As a follow-up to our recent article where we identified the best protein powders with no artificial sweeteners, we thought we’d take it one step further and uncover the best protein powders without stevia. Today we’ll explore the options that are free from both stevia and artificial sweeteners – uncovering some real gems in the healthy protein space.
Stevia, derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, is about 100 times sweeter than sugar. It's widely used as a natural sweetener and is generally considered safe (GRAS) by FDA standards. However, the 'natural' label on stevia can be misleading. The extraction process often involves chemicals like ethanol and methyl alcohol, which raises questions about its naturalness.
For those wary of these methods or the distinct taste and aftertaste of stevia, we understand your concerns. Whether it's the taste or the extraction process that leaves you hesitant, we're here to cater to your needs. After thorough research, we've compiled a list of the top 5 protein powders without stevia, offering quality and taste without compromise.
Let's first clarify something crucial to ensure we're on the same page. The protein powders we've picked out are free from stevia and clear of the six artificial sweeteners recognized by the FDA. We figured that if you're in the market for a stevia-free product, you'd probably prefer to avoid those artificial additives as well!
Below is a quick summary table of the products we're about to dive into in more detail:
(Click to Jump to Product)
Most Affordable Option
Best Natural Option
Best Vegan Option
Each choice has been carefully selected to ensure that you're getting the best possible product without compromising your health and taste preferences. Stay tuned as we dig deeper into the specifics of each one, helping you make an informed decision on your protein powder journey.
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When it comes to combining quality and taste, Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein stands out, earning its spot as the Best Overall choice. This protein powder's charm lies in its simplicity and purity. It uses just four real food ingredients to create a flavor reminiscent of rich, delicious chocolate milk - without artificial sweeteners or flavorings.
The blend is straightforward yet effective: Grass-Fed Whey Isolate, Organic Cacao, Real Sugar, and a hint of Himalayan Salt. This combination not only makes for a sweet, refreshing chocolate protein flavor but also ensures versatility. Mix it into various drinks, smoothies, and shakes and even use it in cooking and baking recipes.
A critical aspect of Opportuniteas is its commitment to natural ingredients. The whey protein isolate is sourced from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows. To achieve the chocolatey goodness, 100% organic cacao is used, complemented by sweet organic cane sugar and a touch of Himalayan salt. The result is a non-GMO, gluten-free protein powder that's as natural as it gets.
Our personal experience with Opportuniteas was notably positive. It was gentle on the stomach, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive digestive systems. We didn’t experience discomfort or stomach upsets, which speaks volumes about its digestibility.
For those concerned about allergens, it's important to note that this product contains milk. However, if you're looking for a high-quality, natural protein powder that ticks all the boxes of taste, purity, and digestibility, Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein is a fantastic choice.
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Nestled comfortably in our runner-up spot is Promix Protein Powder, a gem for those who appreciate the subtler details in their nutrition. Imagine the rich, inviting flavor of Madagascar Vanilla or Raw Chocolate dancing on your taste buds – that's the experience Promix offers. It's not just a protein powder; it's a sensory delight.
Crafted from yellow peas, this powder is more than just protein – it's a blend of health and taste. The cold-processing and acid-free bioactive native whey ensures that every scoop is packed with naturally occurring glutathione and immunoglobulins, the unsung heroes in the world of protein powders. These components don't just build muscle; they fortify your immune system and detoxify your body.
What makes Promix stand out is its commitment to purity. The sunflower lecithin isn't just there for show – it's a masterstroke for improved absorption and blending. This means every shake or baked good you whip up doesn't just taste good; it feels good, too.
Now, let's talk about the numbers: 25g of protein and 5.9g of BCAAs per serving, a beacon for muscle recovery. The minimal filtration process is a nod to those who chase after the elusive omega-3s and CLA, known for their role in promoting heart health and aiding in fat loss.
But Promix isn’t just about what’s inside. It's about what's not. No gluten, soy, GMOs, hormones, antibiotics, or artificial nasties. It's a clean, clear choice for the health-conscious. And with 94% of ingredients sourced from North America and a partnership with 1% for the Planet, it's as much about supporting your body as it is about supporting the planet.
Our experience? It was like giving our post-workout routine a gourmet upgrade. The powder mixed effortlessly into shakes, smoothies, and even our experimental baking, making it a versatile ally in our fitness journey.
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For those seeking both affordability and health in their protein powder, Amazing Grass is a standout choice. It’s earned its place as the cheapest protein powder due to the fact it doubles up as a superfood drink – and the initial outlay cost is the lowest of them all (but you’re right, Promix is the cheapest per serving!).
This vegan, plant-based protein offers 20 grams per serving, making it an excellent option for anyone looking to fuel their body with clean, sustainable energy.
One of the most compelling aspects of Amazing Grass is its commitment to clean ingredients. Free from dairy, grains, gluten, and stevia, it's an inclusive option for various dietary needs. The vanilla flavor is not just a taste but an experience, satisfying your palate while delivering essential nutrition.
But Amazing Grass doesn't stop at protein. Each serving also packs a full serving of leafy greens, incorporating dark, nutrient-dense greens like kale, wheat grass, barley grass, and alfalfa. These greens are farm-fresh, adding a burst of natural vitamins and minerals to every scoop.
The protein blend is thoughtfully curated with organic pea protein, quinoa, and chia, ensuring you receive all the essential amino acids your body needs. This makes it a complete protein source, which is often a challenge in plant-based diets.
Easy to prepare, just mix one serving with 12 or more ounces of water or juice or blend it into your favorite smoothie. The convenience of Amazing Grass is matched by its delightful texture and authentic vanilla flavor, making it not just a nutritional choice but a palatable delight.
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Drink Wholesome is the best natural option in our lineup, offering a protein powder that's as kind to your stomach as it is to your taste buds. This product is a beacon of simplicity and health, designed for those who prioritize natural, easy-to-digest ingredients in their supplements.
The standout feature of Drink Wholesome is its reliance on almonds as the primary protein source. This choice deviates from the heavily processed protein concentrates or isolates commonly found in other powders and brings the added benefit of prebiotic effects. Almonds are celebrated for promoting healthy and regular bowel movements, making them an excellent protein source for those with digestive concerns.
One of the most commendable aspects of Drink Wholesome is its gentle nature. It's free from additives, dairy, lactose, and gluten, catering to various dietary needs and sensitivities. This powder doesn't just avoid the common pitfalls of gastrointestinal discomfort – it actively promotes digestive health.
Users can expect none of the usual side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, nausea, or stomach pain. It's particularly suitable for individuals with digestive conditions such as Candidiasis, Crohn’s, diverticulitis, gastritis, gastroparesis, GERD, leaky gut, IBS, IBD, SIBO, and ulcerative colitis.
Moreover, for those with lactose intolerance or pregnant and breastfeeding women seeking a safe protein supplement, Drink Wholesome emerges as a reliable choice. It's formulated to be both lactose-free and pregnancy-safe.
Sweetening the deal, quite literally, is the inclusion of monk fruit as a natural sweetener. Notably, this monk fruit sweetener is free from erythritol, avoiding the common issues associated with sugar alcohol.
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Truvani emerges as one of the best vegan supplements for building muscle, capturing the essence of purity and taste in a vegan-friendly package. Its premium selection of hand-selected ingredients, including organic pea protein concentrate, alkalized cocoa, peanut flour, and pumpkin seed concentrate, creates a symphony of flavors and nutrients.
The chocolate peanut butter flavor of Truvani is a delightful surprise. It's rich but not overwhelming and devoid of the usual chalky or grainy texture that often plagues protein powders. This smoothness in texture makes it a pleasure to consume, whether blended into a shake or stirred into a vegan snack.
Our experience with Truvani found it to be more than just a protein supplement; it's a testament to how delicious vegan options can be. The blend of organic vanilla powder, monk fruit extract, chia seed protein concentrate, and peanuts gives it a well-rounded, satisfying taste that's hard to find in most plant-based proteins.
What's also notable about Truvani is its commitment to clean eating. It's free from additives, fillers, soy, wheat, dairy, gluten, and stevia, aligning perfectly with a holistic, health-conscious lifestyle.
As a certified USDA Organic product, it adheres to stringent standards of quality and purity, reassuring us that what we're consuming is good for our muscles and overall well-being.
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AGN Roots stands out as the best-unflavored option in the protein powder market for those who cherish purity and ethical sourcing in their nutrition choices. This isn't just any ordinary whey protein; it's a product that carries the weight of rigorous certifications and ethical commitments.
AGN Roots is the only Truly Grass-Fed Whey Certified with Informed-Sport & Informed-Choice, a badge of honor that speaks volumes about its quality. But what sets it apart even further is the certification from A Greener World. This certification isn't just a stamp; it's a promise that the whey comes from farms where animals are raised with care, living their entire lives on pasture, a rarity in the industry.
AGN Roots offers transparency and integrity in a market flooded with misleading claims. It's sourced exclusively from Animal Welfare Approved Farms, ensuring that your protein powder is not just good for you but also good for the animals and the planet. This commitment extends to its packaging, too, arriving in an air-tight, thermally protected pouch that keeps the nutrients intact and reduces the carbon footprint compared to traditional plastic tubs.
The protein powder itself is a marvel of nutritional engineering. Cold-processed and undenatured, it maintains the highest levels of naturally occurring macro-nutrients. Unlike its competitors, AGN Roots keeps a higher moisture content to preserve all the nutrients, giving it a fluffy texture and a fresh dairy cream aroma.
Moreover, AGN Roots isn't just about what it contains but also what it offers. With the highest natural concentration of BCAAs (6.5 grams per 25 grams of protein), it outperforms other so-called "grass-fed" competitors. This high BCAA content isn't just a number; it directly results from supporting farmers who foster natural, stress-free environments for their herds.
Stevia stands out in the world of natural sweeteners. It's derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, native to South America, and is known for having no calories. While the term 'stevia' encompasses the whole plant, the sweetness we experience comes from a specific part: the steviol glycosides extracted from its leaves.
In its raw, unrefined state, stevia is often touted as an all-natural option. However, this form of stevia falls under the dietary supplement category according to the FDA, and it hasn't been recognized by the agency as a safe food additive when unprocessed.
The stevia you might find in coffee shops, known as high-purity steviol glycosides, has undergone a more rigorous process. This refined version is deemed "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS) by the FDA. However, this safety stamp comes with a caveat: the extraction and refinement process involves intense chemical processing, sparking debates about the limits of processing a natural ingredient can undergo before losing its natural label.
Despite the controversy, stevia-based sweeteners like Truvia bring significant benefits. They are about 300 times sweeter than sugar, meaning only a tiny amount is needed for a powerful sweetening effect. On the flip side, stevia has faced criticism for its unique flavor profile, mainly its distinct and sometimes bitter aftertaste, which not everyone finds palatable.
Manufacturers opt for stevia in their products for several reasons, primarily due to its reputation as a "natural sweetener," which many perceive as a healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners. Stevia's intense sweetness means a little goes a long way, allowing manufacturers to minimize the use of sugar and keep calorie counts low in their products.
Additionally, stevia can sidestep some of the potential negative consequences of artificial sweeteners. Research (1) explores these aspects in detail, underscoring the health considerations that drive manufacturers toward natural sweetening options.
Another significant advantage of stevia is its zero-calorie profile. This makes it an attractive ingredient in diet and low-calorie products, catering to calorie-conscious consumers or trying to reduce their sugar intake without sacrificing sweetness.
Overall, the combination of being a natural, intensely sweet, and zero-calorie option makes stevia a popular choice among manufacturers, especially in the food and beverage industry.
While stevia is favored by many for its natural sweetness and zero-calorie content, it's not without its drawbacks. Here are some of the potential downsides:
For those who prefer to steer clear of stevia, whether due to taste preferences, potential side effects, or simply seeking variety, there are several alternative sweeteners to consider. These alternatives offer different benefits and can suit various dietary needs and preferences.
Let's explore some popular stevia substitutes that can sweeten your food and beverages without the drawbacks associated with stevia.
Raw honey is a natural sweetener produced by bees from the nectar of flowers. Unlike regular honey, raw honey is not processed or pasteurized, which means it retains more of its natural nutrients and antioxidants. This golden, thick liquid offers a rich, distinct flavor that varies depending on the types of flowers the bees visit. Not only is raw honey a delicious alternative to stevia, but it also brings a touch of natural sweetness to various foods and beverages.
Monk fruit, also known as Luo Han Guo, is a small, round fruit native to Southeast Asia. This fruit is renowned for its intense natural sweetness, which comes from unique antioxidants called mogrosides.
Unlike regular sugars, these mogrosides don’t increase blood sugar levels, making monk fruit a popular sugar alternative. It's especially favored for its zero-calorie content and is often used in weight management and blood sugar control products. The sweetener derived from monk fruit is much sweeter than sugar, allowing for smaller quantities to achieve the same level of sweetness.
Agave nectar, gaining popularity as a natural sugar substitute, is sourced from the agave plant. It shares similarities with honey, primarily consisting of fructose, which makes it about 1.5 times sweeter than regular sugar (sucrose).
Due to its high fructose content, agave nectar ranks lower on the glycemic index than honey and sugar, making it a favorable option for those monitoring their blood sugar levels. However, it's worth noting that agave nectar doesn't provide the same nutritional benefits as unfiltered honey.
Additionally, agave nectar is versatile, seamlessly blending into beverages, baking recipes, and sweetening sauces, making it a flexible alternative in the kitchen.
Sugar, commonly known as table sugar or sucrose, is a familiar sweetener extracted from the sugar cane plant. It's a crystalline carbohydrate, combining glucose and fructose, which gives it a sweet taste.
Used ubiquitously in kitchens and food manufacturing, sugar is the standard sweetener against which others are often compared. Its versatility makes it a staple in baking, cooking, and as an additive in countless food products.
While sugar is effective in adding sweetness, it must be used in moderation due to its high-calorie content and potential impact on blood sugar levels.
Coconut sugar, also known as coconut palm sugar or coco sugar, is a natural sweetener derived from the sap of coconut palm tree blossoms. It undergoes a process of heating and evaporation to create a granulated sugar with a flavor profile similar to brown sugar.
Coconut sugar is prized for its unique caramel-like taste and is often considered a healthier alternative to refined sugars. It contains trace minerals and a lower glycemic index, which means it has a milder impact on blood sugar levels than regular sugar. This makes it an appealing choice for those seeking natural sweetness with the added depth of flavor.
Choosing an unflavored protein powder offers the advantage of avoiding artificial flavorings and stevia. This blank canvas allows you to customize your protein shakes with ingredients like honey, syrup, or fruit for various flavors. Unflavored protein also brings health benefits and the freedom to change your shake's taste daily, from banana and peanut butter to berries and honey. Enjoy the versatility and natural sweetness of unflavored protein powder.
Whether you're on a mission to bulk up, stay fit, or simply make healthier dietary choices, choosing the right protein powder matters. We've explored the world of protein supplements without Stevia, offering you a selection that caters to your unique preferences and dietary needs.
In this protein-packed journey, we've introduced you to options like Opportuniteas Grass-Fed Whey Protein, Promix, Amazing Grass, Drink Wholesome, Truvani, and AGN Roots. These choices are designed to fuel your fitness goals without the added sweetness of Stevia.
Remember, the best protein powder for you ultimately depends on your specific fitness regimen and dietary requirements. Whether you opt for the natural goodness of raw honey, the gentle sweetness of monk fruit, or the simplicity of unflavored options, the final decision is yours.
With this knowledge, you can confidently take your fitness journey to the next level without the distractions of unnecessary additives. Here's to a healthier, fitter you!