What is the best meal replacement powder without artificial sweeteners?
What are artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are chemicals added to foods and beverages to make them sweet. They appear on the ingredient list of almost every brand of meal replacement, and are so popular because of their intense sweetness. A pinch of artificial sweetener, for example, can be used to achieve the same amount of sweetness as several tablespoons of sugar. This allows food manufacturers to reduce both the caloric and sugar content of their products. Most meal replacements contain at least one artificial sweetener, usually sucralose or acesulfame potassium.
Why are artificial sweeteners bad for you?
Despite their obvious benefits, artificial sweeteners may not be good for you. First of all, several studies have shown that artificial sweeteners may increase cravings toward sugary and sweet foods, which can lead to binging and feelings of withdrawal. Other studies have associated artificial sweeteners with a higher risk of glucose intolerance, which is a precursor for pre-diabetes and diabetes. Research also suggests that artificial sweeteners may be bad for the gut because they are poorly digested. This means they sit in your gut for longer than they should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas that causes bloating, cramps, and even constipation.
In the long term, artificial sweeteners can alter the composition of your gut microbiota (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food). This can lead to serious GI problems and widespread inflammation. Some artificial sweeteners can also cause diarrhea because they draw water into your gut. Now you have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!
If not artificial sweeteners, then what do you use?
If you are struggling to find a protein supplement without artificial sweeteners, try drink wholesome. Our meal replacements are sweetened with monk fruit. Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, is a melon-like fruit native to Southeast Asia. Its intense sweetness, which is about 200 times that of sugar, is provided by non-caloric compounds called mogrosides.
We use monk fruit for a number of reasons. First of all, it is the most natural sugar substitute on the market. Monk fruit sweetener is made by simply removing the seeds and skin, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice, which is then dried into a powder. What ends up in your meal replacement is basically concentrated fruit juice.
Another reason why we use monk fruit is that it is sweet like sugar. Artificial sweeteners and stevia, on the other hand, have a bitter aftertaste because they activate bitter taste receptors. This bitterness can ruin your meal replacement shake and linger in your mouth for hours.
Stevia, although celebrated as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners, is also not as natural as you think. It is extracted from the stevia rebaudiana plant using chemicals like ethanol and methyl alcohol. This, some argue, makes it no more natural than the artificial sweeteners that it seeks to replace. In fact, a recent 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.”
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, it 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. For this reason, as well as those outlined above, we believe that monk fruit is the best available sweetener for our meal replacements. In case you were wondering, most companies do not use monk fruit because it is expensive.
“I just finished my first bag and ordered 2 more! I Iove this stuff! I have a sensitive stomach and every meal replacement powder makes me bloated…except drink wholesome!”
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.