What is the best aspartame-free protein powder?

drink wholesome is the best aspartame-free protein powder. It is naturally sweetened with either maple sugar or monk fruit. Order samples to see if our protein powder without aspartame is right for you. 

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drink wholesome is the best aspartame-free protein powder.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

What is aspartame in protein powder?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in a wide range of food and beverage products. It is known for its intense sweetness and is used to add sweetness without the calories that come with sugar. Aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), making it a popular choice for people looking to reduce their sugar intake or manage their calorie consumption. This explains why it is used in so many protein powders and  health supplements.


Why is aspartame bad for you?

Aspartame, despite its tempting benefits, is not healthy. First off, several studies show little to no relationship between weight loss and the use of low-calorie sweeteners. People who replace sugar with low-calorie sweeteners like aspartame lose, on average, fewer than two pounds. One study even found that people who use low-calorie sweeteners gain weight because they binge after having “saved calories” with their diet soda, sugar-free ice cream, etc. Another study found that eating artificial sweeteners actually causes sugar cravings.

There are other health-related reasons to avoid aspartame. For instance, researchers believe that regularly consuming artificial sweeteners can disrupt the composition of your gut microbiome, causing glucose intolerance. Glucose intolerance is an umbrella term for metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes that cause higher than normal blood glucose (sugar) levels. A dysbiotic gut microbiome is also a leading driver of inflammation and linked to the development many chronic diseases. If this is not reason enough to avoid aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, I do not know what is. 

What is the best protein powder without aspartame? 

Instead of using artificial sweeteners like aspartame, we sweeten our protein powders with maple sugar or monk fruit.

Maple sugar comes from the sap of sugar maple trees. It is one of the most natural sugars, and offers several unique health benefits. For starters, maple sugar has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, meaning it has a smaller impact on blood sugar levels. This can help you lose weight and lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Maple sugar, unlike refined sugar, also contains minerals and antioxidants that reduce inflammation, the silent killer contributing to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other conditions.

Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, is melon-like fruit that grows in Southeast Asia. Monk fruit sweetener is made by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the meat, and collecting the juice, which is dried into a concentrated powder. It is about 200 times sweeter than sugar thanks to non-caloric compounds called mogrosides.

Given that monk fruit sweetener has only been commercially available for about a decade, its impact on, and association with, chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes has not been well documented. That said, monk fruit has been safely used in Asian cuisine for centuries and has no known side effects, even when consumed in large quantities. Moreover, small randomized trials have shown that monk fruit sweetener does not negatively impact blood sugar or insulin levels.

the alternative:

Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate,  Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids,  Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain

Maple sugar and monk fruit are not only some of the most natural sweeteners on the planet, but they are also among the most delicious. Both taste like real sugar and have little to no aftertaste. Aspartame, on the other hand, activates bitter taste receptors in addition to sweet taste receptors, giving it an unpleasant aftertaste. Some people liken it to licking aluminum foil.

In case you were curious, we do not sweeten any of our protein powders with stevia. Stevia, although celebrated as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners, is not as natural as most people think. It is extracted from the stevia rebaudiana plant using chemicals like ethanol and methyl alcohol. This, many  argue, makes it barely more natural than the artificial sweeteners that it seeks to replace. In fact, a class action lawsuit filed in California reached a $6.1 million settlement because it was ruled that the company in question falsely labeled and advertised its stevia sweeteners as “natural.”

Stevia also activates bitter taste receptors. Many people, myself included, cannot stand products sweetened with stevia for this reason. If you are sick of protein powders with that fake sugar aftertaste, give drink wholesome a try. It is easily the best protein powder without sucralose or aspartame.


easy to digest

“I used a combination of chocolate & peanut butter in my smoothie and holy cow, they are SO good! I was honestly a little skeptical of how they would taste, especially with the monk fruit, but they blew me away. No artificial taste or weird consistency like so many other powders I’ve tried. And the ingredients are top notch 👌🏼” – Kara

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This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. drink wholesome is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.