When I used to think of protein bars, I’d think of a candy bar on steroids. At least that’s what the manufactures want you think…so you buy more. They are putting these out there, as a ‘good for you’ snacks or a meal replacement. There is a whole row dedicated to protein bars at my local grocery store. It’s crazy, and they come in all kinds of flavors, and different levels of protein, sugar, fiber, fat, and well…. junk!
My son got me started on these. He’s 19, and is this awesome, cute weightlifter. Mr Sports. He eats them like candy, because he’s always hungry and they are a ‘semi-healthy’ quick snack for him. I am working on becoming a completely clean eater, so these are a no-no for me. However, I have cut so much out of my diet, that I felt like, what is one little protein bar going to hurt?
Back when I was a protein bar novice, Cliff Bars were my absolute favorite. They are delicious….but are they really good for you? Cliff bars have alot of organic things in them, and that’s good right? I’m all about organic. For the sake of keeping this blog post reasonable in length, lets just look at the first four ingredients in each of the bars. Cliff Bars have Organic Brown Rice Syrup (wasn’t that recalled last summer because of e-coli contamination)? as the first ingredient. This is followed by Soy Rice Crisps, Organic Roasted Soy Beans, and Organic Soy Flour. It’s all organic, so it’s better than most, BUT look at all the SOY. Not good. Now lets look at the protein content, fiber, fat, carbs, sugar and sodium. 230 Calories, 10g Protein, 4g fiber, 4.5g fat, 43g carbs, 23g sugar, 150mg sodium. I love them, but I stopped eating them last summer, because I thought I could find something with less sugar and more protein, and less soy.
That’s when I switched to Pure Protein Bars. Now these aren’t anywhere as tasty as the Clif Bars, but I got used to them. The chocolate is kind of a cheap light chocolate, that is waxy. It compares to some really cheap kind of candy. But it was palatable. The difference was that these had 20 grams of Protein. Now we’re talking!!! This goes more with my diet, as I’m working out alot, and it’s better than a fast food snack, right?!?! Not _so_fast….first four ingredients in the the Chocolate Chip – Protein Blend (2 different kinds of whey protein) Coating Oil (probably the nasty stuff that gave it the waxy taste), Hydrolyzed Collagen (what the…), Glycerin. I don’t even think that I looked at the ingredients, because if I did, I surely would have never let it pass my lips. There were so many things that I couldn’t pronounce on there, how could they possibly be ‘good for you’. 200 Calories, 20g Protein, Fiber <1g, 5g Fat, 18g Carbs, Only 3g Sugar, plus 7g Sugar Alcohol, 170 mg Sodium. So these were better than the Cliff Bars as far as Protein content and less sugar, but were full of processed yuck.
Luna Bars are popular, you see them everywhere. So what’s in them? LunaPro ® (Soy Rice Crisps Soy Protein Isolate, Organic Rice Flour], Organic Toasted Oats [Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Dried Cane Syrup], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour, Organic Flaxmeal). They are 70% Organic, and seem to be way healthier than the Pure Protein, but even though the ingredients look better to an extent, they miss out on the protein content. 180 calories, 10g Protein, 3g Fiber, 6g Fat, 25g Carbs, 11g Sugar, 210 mg Sodium (yikes).
My son eats alot of the Met-RX – they are cheap and he is a college student, what can I say. I tried a bite once, and thought they were pretty disgusting. Ingredients include Chocolate Flavored Layer (Maltitol Syrup, Milk Protein Concentrate, Unsweetened Chocolate, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Glycerin, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural Flavor), Chocolate Flavored Coating. 320 Calories, A Whopping 32g of Protein (that’s why my son eats them) 2g Fiber, 9g Fat, 32 gCarbs, 2g Sugar, 19g Sugar Alcohol, 210 mg Sodium.
So, this brings me to my all time favorite protein bar….the P90X bar. OMG, they are sooo good! My favorite is the Chocolate Peanut Butter. I looked forward to having one of these everyday, after my morning workout. That is….until today. The ingredients just got to me. They derive their protein from a blend of Soy and whey, but I’m cutting ALL soy out of my diet, so these have to go. I’m so sad, I’m a Beachbody Coach, I get a discount on them….they just need to change their ingredients to whey protein instead of soy, and I’d be happy. They are better than most ingredient wise. Here are the first four ingredients – Protein Blend – Soy and Whey Proteins, Milk Chocolate Coating, Unsweetened Chocolate, Whole Milk Powder. 260 Calories, 20g Protein, 2g Fiber 8g Fat, 30g Carbs, 16g Sugar, 220g Sodium. You can order these HERE.
Lastly, this is going to be ‘IT’ for me on the Protein Bars Review. The Quest Bar!!! All natural. Protein from Whey, No Soy, No Sugar – What???? A protein bar that’s good for you? It just can’t be. Here’s the lowdown on the Quest Bar. This is for the Chocolate Peanut Butter. Protein Blend (whey protein and milk isolate protein), Isomalto- Oligosaccharides (100% natural prebiotic fiber), Peanut Butter, Water…and the rest of the ingredients I understand what they all mean, (no foreign words that I can’t pronounce). Could it be??? A protein bar that is all natural and GOOD FOR YOU?!?!?! OMG, I can’t believe it. They come in a gazillion flavors, like Strawberry Cheesecake, Cinnamon Roll, Chocolate Chip COOKIE DOUGH, Coconut Cashew, Lemon Cream Pie, to name a few. I think I’ve died and gone to Protein Bar Heaven. 20g Protein, 17whopping grams of FIBER!!!, 5g Fat, 25g Carbs BUT only 2g active carbs from nuts, not sugar!!!!, 1g Sugar & 5g Sugar Alcohol, Sodium not listed. These are too good to be true. Can’t wait to try them. There are rave reviews out there on them and they can be purchased at GNC.
So, in summing up the health aspects of the protein bar world. There is only one bar out there that derives protein from whey and soy, and is all natural. That is the Quest Bar. The second healthiest bar in my opinion would be the P90X bar. The third would be the Luna Bar. But that’s just my opinion. You can go out there and try them all for yourself, and see what you think!!!