Best Sugar-Free Protein Powders (2024): According to Experts

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 19, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

Whether you follow a low-carb or low-calorie diet but want extra protein, or you want to cut your sugar intake, a sugar-free protein powder will suit your needs.

With tons of options on the market, it can be confusing which one to pick.

So, to help you choose the best sugar-free protein powders for your health or fitness goals, we've teamed up with vegan registered dietitians, reviewed tons of user feedback, and put these products to the test.

Here are our recommendations.

The Best Sugar-Free Protein Powders

Editor's Choice
CTA of Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate (Best Overall)
Transparent Labs
Rated 4.8/5
Click For Best Price
2nd Best Choice
CTA of Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake (Best Multivitamin)
Vega One
Rated 4.6/5
Check Current Price
3rd Best Choice
CTA of Sunwarrior Protein Warrior Blend (Best Vegan)
Sunwarrior
Rated 4.3/5
Check Current Price

Our Top Product Recommendations (May 2024)

1 - Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate (Best Overall)

Rated 4.8/5
5.0
Protein per serving
4.5
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
4.5
Price
CTA of Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate (Best Overall)
  • Calories : 120
  • Protein : 28g
  • Fat : 0.5g
  • Carbs : 1g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High protein content per serving
  • Completely clean, high-quality protein
  • Good for lactose-intolerant people
  • Full label transparency

Cons

  • A bit expensive but can save up for bulk orders

Transparent Labs 100% Whey Protein Isolate provides 28 grams of complete protein to help you gain muscles and improve your gym performance.

And because it's made entirely of whey isolate, it has a significantly lower lactose content that won't upset your stomach. It's low in fat and carbs, so it's ideal if you're trying to lose or maintain weight.

I bought the Mocha and French Vanilla flavors and what I like about them is that they taste great even without artificial sweeteners.

Product Facts

2 - Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake (Best Multivitamin)

Rated 4.6/5
5.0
Protein per serving
5.0
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
4.0
Price
CTA of Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake (Best Multivitamin)
  • Calories : 150
  • Protein : 20g
  • Fat : 5g
  • Carbs : 10g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It contains probiotics and fiber for digestion
  • Provides 50% of daily vitamin needs
  • Nutrient-dense organic supplement, which makes it a perfect meal replacement

Cons

  • It's not the cheapest option

Vega One Organic All-In-One Shake is another 100% plant-sourced protein powder that's gluten-free, non-GMO, and certified USDA organic.

On top of that, this protein powder provides 50% of your daily multivitamin needs, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins. It also contains probiotics and fiber for better digestion.

I've tried the vanilla and chocolate flavor and find them delicious and also love their smooth texture.

Product Facts

3 - Sunwarrior Protein Warrior Blend (Best Vegan)

Rated 4.3/5
4.5
Protein per serving
3.5
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
4.0
Price
CTA of Sunwarrior Protein Warrior Blend (Best Vegan)
  • Calories : 100
  • Protein : 25g
  • Fat : 2g
  • Carbs : 2g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Has 6g BCAAs for muscle recovery and building lean muscle
  • Contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) for extra brainpower
  • It contains electrolytes to replenish what's lost during workouts

Cons

  • It doesn’t taste good unless mixed in protein shakes and smoothies

This Sunwarrior supplement is packed with 25g plant-based protein powder made from organic pea protein powder, organic hemp protein, and organic Goji Berry.

I'm impressed with its content, including the 6g of BCAAs, which has helped me speed up recovery, and the added Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which act as extra fuel for the brain.

Its vanilla flavor tastes good and mixes well with water or a protein shake. The best part is the natural taste since it doesn't taste too sweet.

Product Facts

4 - Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein (Best High-Fiber)

Rated 3.9/5
4.0
Protein per serving
3.5
Taste
4.0
Ingredients
4.0
Price
CTA of Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein (Best High-Fiber)
  • Calories : 90
  • Protein : 15g
  • Fat : 3g
  • Carbs : 9g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A plant-based protein powder that’s high in fiber for better bowel health
  • Complete amino acids profile to supply your protein needs plus fatty acids to promote a healthy heart
  • Made from high-quality hemp protein that's easy to digest

Cons

  • It has a distinct earthy taste like most hemp proteins

Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder is low in carbs and high in fiber. Fiber helps keep our blood sugar and hunger in check and keep our bowels healthy.

My experience was that the organic hemp protein is also very easy to digest, so it's great for those with a sensitive gut.

What's more, it has BCAAs known to help muscle gains and Omega-3 fatty acids for maintaining heart health.

However, Nutiva Organic has an earthy taste, not the best tasting option. But I've tried putting some fruits like bananas and berries to make it more palatable.

Product Facts

5 - Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder (Cheapest Option)

Rated 4.1/5
5.0
Protein per serving
4.0
Taste
4.0
Ingredients
3.5
Price
CTA of Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder (Best Organic)
  • Calories : 110
  • Protein : 22g
  • Fat : 2.5g
  • Carbs : 2g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Helps with muscle recovery
  • Certified USDA organic blend
  • Vegan protein, gluten-free, non-GMO

Cons

  • Some users don't prefer the taste

Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder is one of the best sugar-free protein powders made from protein-rich sources, such as pea proteins, organic sprouted brown rice protein, and amaranth sprouts.

To top it all off, it contains probiotics and digestive enzymes to promote a healthy gut.

I think it tastes great with no weird aftertaste when it comes to taste. It has no artificial sweeteners, and you can choose between unflavored and flavored ones, such as vanilla and chocolate.

Product Facts

6 - Bob's Red Mill Pea Protein Powder

Rated 4.0/5
4.0
Protein per serving
4.0
Taste
4.0
Ingredients
4.0
Price
CTA of Bob's Red Mill Pea Protein Powder
  • Calories : 100
  • Protein : 21g
  • Fat : 1.5g
  • Carbs : 2g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Made from organically grown peas
  • Gluten-free, suits vegans, and a good source of Omega-3
  • One of the best tasting, sugar-free plant-sourced protein powder

Cons

  • Some find the pea flavor overpowering

Bob's Red Mill Pea Protein Powder is a sugar-free protein powder with tons of nutritional value and unique properties its users have loved.

And here's good news for those who don't like stevia-based powders: Bob's Red Mill is one of the few vegan protein powders that are stevia-free.

And this protein powder is delicious, though I find the pea flavor overpowering. Bob’s Red Mill can be a great addition to your protein pancakes and shakes because it mixes easily, too.

Product Facts

7 - USN Pure Plant Protein

Rated 4.3/5
4.5
Protein per serving
4.0
Taste
4.0
Ingredients
4.5
Price
CTA of USN 100 Percent Pure Plant Protein
  • Calories : 100
  • Protein : 23g
  • Fat : 2.4g
  • Carbs : 2.9g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Made from 100% plant-based sources
  • Easily digestible plant proteins
  • Taste is enjoyable

Cons

  • The label doesn't disclose if it is gluten-free

USN Pure Plant Protein powder is another top-quality choice for a sugar-free protein shake made from pea protein isolate, rice, and hemp protein.

This protein powder is vegan, free from soy and artificial flavors and colors. Its clean protein content is also quickly digestible, which means it's easy on your stomach, and your body can absorb it efficiently.

As for the taste, my experience was that this protein powder is one of the best-tasting sugar-free protein supplements made from plants.

Product Facts

8 - Optimum Nutrition Lean Whey

Rated 4.1/5
4.5
Protein per serving
4.0
Taste
4.0
Ingredients
4.0
Price
CTA of Optimum Nutrition Lean Whey
  • Calories : 98
  • Protein : 17g
  • Fat : 1.9g
  • Carbs : 1.4g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High-quality whey protein concentrate, low fat, and low-sugar
  • Has 2.34g Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which can help fat loss
  • It contains tons of vitamins and minerals to strengthen immunity

Cons

  • Not suitable for vegans

Optimum nutrition is one of the famous brands providing quality sports supplements for fueling your workout, and luckily, they have a sugar-free protein powder, too.

Whey is known to be a complete and fast-absorbing protein. And my experience has shown that it's effective for increasing muscle strength, bulking up, and reducing body fat, which is also confirmed by the research organization Nutrition & Metabolism [1].

What's more, it's one of the low-sugar protein powders with 0.6 sugar, but its taste is a pleasant surprise—I love the vanilla taste.

Product Facts

9 - Pulsin Natural Unflavoured Plant-Based Vegan Rice Protein Powder

Rated 3.8/5
3.5
Protein per serving
3.5
Taste
4.5
Ingredients
3.5
Price
CTA of Pulsin Natural Unflavoured Plant-Based Vegan Rice Protein Powder
  • Calories : 43
  • Protein : 8.1g
  • Fat : 1g
  • Carbs : 0.4g

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 100% whole grain brown rice protein concentrate
  • Unsweetened and unflavored protein powder; perfect for smoothies and baked goods
  • Ideal for vegetarians and vegans as an alternative to whey

Cons

  • A bit expensive but at a reasonable price

This low-carb protein powder suits vegans or lactose-intolerants looking to steer clear of whey or casein protein. It's free from animal products, and it's non-GMO.

You get 81% protein for each 10g serving; that is 8.1g protein.

There are no added sugars or sweeteners to this protein powder, so at least in my experience, it's necessary to add it to protein shakes or breakfast cereals to make it palatable.

Product Facts

10 - John's Killer Protein - Lean Blend

Rated 3.9/5
5.0
Protein per serving
3.5
Taste
4.0
Ingredients
3.0
Price
CTA of John's Killer Protein - Lean Blend
  • Calories : 90
  • Protein : 22g
  • Fat : 0
  • Carbs : 0

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • One of the few whey proteins that use Irish dairy and milk
  • Soy-free, gluten-free, and never treated with any GMO ingredients or additives
  • Complete amino acids and has BCAAs

Cons

  • Quite costly, but you get value for your money

John's Killer Protein is one of the few companies that uses grass-fed Irish whey. Ireland is famous for producing the highest quality grass-fed dairy because of its favorable pasture conditions.

You'll get 22g of pure protein for every serving, packed with 11g of complete amino acids and 5g of BCAAs. This protein powder is for those who want just clean, top-quality protein for muscle growth and recovery.

I love having this protein powder with my smoothie or shake.

Product Facts

How Did We Chose the Best Sugar-Free Protein Powders

To meticulously analyze and research sugar-free protein powders, we considered several pivotal factors and rated them based on test results.

Protein Content

The concentration we emphasized was in the 20-30 gram bracket, with 28 grams being the sweet spot for most fitness enthusiasts. From our testing and experience, this amount of  protein powder can offer optimal benefits for post-workout recuperation.

Protein Source

The protein's source is crucial as we recommend focusing on complete proteins. For each product, we looked at whether the powder is derived from whey, casein, egg white, or plant-based ingredients like pea protein, rice protein, chia seeds, or brown rice.

Carbs and Fat

It was essential for us to ensure that our picks had minimal to moderate levels of carbs and fats, given that the primary component should be protein. If a product is carb-rich, it might end up messing with your diet, so we favored those with close to zero carbs and fat.

Flavor

The flavor of a sugar-free protein powder is crucial, especially when sugar often enhances taste. We prioritized powders that, despite being sugar-free, still offer a pleasant and satisfying taste, ensuring that users don't have to compromise on flavor for health.

Solubility

Solubility determines how easily a protein powder mixes with liquids. Poor solubility can lead to clumpy shakes and reduced absorption rates. To test this we, we checked how easily the powder mixes with water with a spoon and in a shaker.

Digestibility and Negative Effects

Our testers provided feedback on possible adverse reactions. They noted the ease of digestion for each protein powder and any resulting digestive discomfort or bloating.

Third-Party Testing

Third-party testing of protein powders guarantees the purity and source of the product. It instills trust in users regarding the powder's quality and the truthfulness of its ingredients. We kept this in mind while researching each product.

Price

Sugar-free protein powders can vary in price, often based on their ingredient quality, protein source, and brand reputation. Our focus was on the $0.50 to $1.50 range per 25 grams of pure protein, which allowed for enough branding scope as well.

Buyer's Guide for the Best Sugar-Free Protein Powders

Here are some things to keep in mind, so you can choose the sugar-free protein powder that suits your health or fitness goals.

1. Type of Protein

spoonful of protein powder

There are three most common sources of protein powders for vegans and vegetarians.

Pea proteins

Pea proteins are complete (contains all essential amino acids), quickly digested proteins that come from yellow split peas. It's full of crucial branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which stimulate the body to create more protein, thus helping you recover from exercise and gain muscle faster [2].

One study further supports this, saying that pea proteins are just as effective for promoting muscle gains as whey proteins [3].

Studies show that this protein source effectively suppresses appetite and lowers blood pressure [4,5].

Hemp protein

jar of hemp

Hemp contains the complete essential amino acid profile; however, it's low in lysine, so you may need to eat quinoa or legumes to fill the gap.

Organic hemp protein powder is high in fiber and minerals magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc [6].

Hemp seeds further have the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes a healthy heart [7].

Soy protein

While soy protein is vegan, it has fallen out of favor recently because some people develop allergic reactions. But, if you aren't sensitive to soy, it can be an excellent source of vegan protein powder for you because it is one of the few plant sources with complete essential amino acids [8].

It's known to help weight loss, build muscle, and boost energy.

Moreover, soy protein powder contains Omega-3 fatty acids, free from cholesterol, and is low in saturated fat (unhealthy fat).

2. Personal Goals

tape measure on woman's body

Here's how to pick your protein powder that aligns with your personal goals.

Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight, look for protein powders high in protein, high in fiber, and low in sugar.

"Look for protein powders with at least 100-150 calories per serving. Anything lower, and I would question the ingredients and [satiety]. Anything higher, and I would assume there are more fats and carbs than needed in that protein powder."

— Megan Byrd, Registered Dietitian in Oregon

Whey and casein protein are popular sources of protein powder for weight loss. Whey is proven to increase appetite-suppressing hormones GLP-1 and GIP and decrease hunger hormones like ghrelin compared to other protein sources [9].

Casein is absorbed slowly by the body, therefore keeping you fuller for longer [10].

But, if you're vegan, plant protein sources like peas or soy can equally help with weight loss [11,12].

Muscle Building

woman flexing her biceps

Choose a protein powder with high amounts of quality protein in each serving.

Higher protein intake helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis, the process of creating more protein to repair damaged muscle tissues after a strenuous workout.

Also, check if the protein powder is highly digestible because the amount of protein the body can utilize depends on how the body can easily absorb the protein.

Diabetes management

Though artificial sweeteners are considered safe for people with diabetes and may even reduce calorie and carb consumption, you may want to steer clear of protein shakes overloaded with added sugar, such as cane sugar.

Naturally occurring sugars like stevia and monk fruit remain a better option than traditional sweeteners like cane sugar. One study has shown that monk fruit may prevent further diabetic complications [13].

Also, people with diabetes should go for protein powders low in carbs (5-15 grams). Studies show that a carb-restriction diet may help control blood sugar levels and manage Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes [14,15].

Read More: 7 Best Protein Powders for Diabetics

Better Gut Health

Many protein powders with probiotics and high fiber help support healthy digestion. Also, people with sensitive stomachs should opt for nutritional protein powders with no gluten, lactose, and artificial sweeteners. That makes plant proteins a better option for you, mainly because the body can easily digest them.

3. Compare the Dosage

red container of protein powder

Protein needs differ from one person to another, and it also depends on a person's age, fitness level, and goals.

The recommended dietary protein consumption for an average person is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

But, active people or those who want to gain muscle fast may need more.

Some studies show a protein consumption of about 20-40 grams per serving is required for muscle protein synthesis [16].

4. Other Helpful Ingredients

It's a bonus when your protein powder contains other ingredients with extra health benefits, such as more greens, various fruits and vegetables, probiotics, and essential vitamins and minerals. It helps conveniently meet your daily nutrient needs.

Beware of protein powders with stimulants if you're sensitive to ingredients like caffeine. Otherwise, you might end up jittery and sleepless.

Natural Sweeteners in Sugar-Free Protein Powders

In the quest for healthier alternatives to sugar, many protein powder manufacturers have turned to natural sweeteners. Stevia, derived from the leaves of the Stevia plant, offers a calorie-free sweetness many times sweeter than sugar, without the associated blood sugar spikes.

Monk fruit, a small melon native to Southeast Asia, provides a sweetness derived from its natural compounds called mogrosides. Erythritol, a sugar alcohol, is another popular choice, known for its sugar-like taste but with only a fraction of the calories.

While these sweeteners offer a healthier approach to sweetness, it's essential to note that some individuals might experience digestive discomfort from sugar alcohols like erythritol [17].

The Science Behind Sugar and Muscle Growth

Sugar, while a quick energy source, has a complex relationship with muscle growth. Excessive sugar intake can lead to inflammation in the body. This inflammation can impede the muscle recovery process, crucial after strenuous workouts.

When muscles can't recover efficiently, their growth and development can be compromised. Moreover, high sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance, affecting the body's ability to store glycogen, a primary energy source for muscles [18].

Taste Test: Comparing Sugar-Free to Regular Protein Powders

When it comes to taste, there's often a debate between sugar-free and regular protein powders. In a recent taste test, I compared several leading brands of both types.

While traditional protein powders had a familiar sweetness, some sugar-free alternatives came surprisingly close in flavor profile, thanks to natural sweeteners. Stevia-sweetened powders, for instance, had a pleasant, subtle sweetness without the aftertaste some associate with artificial sweeteners.

Monk fruit offered a rounded, fruity sweetness that felt natural. Overall, for those looking to reduce sugar intake without compromising on taste, sugar-free protein powders have made significant strides and come highly recommended.

FAQs

Does Whey Protein Contain Sugar?

Yes, most whey proteins contain sugar. Whey protein has a chalky, bitter taste, so many protein powders have added sugar to make it more palatable. However, some are sugar-free or naturally sweetened, giving them a lightly-sweet taste.

Is Protein Powder Safe for People with Diabetes?

Yes, protein powder is safe for people with diabetes, as long as they are taken in recommended amounts. One study shows that whey protein powder can help manage type 2 diabetes.

Does Stevia Raise Blood Sugar?

Stevia doesn't raise blood sugar. Studies show that its sweetening compounds, diterpene glycosides, cannot be broken down and absorbed by the digestive tract. Therefore, they cannot raise blood sugar levels.

Our Verdict for the Best Sugar-Free Protein Powder

Overall, based on our firsthand experience and extensive testing, our team recommends Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate.

You get good value because the label is entirely transparent, ensuring that you get 28 grams of pure protein with no extra fat, carbs, or additives.

Its delicious natural flavor and essential amino acids will undoubtedly help you enjoy and level up your workout routine.

The best part about Transparent Labs is that they offer bulk pricing, which means that the more you purchase, the more you save. So, click here to save up to $30 on three tubs today.

Our #1 Recommendation

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate (Best Overall)

CTA of Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate (Best Overall)

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Protein per serving
4.5
Taste
5.0
Ingredients
4.5
Price
Pros
  • High protein content per serving
  • Completely clean, high-quality protein
  • Good for lactose-intolerant people
  • Full label transparency
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of May
Cons
  • A bit expensive but can save up for bulk orders
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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Our ingredients score is based on 3 factors including: transparency, blend disclosure, and dosage accuracy. We conduct third-party lab verification of ingredients. The score is an objective measure of the lab test results compared to the product label. For more information see our ingredients score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.