Does Protein Powder Have Caffeine Hidden In Its Ingredients?

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Written By Nicolette
Nicolette has been a certified dietician and nutritionist for over ten years, whose work has been featured in the likes of Reader’s Digest, Eat This, Not That, Everyday Health, and Shape. She believes in emphasizing a holistic approach toward food and nutrition.

Are Protein Powders a Source of Caffeine? Let’s explore the possible presence of caffeine in protein powders and its potential sources.

Are Protein Powders A Source Of Caffeine?

While certain protein powders contain caffeine, others are entirely free from it. Analyzing the individual components and ingredients found in various formulas on the market can shed light on whether or not they serve as a source of caffeine.

Although many brands consciously decide against adding these stimulants into their formulations, there are instances where traces of caffeinated substances occur naturally within certain ingredients – making it essential for consumers to be aware and diligent when selecting suitable options for their needs.

The Top Hidden Sources Of Caffeine In Protein Powders to Watch Out For

Protein powders may contain hidden sources of caffeine, including added caffeine, guarana extract, green tea extract, and cocoa powder.

Added Caffeine

Fitness supplements’ popularity has resulted in a market filled with protein powders that cater to various needs. One notable trend is the addition of caffeine, which many manufacturers include to provide an extra energy boost during workouts or daily activities.

However, you may be unaware of the added caffeine in these supplements, which can be risky. Hidden under names such as guarana extract or green tea extract, excessive consumption of caffeinated protein powder may lead to side effects like overstimulation, insomnia, or heart palpitations.

Guarana Extract

Guarana Extract

Guarana extract is a common ingredient in energy supplements owing to its high caffeine content. The extract is derived from the seeds of a South American plant, which contains four times more caffeine than coffee beans. (1)

Typically used to enhance athletic performance, alertness, and brain function, excessive consumption can lead to side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, nausea, and headaches. Theobromine and theophylline, two caffeine-like chemicals found in guarana, can cause such symptoms.

People sensitive to caffeine or taking other stimulant-based medicines must avoid protein powders containing guarana extract.

Green Tea Extract

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract is a popular ingredient found in many protein powders, but it’s also one of the hidden sources of caffeine. The caffeine content in green tea can vary depending on factors such as the type of tea and how it’s brewed. While green tea does offer health benefits such as antioxidants called catechins, drinking large amounts may cause side effects due to its caffeine content. (2)

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is a popular ingredient used in many food products, including protein powders. However, it is also one of the hidden sources of caffeine in these powders. While cocoa powder itself does not contain high levels of caffeine compared to coffee or tea, it can still contribute to overall daily caffeine intake.

On the other hand, cocoa contains up to 50 mg of polyphenols per gram and single servings of cocoa and cocoa products contain more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. These antioxidants are important for our health as they help reduce inflammation and protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. So while cocoa can be a source of caffeine in protein powders, it also provides valuable nutrients that offer various health benefits. (3)

Analyzing Protein Powder Labels For Caffeine Content

To ensure that you are not unknowingly consuming caffeine in your protein powder, it is important to analyze the product’s label and ingredient list carefully – keep reading to discover how.

Tips for Reading Product Labels for Caffeine Content

  • Read product labels carefully when purchasing protein powder to understand what you are buying and its ingredients.
  • Understanding food labeling laws can help you understand how dietary supplements are regulated in your region.
  • Checking ingredient lists can reveal hidden sources of caffeine, such as guarana extract, green tea extract, and cocoa powder.
  • Consider bioavailability when analyzing protein powders for their caffeine content because some active ingredients may have higher or lower concentration levels based on serving size, recommended dosage, or metabolism boosters.

Tips When Checking Ingredient Lists for Caffeine Content

  • Checking ingredient lists is crucial for analyzing the caffeine content of protein powders.
  • Some labels may indicate the presence of caffeine, while others may list herbal ingredients that contain caffeine without specifying the amount.
  • Guarana extract, green tea extract, and cocoa powder are common protein powders additives that can increase caffeine intake.
  • Reading product labels carefully is essential to ensure you know what you’re putting into your body, including any added caffeine and any herbs or extracts that could be sources of hidden stimulants.

Potential Risks Of Consuming Protein Powders With Caffeine

protein powder scoop

Consuming protein powders with added caffeine can lead to overstimulation, insomnia, and heart palpitations; read on to learn about these risks and explore alternative options.


Consuming protein powders with caffeine can lead to potential risks of overstimulation. When you consume too much caffeine, your body can become overexcited and trigger side effects such as jitters, anxiety, and heart palpitations. In some cases, excessive caffeine intake may also lead to tremors or migraines.

It’s important to note that the risk of overstimulation is not limited to protein powder supplements alone. Consuming energy drinks or combining different dietary supplements that contain caffeine may increase the likelihood of physical overexertion and adverse reactions. 


Consuming protein powders with hidden caffeine may lead to poor sleep patterns and insomnia. Caffeine is known for its ability to stimulate the nervous system, which can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

This means that consuming protein powder with caffeine might make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.

Heart Palpitations

One of the potential risks of consuming protein powders with caffeine is heart palpitations. Caffeine can cause increased heart rate and irregular heartbeats, and when paired with other stimulants in protein powders, it can lead to overstimulation.

Consuming caffeinated protein supplements may exacerbate these conditions for those already at risk for cardiovascular health issues, such as high blood pressure or heart disease.

Alternatives To Caffeinated Protein Powder

Plenty of alternatives are available if you’re looking to avoid the potential risks of consuming protein powders with caffeine.

Whole Foods

Natural protein sources like eggs, nuts, and lean meats are great options for those who prefer a whole-food diet. Alternatively, plant-based proteins such as soy, pea, or hemp can provide ample amounts of protein without any added caffeine.

Some of the best protein sources include lean meats like chicken and turkey, fish such as salmon and tuna, eggs, tofu, beans and legumes. These sources provide essential nutrients and offer a range of flavors for variety in your diet.

Plant-based foods like nuts and seeds can also be excellent protein sources. Almonds, peanuts, chia seeds, and quinoa are all great options for those seeking alternative protein sources. These plant-based proteins provide health benefits and typically come without any unwanted additives or caffeine found in some protein powders.

Caffeine-Free Protein Powders

In addition to whole foods and plant-based options, caffeine-free protein powders are on the market. These products typically contain protein derived from milk or plants without added stimulants. Brands like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey and Garden of Life Organic Plant-Based Protein are popular.

Here are some of the most popular protein powders that do not contain any caffeine;

  1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
  2. Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder
  3. Naked Nutrition Whey Protein Powder
  4. MuscleTech NitroTech Protein Powder
  5. Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder
  6. Garden of Life Sport Certified Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
  7. Jarrow Formulas Iso-Rich Soy Protein Powder
  8. Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder


Are you curious about whether your favorite protein powder contains caffeine? Check out our FAQs section for answers to commonly asked questions and discover the best non-caffeinated protein powders for your fitness goals. Keep reading and learn more!

Can Creatine And Caffeine Be Taken Together?

Caffeine and creatine are two of the most popular ergogenic aids athletes use to enhance their athletic performance. While some experts suggest that caffeine might interfere with creatine absorption, recent studies have found no adverse effects when taken together. Taking caffeine and creatine together may improve power and strength during high-intensity exercises.

Does Casein Protein Have Caffeine?

Casein protein is a popular ingredient in many protein powders due to its slow-digesting nature, which makes it ideal for building and repairing muscles overnight. But one question often arises among fitness enthusiasts is whether casein protein contains caffeine. The good news is that casein protein does not contain caffeine, making it an excellent option for those who want to avoid stimulants while still getting the nutritional benefits of a high-quality protein powder.

Does Soy, Hemp, Or Pea Proteins Have Caffeine?

Soy, hemp and pea protein powders are all popular among those seeking plant-based protein sources. Many people may wonder whether these types of protein powders contain caffeine. The good news is that none of these proteins naturally contain caffeine. So if you are looking for a caffeine-free source of protein to fuel your fitness goals and health benefits, any of these options would be great.

Does Coffee Flavored Protein Powder Have Caffeine?

If you’re a coffee lover, enjoying it in your protein powder is likely pretty enticing. But does coffee-flavored protein powder have caffeine? The answer is yes and no. While not all coffee-flavored powders contain caffeine, many do. That’s because they’re made with real coffee or an extract, both of which naturally contain caffeine. So if you’re looking for a boost from your morning pick-me-up or pre-workout snack, this could be the perfect supplement.

Does Pure Protein Powder Have Caffeine?

As the name suggests, Pure Protein Powder is a supplement that consists solely of protein. It does not contain caffeine, making it an excellent choice for those sensitive to caffeine or seeking a supplement without added stimulants. However, it’s essential to read product labels carefully and check the ingredient list of any protein powder you’re considering consuming.

Does Muscle Milk Protein Powder Have Caffeine?

Muscle Milk is a popular brand of protein powder that provides bodybuilders and athletes with high-quality nutrition to build muscle. However, does Muscle Milk have caffeine in its ingredients? No, Muscle Milk does not contain added caffeine. The primary ingredient in Muscle Milk is milk protein isolate, which contains no caffeine. So if you’re looking for a caffeinated pre-workout supplement or post-workout recovery shake, this might not be the best option.

Does Vega Protein Powder Have Caffeine?

Vega is a famous brand for plant-based protein powders that are vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. While some flavors contain caffeine, others do not. Chocolate and Mocha flavored Vega One Organic All-in-One Shake have approximately 13mg-18mg of caffeine per serving from cocoa powder. However, other products like Vega Protein Made Simple are made with just a few natural ingredients and do not contain caffeine.

Does Quest Protein Powder Have Caffeine?

Quest Nutrition is well-known for its high-quality protein bars, powders, and chips. When it comes to the question of whether Quest Protein Powder has caffeine or not, the answer varies depending on the product. While some of their products contain added caffeine as an energy boost, most do not have any caffeine content. It’s essential to read the label carefully and check the ingredient list for any hidden sources of caffeine.

Does Gold Standard Whey Protein Have Caffeine?

While Gold Standard Whey Protein does not contain added caffeine or stimulants, it may still contain natural sources of caffeine such as cocoa powder. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or prefer a caffeine-free supplement, you should consider other options. 

Does Ghost Whey Protein Have Caffeine?

Ghost Whey protein powder does not contain caffeine and is advertised as “Soy Free” on their Coffee Ice Cream flavor. This transparent whey protein blend has a variety of flavors available to choose from, allowing fitness buffs to make delicious shakes without worrying about unwanted ingredients.

Does Muscletech Whey Protein Have Caffeine?

According to the product’s label and supplemental facts, this protein powder does not list caffeine as one of its ingredients. This means that Muscletech NitroTech Whey Gold is a caffeine-free option for those looking to avoid stimulants in their nutritional supplements.

Does Body Fortress Whey Protein Have Caffeine?

According to the manufacturer, their Super Advanced Whey Protein Chocolate flavor (Prod No. 55366) has no added caffeine. However, it’s important to note that there may still be trace amounts of caffeine present due to its natural occurrence.

It’s also worth noting that Body Fortress products are made according to cGMP standards, which is required for all dietary supplements. This means that their manufacturing processes are closely monitored and regulated to ensure quality and consistency in every product they produce. So if you’re seeking a reliable source of quality protein powder without hidden ingredients like caffeine, Body Fortress could be a great choice for your fitness needs.

Does Six Star Whey Protein Have Caffeine?

Six Star Muscle Professional Strength Whey Protein does not contain caffeine in its ingredients. However, the Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion supplement contains caffeine anhydrous as one of its stimulants to boost energy and focus during exercise. This can be a potential problem for those who are sensitive or intolerant to caffeine, causing side effects such as anxiety, restlessness, heart palpitations, and insomnia.

Does Isopure Protein Drink Have Caffeine?

Isopure Protein Drink is a popular brand among fitness enthusiasts and people looking for a dietary supplement to boost their energy and muscle recovery. But does it contain caffeine? Yes, Isopure Coffee flavor has 80mg of caffeine per serving. It’s important to note that other flavors of Isopure Protein Drink are caffeine-free, making them an excellent option for those who want a protein drink without the added stimulation.

Does Dymatize Protein Powder Have Caffeine?

According to the manufacturer, Dymatize protein powder does not contain any caffeine. While some protein powders are naturally caffeinated due to their ingredients such as cocoa or green tea extract, most brands explicitly state if they include added caffeine.

Conclusion And Recommendations

In conclusion, while some protein powders do contain caffeine as an added ingredient or naturally occurring in extracts like guarana and green tea, most do not. It’s important to read product labels and check ingredient lists to know what you’re putting into your body.

If you’re looking for a non-caffeinated option, plenty of protein powders are available on the market without hidden contaminants or synthetic ingredients. Remember, proper nutrition and exercise should be the foundation of any fitness routine – not just relying on supplements for an energy boost.

Supporting Research 

  1. Heckman, M. A., Weil, J., & De Mejia, E. G. (2010). Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) in foods: a comprehensive review on consumption, functionality, safety, and regulatory matters. Journal of food science, 75(3), R77-R87.
  2. Hodgson, A. B., Randell, R. K., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2013). The effect of green tea extract on fat oxidation at rest and during exercise: evidence of efficacy and proposed mechanisms. Advances in nutrition, 4(2), 129-140.
  3. Schimpl, F. C., da Silva, J. F., Gonçalves, J. F., & Mazzafera, P. (2013). Guarana: revisiting a highly caffeinated plant from the Amazon. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 150(1), 14-31.
  4. Crozier, S. J., Preston, A. G., Hurst, J. W., Payne, M. J., Mann, J., Hainly, L., & Miller, D. L. (2011). Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products. Chemistry Central Journal, 5(1), 5.
  5. Hoffman, J. R., Ratamess, N. A., Gonzalez, A. M., Beller, N. A., Hoffman, M. W., & Olson, M. (2008). The effects of caffeine and creatine combination on strength and power performance in trained and untrained collegiate males. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(1), 250-255.

Photo of author

Written By


Nicolette has been a certified dietician and nutritionist for over ten years, whose work has been featured in the likes of Reader’s Digest, Eat This, Not That, Everyday Health, and Shape. She believes in emphasizing a holistic approach toward food and nutrition.