I was interested to see how much people cared about “natural” vs. Synthetic sweeteners in their protein powders, so I put a poll up on a handful of representative forums.
The forums below range from mostly young men (e.g., Muscular Development) to mostly young women (e.g., Oxygen) and the results are fairly consistent.
If you combine the answers from question 2 and 3 (which are in essence the same question in terms of purchase decisions) you get a clear picture; the majority of people in this demographic cares much more about taste and cost ( though cost was not in the poll that was a common response on the forums themselves…) then “natural” vs. synthetics.
The poll question I asked were:
• I strictly use products with natural sweeteners/flavors
• I prefer natural to synthetic, but it’s not a deal breaker
• I don’t pay attention to how they do it, as long as it tastes good!
• I prefer protein powders with no flavors of any kind/flavor myself
Results from my BodyBuilding Revealed Forums:
I strictly use products with natural sweeteners/flavors 20.59%
I prefer natural to synthetic, but it’s not a deal breaker 50.00%
I don’t pay attention to how they do it, as long as it tastes good! 14.71%
I prefer protein powders with no flavors of any kind/flavor myself 14.71%
Results from Muscular Development Forums:
I strictly use products with natural sweeteners/flavors 8.82%
I prefer natural to synthetic, but it’s not a deal breaker 29.41%
I don’t pay attention to how they do it, as long as it tastes good! 58.82%
I prefer protein powders with no flavors of any kind/flavor myself 2.94%
Iron Magazine forums:
I strictly use products with natural sweeteners/flavors 36.36%
I prefer natural to synthetic, but it’s not a deal breaker 18.18%
I don’t pay attention to how they do it, as long as it tastes good! 45.45%
I prefer protein powders with no flavors of any kind/flavor myself 0
Siouxcountry.com
I strictly use products with natural sweeteners/flavors 5.41%
I prefer natural to synthetic, but it’s not a deal breaker 43.24%
I don’t pay attention to how they do it, as long as it tastes good! 45.95%
I prefer protein powders with no flavors of any kind/flavor myself 5.41%
Oxygen Magazine Forums:
I strictly use products with natural sweeteners/flavors 32.26%
I prefer natural to synthetic, but it’s not a deal breaker 29.03%
I don’t pay attention to how they do it, as long as it tastes good! 32.26%
I prefer protein powders with no flavors of any kind/flavor myself 6.45%
Sample sizes were not huge, but pretty consistent….

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7 Comments
  1. Michael McCarthy 10 years ago

    I like the question that you asked, “I was interested to see how much people cared about “natural” vs. Synthetic sweeteners in their protein powders, so I put a poll up on a handful of representative forums.” We are finding that the majority of people do prefer to have any natural ingredient instead of a synthetic one. Our sugar alternative “Susta” is a new natural alternative and had probiotics in it, so it improves your health. Keep up the good work here on your blog and we are now following you on twitter.

  2. Jason 10 years ago

    I’m not sure if you’ve written on this before, and it probably would open a can of worms, but I would like to get your take on what you think the safest sweetner is. After my own research, I’ve decided it probably comes down to Stevia and Saccharin. Stevia is natural, but it hasn’t been studied extensively in human populations with heavy doseage. Only anecdotal evidence of “it’s been used for thousands of years with no problems by indigenous peoples”. But then, how much were they consuming? The amount that an American would consume in 3 colas flavored with it? I say Saccharin because it has been studied and has been used heavily by populations for fifty years with little complaints or side effects. As for sucralose (gut health problems) and aspartame (neurotoxin), I try and stay away from them (especially the aspartame).

  3. Author
    Will Brink 10 years ago

    Jason, hard to really answer in a blog post what’s the safest. There is nothing inherently unsafe about sugar for example, but as you know well, it adds calories and in large amounts, will make you fat and so on. Splenda appears to be very safe, and the tox data finds no ill effects at doses anywhere near what a person could consume, regardless of what some may claim.
    The real issue is, sweeteners of ANY kind simply keep people used to sweet foods and drinks, vs. learning to live without sweeteners.

  4. Aymen 10 years ago

    hey Will great post thanks.
    i think many people don’t even think about this when they buy supplements. price is probably the most important factor.

  5. Big Pecs 10 years ago

    Great Blog and very informative! Regarding supplements, after years of trial and error, and lots of $s spent, I now go with only three – (1) MuscleTech Anator, (2) any decent protein supplement (I change it up) and (3) Acai Fire for Men. Protein Supps of course everybody knows about. Anator I found to be VERY beneficial after training for mass/muscle recovery; this can be found at all the ususal sources. Acai Fire is less known and my latest addition, and has been KEY in my view for enabling concurrent mass retention and fat loss. You can’t find Acai Fire in stores but you can get a free trial by going to my URL. Highly recommend this combo and best of luck!

  6. Janet 10 years ago

    I’m happy to see someone writing about “SUSTA” I love the Healthy Dairy Smoothie that uses it for its sweetner. I personally love the Tropical Fruit flavor. I like how I feel after drinking it. It tastes great, I have it for a meal replacement usually lunch but lots of time on my drive into work when I’m running late.
    I have not seen the SUSTA in the stores to purchase?? I will have to look for that. Is it avail yet? and where?
    As for the use of Saccharin, I have heard that it is not good for you and that over the years the chemical’s used to make it could possibly be linked to many of todays “new” illnesses. I have tried the STEVIA and just plain YUK!!

  7. Matt 7 years ago

    I know that this discussion is ancient, and that it’s discussing preference and not specifically medical pros and cons, but I’ve been mining old articles looking for the Brinkzone take on the claims some writers make about the supposed dangers of artificial sweeteners [particularly aspartame and sucralose, though I’d be curious about nutritive dextrose (sweet’n’low) as well]. Some of them come across like manifestly alarmist quacks, but I’d like to read more on your views. I subscribe to a lot of skeptic sites like sciencebasedmedicine, quackwatch, The New England Skeptical Society, skeptoid, and the Skeptics guide to the universe, and they all seem to converge on the conclusion that the case against aspartame and splenda is actually pretty weak.
    I know about Mercola. Lol. I got sucked into reading one of his tirades. Just the fact that he prefaced his article with several paragraphs of disclaimer about the profits driving the research that might refute him (also known as the “special pleading” fallacy) was a red flag. Basically that says to me that his prepping me for the possibility that I might be unimpressed by his data supporting his claims, and thus he wants special treatment. It’s like saying “I would have more compelling evidence but the men in black would just have came and took it anyway so you should believe me with a more lax standard of credulity than you would them because I’m on your side”.. I didn’t fact check every single reference because it was long, but the ones I did check the peer reviews pointed out methodological weaknesses. Sorry about the Mercola tangent. That went on longer than I’d intended. Lol. Thoughts?

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