Sugar is prevalent in many nutritional supplements in the market. This remains true for protein supplements. It’s often used to make it hard to swallow protein powders taste more appetizing.
Companies often use artificial sweeteners, which allows them to claim a product is sugar-free.
Although some of these chemical additives are technically approved by the FDA, it doesn’t necessarily make them good for your health. One thing’s for sure, though, they make your supplements taste better.
Unfortunately, just because artificial additives like sweeteners help make your protein drinks taste better, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Studies show that supplements containing artificial sweeteners are actually more harmful to your well-being instead of beneficial.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through horrible supplements. We’ve identified seven of the best tasting protein powders in the market that are free from artificial sugars and sweeteners below.
- 1. Performance Lab – #1 Best Overall
- 2. Transparent Labs
- 3. Nuzest
- 4. Vega One
- 5. Ora
- 6. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- 7. Nutiva
Best Protein Powder Without Artificial Sweeteners
Although meal replacement shakes made with real sugar can be attractive and even help give you a quick energy boost, they’re actually counter-productive to your well-being.
For one, the added sugar combats the naturally occurring weight loss effects of protein supplements. Another issue would be potential health risks on top of sugar crashes from taking sugary drinks daily.
That doesn’t mean you have to suffer through brands that either taste too bitter or taste like dirt. There is plenty of unsweetened or naturally flavored options market. Take a look at seven of our top choices below:
1. Performance Lab – #1 Best Overall
One of the main reasons why Performance Lab Sport is our top pick is because it can keep up with whey.
That’s one of the biggest factors that come into play when you think about switching to plant-based proteins over animal-derived supplementation. Aside from its high protein yield, it’s also designed to enhance your overall performance.
Here’s why we recommend it:
Clean and Pure Formula – this patented brown rice powder is designed for athletes and serious well-being buffs. This means if you’re trying to build muscle or increase your overall performance, be it in sports or your daily gym sessions, you’re guaranteed that you’re only putting purest and minimally processed ingredients into your body.
Summary: Performance Lab Sport Plant Based Protein is ideal for anyone who is looking for something better than your traditional whey protein. It tastes great, offers good mixability and delivers great results.
2. Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Sugarfree Protein Shake – Best Tasting
If you’re sick of trying to wrap your head around different complex protein shake recipes each day just to mask the unpleasant flavors you get from other powders, Transparent Labs is the answer.
This ultra-clean protein features inventive flavors without the risk of artificial flavorings.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
High Protein by Weight Ratio – Transparent Labs boasts a protein by weight ratio of 88%. That means you’re getting 28 grams of pure whey isolate protein per scoop.
Summary: One of the biggest issues I have with this product is that it doesn’t contain dietary fibers. And since whey protein powders are naturally notorious for causing stomach distress like bloating or gassiness, it isn’t at all impossible for you to experience these side effects. It features one of the cleanest formulas the supplement industry.
3. Nuzest – Good Powder With Stevia
This Nuzest pure and lean golden pea protein powder caught our attention the moment we tried it’s ultra-smooth and creamy. The taste and the texture are quite unexpected from a vegan protein powder for muscle building.
It’s a pure serving of nutrition and proteins designed to help with evolving your muscle, diet, and well-being.
You’ll find that it’s both smooth and delicious. Surprisingly, it contains zero added sugar, stevia (Stevia is considered safe by the major health organizations in the amounts people typically consume).
Take a look at its best quality:
Low in Carbohydrates, High in Protein – Nuzest is certainly not the leader when it comes to clean lean protein per serving yield, but it still packs a decent amount of protein. What’s more, it only contains 2 grams of carbohydrates per 25-gram scoop.
Summary: This pea protein powder is ideal if you’re specifically looking for a pea protein supplement that delivers great results for minimal consequences. It’s reasonably priced and features a great flavor profile as well as a smooth texture that is uncommon for pea protein powders in the market. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, you might want to be careful since pea protein might cause bloating.
4. Vega One – Clean Powder Without Sucralose
This Vega One is both highly nutritious and comes with a wide range of flavor options that can keep up with your lifestyle. It’s versatile, insanely effective, and formulated with your health as the top priority.
You can choose between seven flavor options that include unsweetened, the classic french vanilla, or a more adventurous coconut almond. It’s rich in branched-chain amino acids.
Take a look at its best quality:
Optimum Nutrition – this Vega One puts your well-being as a top priority. Not only doe sit contain added vitamins and minerals that are essential to your health, but it also contains CFUS probiotics, dietary fibers, and Omega-3 ALAs.
Summary: This Vega One is ideal for anyone who wants something easily versatile and convenient. You can choose to go with an unflavored option which you can add into a variety of drinks and food that taste great on their own, or choose from six other flavors that can stand alone without the need to be mixed into complex smoothies.
5. Ora Organic – Best for Sensitive Stomachs
Ora Organic contains an impressively clean and lean vegan protein powder formula. It specifically contains digestive enzymes that help your body digest it easily without fear of developing stomach issues.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
Safe for Children – this Ora is formulated with such care and precision that it’s safe for kids to consume. More than that, though, it contains a complete amino acid profile and a manageable protein yield per serving.
Summary: This Ora is ideal if you either have a sensitive stomach, or if you’re looking for something that is ideal for various members of your family. It’s safe for children’s consumption and comes in a manageable enough serving that it’s ideal for any fitness goal or any age.
6. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – Best for Women
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is ideal for any woman who wants clearer skin, shiny, stronger hair, strong nails, and healthier bones and joints.
Sourced from pasture-raised bovine, this Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides contains a good amount of collagen peptides per serving and helps you achieve a more youthful appearance.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
Quality Collagen Peptides – this Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides contains 20 grams of collagen peptides per serving. This improves skin elasticity, supports bone and joint health for better physical performance, and gives you a more youthful appearance.
Summary: As they say, beauty comes at a price. That said, this protein powder is worth every cent. Not only are you getting a good quality protein source, but you’re also putting your bone and joint health first.
7. Nutiva Hemp Protein Hi-Fiber
This hemp Nutiva is well regarded as one of the easiest to digest protein powder options in the market. It’s reasonably priced and features a good, pure formula that you’ll certainly want in your protein shakes.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
Hi-Fiber, Great Protein – not only does this Nutiva offer you 22% of your daily value of protein, but you’re also getting 48% of fiber. This means it’s easily digestible and manageable.
Summary: Apart from being a bit grainy, this Nutiva is ideal if you’re looking for something that’s high in fiber content. It’s also highly versatile and easily manageable which adds to its overall charm
Ingredients To Look Out For
As a general rule, if you’re buying a protein powder, it’s best to choose the right sweeteners. Yes, the no sugar label may seem attractive. But it’s not really all that good for you.
When in doubt, I highly recommend you choose something unsweetened. Despite your best efforts, there is a high possibility you’ll encounter ingredient labels that look like they contain components that are good for you but are ultimately not.
Take a look at some of the ingredients you need to be careful of when choosing any protein powder:
- Soy or Soy Instantizers – there is a reason you won’t find a soy protein powder on this list. Soy by itself is a highly controversial protein powder. Make sure you’re going for something soy-free if you want to get the most out of your protein shakes. Soy contains phytates that are known to inhibit mineral absorption.
- Stevia – although it’s regarded as generally safe, a supplement that is sweetened with stevia is not always 100% good for you. This is especially true if you are on blood pressure medication. Moreover, you need to make sure you’re getting pure stevia and not stevia blends, which are often processed with chemicals.
- Artificial Sweeteners – there are five kinds of them that are approved by the FDA. Despite FDA approval, this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you. These may be low in calories, but they’re processed with chemicals and junk you don’t need in your body.
What Is An Artificial Sweetener?
Sweeteners are chemicals put in place of real or raw organic sugars. While the FDA has approved five specific types, it doesn’t mean they’re good for your health.
Approved by the FDA are saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, sucralose, and neotame. So the next time you see these listed on any product you’re about to buy, it’s best to think twice.
Although they’re generally regarded as a good sugar-free option, the long-term side effects of these sugar substitutes are dubious at best.
Benefits of Taking Protein Powders That Are Free From Artificial Sweeteners
Typically, if you’re concerned about your health, it’s understandable that you’d like to stay clear of. There are many benefits to sticking to pure and naturally-flavored protein powder.
Take a look at my key takeaways below:
- Clean Blend – if you want to reap the full benefits of truly nutritional protein powder, it’s best to choose a pure blend. This usually means going for an unflavored option. But you could also choose something that’s naturally flavored with monk fruit or stevia. Although I highly recommend you choose monk fruit as a sweetener.
- No Side Effects – these are notorious for the short-term and long-term side effects they may have. You could suffer from headaches, migraines, stomach issues like bloating or acid reflux.
- Chemical-free – protein powders that contain synthetic sweeteners contain chemicals. This is something you don’t want since it’s not at all good for you in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions
We took the liberty of compiling some of the most asked questions I received regarding protein powders and synthetic sweeteners in general. Take a look at what other professionals in the field and I have to say about your questions.
Is Stevia An Artificial Sweetener?
Technically, Stevia is a naturally-derived sweetener. However, you need to make sure you’re getting 100% Stevia. There Stevia blends are available in the market. However, these blends are not nearly as healthy or good for you as monk fruit or real Stevia.
What is the Healthiest Kind of Protein Powder?
I always recommend that you go for an unsweetened protein powder.
This allows for more versatility, and while it might taste unpleasant on its own, you can always mix it into your cooking, other healthy beverages, or blend it into a smoothie with fruits and other all-natural ingredients.
How to Buy Truly Sugar-Free Protein Powder?
To be on the safe side, choose unflavored powder. Choosing an unflavored protein powder is the only way to virtually guarantee you’re getting absolutely no added sugars in your protein powders.
But if you aren’t keen on choosing an unflavored protein powder, it’s important you choose something that is naturally flavored. As a general rule, I like to choose something flavored with real fruits or ingredients like vanilla bean, cocoa beans, monk fruit, and a blend of real fruit.
Is Whey Protein Hard on Your Kidneys?
Any protein powder can be hard on your kidneys if you consume too much. Whey protein is generally regarded as having one of the highest protein yields in the industry at an average of 25 g. of protein per serving. This can be harmful to you if you end up taking too much protein.
But this can happen with any protein powder in the market. It’s important you make sure you’re getting just the right amount of protein and not too much to avoid damaging your kidneys.
Contrary to popular belief, no sugar protein powders are not always good for you. You need to be smart and vigilant when looking for ingredients that could actively harm you.
One of the most harmful ingredients “nutritious” protein powders have are artificial sugars. Yes, it looks good when the packaging has a label that states it’s sugar-free. But at what cost?
There are five artificial sugars that are approved by the FDA for consumption. They are no sugar and low calorie.
However, they are made using a blend of chemicals that are not at all unharmful to your well-being.
Despite FDA approval, it’s still important to make sure you’re only putting necessary and healthy things into your body.
Fortunately, opting for a protein powder that is free from artificial sugars does not condemn you to be unpleasant and ill-tasting protein powder. There are many choices in the market that use all-natural ingredients that are not only good for your overall well-being but taste delicious as well.
One of our top choices is Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate, which comes in inventive and unique flavors, including chocolate peanut butter and cereal splash. It is arguably one of the best no sugar whey protein powders in the market that is healthy, great-tasting all while remaining effective for bodybuilding.
However, we found that Performance Lab wins this category when it comes to effectiveness, overall cleanliness, and versatility.
This brown rice protein powder is just as effective as whey protein and comes unflavored. It features one of the cleanest ingredient lists in the market and is patented as the only brown rice protein that prioritizes the needs of athletes.
Overall, we strongly feel that any choice you make from here on out regarding artificial sugar-free protein powders will be substantial and well-informed.
It’s important to keep your options open and your preferences at the forefront of your decision. But if you ask us, we’d take Performance Lab Sport every day.