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Best Sugar-Free Protein Powder in an Artificial World

Navigating sugar-free protein powder without artificial sweeteners

Whether you’re keto, diabetic, or simply trying to cut sugar out of your diet, sugar-free protein powder is a popular choice for several reasons.

The good news: There are a lot of different zero-sugar protein powders on the market, from whey, bone broth, and plant-based options.

The bad news: Not all zero-sugar protein powders can promise stable blood sugar levels after consumption.

In other words, not all sugar-free protein powder is diabetic-friendly or keto-friendly, as certain ingredients and no-sugar sweeteners can still elevate blood glucose levels.

If you’re seeking a sugar-free protein powder, then it’s likely you’re looking for one that doesn’t trigger an insulin spike. That’s what I am here to discuss.

Non-Sugar Sweeteners You Need to Know

smelling the best protein powder without sugar

If the protein powder is sugar-free, then what’s making it taste so sweet? That’s a great question that unpacks a lot of possibilities (and uncertainties).

When reading labels for no-sugar protein powder, it’s important to be conscious of these common sweetening agents.

Stevia

This natural sweetener is derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It’s calorie-free and is safe for most people when consumed in moderation. 

Stevia has a high sweetness level and some individuals dislike it for its intensity and sometimes bitter aftertaste. However, it does not cause an insulin spike and is considered to be one of the safest non-sugar sweeteners that’s commonly found in protein powder.

Sucralose

An artificial sweetener made from sucrose (table sugar), sucralose is a zero-calorie sweetener that is significantly sweeter than sugar itself. 

While generally recognized as safe, a study published by Cell found sucralose to trigger elevated glucose levels.[1] Some people also report digestive discomfort with excessive consumption.

no sugar protein powder sweeteners

Monk Fruit Extract

Derived from Monk fruit (Luo Han Guo), this extract is a completely natural, calorie-free sweetener that’s preferred for its clean taste.

But it’s also a clean ingredient from a health perspective. Monk fruit sweetener is entirely safe and side effect-free, and does not elevate blood sugar levels, making it a diabetic-friendly sweetener for glycemic control.

Saccharin

This artificial sweetener has been in use for many decades. It’s calorie-free and extremely sweet. Older studies have found a link between saccharin consumption and bladder cancer in lab mice, but this hasn’t been conclusively proven in humans. 

However, saccharin is one of the sweeteners tested in the Cell study to cause a blood sugar spike, so it’s ill-advised alongside sucralose as a popular sweetener to avoid. 

Erythritol

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally occurring in some fruits and fermented foods. It has a sweet taste but is very low in calories.

Erythritol is well-tolerated by most people and does not raise blood sugar levels. However, recent research in 2023 has found erythritol consumption to be linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.[2] See my related post on protein powder without erythritol.

sugar free protein powder spoon

Xylitol

Xylitol is another sugar alcohol found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables. It’s one of the most commonly used sugar substitutes in many different foods, including protein powder.

While xylitol is generally safe for consumption, can be harmful to pets and may cause digestive issues in some individuals, especially when consumed in large amounts.

Aspartame

Aspartame is a low-calorie artificial sweetener commonly used in various sugar-free and diet products. However, its use is becoming less and less common due to mounting health concerns.

Scientific reviews have found aspartame associated with an increased risk of hormone-related cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease[3]. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also classifies aspartame as potentially carcinogenic to humans.

In summary, it’s best to avoid synthetic, artificial sweeteners when looking for a healthy sugar-free protein powder. Natural sweetening agents like stevia and monk fruit extract are preferred choices for your health, including stabilized blood sugar levels.

What’s the Best Sugar-Free Protein Powder?

best sugar free protein powder that's vegan

Now that we know which sweetening agents to avoid, we can narrow down the best sugar-free protein powder products. Some of these recommendations contain affiliate links (see our affiliate disclaimer).

These clean products either contain natural sweeteners, like monk fruit extract, or no added sweetener at all. Keep in mind that all of these no-sugar protein powders are plant-based because that’s what we’re about on this blog.

Complement Organic Protein

Complement Organic Sugar-Free Protein Powder

Proclaimed the “cleanest protein powder,” Complement uses quality ingredients and sugar isn’t one of them. Both the unflavored and chocolate versions of Complement Organic Protein contain no added sweeteners. 

The unflavored version is made with five organic, whole-food protein ingredients: yellow pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, almond protein, sunflower seed protein, and chia seed protein.

The chocolate flavor includes the same organic protein ingredients along with organic chocolate for flavor, but it still does not contain any added sweeteners. In turn, both variants of Complement Organic Protein are free from fillers, artificial sweeteners, and added sugars, making them suitable for individuals looking for a clean, transparent, and sugar-free protein powder option.

Find it on Amazon

PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein

PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein Powder Sugar-Free

PlantFusion Complete Protein is a delicious vegan protein powder made with pea protein isolate, artichoke powder, organic sprouted amaranth, organic sprouted quinoa, and whole algae protein. This blend delivers a rich concentration of amino acids, which is preferred for athletes.

As one of the best-tasting protein powders without sugar, PlantFusion Complete Protein is sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract, making it a healthy choice. It’s also equipped with PlantFusion’s enzyme blend for improved digestion.

PlantFusion Complete Protein is available in five flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Red Velvet, and Natural (a protein powder without stevia). For info on this product, see my review of PlantFusion Complete Protein.

Find it on Amazon

Ora So Lean & So Clean

Ora So Lean & So Clean zero-sugar protein powder

So Lean & So Clean from Ora is a low-carb, zero-sugar protein powder that’s third-party tested for purity and free from synthetic ingredients and additives.

Branded as a ‘plant-based superfood protein’, not only does So Lean & So Clean provide 22g of protein per serving but also contains 19 superfoods ranging from broccoli and kale to blueberry and blackberry.

The product is certified organic and non-GMO, as well as soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free. It’s sweetened with organic monk fruit extract and stevia leaf extract but also comes in an unflavored (stevia-free) option that’s even lower in carbs and calories.

Find it on Amazon

Truvani Plant-based Protein Unflavored & Unsweetened

Is Truvani the Best Unflavored Tasteless Protein Powder

The tasteless version of Truvani Plant-based Protein offers the ultimate transparency, providing an unnoticeable addition to whatever you mix it with.

Not only is a free of sugar and synthetic sweeteners, but Truvani is a clean protein powder that undergoes third-party purity testing for heavy metals and contaminants. It packs 20g of protein per serving, <1g of carbohydrates, and 2g of fat, making it one of the lowest-calorie protein powders.

Truvani’s Unflavored & Unsweetened protein powder contains just three ingredients: organic pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, and chia seed protein. It’s all organic, non-GMO, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free.

I wrote an in-depth review of Truvani covering everything you need to know about the product’s taste, test results, and other flavors. Overall, it’s as simple and healthy as you can get.

Find it on Amazon

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder without Sugar

Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Protein is one of the healthiest protein powders you can buy. It contains one of the most diverse and abundant protein blends, all of which are organic, raw, and plant-based.

This includes all organic: pea protein, sprouted brown rice protein, amaranth sprout, buckwheat sprout, millet sprout, cracked wall chlorella, quinoa sprout, chia seed sprout, garbanzo bean sprout, lentil sprout, adzuki bean sprout, flax seed sprout, sunflower seed sprout, pumpkin seed sprout, sesame seed sprout.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein is sweetened with organic stevia leaf extract, however, the unflavored option is stevia-free. It’s rich in fiber and contains a probiotic and enzyme blend, making it a standout protein powder for gut health. Check out my review of the product to learn more.

Find it on Amazon

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Protein Powder No Sugar

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is a powerhouse of a protein powder that comes in several flavors: Vanilla, Maple Toast, Mocha, Unflavored, Berry, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter. The latter three flavors (Berry, Chocolate, Peanut Butter) are not entirely sugar-free, as they contain 1 gram of sugar per serving.

As for the other zero-sugar flavors, they are sweetened with organic stevia leaf extract, except for the Unflavored option which is stevia-free.

Warrior Blend’s proprietary protein blend is made of all organic pea protein, hemp seed protein, and goji berry protein. This makes for a nutritionally sound protein blend with a strong composition of amino acids, including BCAAs. For more info, read my review of Warrior Blend

Find it on Amazon

Isopure Unflavored Vegan Protein Powder

Isopure Unflavored Vegan Protein Powder without Sugar

Isopure Unflavored Vegan Protein Powder is one of the simplest options that’s free from added fillers, sweeteners, or hidden ingredients, making it a transparent and clean protein powder

It’s made with just four ingredients: organic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, xanthan gum, and guar gum. The combination of pea and brown rice makes for a complete protein with all essential amino acids, and the inclusion of xanthan gum and guar gum serves as natural thickeners to improve the protein powder’s texture.

One of the best unflavored protein powders with no sugar or artificial sweeteners, Isopure Unflavored Vegan Protein Powder is a fantastic option worth trying.

Find it on Amazon

Protein Powder Without Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners

Best protein powder without sugar or artificial sweeteners

Finding a sugar-free protein powder that’s still palatable and good tasting is no easy quest. Many products often appear healthy on the surface but contain sneaking artificial sweeteners that do more harm than good.

The products highlighted above are my top picks for the best protein powder without artificial sweeteners or sugar. I have tried all of them (including multiple flavors) and can stand by each protein powder as a delicious choice without any sketchy ingredients.

Do you have a favorite product that’s not mentioned above? If so, I want to know about it. Leave a comment or send me a message

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About the Author

tyler tafelsky vegan protein powder review editor

This article was written by Tyler Tafelsky, the lead editor here at VeganProteinPowder.reviews. Tyler is an experienced writer in the health and athletic space who has tried hundreds of different plant-based nutritional products and writes about his favorites here on this blog. Learn more about Tyler by viewing his full author bio or following him on social platforms like LinkedInTwitterFacebookPinterest, or Instagram. You can also visit his site TylerTafelsky.com to learn more about what he’s up to.

Scientific References:

  1. Suez J, Cohen Y, Valdés-Mas R, Mor U, Dori-Bachash M, Federici S, Zmora N, Leshem A, Heinemann M, Linevsky R, Zur M, Ben-Zeev Brik R, Bukimer A, Eliyahu-Miller S, Metz A, Fischbein R, Sharov O, Malitsky S, Itkin M, Stettner N, Harmelin A, Shapiro H, Stein-Thoeringer CK, Segal E, Elinav E. Personalized microbiome-driven effects of non-nutritive sweeteners on human glucose tolerance. Cell. 2022 Sep 1;185(18):3307-3328.e19. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2022.07.016. Epub 2022 Aug 19. PMID: 35987213.
  2. Witkowski, M., Nemet, I., Alamri, H. et al. The artificial sweetener erythritol and cardiovascular event risk. Nat Med 29, 710–718 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-023-02223-9
  3. Czarnecka K, Pilarz A, Rogut A, Maj P, Szymańska J, Olejnik Ł, Szymański P. Aspartame-True or False? Narrative Review of Safety Analysis of General Use in Products. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 7;13(6):1957. doi: 10.3390/nu13061957. PMID: 34200310; PMCID: PMC8227014.

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