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I’ve been working as both a supplement store manager and personal trainer for a decade and have seen the changes in what consumers are looking for in their protein supplements.
Nowadays, consumers look for protein powders that don’t contain artificial sweeteners or sugar and instead use stevia.
Transparent Labs protein has 93% protein per scoop (the highest percentage of protein we’ve seen), is gluten-free, and mixes easily. The additives are kept to a minimum, using only salt, cocoa, peanut flour, and natural flavor in their eight different flavors.
Summary: Our Top 3 Picks
Medical Disclaimer: The material presented in this article aims to offer informational insights. It should not be perceived as medical guidance. The views and writings are not designed for diagnosing, preventing, or treating health issues. Always consult with your physician prior to starting any new dietary or supplement routine.
Best Protein Powder With Stevia Video Review
Best Stevia Sweetened Protein Powder
- Best Overall: Transparent Labs
- Best Vegan: Vega Sport
- Best for Workout Recovery: Ascent
- Best Value: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Natural
- Best for those with dietary restrictions: Legion Whey+
- Best Slow Release Protein: Transparent Labs Casein
1. Best Overall: Transparent Labs Grass Fed Whey Isolate
- Price: $$$ ($1.75-$2.00 per serving)
- Calories: 120
- Protein Content: 28g (93% calories from protein)
- Fat: 0g
- Carbs: 1g
- Sugar: <1g
- Protein Source: Grass-fed Whey Isolate
- Sweeteners Used: stevia, salt, cocoa, peanut flour, and natural flavors
- Flavors Available: Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon French Toast, Strawberry, Mocha, Vanilla Peanut Butter, French Vanilla, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
Transparent Labs Whey Isolate is made exclusively from grass-fed whey isolate that is free from growth hormones and antibiotics. With 28g of protein and 120 calories per scoop, this protein powder offers 93% protein per scoop, one of the highest percentages we’ve found on the market.
They do this by leaving out high-calorie sweeteners and using exclusively whey isolate which has been filtered and processed to remove virtually all of the carbs and fats.
Aside from the protein powder, the only other ingredients found in Transparent Labs Whey include stevia, salt, and a flavor additive like cocoa, peanut flour, or natural flavor.
This is a good option for post-workout since the isolate digests quickly and will aid in muscle recovery. This product also blends easily and tastes great, making it appealing for anyone looking to increase their overall daily protein intake.
Being made of only fast-digesting protein, this is not a great option for someone looking for a meal replacement or a product to provide satiety.
This product also falls on the more expensive side, between $1.75 and $2.00 per serving, and is therefore not ideal for someone on a strict supplement budget.
Check out my complete review of Transparent Labs Whey Isolate
- Isolate Protein at 93% protein per scoop, offering 28g protein, 0g fat, 2g carbs
- Fast-digesting isolate makes a great post-workout option
- Mixes easily
- Great taste (check out my favorite transparent labs protein flavors)
- No unnecessary fillers or preservatives
- Doesn’t provide a lot of satiety
- Is more expensive than other stevia-sweetened proteins on the market
2. Best Vegan: Vega Sport
- Price: $$$ ($1.98-$3.23 per serving)
- Calories: 170
- Protein Content: 30g (71% calories from protein)
- Fat: 3.5g
- Carbs: 5g
- Sugar: 1g
- Protein Source: Pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, organic sunflower seed protein, alfalfa protein
- Sweeteners Used: Natural flavor, Sea Salt, Stevia Leaf, Cocoa Powder, Apple Powder, Peanut Flour
- Flavors Available: Vanilla, Chocolate, Mocha, Berry, Peanut Butter
Vega Sport is a great protein powder for any vegan athletes or individuals with dairy allergies. At 30g of protein per serving, this product has more protein per scoop than the majority of whey protein powders.
Due to the blend of four different plant-based proteins, Vega Sport has all of your essential amino acids as well as 5g of Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which are beneficial for health as well as workout recovery.
There are no added sugars, so despite being plant-based, this protein has only 4-6g of carbs (depending on the flavor) and has 2-3g of fiber per serving.
The aforementioned combination of a full 30g of plant-based protein as well as a few grams of fiber per serving means this protein will provide more satiety than a traditional whey isolate.
Vegan proteins have a more gritty texture compared to whey and might require a bit more effort to dissolve. They can be shaken in water or milk/milk substitute, blended into a smoothie, or mixed into oatmeal.
- A blend of 4 plant-based proteins offering a complete amino acid profile for health and muscle recovery
- NSF certified meaning it undergoes regular third-party testing and plant inspections
- Non-GMO Project Verified and Gluten Free
- The most expensive protein on this list ($1.98-$3.23 per serving, depending on which size you buy)
- A gritty texture with an earthy aftertaste when compared with whey protein
3. Best For Workout Recovery – Ascent Whey
- Price: $$ ($1.39-$1.66 per serving)
- Calories: 120
- Protein Content: 25g (78-83% calories from protein, depending on flavor)
- Fat: 1g
- Carbs: 4g
- Sugar: 1g
- Protein Source: Whey Isolate Blend (Native Whey Isolate, Whey Isolate), Whey Concentrate
- Sweeteners Used: Cocoa, Natural flavors, Sea Salt, Stevia, Peanuts, Monk Fruit Extract
- Flavors Available: Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies and Cream, Lemon Sorbet, Vanilla Cream, Unflavored
Ascent Whey buys its milk from local dairy farms and then filters the protein in its own facilities. By doing it this way as opposed to outsourcing and importing their ingredients, they maintain control of the product from start to finish.
This results in a product that is produced without fillers and unnecessary ingredients.
Another byproduct of their manufacturing process is that Ascent Whey is naturally high in the amino acid leucine, which plays a large role in muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth) and regulating metabolism.
Ascent Whey is Informed-Sport verified and each batch is tested for quality and purity, making this a safe option for drug-tested athletes. It is also certified gluten-free and acceptable for anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
With the addition of whey concentrate, which digests more slowly than whey isolate, this protein powder will provide better satiety than a pure isolate like Transparent Labs Whey.
Whey concentrate is also less expensive than whey isolate, so this protein comes in at a nicer price point (between $1.39 and $1.66 per serving compared to ~$2.00 per serving).
That being said, whey concentrate has a few more grams of remaining fat and sugar when compared to isolates which have little to none of both.
From individual experience, we found that this protein doesn’t dissolve very well unless a shaker bottle with a whisk ball or a frother is used.
Check out my complete review of Ascent Whey Protein.
- Informed-Sport Verified
- Certified Gluten-Free
- Reasonably Priced
- Digests easily
- Doesn’t dissolve well unless mixed with a shaker bottle or milk frother
4. Best Value: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Natural
- Price: $ ($1.26-$1.66 per serving)
- Calories: 130
- Protein Content: 24g (74% calories from protein)
- Fat: 1.5g
- Carbs: 5g
- Sugar: 2-5g (1-3g added sugar depending on the flavor)
- Protein Source: Grass-fed Whey Isolate
- flavors/Sweetener Used: stevia leaf extract, cocoa powder, cane sugar, natural flavor,
Optimum Nutrition (ON) is one of the most recognizable protein powders on the market. It uses a blend of whey isolate, whey concentrate, and hydrolyzed whey. This blend makes it both affordable and versatile.
The quick-digesting proteins (isolate and hydrolyzed) are great for workout recovery and dissolve easily. The trade-off is that they are more expensive than other types of whey.
Whey concentrate, on the other hand, digests a little more slowly and has a few remaining grams of carbs and fats from the dairy it’s sourced from. This type of whey is generally better for increasing feelings of satiety, and is less expensive than the isolates.
ON Gold Standard Whey is a great option for anyone who is looking for an “any time of day” protein powder that comes at a more reasonable cost per serving.
This is not the ideal option for someone with a dairy allergy, since it will still have lactose remaining.
The flavors do have varying amounts of added sugar (1g in chocolate, 2g in strawberry, 3g in vanilla) which is a drawback for anyone looking to avoid added sugars in their diet.
It’s worth noting that this may be viewed as a benefit if you prefer added sugar (in the form of cane sugar) to artificial sweeteners like sucralose.
Check out my complete review of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard.
- A blend of fast and medium-digesting proteins
- One of the most budget-friendly options
- Versatile as a post-workout or any time-of-day option
- Contains 5.5g of naturally occurring BCAAs for added muscle support and recovery
- Requires a bit more effort to mix it entirely
- May be more reactive to people with lactose sensitivities
- Contains added sugar
5. Best Whey for Those With Dietary Restrictions: Legion Whey+
- Price: $$$ ($2.00 per serving)
- Calories: 120
- Protein Content: 22g (73% calories from protein)
- Fat: 0g
- Carbs: 2-6g (depending on flavor)
- Sugar: 1g
- Protein Source: Whey Isolate made with Truly Grass Fed™ milk
- Flavors/Sweetener Used: Natural flavors, Sea Salt, Stevia, Organic Cinnamon Powder, Agave Inulin, Dextrin, Peanut Flour, Monk Fruit Extract, Cocoa powder, Non-GMO Honey Powder (dependent on flavor)
Legion Whey+ is made up exclusively of whey isolate (fast digesting) protein from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows from Ireland.
Legion has gone above and beyond to get an Animal welfare-approved certification, which speaks to the humane living conditions of their livestock.
They are also third-party tested through LabDoor, a gold standard testing facility to ensure the quality and purity of their products.
One of our favorite features of Legion Whey+ is that they are gluten-free and lactose-free, making it a great option for anyone with dietary restrictions or allergies.
Another impressive feature of Legion Whey+ is its selection of flavors. Most of the naturally-flavored options we have on this list include chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, and/or berry flavors.
Legion has taken it one step further providing flavors like Fruity Cereal, Mocha Cappuccino, Salted Caramel, Honey Cereal, Birthday Cake, and Pumpkin Pie.
Legion Whey+ mixes up easily, but does mix up a bit more on the thin side and doesn’t provide good satiety.
If you are looking for a thicker shake to keep you fuller between meals or to use a meal supplement, then we suggest Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey.
If you don’t have any food allergies or sensitivities and want a higher protein percentage per scoop, then we recommend Transparent Labs Whey Isolate which offers 20% more protein per serving.
Check out my complete review of Legion Whey+.
- Comes in the widest variety of flavors (14 plus an unflavored option)
- Made from dairy from cows who are 95% grass-fed and spend 250 days per year on pasture
- Non-GMO Project Verified and Animal Welfare Approved
- Gluten-Free and Lactose-Free with no negative side effects
- On the more expensive side of the scale
- Has a lower protein percentage per scoop than other protein powders in this price range
6. Best Slow Release: Transparent Labs Casein
- Price: $$$ ($2.00 per serving)
- Calories: 120
- Protein Content: 25g (83% calories from protein)
- Fat: 0.5g
- Carbs: 4g
- Sugar: <3g
- Protein Source: Grass-fed Casein
- flavors/Sweetener Used: Cocoa Powder, natural flavors, Himalayan rock salt, stevia extract
Transparent Labs Casein is a great option if you’re looking for a nighttime protein to fuel muscle recovery or are looking for a product that mixes up thicker and promotes satiety.
When compared to whey, which digests at a rate of around 10g per hour, casein protein digests at a rate closer to 6-8g per hour. Therefore a protein like Transparent Labs which has 25g of protein per serving will take 3 to 4 hours to be digested.
There are not many options for protein powders that are both slow digesting and sweetened with stevia, but Transparent Labs Casein goes the extra mile of having no artificial coloring or preservatives.
All Transparent Labs products are also third-party tested, with the Certificates of Analysis available on the website for anyone to see.
Casein does contain lactose, but naturally has less lactose than whey. That being said, casein tends to be more reactive for individuals with a milk allergy (different from a lactose intolerance).
If you suspect you have a lactose or dairy sensitivity, then we recommend trying the Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Isolate or a vegan option instead.
- Slow digesting, good for use as a nighttime protein or for increased satiety
- Mixes up thick and creamy
- Provides Certificate of Analysis from third-party testing facility to ensure the quality and purity of ingredients
- Tougher to mix completely and will require a shaker cup or blender to dissolve completely
- Is more likely to cause negative gastrointestinal side effects in individuals with lactose and/or milk allergies.
Key Criteria: How To Choose The Best Stevia flavored Protein
Sweetener and Flavoring Used
- We’ve created a comprehensive list of the different types of flavoring and sweeteners used in each of the proteins to help you identify which ones use more food-based flavoring (like peanut flour or apple powder), and which rely more on chemically processed flavoring (sometimes noted as “natural flavoring” on packages).
- Why you should care: Because companies aren’t required to disclose what goes into “natural flavoring”, you may choose to stick to a product with a more disclosed ingredient label. On the other hand, if a great-tasting product is really important to you, then you may opt for one that uses “natural flavoring” and has a wider variety of flavor options.
- We try to select a variety of low ($), medium ($$), and high ($$$) price points. When it comes to stevia-flavored proteins, it’s worth noting that the average cost is slightly higher than artificially sweetened proteins (due to them typically containing less processed and more expensive ingredients).
- Why you should care: While it’s mostly true that you get what you pay for, there is an overwhelming selection of protein powders out there, and we want to find you options that provide both great quality and great value.
- We’ve evaluated our proteins based on what type(s) of protein they use, what kind of extra flavoring is added, and whether the company has added extra ingredients like preservatives or filler amino acids.
- Why you should care: Sometimes companies will add exorbitant amounts of “extras” simply to improve the shelf life or mouth feel of a product (like multiple lecithins and gums). Other times they will add extra ingredients to improve health and workout recovery (like probiotics, digestive enzymes, or beetroot powder). Our Effective Ingredients rating is how well a company has kept down the unnecessary ingredients while keeping high-quality ingredients as the main focus.
- In this case, we’ve evaluated the proteins based on overall taste and the different flavor options available. We test our proteins mixed not just with water, but mixed with milk or added to smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt.
- Why you should care: It is impossible to find a protein powder that is unanimously liked, and everyone’s palate is different. We give you our feedback in as many different conditions as possible to give you the best idea we can about what the taste experience is like before you buy it.
Protein Percent of Calories
- To establish the protein percent of calories, we take the total grams of protein and multiply it by 4 (protein is 4 calories per gram). We then divide that number by the total calories in the product. This tells us the percentage of calories we get from just the protein.
- Why you should care: We classify our proteins into one of four categories: Great (>85% protein), Good (75-84% protein), Reasonable (65-74% protein), and Unacceptable (<65% protein). If you are looking to invest in a protein powder, then it’s important to establish how much of your money is going towards actual protein to make sure you are making a good investment.
- For mixability, we look at how well a product dissolves with minimal effort in a traditional shaker cup, and whether it leaves a chalky residue or has leftover chunks
- Why you should care: If you are choosing a protein powder based on convenience (for instance, to have right after the gym), or don’t have access to blenders or frothers, then you might want to choose a protein powder with a high mixability rating
- Satiety is the measure of how filling a protein powder is, and how long it keeps you feeling satisfied
- Why you should care: It depends on why you are looking to add a protein shake to your day. If you want an option for post-workout recovery, or you are trying to gain weight then you might prefer an isolate that is faster digesting and won’t spoil other meals. If you are trying to lose body fat and want something to keep you satisfied for longer periods of time, then you might opt instead for a whey concentrate or casein.
Related Article: Whey Protein With Creatine
Is Stevia The Best Type of Sweetener For Protein Powder?
Benefits of Taking Protein Powder With Stevia
- Proteins that are sweetened with stevia also typically contain more natural ingredients in general (like grass-fed whey or plant-based proteins)
- Products sweetened with stevia tend to minimize unnecessary additives like extra gums, fillers, and preservatives
- Since stevia is 200-400 times sweeter than table sugar, companies can achieve a sweet, great tasting protein while keeping overall sugar and calorie content low.
Cons of Taking Protein Powder With Stevia
- Some people notice a distinctive taste with stevia that is off-putting (similar to how cilantro tastes great to some people, and terrible to others).
- Potential bloating or nausea from stevia
- Anecdotally, I have heard many customers complain about headaches or migraines brought on by stevia. I have not been able to find peer-reviewed research to substantiate those claims, but that doesn’t mean these individuals’ experiences aren’t real.
A Quick Breakdown of Nutritive and Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
Our Testing Methodology Explained
Our team works hard to evaluate proteins based on several factors including their ingredients, the integrity of the company, and sifting through online reviews from consumer experience.
I am proud to say that for this article, our team has personal experience with each product or brand.
It is important to us to maintain our integrity and be as honest as possible about which products we’ve tried personally, and which ones we’ve received feedback on from friends, customers, and the online community.
You can find the full, in-depth reviews of the following products already at Feastgood.com:
I have personally used Vega Sport intermittently in my own supplement regime for years since I have a dairy sensitivity and need to be mindful of the amount of whey I consume.
I have also managed a supplement store for over a decade and Vega Sport has been one of the top sellers in the vegan protein category since I started.
With regards to the Transparent Labs Casein, we have tried and trusted many of the Transparent Labs products, like the grass-fed whey isolate.
Because all Transparent Labs products are third-party tested and provide the testing certificates online for anyone to see, we have grown to trust their product line and feel confident recommending it.
When we test the products, we try them under a variety of conditions such as fasted, post-workout, in between meals, or as part of meals. We will also try them on their own mixed with water/milk/coffee, in smoothies, or added to yogurt, oatmeal, or other recipes.
This allows us to give you as much detail as possible to help you make an informed choice.
All of our proteins are measured on a set of criteria. Some criteria, such as price, taste, mixability, and protein percentage of calories stay consistent across all of our reviews since they all directly impact the user experience.
Other criteria are added or removed, based on what we are evaluating. For this review specifically, we have added criteria surrounding which types of sweeteners and flavor additives are used.
Smith, R. L., Cohen, S. M., Fukushima, S., Gooderham, N. J., Hecht, S. S., Guengerich, F. P., Rietjens, I. M. C. M., Bastaki, M., Harman, C. L., McGowen, M. M., & Taylor, S. V. (2018). The safety evaluation of food flavouring substances: the role of metabolic studies. Toxicology research, 7(4), 618–646. https://doi.org/10.1039/c7tx00254h
Pedroso, J. A., Zampieri, T. T., & Donato, J., Jr (2015). Reviewing the Effects of L-Leucine Supplementation in the Regulation of Food Intake, Energy Balance, and Glucose Homeostasis. Nutrients, 7(5), 3914–3937. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7053914
About The Author
Jennifer Vibert is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Nutrition Coach, and supplement store manager. She has a Bachelor of Kinesiology with a major in Fitness and Lifestyle and a minor in Psychology from the University of Regina. She is a Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition, with a passion for helping clients learn the fundamentals of nutrition and supplementation in order to build healthy, sustainable habits.
Why Trust Our Content
On Staff at FeastGood.com, we have Registered Dietitians, coaches with PhDs in Human Nutrition, and internationally ranked athletes who contribute to our editorial process. This includes research, writing, editing, fact-checking, and product testing/reviews. At a bare minimum, all authors must be certified nutrition coaches by either the National Academy of Sports Medicine, International Sport Sciences Association, or Precision Nutrition. Learn more about our team here.
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