Top Protein Bar Breakdown
Everyone has different taste buds/preferences - we recommend you try a few, and recognize they won’t taste like candy bars :) We always want to get our fuel from real food, however protein bars are a great alternative for when you are on the go and need a high protein snack!
Good bars have a calorie range of 150 to 250 calories -- the sweet spot for a snack. While they are processed you want to aim for bars with real ingredients like nuts, seeds, whole grains and fruits. Avoid bars that have a laundry list of ingredients, which signals a highly processed food.
Ideally any ‘protein’ bar should contain 10g+ protein and be made mostly of real food. Check nutrition facts for sugar content as some will pack more than 10g sugar. It is also important to know what the protein source is - especially if you have any GI issues or sensitivities. Most protein bars are made from whey, whey isolate, or if it is plant-based it may be made of pea or brown rice protein and some of them contain soy.
Our Top Ranked Bars!
22 Days Nutrition Plant Based Protein Bar
1 BAR (47 G): 170 calories, 4.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (9 g fiber, 5g sugar), 15 g protein
Pro - Vegan, plant based, non-dairy protein. No sugar alcohols. Low sodium.Con - These are about the cleanest bars you can get, made with great ingredients! They are sweetened with stevia for those that have an intolerance to stevia.
No Cow Bars
1 BAR (60G): 210 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (17 g fiber, 1g sugar, 4g erythritol), 21 g protein
Pro - Stellar macros! Plant-based, high-quality,non-dairy protein with ridiculously low sugar. It is naturally sweetened - so no bad sugar alcohols.
Con - Contains palm oil.
Pure Protein Bars
1 BAR (50 G): 190 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 8 g sugar alcohol), 20 g protein
Pro - Great macronutrient profile, great taste and is low in sugar.
Con - Contains soy lecithin.
1 BAR (60 G): 190 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (14 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 2 g erythritol), 21 g protein
Pro - A good macronutrient profile, high protein, low sugar as it is sweetened with erythritol* and stevia.
Con - The Quest Bar contains ingredients like palm oil and sucralose and the first ingredient is never a whole food.
Good, Not Great List…
1 BAR (49 G): 200 calories, 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (4 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 11 g protein
Pro - Great taste, great for filling a sugar/dessert craving. All natural, plant-based protein and plus veggies and greens. No sugar alcohol.
Con - Less fiber (meaning more net carbs), less protein, and more sugar than other bars.
- Rx Bars
1 BAR (52 G): 210 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (6 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 12 g protein
Pro - RXBars use 5-7 simple ingredients, all whole foods but they are higher in sugar from the dates.
Con - High sugar content from dates, this would be a 'treat bar' vs. an everyday recommendation for protein.
- Luna Bars
1 BAR (45 G): 170 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (3 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 12 g protein
Pro - Low glycemic, no sugar alcohol.
Con - Made with soy protein isolate.
- KIND Bars
1 BAR: 230 calories, 16g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 10 g protein
Pro - KIND Bars are relatively easy to find in stores. The ingredients are overall good, they pack a bit more fat from healthy nuts such as almonds, but are not as high in protein as other bars.
Con - Some bars are higher in sugar than others, so always check the nutrition facts label first. Kind bars contains three types of added sugar, inulin (which can cause GI problems for people with IBS) and soy lecithin, an additive.
*Note about erythritol: Although it sounds like the product of an odd science experiment, this sweetener is actually one of the better ones! Since it’s naturally found in nature (in grapes, pears, melons, and even mushrooms), this fructose-free sweetener doesn’t cause the same digestive problems as other sugar alcohols or raise blood glucose levels.
Not so great ingredients to watch for -
Palm Oil is 100% fat and is known to increase LDL, which is the bad cholesterol that you want to decrease. Bad LDL can have adverse effects on the health of your heart, leading to disease and stroke.
Canola Oil is known to contribute to kidney and liver problems due to the genetic modification, as well as heart disease.