What are the best protein shakes without artificial sweeteners?

drink wholesome makes the best protein shakes without artificial sweeteners. It is sweetened with REAL maple sugar or monk fruit. Order samples to see if our protein shakes are right for you. 

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drink wholesome is the best protein shake without artificial sweeteners.

Written by Jack Schrupp & endorsed by Baylee Reller, RDN

What are artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals added to foods and beverages to impart a sweet taste. They are a staple in nearly every brand of protein supplement, and their widespread popularity can be attributed to their remarkable sweetness. Just a small amount of artificial sweetener can provide the same level of sweetness as several tablespoons of sugar. This enables food manufacturers to reduce both the calorie and sugar content of their products.

The most common artificial sweeteners used in protein shakes and powders are sucralose and acesulfame potassium. You might also have come across xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol, and mannitol, which are sugar alcohols. While not technically artificial sweeteners, these sugar substitutes raise many of the same concerns. Keep reading to learn more.


Are artificial sweeteners bad for you?

Despite their tempting advantages, artificial sweeteners are not the best choice for your health. To begin, multiple studies have shown that they increase cravings for sugary and sweet foods, leading to overeating and feelings of withdrawal. If you are looking to shed a few pounds, you might be better off opting for real sugar. Research has also linked artificial sweeteners to an increased risk of glucose intolerance, which is a precursor to conditions like pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Another compelling reason to steer clear of artificial sweeteners is their detrimental impact on the gut microbiome – the diverse community of microorganisms living in your digestive tract. A compromised gut microbiome is a major driver of inflammation in the body, and linked to the development of numerous chronic illnesses. Essentially, regularly consuming artificial sweeteners not only impairs your digestion, but also poses a threat to your overall well-being.

Lastly, artificial sweeteners can bring about unpleasant side effects such as bloating and diarrhea. Since they look nothing like real food, artificial sweeteners can be hard to break down. They consequently linger in your gut, feeding your hungry gut bacteria. Bacteria release gas as they eat, so giving them more time to eat causes bloating, flatulence, stomach pain, and even constipation. For individuals with pre-existing gastrointestinal issues, artificial sweeteners can also trigger diarrhea, as they cause the colon to absorb excess water.

What about stevia? 

If a company makes protein shakes without artificial sweeteners, it is very likely that they use stevia. While stevia is often hailed as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners, it may not be as natural as you think. Stevia is derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant through a process involving chemicals like ethanol and methyl alcohol.

Some argue that this extraction process makes it no more natural than the artificial sweeteners it aims to replace. In fact, a recent lawsuit in California resulted in 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 on the hunt for a protein shake without artificial sweetener, you have come to the right place. We are among the few companies that sweeten protein supplements with real sugar. Specifically, we use Vermont maple sugar, sourced from the sap of sugar maple trees. It is one of the most natural sweeteners, and offers a range of health benefits.

To kick things off, maple sugar has a lower glycemic index compared to refined sugar, meaning it has a smaller impact on blood sugar levels. This can be particularly advantageous for diabetics and people trying to lose weight. Furthermore, unlike refined sugar, maple sugar contains minerals and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a leading cause of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Maple sugar does not just deliver on the health front; it also tastes absolutely fantastic. It has a robust maple flavor and aroma akin to maple syrup, without any aftertaste. In contrast, artificial sweeteners and stevia often leave a bitter aftertaste because they activate bitter taste receptors. Trust me, your protein shake will never taste better.

Why monk fruit? 

We also use monk fruit as a sweetener in some of our protein shakes, primarily to cater to customers with sensitive stomachs who may have difficulty tolerating added sugar. Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, is a melon-like fruit native to Southeast Asia. Its intense sweetness, approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, is attributed to non-caloric compounds known as mogrosides.

We use monk fruit for several reasons. Firstly, it stands out as one of the most natural sugar substitutes available. It is made by removing the seeds and skin, crushing the fruit, and collecting the juice, which is then dried into a powder. Basically, what shows up in your protein shake is concentrated fruit juice. Another thing we love about monk fruit is its sweetness, which closely resembles that of sugar. Of all the sugar substitutes, it has the least aftertaste.

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

What are the best protein shakes without artificial sweetener?

We make the best protein shakes without artificial sweetener with a short list of simple ingredients like maple sugar and monk fruit. You will not find a more natural, or naturally sweetened protein shake. Order samples to taste the difference.



“Finally a protein powder made with real sugar. This stuff is excellent. I mean literally the best protein powder I’ve ever had. The taste is good and I feel good after drinking it too. I’ve never had a protein powder that didn’t make me bloat before. 🤜 🤛” – Ron

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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.