Protein Bar Review: Part I – What comes to mind more than protein when you think about building muscle? You can get protein everywhere! Your whole foods, Shakeology, whey shakes, Arctic Zero ice cream, Monster Energy drinks (crazy right?), and one of my favorites = PROTEIN BARS.
Protein bars are a great way to add some extra protein to your day. Yes, they are processed and packaged, so they aren’t as ideal as whole food sources. I get that. If you feel the need to condemn me for consuming these processed bars then flame away … I can take it! LOL!
Now back to the topic. There are tons of protein bar options out there. I got a huge order of what I consider the most popular brands on the market to do this review. This in no way is an exhaustive list. These are just some popular options that you should be able to find locally and can always order online (like I did with Amazon). Beachbody even carries their own protein bar (more on that in part II).
Everyone’s goals and ideals are little bit different. So I’m not here to argue for one protein bar over another. You may find one protein bar to be superior to another based on its ingredients or its nutritional facts. You may even say that one protein bar is completely unacceptable because it uses a certain ingredient (EX: artificial sweeteners, soy isolates, etc.). This post is just to present you with the nutritional facts and my opinion on some of these popular brands.
At the bottom of this post, there is an Excel document that lists all the nutritional breakdowns, protein to fat and protein to carb ratios, my opinions, and costs. I will reference these throughout the post, so make sure to check out that document.
I decided to break protein bars down into groups based on their nutritional impact. There are quite a few protein bars that would be difficult to fit into your macros if you’re running Fat Shredder and on a deficit. This will be a multi-part article, so if you have some more calories to play with in your nutritional plan just wait. Let’s take a look!
At 180 calories, they pack 20 g of protein with only 4.5 g of fat. That gives it the best protein to fat (P/F) ratio of any bar. They only have 2 g of sugar and 17 g of carbs overall. Finally, their normal price is just over $1 a bar. For Fat Shredder plans, these work great! There are also a few new varieties that are gluten-free. Check the boxes and labels.
Supreme Protein bars come in two sizes, I tested the smaller size. The larger size bars often have close to 400 calories and would be a great way to cover an entire meal if you have those calories and your budgets.
At 190 calories, the Supreme Protein bars have 15 g of protein, 13 g of carbs, and 9 g of fat. These bars will definitely have a bigger impact on your fat budgets. They have one of the lowest protein to fat ratios. They are pretty tasty but they do come with a steeper price tag of around $1.42 a bar. So all in all you’ll be paying more to get less protein, more sugar, and more fat.
The Chocolate Brownie Quest Protein Bar came in at 170 calories with 20 g of protein. There are 6 g of fat and 24 g carbs. Even though the P/C ratio is the lowest for this bar, the carbs are almost all fiber. That is a really cool thing to find a protein bar packed with 19 g of fiber! That will really help you reach your fiber goal and is great for keeping you fuller, longer. This bar was gluten-free and did use artificial sweeteners (not all Quest Bars use artificial sweeteners – check their other varieties). The only downside to the Quest Bar was its price. These come in on average just over $2 a bar. Throw these in the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds and you’ve got a great warm snack!
*** Quest Bars use NET carbs to calculate their total calories. This will give them an artificially low calorie total (in my opinion). While insoluble fiber will not add calories, soluble fiber is usually around 3 cal per gram. I don’t know if the fiber used in Quest Protein Bars is soluble or insoluble, so I would just play it safe and calculate the total calories with the fiber counted as carbohydrate. That brings the chocolate brownie bar to just over 250 calories. Thanks to Matt Mann for catching this and pointing it out. The teamRIPPED nation can’t be fooled!
All of these bars are good Fat Shredder options because of their good macronutrient profiles (lots of protein and not a lot of carbs, sugar, and fat). You will have to decide what works best for you. Below is a little table comparing the three. Important points for me while looking for a Fat Shredder Protein Bar is the overall calories, P/F and P/C Ratios, and I always consider its cost. Coming TOMORROW will be Part II: Maintenance and Beyond Protein Bars. Higher calorie options (and a couple odd balls). Bring it teamRIPPED!
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@CoachV Thanks Vivek! And thanks for the help earlier ;)
My new absolute favorite is the Pure Protein Dark Chocolate Coconut bars. They kinda taste like brownies and mounds bar combined. Yummo! http://www.pureprotein.com/products/dark-chocolate-coconut-50-g/
Coach, you may want to revise the section about Quest Bars to talk about the new type of fiber they use. They have switched to using soluble corn fiber and the taste of the bars has changed, and in my opinion not for the better.
@MattMann Very interesting. I thought something had changed. It will also change some of the net carbs. As soluble has some calories. Thanks for the info!
Still use the Pure Protein Bars. To me, the PB Chocolate tastes very close to a Snickers bar minus the nuts. I actually have one for my afternoon snack today! :-)
@Aaron Williams They are nice and easy on the macros! My kids love the S'mores ones.
@Aaron Williams The Salted Caramel ones are my favorite. Almost feel guilty eating them! :)
Just wanted to add that my local Smoothie King doesn't even carry Quest bars but my local Complete Nutrition store sells them for $2.00 a bar everyday. I went by today and picked up four boxes.
Im a little confused with the My fitness Pal app when it comes to counting carbs with Quest Bars. To get the net Carbohydrates that the body is actually absorbing you would subratct the fiber. This leaves Quest bars with about 4 grams of Carbs. Which is awesome to use especially on the Fat shredder plan Im currently on. However, with My fitness Pal it seems to add only the Total Carbs and that throws off my 50/30/20 split I am aiming for.
Can you shed some light on this??
Tx in advance.
Wow I picked up some Pure Protein Choc Deluxe bars and I see what I've been missing! Wasn't expecting the taste to be so great!
Pure Protein Bars are hard to beat, but I've recently been trying some new bars by Think Thin (Brownie Crunch & Peanut Butter) that are very tasty. They're gluten free and sugar free. The only downside is that they are 240 calories per bar.
finally managed to get hold of some pure protein bars this week. unfortunately i couldnt have them as they had hydrolysed gelatine which i cannot eat.
Anyway, it looks like most protein bars are not suitable for vegetarians.
I decided to make my own bars. I highly recommend that you check out this site: www.proteinpow.com
She has some amazing recipes using just protein powders.
Not sure how the QuestBars have the same amount of protein as the Pure Protein bars, but more carbs and more fat...but less calories? I'll stick with my chocolate deluxe Pure Protein bars just in case. They're good anyway.
I love Pure Protein bars, bought in a package of 18 total bars from Costco (come with 3 flavors, 6 bars/flavor)...my wife loves Pure Protein Revolution Chocolate, Peanut Caramel, which to her taste better than the regular pure protein from Costco...BTW, costco don't sell the Revolution kind..
pure protein bars have worked for me, for a long long time.
i would say if you're on a really tight budget to try and find Life choice protein bars in the middle of the walmart cereal bar aisle. typically around the "protein bars" on that aisle. they're pretty cheap.
@coachwayne, this is getting really spooky now, u are so on point with my current thoughts, I use bars but recently decided the brand I use dent my macros budget hence I was going to compile a comparison chart at the earliest opportunity. I'm still running FS 1900 and need bars whilst at work so needed to source an alternative. Pure Protein is available from my supplier albeit expensive. What's ur take on bars which contain "Fat burning" ingredients like Green Tea, L-Carnitine, Bitter Orange e.g. ? Keep up the good work.
Helpful article indeed. On a somewhat different note, have you experimented with the 25 gram protein shot called Proasis. It comes in a tube like container costing $2.99 a bottle. Coach, if you've had any experiences with this stuff, I'd be curious to hear from ya. Thanks, John E. Murph (Isa4110)
I bought a couple of pure protein bars today and a tub of purer option frosty chocolate powder at Wally World. I love the bars. Too many of them don't settle we'll though.
Pure protein just came out with 2 new flavors in a soft baked bar...double chocolate vanilla crunch and double chocolate pb crunch. Both are incredibble tasting but have only 17 g protein and 8g fat
I'm still torn between Pure Protein and Quest bars so I just buy both and use them equally so the average price meets in the middle lol. The quest bars' ingredients list is like 20 items shorter than Pure Protein and have the natural sweetened bar which is nice, but the price tag is steep and I didn't like how they are misleading with calories. But both Pure and Quest are my favs, good article Coach!
Quest Bars do advertise net carbs on the front of the package on some of the bars but I would think that the nutrition label would be accurate. For example in the Chocolate Brownie flavor the label shows 24 grams of carbs with 18 grams of fiber representing 6 net carbs or what they actually call active carbs. I would think that is a true representation of whats in the bar and that they are in fact 170 calories.....unless I am missing something? Additionally their carbs are derived from nuts rather than sugar. I love Quest bars because in terms of health they have like 5 or 6 ingredients in them rather than a bunch of things you can't pronounce. Some of them such as the Cinnamon Roll which is fantastic by the way use stevia rather than Sucralose. As far as the cost.....I know a lot of Smoothie King's stock a lot of different flavors of them if you have those franchises in your area. Not sure if it applies to all but Smoothie King in our area here sells all bars for a dollar each on Tuesdays. To me thats a steal on Quest Bar's cause even online I have not seen much price lower than around 2.00 per bar.
Coach one thing to note about the Quest bars is that the calories listed are not accurate. They use Net Carbs. Each bar is actually about 40-50 calories higher than on the label.
Hey coach. Am I correct in that the grams of fiber and the grams of sugar alcohols should not be used in calculating the total carbohydrates taken in for the day. What I am asking is should I record the total carbohydrates listed in the bar or just the "net" carbohydrates? Btw try other flavors of quest. Apple pie and mixed berry are great!