What is the best protein powder without stevia?
Sick of stevia protein powder?
It is almost impossible to find a natural protein powder without stevia these days. 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 like sucralose. It is therefore no surprise that this zero calorie sweetener has found its way into protein powders looking to please health conscious consumers. That said, more and more people are starting to avoid stevia. Keep reading to learn more.
Why should you avoid stevia?
First of all, although it is sweet, stevia has an unpleasant bitter aftertaste that can linger in your mouth for hours. This is because stevia, unlike sugar, activates bitter taste receptors in addition to sweet taste receptors. These bitter receptors can ruin your smoothies or whatever you add your protein powder to.
Another reason to avoid stevia has to do with how it is made. Stevia is often extracted from the stevia rebaudiana plant using chemicals like ethanol and methyl alcohol. This, one could argue, makes it barely 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.
For those of you with gut issues and sensitive stomachs, you may be wondering if stevia is gut-friendly. The answer is probably. In a review of 14 studies, researchers found that only 4 of the 14 showed that stevia is harmful to gut microbiota. That said, many protein powders containing stevia also contain sugar alcohols like erythritol, which can cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating and diarrhea. Why sugar alcohols? Because since stevia is 200+ times sweeter than sugar, it is hard to use. Sugar alcohols are therefore added to provide volume and texture, making stevia more like sugar and easier to work with.
If not stevia, then what do you use?
Instead of artificial sweeteners or stevia, we use a natural sweetener called monk fruit. Monk fruit – also known as luo han guo – is a melon-like fruit native to Southeast Asia. Monk fruit sweetener is created by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice, which is then dried into a concentrated powder. As far as low/zero calorie sweeteners go, monk fruit is the most natural and best tasting. When used in moderation, it tastes just like sugar.
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 protein powders.
Why drink wholesome?
Our protein powders are stevia-free, additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates. They are perfect for people with gut issues and sensitive stomachs, as well as for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.