Why Most Protein Bars Are Crap. Quite Literally.
My nutritional journey that started with past experience in a few network marketing companies has been, and still is, an enlightening one.
One of the things it did was to make me more aware of what's actually being put into our supplements and food. Of course, I still get (and love) my fair share of crap like KFC and McDonalds, but this knowledge has allowed me to make good decisions when there is a need for it, like searching for the right protein bars.
I've always assumed that protein bars were healthy. I mean, it's usually sold in health food stores and used by fit, athletic individuals right?
One look at the ingredients list however, tells a different story.
A lot of protein bars are filled with fillers and taste enhancers like sugar, rice syrups, fractionated palm oils and the dreaded HFCS, or High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Here's the kicker: on the lists, ingredients are listed in descending amounts, so a major ingredient would be at the top of the list and vice versa. Most products have these fillers in the upper half of the list.
Why are these ingredients used? 3 reasons:
Let's take fractionated palm and palm kernal oils. On it's own, palm oil, from the fruit, is actually pretty healthy, with good levels of antioxidants in the form of Vitamin E. So you squeeze lots of palm fruits, you end up with lots of palm seeds (kernals). Not wanting to waste it, you extract oil from the kernals as well. To extract palm kernal oil though, a gasoline-like hydrocarbon based solvent is used. Eck. Then you have the process of fractionating the oils (like margarine) to make them more convenient for manufacturers to handle and by doing so, losing most of the good stuff. So, you end up with oil that's cheap, convenient and unhealthy.
Then, there's taste. Everybody knows that protein products aren't the best tasting in the world. There are some companies who sell un-flavoured whey protein. If anyone's tried it, I'd love to hear what you have to say about it's taste. Glad to see some trying hard to keep to the high road of health.
But for most people, taste is important. What does a profit based company do? Make it taste better! With cheap solutions no less, like sugar or worst, high fructose corn syrup, a derivative of cheap, subsidised corn.
So, except for that one time when my sister and I wanted light and nutrient dense bars for our climb up Mt. Kinabalu, I've pretty much gave up on and stayed away from protein bars.
That is, until I found Quest Bar. Let's have a review.
How Quest Bar Differ From Other Protein Bars
To start off, it's the protein bar with the shortest ingredients list. No kidding. Let's compare ingredients from a best selling, popular protein bar with a Quest Bar:
Whey Protein Isolate, Glycerine, Fractionated Palm & Palm Kernel Oil, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Calcium Caseinate, Milk Protein Concentrate, Maltitol Syrup, Water, Maltitol, Soy Protein Isolate, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Partially Hydrolyzed Milk Protein Isolate, Acid Casein, Invert Evaporated Cane Juice, Sorbitol. Less than 2% of the Following: Cocoa, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Fructooligosaccharides, Egg White, Calcium Carbonate, Soy Lecithin, Titanium Dioxide (Added for Color), Salt, Vitamin & Mineral Blend (Magnesium Oxide, Ferric Orthophosphate, Sodium Ascorbate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Beta-Carotene, Thiamin Mononitrate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Chromium Chloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenite, Phytonadione, Vitamin B12), Mono- & Diglycerides, Pectin, Potassium Lactate, Sucralose, Soy Oil, Tartaric Acid, Tocopherols (Added to Protect Flavor), and Maltodextrin.
Quest Bar (Berry Mix):
Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Isomalto-Oligosaccharide* (100% Natural Plant Based Prebiotic Fiber), Almonds, Water, Freeze-Dried Blueberries and Strawberries, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Lo Han Guo, Sucralose.
After reviewing the ingredients list, I hope you noticed that you could actually read and understand the ingredients found in the Quest Bar.
Apart from a little bit of sucralose, a calorie free sweetener, everything else is natural. As for Lo Han Guo, it's actually herbal fruit and where I come from, it's often used as a cooling herb and for throat irritations. Lo Han Guo can be found in most chinese herbal shops in its dried form. It's also nice to note that there're actual berries and nuts in the mix!
As for Quest Bar's nutritional facts, there are only 2 kinds of carbs involved. Fibre, which is what you want (and need actually), and slow carbs from legumes, in this case nuts, which is also what you want and is slow carb friendly.
I don't normally give too much credence to who uses a brand of products, unless they themselves use it even when they're not sponsored. But, when I saw Chet Yorten, the father of steroid-free natural bodybuilding using his name to endorse a protein bar brand, I knew that Quest Bar was different.
So, a protein bar with a difference. Quest Bars has no fillings but is chock full of healthy proteins and nuts. Great not only for the low, slow carber but for anyone who would like a healthy protein bar for some healthy protein on the go or as a meal replacement.
Comes in multiple great tasting flavours, so who said healthy treats can't be enjoyable eh?
Update – Sucralose Free, All Natural Flavours
For those of you who'd rather not have any sucralose at all…good new because sucralose free versions of the Quest Bars are available now! (Thx for the heads up Elven!)
So, the following flavours use stevia instead:
- Coconut Cashew (me likes!)
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Strawberry Cheesecake
- Lemon Cream Pie (me also likes!)
- Cinnamon Roll
Where to get?
Click Here to Order Your Quest Protein Bars (Only Available Online)