TSA's Rules on Bulking While Flying [2022]: Can You Bring Protein Powder?

2023-01-12 02:11:09 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of Vytravels.com, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Keeping your diet and exercise routine on track while traveling can be very challenging. Extra effort is required when monitoring supplement use.

A common concern is whether or not taking a protein powder like MusclePharm Combat on a plane will get them in trouble with TSA.

This article, however, is meant to dispel any doubts readers may have.

So that your time at the airport goes as smoothly as possible, we'll explain the TSA's regulations regarding the transport of protein-containing foodstuffs and provide you with some other useful advice.

What are the restrictions on carrying protein powder onto an airplane?

Protein powder is something that can be brought on board in either your carry-on or checked bag. If your carry-on weighs more than 12 ounces, you'll have to put it in a special bin for X-ray inspection.

In addition, the powder could trigger additional TSA screening, so packing it away in your checked baggage could save you time in the long run.

Read on for advice on how to ship your protein without undergoing any unnecessary tests.

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TSA regulations for protein powder

Powdered protein is permitted in both carry-on and checked bags by TSA.

There are very few items for which TSA provides additional guidance, but protein powder is one of them.

Substances with a powdery texture that are more than 12 ounces in volume All containers larger than 350 mL require a separate X-ray screening bin. They might need to go through more screening, or have their containers opened. Powders over 12 ounces that aren't absolutely necessary can be placed in the with baggage check

As a guide, a 12-ounce serving is roughly the size of a soda can.

Sorting bins

Protein powders larger than 12 ounces will require their own screening bin at airports, just like laptops and liquids.

There should be no change in protein quality due to the x-rays, as far as I can tell.

However, you can discuss your concerns with a TSA agent and ask to skip the x-ray machine if you don't want your protein exposed to radiation.

As a result, you almost certainly will be subjected to additional screening (which may occur regardless of whether or not your protein powder is scanned).

Added Checkups

Bringing protein powder through airport security poses the greatest risk due to the possibility of additional screening.

Powders are subject to increased scrutiny by TSA due to the prevalence of explosives and illicit drugs in this form.

Your protein powder would be removed from you at security and opened at a separate station so that TSA agents could inspect the contents. They might even take a little bit of it to analyze.

How long will this new round of testing take?

In any case, it is conditional.

The presence of a supervisor is sometimes required during such testing, much like during SSSS inspections. Your protein shake may have to wait if that manager is currently swamped.

It is not out of the ordinary to have to wait 15–20 minutes longer.

It could be problematic if you have to rush to make your flight out of town.

However, in most cases, you should only need a few minutes to be in and out.

It's important to remember that agents have some leeway in the matter. Because of this, you might have to hand over your protein powder if they can't verify its purity.

Body Scanners at the TSA: Pictures and An Explanation of the Technology

security checkpoint

Packing a protein powder for air travel

You need not worry about getting in trouble if you bring protein powder because it is permitted. The absence of restrictions means that you can theoretically bring as much protein as you like.

However, you should plan how you will transport it to minimize the possibility of undergoing additional screening.

Multiple protein powder transport options exist, with some being superior to others.

For instance, it's probably not the best idea to conceal your cash and some rectangular blocks of white protein powder by wrapping them in duct tape and placing them in a false bottom in your black duffel bag.

Here then are some recommendations.

First, I'll talk about how to bring protein powder as carry-on, and then I'll explain how to pack your other personal items and checked luggage.

Keep it in the box/container it came in

The TSA agent will likely be less suspicious of your protein powder if you keep it in the original packaging.

The issue is that protein powder often comes in rather large containers, making it inconvenient to transport in a carry-on.

Conveniently, you can buy a small container of protein powder and save it for when you're on the go.

Alternatively, you could buy protein bars or snack packs and bring those along.

Use a Ziploc bag to store your protein.

You can also put your protein powder in a Ziploc bag to take smaller amounts with you.

It's possible that some people will load up all of the protein into one big bag, while others will load up individual bags (for each serving).

Either choice is fine, though I personally like to keep all of my protein in a single package.

You can label the bag if you're worried about being questioned.

Perhaps labeling the bag as "protein" would be sufficient.

You might think that transporting protein in a plastic bag (or even tupperware) would raise red flags with airport security, but many passengers pass through with no further inspection when doing so.

As a precaution, you may want to carry around a spare bag in case yours gets poked by an agent and powder spills out.

Use a shaker bottle to mix your protein powder.

Shake your protein powder or meal replacement shake in your shaker bottle to show TSA that you are just a fitness nut on the go.

Agents may be more likely to overlook your powder if they can make the association with a workout supplement.

Because of the potential for leakage or spillage during testing, I wouldn't recommend storing protein directly in the shaker bottle.

Membrane channels that transport proteins

Protein funnels are small funnels that can hold your protein and be poured easily into a bottle, and are used by some people who are very dedicated to working out.

You shouldn't have any trouble bringing these through airport security.

guy scooping protein in shaker bottleShaker bottles are convenient for transporting protein, but you should probably use a bag instead.

The Protein Powder as a Luxury Good

The protein powder jug probably qualifies as a personal item, even if it won't fit in your carry-on.

Some airlines may even treat your protein powder as food, making it eligible for the "bonus item" section of your checked bag at no additional cost. ”

You could lose your protein powder if you stored it in a shaker bottle.

Thus, in some cases, you may be able to bring your protein powder, a personal item, and a carry-on onto the plane with you.

Powdered protein in the luggage hold

Taking TSA's advice and putting your protein powder in checked luggage will save you time and energy if you're traveling with a lot of it.

You may want to double-bag it if you are putting it in a bag.

That, for one thing, can aid in preventing leaks.

In spite of this, there have been reports of protein bags being punctured for testing; however, the likelihood of spillage can be reduced by using two bags.

Protein powder in a variety of forms

Protein powders of all kinds (whey, casein, egg, pea, isolates, etc.) should be used in the same way.

There are those who feel more at ease bringing in a dark protein powder, such as chocolate flavored powder. Scientists believe this protein powder has a much lower chance of being mistaken for illegal substances or weapons.

Agents at the Transportation Security Administration might think twice about subjecting you to chemical testing after getting a whiff of your cocoa.

Proteins Come in a Variety of Forms

Protein drinks and protein bars, among other protein-containing snacks, may also be of interest to you.

Protein drinks

When you're carrying a protein shake, passing through airport security is a completely different experience.

The liquids rule applies to protein in any form, including homemade protein shakes in shaker bottles and bottled liquid protein.

In other words, you'll need to consume your protein shake within a 3 put it in a clear plastic bag and a 4 ounce container.

So, you can get a liquid protein shake past airport security, but it will have to be in a very small container because most protein shakes are much larger.

Bars high in protein

Protein bars and energy bars that are solid can be brought through security.

It may come as a surprise to learn that TSA allows nearly any type of solid food past airport security checkpoints.

Collagen gels

For example, if you have a pack with protein gel in it, that gel is technically a liquid and thus subject to the liquids rule.

As such, you should keep all of your liquids in a single, quart-sized bag. Anything less than three pounds that can fit inside that bag is fair game. You can bring it in, but you might encounter some resistance at 4 ounces.

Vitamins, and other pills

A sizable fraction of gym rats also regularly pop vitamin and supplement pills.

TSA is generally accommodating when it comes to bringing items like medication through security checkpoints, so these should be fine. (For my disclaimer regarding overseas travel, please read on.) )

protein barsThe Transportation Security Administration will recognize protein bars as acceptable snacks.

Alternative powders

Note that TSA's stricter rules on powdered items don't just apply to protein powder.

Many other powders can also prompt additional scrutiny from TSA agents:

Where do we draw the line on what constitutes a powder

In 2018, when the rules were updated, American Airlines issued a statement that clarified things a bit:

"Fine dry particles produced by grinding, crushing, or disintegrating a solid substance are described as powder-like substances," e (including, but not limited to, granulated sugar, baking soda, instant coffee, spices, dry milk, and cosmetics) ”

Therefore, the aforementioned guidelines would also apply to other supplements like pre-workout powder, creatine, and BCAAs. Those are typically easier to bring through security because of their smaller portions.

Notable: baby formula, medically necessary powders, and human remains are exempt from secondary screening.

Overseas flights

Before booking an international flight, it's a good idea to check if your destination country has any strange or unexpected restrictions on certain protein powders.

Keep in mind that some protein powders are made from hemp, which can cause issues in some nations.

Further, some countries have banned particular ingredients from dietary supplements.

Although such problems are unlikely to arise during your trip abroad, you should still research them.


When I travel, can I bring a Ziploc bag with me that contains protein powder?

There is a common misconception that passengers cannot bring liquids through security checkpoints in a Ziploc bag, but many do. If you want to reduce the possibility of being subjected to additional screening at the airport, try labeling your bag "protein powder."

How about if I pack my protein powder in my checked bag?

You can avoid having to go through extra TSA screening if you pack your protein powder in your checked luggage. You may want to consider checking any protein over 12 ounces.

Shaker bottle, may I bring my protein powder?

Yes, if you plan on bringing protein with you in a shaker bottle, you should put the protein inside a bag before putting the shaker bottle inside the bag.

The TSA won't let me bring my protein funnel in, can I

There should be no issues getting your protein strainers through TSA.

When flying internationally, is it possible to bring protein powder?

Traveling internationally? Many countries allow you to bring protein powder on board. On rare occasions, however, a country will ban a specific supplement, so it's important to check the laws of your destination country before you leave.

Is it possible to bring a pre-workout supplement on a plane?

TSA does permit pre-workout supplements, but they must adhere to the same powder rules as other supplements.

Final word

With regards to protein powder, TSA is relatively lenient. Your protein powder is completely permitted on board, though it is suggested that you check it if you have more than 12 ounces. In order to avoid suspicion, it's best to keep your protein in its original packaging, but be aware that TSA agents may perform additional screenings on occasion.

Daniel Gillaspia

UponArriving was founded by Daniel Gillaspia. .com and developer of the WalletFlo mobile payment platform He is an attorney-turned-professional traveler who has accrued and redeemed millions of miles for trips around the world through credit card rewards programs. Since 2014, his work has appeared in publications like National Geographic, Smithsonian, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Check out this site for his complete biography.

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