Caffeine in Whey Protein Powders

Caffeine is a stimulant used in some ergogenic aids such as whey protein powders to help enhance athletic performance. Numerous studies have examined the effects of caffeine consumption on athletic performance, and the American Dietetic Association and the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition have both published stands on caffeine’s effect on athletic performance 1. Only certain whey protein powders contains caffiene.


Since caffeine is a stimulant, some athletes find that if they consume caffeine with their whey protein powder before an event, their perception of effort during the performance decreases. According to the American Dietetic Association, some scientists also theorize that caffeine helps mobilize free fatty acids and spare muscle glycogen during athletic performance.

ADA Position Stand

According to the American Dietetic Association, consuming caffeine in moderation with your whey protein powder or by itself may have some positive ergogenic effects on sports performance due to a decreased perception of effort and stimulation of the central nervous system. However, the American Dietetic Association also reports that although consuming caffeine in moderation will likely not cause negative side effects such as:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • jitteriness
  • gastrointestinal distress

JISSN Position Stand

The International Society of Sports Nutrition position on caffeine is that it’s beneficial for certain types of sport performance 1. The report states that caffeine does not cause:

  • dehydration during exercise
  • may be beneficial for high-intensity exercises of long durations
  • can enhance glycogen re-synthesis during exercise recovery,
  • is most beneficial when consumed in doses of 3 to 6 mg per kg of body weight
  • 15 to 60 minutes before an athletic performance

Combining whey protein powder with caffeine may help optimize your performance.

Benefits of Whey

Consuming whey, casein or soy protein after working out can help maintain, repair and synthesize muscle proteins, according to the American Dietetic Association. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data Laboratory, 1 tablespoon of Muscle Milk whey protein powder provides about 5 grams of dietary protein 2. Therefore, mixing 1/4 cup of Muscle Milk whey protein powder with 1 cup of skim milk will provide you with about 28 grams of protein. If you consume a protein powder that contains caffeine, you may notice additional performance-enhancing benefits.