining ketosis. As a bonus, it contains 5 grams of MCT oil per 17-gram scoop, which can be easily broken down into ketones.
This collagen peptide and MCT oil powder blend is a fantastic keto- and paleo-friendly protein powder.
Best Paleo Meal Replacement Shake
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
Let’s get this out of the way: While this paleo protein shake consists of beef protein from 70% beef and 30% collagen sources, it doesn’t taste like meat at all. The mild flavor of the protein itself is masked by the natural stevia leaf and cacao (or vanilla). It makes a delicious paleo meal replacement shake.
While you don’t want to replace every meal with a paleo protein shake, this paleo protein powder is a great way to sneak in some high-protein nutrition when you don’t have time to cook.
This delicious, minimal-ingredient, all-natural powder makes some of the best paleo meal replacement shakes.
Best Paleo Protein Powder for Women
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
This keto-friendly protein powder contains nothing but hydrolyzed collagen peptides, keto-promoting MCT oil powder, natural flavors, and stevia leaf extract. It’s a delicious, all-natural option for women wanting to promote skin, hair, and nail health while sticking to a paleo diet.
Want some paleo-friendly protein that supports hair, skin, and nail health? This is a great option.
Best Value Paleo Protein Powder
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
This beef isolate protien is one of the best paleo protein powders for anyone looking for a good deal. This powder is available in quantities as small as 3.5 oz (100 grams) for anyone who wants to try it out. If you like it, it’s available in bulk packages up to an insane 44 pounds (22 kilograms)!
This beef protein powder gets down to a mere $0.40 cents per 30-gram serving when you buy in bulk, which is one of the best paleo protein powders on the market when it comes to value.
Best Egg White Paleo Protein Powder
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
While all pure egg white powder is technically paleo-firendly, Paleo Thin’s powder takes the cake. No matter the flavor, from vanilla to cinnamon roll, these powders are great for paleo diets. They do offer pure, unflavored powder for those sticking to even stricter programs.
The unflavored powder is marketed as IKDiet (instaketone diet) Phase 1 approved, which sounds impressive at face value. However, the IKDiet was written specifically for this brand, and contains only its own products. Still, this is a good choice for anyone looking for paleo or keto-friendly protein powders.
This is one of the best paleo protein powders derived from egg whites. It makes super clean, high-protein, low-calorie paleo shakes.
Best Bone Broth Paleo Protein Powder
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
Ancient Nutrition’s bone broth protein powder is a go-to when it comes to paleo-friendly protein. While not all bone broth and collagen protein powders are complete sources of protein, this one is. It’s perfect as a paleo meal replacement, coffee additive, or protein shake.
Ancient Nutrition delivers one of the best paleo protein powders in the bone broth category. And it’s delicious!
Best Collagen Paleo Protein Powder
|30g 1 oz 1/4 cup|
This collagen peptide powder is a great option for making clean, high-protein paleo shakes. It has no additives or ingredients beyond the collagen peptides themselves, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
These paleo-friendly collagen peptides are a great way to support bone and joint health.
Overview: Paleo Diets & Protein Powder
The paleo diet has sprung up in popularity since the early 2010s. From a time in which dieters adhered to strictly low-fat or low-carb diets with less consideration for food quality, the paleo diet and its focus on whole, healthy foods rose from the mire.
Chances are, if you’re looking for the best paleo protein powder, you’re already familiar with the paleo diet. For those who need some more information, though, we’ve summarized pros, cons, and criticisms of the paleo diet.
What Is the Paleo Diet?
The paleo diet is a high-protein, low-carb diet based on the supposed dietary habits of ancient man. Often called the caveman diet, it’s a whole-foods diet comprising foods that may have been eaten by hunter-gatherer societies.
The paleo diet is most often used for weight loss goals. However, the diet’s early founder Loren Cordain, PhD claims it can help manage or mitigate risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.
This is not without criticism, however. Many experts believe that cutting out processed foods and replacing them with whole foods will itself lower these risks, with or without the food group-based dietary restrictions of the paleo diet. We’ll discuss these criticisms further below.
What You Can and Can’t Eat on the Paleo Diet
Different variations of the paleo diet will have different allowances and restrictions, but here are some common examples of what can and can’t be eaten on a strict paleo diet.
- Meats (beef, pork, poultry, fish, seafood, etc.)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc.)
- Whole, natural oils (coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.)
- All forms of added sugar (granulated, corn syrup, etc.)
- Grains (wheat, oats, pastas, etc.)
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peas, etc.)
- Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.)
- Artificial and/or highly processed foods and ingredients (many sweeteners, preservatives, etc.)
Is Whey Protein Paleo-Friendly?
We’ll get this out of the way before addressing the pros and cons of the paleo diet. Many people wonder if whey protein is paleo-approved. This question would also apply to other dairy-based proteins, such as casein protein powder.
Strictly speaking, no, whey protein is not paleo-friendly. One of the key premises of the paleo diet is to avoid foods that are derived from agriculture and farming practices. This would include cows’ milk, from which whey and casein are made.
However, many variations of the paleo diet do allow dairy products, and therefore would allow whey and casein protein powders. One of the primary criticisms of the paleo diet is its rejection of certain healthy foods, such as dairy. In response, many people choose to eat these healthy foods despite the premise of the diet.
Should you eat whey protein on the paleo diet? That depends on your personal reasons for following the diet. If you’re trying to eat strictly as if you were living in a hunter-gatherer society, then no, you should not eat whey. If you’re simply trying to improve your health by eating whole, natural foods, then whey protein is fine.
For those on diary-lenient paleo diets, we recommend Naked Whey protein powder. This grass-fed, GMO-free, US-based powder contains only one ingredient: 100% whey powder.
Gluten- and soy-free
Benefits of Paleo Diets
There have been a number of studies that have indicated several health benefits for those who stick with paleo diets.
Research-Backed Benefits of the Paleo Diet:
- Fat loss1A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease.2Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers.3A Palaeolithic-type diet causes strong tissue-specific effects on ectopic fat deposition in obese postmenopausal women.4Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease factors5Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study.6Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet.7Paleolithic nutrition for metabolic syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes factors8Metabolic and physiologic effects from consuming a hunter-gatherer (Paleolithic)-type diet in type 2 diabetes9A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease.10Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study.
As previously mentioned, many of these findings have not been narrowed down specifically to the paleo diet itself. Weight loss and reduced risk of certain diseases is expected with any healthy, holistic diet.
Side Effects of Paleo Diets
Practically every diet is going to come with some unpleasant side effects. Here are some associated with paleo.
Possible Paleo Diet Side Effects:
- Low Energy
As the body is deprived of carbohydrate-rich foods, glucose becomes less available as an energy source. As this progresses, new paleo adherents may find themselves tired, fatigued, and/or physically weak.
Low energy alone isn’t a sign of any sort of dramatic health issue. People trying ketogenic diets similarly often experience low energy levels as the body switches from carbohydrate-derived glucose as a primary energy source to fat-derived ketones. To help mitigate this, many people turn to coffee or tea for caffeine.
This paleo-friendly protein powder fights the energy slump with caffeine, ashwagandha root, and other healthy herbs.
- Mood Swings
Factors such as low energy and cravings for restricted foods can lead to crankiness and mood swings. The moodiness should subside as the body adapts to the new diet.
- Digestive Issues
For some people, a sudden increase in fatty foods may lead to digestive discomfort. New paleo practitioners often complain of diarrhea coinciding with the uptick in fat intake and restriction of starches and carbs that help stabilize stool. Most people report that these symptoms subside after adapting to the diet.
Criticisms of Paleo Diets
The paleo diet is not without its critics. We’ll lay out some of the most common complaints put forth by experts and practitioners alike.
- Flawed Premise
The most common complaint against the paleo diet is that its premise is flawed. Some experts argue that eating the way our ancestors may have eaten is not inherently better than simply eating healthy foods.
Proponents of the paleo diet often make evolutionary arguments against the modern-day consumption of grains, dairy, and other non-hunter-gatherer foods. However, there is a lack of measurable evidence to support the claims that modern man cannot properly process these foods.
This has led many experts to the conclusion that the health benefits from paleo diets are largely the result of exclusively eating healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. These benefits don’t necessarily indicate that the hunter-gatherer-exclusive foods are better for modern man than a healthy diet.
- Restricts Healthy Foods
Perhaps the most significant complaint brought against the paleo diet is that it restricts foods that are generally regarded as healthy by biologists and dietitians. Dairy, for example, as an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for bone health. Or take legumes, which contain a healthy amount of dietary fiber, often lacking in paleo diets.
While many such nutrients can come from other foods, it would be incredibly difficult to ensure every nutrient need is met while restricting such large food groups. For this reason, many people modify the paleo diet to allow for healthy food groups, such as diary and legumes. At some point, however, such diets are no longer “paleo,” and would be better described simply as healthy eating.
- Not Sustainable
Many people who try strict paleo diets find that they’re not sustainable. In the long run, it can be very difficult to consistently avoid foods that contain grains or dairy, for example. The restrictions cut out common foods that are often regarded as healthy.
In addition to the difficulty of sustaining the paleo diet, it’s also expensive. Grains and legumes, for example, are often hailed as inexpensive sources of nutrition. When a diet largely comprises expensive foods (such as fish and nuts), it may not be financially feasible for some people to stick with it.
How to Take Paleo Protein Powder
Once you’ve picked the best paleo protein powder for your goals, you’ll need to figure out your dosage and timing. Here’s some helpful information.
How Much Protein to Take
- For Building Muscle
For those with the goal of building muscle mass, research has shown that it’s best to eat 0.73 to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight each day (or 1.6 to 2.4 grams per kilogram of weight).11A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults12Do athletes need more dietary protein and amino acids? The more you work out, the more you’ll have to lean toward the higher end of that scale.
To build muscle with a paleo-friendly protein powder, we recommend this grass fed beef bone broth protein powder for its high protein content.
- For Weight Loss
Research has shown that consuming 0.36 to 0.73 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is ideal for fat loss (or 0.8 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight).13A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults14Dietary protein intake and human health. You can use a protein needs calculator below to determine what’s best for you.
To promote weight loss, we recommend Renovatio’s low-calorie bone broth protein.
Use our protein needs calculator to skip doing the math yourself.
When to Take Your Protein
- For Building Muscle
For those wanting to build muscle mass, studies have shown that the best time to drink a protein shake is right after each workout. This has a whole slew of benefits beyond simply boosting muscle mass.
Benefits of post-workout protein:
- Boosted muscle protein synthesis (muscle tissue building)15Reduced resting skeletal muscle protein synthesis is rescued by resistance exercise and protein ingestion following short-term energy deficit.16Regulation of Muscle Glycogen Repletion, Muscle Protein Synthesis and Repair Following Exercise
- Increased muscle mass over time17A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults
- Improved glycogen production and storage (a form of muscle energy)18Early postexercise muscle glycogen recovery is enhanced with a carbohydrate-protein supplement19Postexercise protein-carbohydrate and carbohydrate supplements increase muscle glycogen in men and women
- Increased strength and performance levels20THE EFFECT OF A CARBOHYDRATE AND PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT ON RESISTANCE EXERCISE PERFORMANCE, HORMONAL RESPONSE, AND MUSCLE DAMAGE21Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans
- Decreased muscle damage22Effect of milk-based carbohydrate-protein supplement timing on the attenuation of exercise-induced muscle damage
- Decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness23Acute milk-based protein–CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage
Building and maintaining muscle mass is very important for men and women alike. As muscle is some of the most calorie-hungry tissue, it has a lot of metabolism-boosting potential—even at rest. For more information, you can read our guide on the Top 20 Best Protein Powders for Women.
- For Weight Loss
For those wanting to lose fat, the best time to take protein is right after each workout. As briefly discussed earlier, building muscle mass will help with burning more calories at rest. This, in turn, can help with weight loss.
For those that don’t choose to work out, it’s best to take protein in between meals. Research has shown that this helps with boosting fat loss more than taking protein with meals.24Effects of protein supplements consumed with meals, versus between meals, on resistance training–induced body composition changes in adults: a systematic review
For more thorough information on protein powder dosage and timing, check out our protein powder guide.
Brief Protein Overview
Regardless of whether you’re on the paleo diet, not sure if protein supplements are right for you? Here’s a quick overview on protein itself to help you make a decision.
What Are Proteins?
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are essentially the building blocks of the entire body. When you eat food containing proteins, your body breaks them down into those amino acids. From there, they’re used to build all sorts of structures within the body. They also play vital roles in many other functions throughout the body.
There are 20 total amino acids, of which 8 cannot be produced by the body on its own and have to come from external sources. These are called essential amino acids. (Though there are 9 essential amino acids for infants.)
Every protein source contains different levels of each amino acid, creating what’s called an amino acid profile. Foods that contain every essential amino acid are called complete protein sources. Most animal sources, including dairy, egg whites, casein, and meat, are complete. A few plant sources, such as hemp protein and soy, are complete sources as well.
Benefits of Protein Supplements
The following information is summarized from our complete protein powder guide. Check it out for more thorough information.
- Building and Preserving Muscle Mass
Research has shown that taking protein supplements in addition to working out (particularly lifting weights) leads to increased muscle mass.25Whey Protein Supplementation Improves Body Composition and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis26A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults
There are a few primary reasons behind this. One of the biggest is that drinking a protein supplement after working out has two immediate effects. First, the supply of amino acids from the protein stops the body from breaking down muscle. Secondly, the body starts to speed up muscle tissue synthesis (muscle creation) when supplied with plenty of amino acids directly following a workout.27Reduced resting skeletal muscle protein synthesis is rescued by resistance exercise and protein ingestion following short-term energy deficit.28Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids29Protein requirements and muscle mass/strength changes during intensive training in novice bodybuilders.30Effects of exaggerated amino acid and protein supply in man.
- Boosting Performance and Decreasing Soreness
Protein supplements help with more than just building up muscle size. Research has demonstrated that drinking a protein shake after each workout can lead to increased strength, performance levels, and one repetition max.31A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults/mfn]31Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans32Effects of resistance training and protein plus amino acid supplementation on muscle anabolism, mass, and strength
There are three major reasons behind this. First, protein supplements simply help the body produce more muscle tissue, as discussed above.
Second, drinking protein after an intense workout helps restore muscle glycogen, a primary energy source. 33Early postexercise muscle glycogen recovery is enhanced with a carbohydrate-protein supplement34Carbohydrate-protein complex increases the rate of muscle glycogen storage after exercise35Postexercise protein-carbohydrate and carbohydrate supplements increase muscle glycogen in men and women36Regulation of Muscle Glycogen Repletion, Muscle Protein Synthesis and Repair Following Exercise
And finally, post-workout protein also reduces muscle soreness. Since sore, damaged muscle fiber can’t perform as well as it normally could, reducing soreness results in increased performance and resultant strength gains over time. 37THE EFFECT OF A CARBOHYDRATE AND PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT ON RESISTANCE EXERCISE PERFORMANCE, HORMONAL RESPONSE, AND MUSCLE DAMAGE38Effect of milk-based carbohydrate-protein supplement timing on the attenuation of exercise-induced muscle damage39Acute milk-based protein–CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage
Taking protein supplements can help with gaining muscle mass, boosting performance, and decreasing soreness.
Research has demonstrated that drinking protein shakes can help with reducing fat mass while increasing or maintaining muscle mass.40Whey Protein Supplementation Improves Body Composition and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis41A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study42Effects of protein supplements consumed with meals, versus between meals, on resistance training–induced body composition changes in adults: a systematic review
There are a few contributing factors here. The simplest is that protein shakes are filling, and can often replace unhealthy food choices. They can help with both appetite control and responsible dietary choices.
But beyond simple meal replacements, protein shakes help increase muscle mass, which in turns helps with burning fat.
Even at rest, muscle consumes more calories than fat does. This means that the more muscle tissue you have, the higher your resting metabolism. And the higher your resting metabolism, the easier it is to maintain a calorie deficit and burn fat.
Protein supplements can help with losing fat and maintaining calorie-burning muscle mass.
Protein supplements can be very useful tools for supporting the paleo diet. There are plenty of paleo protein powders on the market, and you should now have enough information to make an educated choice.
For more information on protein supplementation, see our complete protein powder guide.
It’s pure bone broth protein from Swedish cows with just a handful of natural ingredients for flavor—the go-to paleo protein powder.
Bone broth protein
Free of gluten, soy, and dairy