Do Protein Powders have a lot of sugar in them? Protein powders. You know the stuff we take after a workout at the gym or when you are just looking to get some more protein into your system. For some of us, Protein Powder drinks are a daily ritual. Easy to blend and mix with mix or other non-dairy alternatives to make a super high-protein drink. Now, we all know that these powders are high in protein (the clue is in the name) but are protein powders also high in sugar?
I have already looked at how much sugar is in ready-to-drink protein drinks, which you can read here – Is There A Lot of Sugar in Protein Drinks? But how much sugar is in a serving of the powdered protein variety?
In order to answer this question, I randomly selected 13 protein powders and looked at the total and added sugar content per serving. I then put these protein powders in descending order of sugar content. This means make sure to read right to the end to find out about 0g of sugar per serving of protein powders available. There are some clear trends to be seen!
So, let’s dig in – do protein powders have a lot of sugar?
Do Protein Powders Have A Lot of Sugar?
As a general rule, there tends to be 1g-4g of total sugar in a serving of whey protein powder, even though they tend to be sweetened with sweeteners rather than sugar. This is due to the naturally occurring sugar in whey. Vegan protein powders, in comparison, tend to be lower in sugar, due to them not containing whey. Vegan protein powder can contain as little as 0g of total sugar per serving.
Before continuing, if you are interested in learning about the best sugar-free milks to blend your protein powder with make sure to check out the following post I wrote – Which Milk Has The Least Amount of Sugar?
1. GHOST WHEY Protein Powder, Chips Ahoy! – 4g of Total Sugar
The highest sugar protein powder I came across in this experiment is Ghost whey protein powder. That said, it still only contains 4g of sugar in a serving. Only 2g of which are added. Off the bat, I can tell you this is a fair bit less than a lot of ready-to-drink protein shakes. You can read more about it here in the following post I wrote – Is There A Lot of Sugar in Protein Drinks?
The sweeteners used in this protein powder are sugar, molasses, and high fructose corn syrup as well as sucralose.
2. Animal 100% Whey Protein Powder – 3g of Total Sugar
Next up is Animal 100% whey protein powder which contains 3g of total sugar per serving. What is interesting is that Animal whey protein powder is actually sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium and so just 1g of the sugar is added. The remaining sugar must come from the whey.
3. Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Powder Supplement – 3g of Total Sugar
It is exactly the same sugar situation with Muscle Milk Pro Series Protein Powder, which is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium and contains 3g of total sugar per serving, 1g of which is added.
4. Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate – 3g of Total Sugar
Nutricost whey protein is also sweetened with sucralose, and it actually contains 0g of added sugar even though there are 3g of total sugar per serving. Again, this just shows that whey protein itself contains naturally occurring sugar.
5. KOS Vegan Protein Powder – 2g of Total Sugar
Next is a vegan protein powder from KOS. As you will discover later, vegan protein powder tends to have a lower total sugar content than whey-based protein powders. This is because whey is a milk derivative and contains natural sugars. However, that said KOS was actually the only vegan protein powder I came across in my experiment which didn’t have a total sugar content per serving of 0g.
KOS vegan protein powder contains 2g of total sugar per serving, of which 2g are added. KOS protein powder is sweetened with organic stevia, organic monk fruit, and organic coconut sugar – the added sugar is from the coconut.
6. Pure Protein Whey Powder – 2g of Total Sugar
Pure Protein’s whey powder is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium – I am definitely noticing a trend here for sucralose and acesulfame potassium being the two most popular sweeteners for protein powders. The total sugar content per serving is 2g of sugar, 0g of which is added sugar.
7. Premier Protein Powder – 1g of Total Sugar
Okay, so next up are the three lowest sugar whey powdered proteins I personally found in this experiment. They all contain 1g of total sugar, of which 0g is added sugar. The first of these lowest sugar whey proteins is Premier Protein Powder which is sweetened with acesulfame potassium and sucralose, and the vanilla can be found on Amazon here.
8. Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder – 1g of Total Sugar
One of the other lowest sugar whey proteins I came across is Dymatize protein powder which also contains 1g of total sugar, of which 0g are added. The sweeteners used are sucralose and stevia, and Dymatize fruit pebbles protein powder can be found on Amazon here.
9. Labrada Hydro 100% Pure Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate Powder – 1g of Total Sugar
The other lowest-sugar whey protein powder I came across is Labrada. The sweeteners used in this protein powder are sucralose and acesulfame potassium, and the chocolate flavor can be found on Amazon here.
The Lowest Sugar Protein Powders
As you are about to discover, if you are looking for a completely sugar-free protein powder (i.e., 0g of total sugar per serving) then your best bet is vegan protein powder. This is because vegan protein powders do not contain whey which contains naturally occurring sugar. Instead, vegan protein powders get their protein from plant-based sources such as, but not limited to, pea, rice, and chia.
I will now present you with 4 protein powders that contain 0g of total sugar per serving and yes, they are all vegan.
10. Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder – 0g of Total Sugar
First up is Orgain vegan protein powder. This protein powder contains a whopping 21g of protein per serving yet 0g of total sugar. This is because this protein powder is sweetened with erythritol and Reb A (a stevia extract).
You can find the vanilla flavor of Orgain vegan protein powder on Amazon here.
If you are interested, I have also talked about the sugar content of Orgain’s ready-to-drink shakes in the following post I researched and wrote – Is There A Lot of Sugar in Protein Drinks?
11. Garden of Life Organic Vegan Protein Powder – 0g of Total Sugar
Another sugar-free protein powder is from Garden of Life. This protein powder is also sweetened with erythritol and stevia, and of course, contains 0g of total sugar per serving. The vanilla flavor can be found on Amazon here.
12. Premier Protein Powder Plant Protein – 0g of Total Sugar
I talked about Premium Protein’s whey protein powder above which is actually low in total sugar for a whey protein powder at 1g of total sugar per serving. Well, Premier Protein’s vegan powder is even lower in sugar at 0g of total sugar. This is because it is sweetened with sucralose. This vegan protein powder also contains a whopping 25g of protein per serving.
You can find the chocolate flavor of Premier Protein vegan powder on Amazon here.
13. Sunwarrior Vegan Organic Protein Powder – 0g of Total Sugar
The final protein powder on this list is another 0g of sugar vegan protein powder, this time from Sunwarrior. What I love most about Sunwarrior vegan protein powder is that it is just sweetened with one sweetener and that sweetener is stevia. In fact, Sunwarrior is my personal number 1 choice of a low-sugar protein powder.
If you want to treat yourself to the chocolate flavor, you can find it on Amazon here.
Sugar In Protein Powder F&Q
Which Whey Protein Contains The Least Sugar?
The following whey proteins only contain 1g of total sugar per serving:
- Premier Whey Protein Powder
- Dymatize Whey Protein Powder
- Labrada Whey Protein Powder-
Is 5g of Sugar A Lot In Protein Powder?
Based on my research, 5g of sugar in a serving of protein powder is a higher sugar content.
Do Protein Powders Have A Lot Of Sugar? – The Final Bite
Do Protein Powders have a lot of sugar? What have we learned from the above? Well, when it comes to protein powder there are a few things you want to know. Firstly, protein powders do not tend to be high in sugar. One of the highest sugar contents I found was 4g of total sugar per serving. There are, also, plenty of zero-sugar protein powders available. Secondly, vegan protein powders (i.e., those without whey in them) tend to be lower in sugar than whey versions. The lowest-sugar whey protein powder on my list had 1g of sugar per serving. Whereas most of the vegan entries were all sugar-free. Also, remember that what you add to your protein powder to drink can impact the sugar content. That means if you are watching your sugar intake you will also want to make sure the liquid you use for your protein powder drink is as low in sugar as possible or sugar-free.
There are plenty of articles on Low Sugar Snax covering the sugar content of dairy and non-dairy kinds of milk to help you select the best mixer for your protein powder. You can find some of these below:
- Which Milk Has the Least Amount of Sugar?
- Which Lactose-Free Milk Contains the Least Sugar?
- Which Alternative Milks Contain No Sugar (0g)?
Ingredients and/or manufacturing processes may change. Always double-check ingredient lists and nutritional information before purchasing any food items.
WANT TO FIND MORE LOW SUGAR OPTIONS?
Do you want to learn about some other low-sugar options at your favorite coffee chains, fast food, or restaurant joints, or just while you are shopping for groceries? If you do, then check out some of my other articles below: