What is the best protein powder without sugar alcohols?

drink wholesome makes the best protein powder without sugar alcohols. It is sweetened with maple sugar or monk fruit, depending on the flavor. Order samples to see if our protein powders are right for you. 

Protein Powder Sample Packs

3 Protein Powder Samples


drink wholesome is the best protein powder without sugar alcohols.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

What are sugar alcohols?

Sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, are a type of carbohydrate commonly used as sweeteners in processed foods. Despite their name, sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol in the traditional sense. They are naturally occurring compounds chemically derived from sugars. Common sugar alcohols include: xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol, mannitol, and isomalt.

Sugar alcohols have a sweet taste, but are not fully absorbed by the body, meaning they contribute fewer calories to your diet than sugar. They are therefore commonly used as alternatives to sugar in sugar-free or reduced-sugar products. Sugar alcohols also do not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels like sugar.

The sweetness of sugar alcohols varies from 25% to 100% as sweet as sugar. For this reason, large amounts of sugar alcohols are sometimes needed to achieve the desired sweetness. It is also worth noting that sugar levels in processed foods are typically more than 1,000-times greater than levels found in nature. It is therefore not surprising that many people experience side effects, such as bloating or diarrhea, when consuming foods with sugar alcohols.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), listing sugar alcohols on the ingredient list is voluntary for food manufacturers, as long as they do not make a claim about sugar alcohols or make a claim about sugar (like “sugar free” or “no added sugar”). This means that your protein powder could contain sugar alcohols and you would never know it.

Are sugar alcohols bad for you?

There are many advantages to replacing added sugars with sugar alcohols. For starters, eating too many added sugars can raise your risk for chronic disease such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Sugar alcohols are also less likely to contribute to tooth decay compared to regular sugar. That said, sugar alcohols are also known to cause a number of unfortunate side effects.

Most sugar alcohols can cause digestive issues when consumed in large amounts. For people with sensitive stomachs, even small amounts of sugar alcohols can trigger side effects. The most common symptoms are bloating and gas, but some sugar alcohols like sorbitol can also cause diarrhea

Regularly consuming sugar alcohols has been shown to disrupt the composition and function of the gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food. This can not only impair your ability to digest and absorb food, but can also trigger the development of a number of chronic diseases

Erythritol in particular has been linked to an increased risk for heart attacks and stroke. An NIH-funded study recently found that elevated levels of erythritol were associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events. In fact, people with the highest erythritol levels (top 25%) were about twice as likely to have cardiovascular events as those with the lowest (bottom 25%).

In trying to better understand how erythritol might increase these health risks, the researchers determined that consuming erythritol may increase blood clot formation, which, in turn, could increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. If this is not a good reason to avoid sugar alcohols, then I do not know what is.

What about stevia? 

If a company makes protein powders without artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, it probably uses stevia. While stevia is often lauded as a natural alternative to other sugar substitutes, it may not be as natural as you think.

Stevia is derived from a plant, but the extraction process requires the use of chemicals such as ethanol and methyl alcohol. Critics argue that this makes stevia no more natural than the artificial sweeteners it aims to replace. In fact, a recent lawsuit in California led to a $6.1 million settlement because the company in question was found to have falsely labeled and advertised its stevia sweeteners as “natural.”

Why maple sugar? 

If you are looking for a protein powder free from sugar alcohols, you have come to the right place. We sweeten our protein powder with real sugar, specifically maple sugar from the sap of sugar maple trees. Maple sugar not only adds a natural sweetness, but also a number of health benefits.

First and foremost, maple sugar boasts a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, meaning it has a smaller impact on blood sugar levels. This is particularly advantageous for individuals with diabetes and those trying to lose weight. Moreover, unlike refined sugar, maple sugar contains minerals and antioxidants that contribute to reducing inflammation—a key factor in the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Maple sugar is not just a health-conscious choice; it also takes the taste of your protein shake to a whole new level. Its rich maple flavor and inviting aroma closely resemble that of maple syrup, without any lingering aftertaste. In contrast, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and stevia leave a bitter aftertaste because they activate bitter taste receptors. Rest assured, your protein shake will never be more delicious than with the addition of maple sugar.

Why monk fruit? 

We also use monk fruit as a sweetener in some of our protein powders for our customers who have difficulty tolerating added sugar. Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, comes from Southeast Asia and looks like a melon. Its intense sweetness, approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, can be attributed to non-caloric compounds called mogrosides.

There are several reasons why we opt for monk fruit as a sweetener. Firstly, it stands out as the most natural sugar substitute available. It is made by removing the seeds and skin, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice, which is then dried into a powder. Essentially, what you find in your protein powder is concentrated fruit juice. Another aspect that makes monk fruit appealing is its sweetness, which closely mirrors that of sugar. Among all sugar substitutes, it leaves the least aftertaste.

Monk fruit sweetener has only been commercially available for approximately a decade, so its effects on chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes have not been well documented. Nevertheless, it has been a staple in Asian cuisine for centuries, with no known side effects even when consumed in substantial quantities. Furthermore, small randomized trials have also shown that monk fruit sweetener does not appear to have adverse impacts on blood sugar or insulin levels.

During the production of other monk fruit sweeteners, the fruit is blended with sugar alcohols to make it look more like table sugar. This is especially the case for monk fruit sweeteners intended to replace white sugar. The monk fruit sweetener we use, however, is made with 100% monk fruit. There are no added ingredients, so you can rest assured that your protein powder is sugar alcohol-free.

What is the best protein powder without sugar alcohols? 

drink wholesome is the best protein powder without sugar alcohols. It is made with a short list of simple ingredients, and sweetened with maple sugar or monk fruit, depending on the flavor. You will not find a more natural, or naturally-sweetened protein powder. Order samples to taste the difference.



“This stuff is amazing…I use it as a meal replacement…will continue to buy…the company needs to market this product more. I found it on Google by trying to find a protein powder with monk fruit. So here I am…buy it, you won’t be sorry!” – Lisa

Read more reviews or take the quiz.

Protein Powder Sample Packs

3 Protein Powder Samples


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.