7 Best BCAA Without Sucralose Or Artificial Sweeteners – 2021

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Branched chain amino acid supplements can provide important health benefits to certain groups of people.

Unfortunately, many BCAA products contain artificial sweeteners & that dreaded unknown ingredient, Natural Flavors.

In this article I review several of the best BCAA supplements currently on the market that are without sucralose & other artificial flavor additives.

 

BCAA without artificial sweeteners – my top picks

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

What these Best BCAAs don’t have

To make this Best Artificial-Free BCAA list, all of these BCAA products met the following criteria:

  • no sucralose;
  • no other artificial sweeteners either;
  • no sugar alcohols like xylitol, erythritol, isomalt;
  • no “Natural Flavors”;
  • no sugar;
  • no additional supplements.

 

What’s next

Up ahead I’ll go into a detailed review of each of these Best BCAA products.

First though, let’s take a quick look at a few of the science-backed benefits of BCAAs.

 

test tubes red - heydayDO icon

Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.

 

BCAA benefits

Branched-chain amino acids offer helpful nutritional support that those of us who work out regularly need, whether we get them in the protein-rich food we eat (like meat, chicken, dairy, eggs, beans, etc.) or in supplement form.

Several sports science research studies have been conducted that have demonstrated the following BCAA benefits.

  1. BCAAs help build muscle alongside the EAAs (essential amino acids) by stimulating the process of muscle building known as muscle protein synthesis following resistance training & intense exercise. (1)
  1. BCAAs reduce muscle damage caused by strenuous exercise such as strength training, when taken before, during, or after the workout period. (2)
  1. BCAAs enhance muscle recovery following exercise, as our bodies engage in the process of muscle repair & adaptive growth in response to our workouts. (3)
  1. BCAAs reduce sore muscles following strength training, a condition that’s also known as DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness. (4)

 

Best BCAA without sucralose & other artificial sweeteners

OK, here are the details for the seven cleanest BCAA supplement products I could find on the market at this point in time.

A little reminder about the point I made earlier regarding what these BCAAs don’t have among their ingredients.

These are pure BCAAs, not only free of artificial sweeteners & flavors but also without any other added supplements.

Keepin’ it clean, baby…

 

How they’re ranked

The first five supplements I mention (from Do Vitamins, BulkSupplements, NOW Nutrition, Optimum Nutrition, & Sheer Strength Labs) have all been tested by Labdoor, an independent 3rd party supplement testing company.

Not only that, but those 5 BCAA supplements also all rank in the top 10 in terms of best quality on Labdoor’s BCAA report. (5)

The other two aren’t excluded from Labdoor’s BCAA rankings because there’s anything wrong with them.

They’re not on Labdoor’s report only because Labdoor hasn’t tested them yet.

 

They’re all in gelcap/capsule form

Not a single powder-that-you-drink BCAA product made my list.

There was only one candidate in drinkable powder form that was clean enough to make it, but it had so many customers complaining about its taste, I left it off.

All of the other highly rated BCAAs in powder form have something in them to improve their taste, as you’ll see in the section that follows these reviews.

 

The fact is, BCAAs in their pure form have a taste you’ll NEVER say is one of your favorite things to enjoy.

That’s why the powdered, drinkable forms of BCAAs almost always have some form of flavor additive in them. 

Whether it’s sugar, sugar alcohols, sucralose, “natural flavors” or whatever, manufacturers are trying to mask the gnarly taste of BCAAs when sold in the drinkable powder.

 

Chemical formula of Leucine on a blackboard - heydayDo image

“Leucine In The Chalkboard Without Diamonds”

 

(You can click on them to open their product pages on AMZ in separate tabs.)

Do Vitamins BCAA Capsules

Do Vitamins Branched Chain Amino Acids Capsules, Vegan AjiPure BCAA...
  • BUILD MUSCLE & REDUCE FAT: Our fermented BCAA capsules support lean muscle tissue to help healthy weight loss, resulting in less fat and more muscle!...
  • ENERGY & MUSCLE REPAIR: These capsules are plant based and have a 2:1:1 ratio of AjiPure essential BCAA L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine. They...
  • BCAA CLEAN & COMPATIBLE: We source the cleanest, most studied ingredients and make them into supplements that are gluten-free and certified vegan,...
  • CERTIFIED DRUG-FREE: Certified by the Banned Substance Control Group and tested for accuracy and purity by Labdoor. For every bottle you buy, we...
  • A STEP ABOVE: At Do Vitamins, we take our products and their development extremely seriously. We believe in proactive health and clean, high-quality...

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

What I like:

  • #1 Ranked BCAA product for quality by Labdoor
  • 4.6 ⭐  550+ online reviews
  • Vegan
  • Non-GMO Plant Sourced
  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio**
  • 1.05 grams of leucine per serving

** – See my thoughts on this 2:1:1 ratio near the end of the article if interested.

 

BulkSupplements BCAA (gel caps)

Sale
BulkSupplements.com BCAA 2:1:1 (Branched Chain Amino Acids) Powder -...
  • 🏃 STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE - This BCAA powder has a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are often taken within the fitness...
  • 🩸 SUPPORTS BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS* - BCAAs have been used to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.* Leucine and Isoleucine are thought to help...
  • ⚖️ WEIGHT SUPPORT - Supplements that contain BCAAs are popular with athletes and bodybuilders for their muscle-building benefits.* BCAAs have been...
  • ✔️LIVER SUPPORT - Used to support the liver, BCAAs may help improve or maintain liver reserve functions.*

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

(Note: If you decide to go for these, make sure you pick the “300 Count” size, otherwise you’ll get a bag of just powder.)

What I like:

  • #2 Ranked BCAA product for quality by Labdoor
  • 4.5 ⭐  9,700+ online reviews
  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • .75 grams of leucine per serving

 

Now Sports Nutrition, BCAA Capsules

NOW Sports Nutrition, Branched Chain Amino Acid Powder with Leucine,...
  • Same trusted quality with a brand new look! Packaging may vary
  • PHARMACEUTICAL GRADE: BCAAs are critical for muscle protein synthesis.* Because BCAAs can be used as fuel during exercise, BCAA supplementation can...
  • GREAT FOR SHAKES: Try adding BCAA Powder to your favorite protein powder, meal replacement product, or weight-gainer shake.
  • GMP Quality Assured: NPA A-rated GMP certification means that every aspect of the NOW manufacturing process has been examined, including our...
  • Packaged in the USA by a family owned and operated company since 1968

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Note: These veggie caps go out of stock frequently, even on NOW’s website. Watch out for Amazon re-routing you to a powder version.)

What I like:

  • #3 Ranked BCAA capsules product for quality by Labdoor
  • 4.6 ⭐  300+ online reviews
  • 2.6:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • 1.6 grams of leucine per serving

 

Optimum Nutrition BCAA Capsules

Sale
Optimum Nutrition Instantized BCAA Capsules, Keto Friendly Branched...
  • BCAAs 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, valine
  • RECOVERY take your training efforts to the next level by supporting endurance and recovery
  • ACTIVE LIFESTYLE help your active lifestyle by supplementing with ON BCAA capsules
  • Easy to swallow capsules
  • AVAILABLE IN 60 count, 200 count, 400 count bottles

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

What I like:

  • #5 Ranked BCAA capsule product for quality by Labdoor
  • 4.7 ⭐  9,400+ online reviews
  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • .5 grams of leucine per serving

 

Sheer Strength Labs BCAA Capsules

Sheer Strength Labs BCAA Capsules - Extra Strength 1,950mg Branched...
  • BUILD MUSCLE FASTER: Because BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis, you'll add on muscle more quickly and efficiently, all while reducing muscle fatigue...
  • RECOVER FASTER: BCAAs have been shown to help your muscles recover faster, which means that they rebuild and show results more quickly, AND you won't...
  • MOST POTENT BCAA FORMULA: Not all BCAAs are created equally. Sheer Strength Labs offers a potent formulation of pure BCAAs
  • BURN FAT FASTER - GUARANTEED: Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) help your body burn fat faster while protecting your muscles. That means that your abs...
  • ADD MUSCLE OR YOUR MONEY BACK: True to our pledge of having the best supplements available, you are protected by our 100% Money Back Guarantee. If,...

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

What I like:

  • #4 Ranked BCAA capsules product for quality by Labdoor
  • 4.3 ⭐   1,600+ online reviews
  • 2.3:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • 1.05 grams of leucine per serving

 

Zhou Nutrition Muscle BCAA Capsules

Zhou Muscle BCAA | Branched Chain Amino Acids | Build Muscle, Improve...
  • Never Waste A Workout. BCAAs are vital to muscle protein synthesis, which is your bodys process for building new muscle. Muscle BCAA supplements amino...
  • Go Harder, Longer. Exercising releases serotonin, which can make you feel drowsy during long workouts. BCAAs may help to lower serotonin levels during...
  • Optimal 2:1:1 Ratio. We formulated Muscle BCAA to include the 2:1:1 ratio of essential amino acids: L- leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine. This...
  • What Sets Us Apart? At Zhou, we use only the highest-quality ingredients in a facility following GMP (good manufacturing practices). Plus, we test...
  • During the summer months products may arrive warm but Amazon stores and ships products in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations, when...

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

What I like:

  • 4.5 ⭐ 750+ online reviews
  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • 1.25 grams of leucine per serving

 

Crazy Muscle BCAA Capsules

Crazy Muscle BCAA Pills with The Perfect 2:1:1 Ratio of Branched Chain...
  • PERFECT 2:1:1 BCAA RATIO of l Leucine - l Isoleucine - l Valine increases muscle and immune function
  • GET AMPED IN THE GYM: Boost your pre workout energy and fitness intensity with a dose of 211 aminos
  • RECOVER WAY FASTER: BCAA muscle recovery supplements are essential at minimizing muscle soreness now
  • BUILD MORE MUSCLE MASS: BCAAs max out your protein synthesis to grow bigger, stronger, ripped muscle
  • ULTRA CONVENIENT MESS FREE CAPS: No chalky liquid or carrying around messy recovery drink powder mix

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

What I like:

  • 4.4 ⭐  750+ online reviews
  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • 1.5 grams of leucine per serving

4 more branched-chain amino acids without sucralose

I thought I’d include this section for those of you who’d prefer to drink your BCAAs instead of taking capsules, and are OK with letting a particular flavoring additive slide.

Here are the four best BCAA supplements in powder form I chose after combing through the ingredients & manufacturing methods of dozens of drinkable BCAA products.

Here are a couple of points to consider:

  • None of these have sucralose in them;
  • All of them have something besides BCAAs in them.

 

I provide the non-BCAA ingredients for each of them, so you can see what the manufacturer put in them to try & mask that lovely taste of plain BCAAs or to boost its nutrient profile.

Remember, for the purpose of this article (Cleanest BCAAs) I needed to exclude these from my ‘Best’ list.

However, you may be fine with the additional ingredients in one or more of these BCAA products.

 

And as you’ll see, aside from their flavor additives, these are very well-made BCAA supplements. 

(p.s. They’re not ranked in any particular order.)

 

Truth Nutrition Fermented Vegan BCAA

Truth Nutrition Vegan BCAA Powder- 2:1:1 Ratio All Natural Branched...
  • All natural flavors - The reviews say it all, no sweet, sickening, fake taste. Most BCAA companies mask their gross taste w/sickening amounts of...
  • Power up - Train Longer - Get Stronger – Amino Energy, Strength & Endurance: Promotes enhanced muscular endurance, energy, stamina & recovery. Our...
  • No synthetics, period - proven science meet Mother Nature: most BCAA powders contain synthetic ingredients, duck feathers or human hair. Not here! At...
  • Ideal inducive environment – Promotes lean muscle: Now you can skip the hardest part of building muscle, without packing on extra, unwanted pounds....
  • 'THIS Stuff Just Works’ – Trusted & loved by professional athletes worldwide. Truth Nutrition meticulously and continuously inspects & validates...

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Additional ingredient(s):

Citric acid, Natural Flavor, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, Stevia, Sea Salt, Beet Root Juice Color, Sunflower Lecithin.

 

Features:

  • Vegan
  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • 2.7 grams of leucine per serving

 

ProMix BCAA Powder Amino Acid

BCAA Powder Amino Acid Energy Branched Chain I Vegan Keto Paleo...
  • WILDBERRY MIX: Essential amino acid building blocks delivered in tart workout drinks; crystallized lemon juice and natural berry flavor help the...
  • MORE ENERGY MORE MUSCLE: Supplement your workout routine with a boost of energy, greater endurance, less soreness, and increased muscle strength and...
  • GET LEAN, STAY STRONG: When cutting weight, you don't want to lose muscle too; our formula gives you the best of both worlds with branch chained amino...
  • PROTEIN SYNTHESIS: Stimulate the production of protein and stop the metabolism of hard won muscle mass with essential amino acids: L- Leucine, L-...
  • TOP QUALITY STANDARDS: Count on us for quality; this low-foam, quick mix BCAA drink is completely soy free, gluten free, and non GMO and contains no...

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Additional ingredient(s):

Crystallized Lemon Juice, Non-GMO Cane Sugar, Stevia, Beet Juice & Turmeric for color.

 

Features:

  • Vegan
  • Non-GMO Plant Sourced
  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • 2.5 grams of leucine per serving

 

XTEND Natural Zero BCAA Powder

Sale
XTEND Natural Zero BCAA Powder Blueberry Lemonade | Free of Artificial...
  • XTEND BCAA POWDER FOR MEN & WOMEN - The World's #1 BCAA Brand has been perfecting recovery since 2004 with 7 grams of BCAAs in the nature-designed and...
  • NATURALLY FLAVORED, NATURALLY SWEETENED - Zero sugar, zero calories, and zero carbs in every delicious serving
  • IMPROVE RECOVERY & HYDRATION - Consume a minimum of 14 grams of BCAAs per day - before, during, and after your workout - to stay hydrated and support...
  • TESTED & TRUSTED BY THIRD PARTIES - Proudly NSF Contents Tested & Certified and Informed-Choice Certified symbolizing strict standards in product...
  • DELICIOUS FLAVORS UNLIKE ANYTHING ON THE MARKET - Blueberry Lemonade, Orange Passionfruit, Strawberry Kiwi Splash

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Additional ingredient(s):

Electrolyte Blend: Sodium Citrate, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride; Glutamine, Citrulline Malate, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Stevia leaf extract, Monk Fruit, Tartaric Acid, Spirulina Extract.

 

Features:

  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • 3.5 grams of leucine per serving

 

Thorne Research – BCAA Powder for Sports

Thorne Research - Amino Complex - BCAA Powder for Sports Performance -...
  • Energy/Lean Muscle: Helps provide energy and promote lean muscle mass*
  • Sports: Supports sports- and fitness-related activities*
  • Strength: Provides support for muscle strength in anyone needing additional support*
  • Clinical Research: The active ingredient formula is backed by more than 25 years of scientific and clinical research
  • Free From: Every Thorne product is made with the purest possible ingredients - without gluten or other major allergens (eggs, tree nuts, peanuts)....

Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Additional ingredient(s):

Amino Acid Complex, Citric Acid, Flavors, Stevia, Rebaudioside A, Silicon Dioxide, Vegetable Juice Color.

 

Features:

  • 2:1:1 Leucine-Isoleucine-Valine ratio
  • 1.25 grams of leucine per serving

 

 

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BCAA FAQs

Here are answers to a few of the commonly asked questions regarding Branched Chain Amino Acids.

 

How can I get BCAAs naturally?

Many people ask what can they eat instead of taking a BCAA supplement, so that they can get a good daily dose of branched-chain amino acids naturally.

Here’s a list of foods highest in BCAA content: (6)

  • Whey, milk, and soy proteins;
  • Beef, chicken, fish, and eggs;
  • Lentils & beans;
  • Nuts & seeds;
  • Whole grains.

 

What ingredients should I look for in BCAAs?

Leucine, isoleucine, & valine are the three branched-chain amino acids, and so those are the main ingredients you need to see when comparing BCAA supplements.

Of the three, leucine is usually listed first and many manufacturers put more leucine in their formulas than the other two BCAAs.

(And they’ll tell you so while they’re at it too.)

This is because leucine has been identified in sports science research to be a forerunner of MPS (muscle protein synthesis), which is the process of protein getting our muscles to grow.

 

You may hear how you’re supposed to check the label to confirm that the amount of leucine in the serving size is twice the amount of isoleucine & valine.

This is because that yields the 2:1:1 ratio you will often see when reading supplement companies’ BCAA marketing literature.

 

Actually, there has not been a ton of scientific research done to confirm that the 2:1:1 ratio is even the best one there is (7).

But you’d never know it from reading all the hype on “how ideal” the 2:1:1 ratio is from the supplement manufacturers.

 

On top of that, it’s important to realize that there isn’t substantial evidence to prove that BCAA supplements cause muscle growth.

The actual words from the International Society of Sports Nutrition on this issue are:

“We conclude that the claim that consumption of dietary BCAAs stimulates muscle protein synthesis or produces an anabolic response in human subjects is unwarranted.”

 

Are BCAA’s vegan?

Some BCAAs are vegan, some aren’t.

The BCAA supplements that are vegan or vegetarian-friendly, sourced from plants & non-GMO, will usually have that information prominently displayed on their packaging & marketing material.

 

Is Sucralose bad for you?

Sucralose is synthetically produced from sugar.

So it’s considered an artificial sweetener, and that reason alone is enough of a turnoff for many people, yours truly included.

(I also think it just tastes like it was born in a lab…)

 

But actually, there is no conclusive scientific evidence proving that sucralose poses a serious health risk to humans.

A negatively-slanted meme circulating about sucralose is that it is bad for your digestive system, your gut, &/or your liver.

 

To date, there are no human studies or medical reports anywhere that confirm that is the case.

 

This false rumor likely originated from the research study that used rats & sucralose.

They determined that the rats taking sucralose eventually lost a significant amount of their gut’s beneficial bacteria. (8)

Keep in mind this is only a single small study, and that it happened to rats, not humans.

 

But avoid cooking with it

When used in high temperature cooking, a research study showed that sucralose did break down into byproducts they described as “a potentially toxic class of compounds” that may be linked to an increased risk of cancer. (9)

Many of us avoid it simply because it’s artificial, but the fact that it turns into something nasty at high temperatures is a pretty good reason to avoid it too.

After all, how do we know if the adding of sucralose to sugar-free products wasn’t done at high temperatures?

 

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Wrapping Up

I hope that my article on the best BCAAs without sucralose & other artificial sweeteners is useful to you.

In my quest for clean protein products I’ve researched two other supplement categories & written about them here on heydayDo, in case you’re interested:

Protein Powders Without Artificial Sweeteners – My 8 Best in 2021

Top 24 Protein Bars Without Artificial Sweeteners

 

I wish you well on your fitness journey; let’s go.

– greg

August 2021

 


About heydayDo

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Organic food & wine grower. Surfer. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). Read more…
heydayDo is my “fitness after 50” website that’s about embracing the physically active lifestyle as we get older.
 
I write about the fitness and health research I’ve found concerning the quality of life benefits that exercise and good nutrition provide.
 
When I get curious about something, I’ll dig into whatever sports science & medical facts there are on the topic to learn what’s real & what’s only hype. I also post my experiences product-testing & evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.
 
 It’s an information-sharing, personal opinion blog of mine.
 
So if you’re looking for medical or nutritional advice, please consult with your doctor or health professional for that, since heydayDo does not provide medical advice.