What is the best protein powder with real sugar?
What is the deal with sugar?
With so many fad diets and sources of nutrition advice, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction, especially when it comes to sugar. First of all, sugar is not necessarily bad for you. The naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables, for example, are part of a healthy diet. Added sugars, on the other hand, are a different story.
In 2016, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) revised the Nutrition Facts label to include both “Total Sugars” and “Added Sugars.” Added sugars are sugars introduced to the food during processing. Total Sugars refers to added sugars as well as naturally occurring sugars like those in fruits.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that no more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake come from Added Sugars. This is because eating too many Added Sugars can raise your risk for chronic disease such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Most protein powders are made for health-conscious consumers, and contain zero Added Sugars and little to no Total Sugar. Instead of sugar, they are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or stevia.
Sick of artificial sweeteners?
A protein powder without artificial sweeteners is hard to come by. Artificial sweeteners 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. The two most popular artificial sweeteners used in protein powders are sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Other common artificial sweeteners include aspartame, erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol.
Despite their obvious benefits, artificial sweeteners have a number of drawbacks. 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 has also suggested that artificial sweeteners are bad for the stomach because they cannot be digested. They therefore alter the composition of our gut microbiota, the collection of microorganisms that help us digest food, which can lead to serious stomach pain and widespread inflammation.
Another reason to avoid artificial sweeteners is the bad aftertaste. Artificial sweeteners are often way too sweet, and have a bitter aftertaste because they activate bitter taste receptors. This bitterness, which many say reminds them of licking aluminum foil, can linger in your mouth for hours.
Sick of stevia?
Stevia is an inexpensive zero calorie sweetener derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant. It is over 100 times sweeter than table sugar, and is considered by many to be a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners. It is therefore no surprise that this zero calorie sweetener has found its way into protein powders.
That said, although it is is sweet, stevia has an unpleasant bitter aftertaste. Like artificial sweeteners, it activates bitter taste receptors in addition to sweet taste receptors. Many protein protein powder brands work like mad to mask these off-flavors, and it is causing them quite the headache.
Stevia is also extracted from the stevia rebaudiana plant using chemicals like ethanol and methyl alcohol. This, one could argue, makes it barely more natural than sucralose and the other 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.
If not stevia, then what do you use?
Our protein powders are naturally sweetened with coconut. 1 serving contains 2-3 grams of naturally occurring sugar. We also use monk fruit sweetener. A relative newcomer to the world of low/zero calorie sweeteners, monk fruit is a sub-tropical melon-like fruit native to Southeast Asia. Monk fruit sweetener is created by removing the seeds and skin, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice, which is then dried into a concentrated powder. Together, the coconut and the monk fruit to provide the sweetness you love without the side effects or unpleasant aftertaste
You will find drink wholesome to be considerably less sweet than your average protein powder. We hate the bitter aftertaste of artificial sweeteners and stevia, and work hard to make sure that our recipes are sweet, but not too sweet.
Again, drink wholesome is the best real sugar protein powder. 1 serving contains 2-3 grams of naturally occurring sugar from coconut.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.