The 5 Best Sugar Free Protein Powders
Protein powder has become increasingly popular as a quick, cheap, and easy way to add high levels of protein to your diet.
And the results are convincing in that these powders do work, allowing your muscles to better recover from resistance training, which allows for greater muscle build-up over time.
If you have experimented with protein powders, you probably have noticed one constancy in most brands – an excess of sugar to disguise the chalky and bitter taste that many protein powders have (also check our best tasting protein powders article).
There are several reasons a prospective athlete would prefer to use sugar-free protein powder.
Sugar is simply and generally best avoided. It is a highly addictive, highly inflammatory substance.
People with certain diseases including diabetes and gluten insensitivity (namely those with Celiac disease, though not limited to that) may also need to avoid sugar for health reasons.
When looking to purchase a no sugar added protein powder or a lowest sugar protein powder, it is important that you closely read nutrition facts and ingredient lists.
Brands are allowed to say their product is sugar-free as long as there is no added sugar. Basically, if they don’t add traditional sweeteners, like cane sugar, into their powder, they can say it’s sugar-free. And on a ‘sugar-free’ powder, they can still include certain sweeteners like Sucralose.
These sweeteners are full of chemicals that may be harmful to your health. Even though these powders may not contain added sugar in the traditional sense, they are still artificially sweetened – some athletes might be okay with a little sucralose in their powder, others might not.
The reason these sweeteners are included in protein powder formulas is pretty simple. They are used to mask the naturally bad taste of protein powder, which can be completely unpalatable to many people.
But if you are one of those people that prefers health over flavor, here are the top 5 sugar and sweetener free protein powders on the market.
#1 Bob’s Red Mill Pea Protein Powder
Bob’s Red Mill is a leading company in non GMO, unprocessed whole grains. They demonstrate this again with their Pea Protein powder – the only ingredient is pea protein isolate.
This powder contains 21 grams of protein, only 100 calories, as well as a high content of iron. It’s a proper no sugar added protein powder. Also making it the lowest sugar protein powder on the list (some of them do contain some sort of sugar).
Both the strong and weak point of this powder is that it has no flavor whatsoever. It, instead, is designed to be used in addition to shakes, smoothies, or baked goods like cookies or muffins.
For someone with less readily available time to concoct a protein shake, this might not be a good option. But, if you have the time, this is one of the healthiest protein powders out there.
And, it only costs $16.
#2 Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder
This USDA organic, Vegan, non GMO, gluten, dairy, and soy free protein powder comes loaded with vitamins, probiotics, and 22 grams of 100% plant-based protein.
The protein used in this protein powder is derived from a combination of peas and sprouts, and is considered to be clean protein.
The ingredients list is longer than the one for Bob’s Red Mill protein powder, but the ingredients listed are simply a large variety of plants used to derive their protein isolate. This powder additionally contains 22 grams of protein and 110 calories.
At $28 for a 20-serving container, this product is competitive considering what you’re getting for the money – clean, raw, and organic protein.
#3 Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein
Nutiva is providing a USDA organic, non GMO, nutrient and fiber rich protein powder, that, like every other powder on this list, contains no added sugar or sugar substitutes.
Like Bob’s Red Mill powder, Nutiva’s Organic Hemp Protein Powder contains only one ingredient: organic hemp protein.
This powder is a little lower on the protein content, containing only 15 grams. It also has only 90 calories per serving, and includes 8 grams of fiber, as well as high levels of iron, magnesium, and zinc.
A 48-ounce container of this cold-processed, raw organic hemp protein costs only $33. The only reason it only makes number 3 on this list is that it is lower in protein levels than the first two options.
#4 Amazing Grass Protein SuperFood Powder
At $23 for a small tub, Amazing Grass is making an organic, non GMO, gluten, dairy, and grain free protein powder that is loaded with full servings of fruits, veggies, and clean, plant-based protein.
One serving contains 110 calories and 20 grams of protein. The protein used is derived from peas, quinoa, hemp, and chia seeds.
Similar to Bob’s Red Mill powder, this is designed as an additive to shake, and is not really meant to be mixed with water the way most average protein powders are.
It’s a good all-around healthful option.
#5 Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake
Last but not least, is the Vega all-in-one shake.
This vegan, organic, non GMO, non-dairy, stevia-free, plant-based protein powder is loaded with a large variety of vitamins and minerals derived from plant-based sources.
It has high levels of vitamins C and A, and as such, is loaded with antioxidative properties.
Because of its high nutritional content, this powder can also be used as a meal replacement if necessary.
It contains 20 grams of clean protein, 150 calories, and one gram of sugar, making it mostly, though not entirely sugar free.
This doesn’t mean it’s a bad option. But if you are looking specifically for something that is entirely devoid of sugar, any of the other four options listed above are better.
Now, if you’re just looking for a lower-sugar option, and don’t particularly care about the difference between one gram and zero grams, you can put this one back on the table.
It is also on the more expensive side, at $45 for a 20-serving container.
Clearly, several sugar and sweetener free protein powders do exist, they’re just a little harder to find. It’s way easier to find just low sugar protein powders instead of sugar free options.
And if the taste is really a big concern, all you have to do is add these unsweetened powders to a fruit shake, where they will be naturally sweetened.
Depending on what you’re looking for, whether it be overall health, or solely protein content, these are truly your best options.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.
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