Hey guys! It’s Alyssia. Today I want to talk
to you about protein bars and specifically
how to choose a healthy protein bar. So why
do we use protein bars? They’re quick, they’re
convenient ways to get protein in and they
taste really good; they fool you into thinking
they’re almost a candy bar. So I personally
use protein bars as a post workout snack.
You don’t have to use them for that. Some
people just choose to use them as dietary
supplements, if they’re trying to get more
protein or pre-workout snacks are fine but
I use them as post-workout snacks. That’s
mostly because they’re kind of pricey; protein
bars aren’t cheap. They’re usually $2-$4 a
bar so I kind of justify it as it’s my treat.
It’s my recovery. After a hard workout I deserve
it. So that’s when I eat them.
Today I’m going to share some popular brands
of protein bars with you and talk about how
I decide, how I make the decision for what
makes a healthier or less healthy choice of
a protein bar. So, we’re going to kind of
go through these, starting with the ones I
think are less healthy choices and I’ll explain
why. And then we will end with my favorite
protein bars, the ones I love to eat every
day. So, keep in mind as I go through this
that these are all generalized suggestions.
So all of this advice may not apply to your
lifestyle. My personal fitness goals are building
lean muscle and yours may not be the same.
If you’re more into weight loss, a lot of
this be still relevant because even if you’re
trying to lose weight, you want to usually
maintain muscle mass or build a little bit
of muscle mass. So, but you know, you decide
what you want to take and leave and apply
to your lifestyle as you see fit.
Every bar wants you to think it is healthy.
Every protein bar wants you to think it is
the healthiest choice offering you – either
the most protein or nutrition or whatever
it’s claiming to give you. But the truth is
that most of them are not really any better
than a candy bar in disguise. So if you are
going to spend the money and the nutrients
then – if you’re going to spend you know your
calories and your macro nutrients on eating
something – make sure that it’s something
you actually want to put in your body. If
you’re not going to pick up a candy bar, you
might not want to pick up some of these protein
bars. So, the first thing to look at when
choosing a protein bar is how much protein
there is, right?
Because that’s why you’re eating it. You
want to get protein. Now of course, that’s
going to depend on your size, your fitness
goals, bla bla bla. But, generally speaking,
at least for post workout, you want a bar
that has around 20 grams of protein. So that’s
just kind of a good rule of thumb. It could
have a little bit more or less depending on
what you’re looking for but when you pick
up a bar you want it to have around 20 grams.
When you walk into the store, you go to the
protein bar aisle and you’re picking out your
protein bar you want to pick up the bar and
look at the nutrition label. And so I have
here a Kind Protein Bar. So these bars, probably
everyone has seen them. Their advertises are
pretty clean, they’re pretty clean. And they’ve
got good, generally good ingredients in them.
But here I have a protein Kind Bar and here
I have a regular Kind Bar. So this one, peanut
butter dark chocolate protein – dark chocolate,
nuts and sea salt, only 5 grams of sugar.
So both are making health claims. This one
is claiming to be a protein bar. When I look
at the nutrition label it has a whopping 7
grams of protein. This not-protein Kind Bar
has 6. So you buy a regular Kind Bar you get
6 grams of protein. You buy the protein, you
get 7. Not really a protein bar. Can this
not fit into your lifestyle? No, maybe there
is some way that it can fit in. Maybe you
want a bunch of good carbs or fat or 9 grams
of sugar, but if you’re looking for protein,
this is not the bar to eat. Even though it’s
telling you it has protein in it, it doesn’t
have that much.
The Luna Protein Bars. You got regular Luna
Bars – 9 grams of protein. Luna Protein Bars
– 12 grams. So there’s a three gram difference.
This is not really much better for you or
it’s not really more of a protein bar just
because it says protein on it. There’s only
three more grams of protein than in the regular
Luna Bars. So these are protein bars I would
say not to eat. Even just starting at the
basic rule that you want protein in your protein
bar. So the next thing to look at after you
check the protein content is calories. So
it doesn’t really matter if it has 20 grams
of protein if it has a million calories. Right?
So some of the protein bars that I don’t like
because of how many calories compared to the
amount of protein they have are the following:
Cliff Builder Protein Bar.
So it has 20 grams of protein, but it’s 270
calories which isn’t terrible but it’s more
than you need. Kind of a general rule of thumb
I’ve come to go by – it’s not a real rule,
it’s like my own made up rule, but you can
follow it if you want – is aiming for about
ten calories per gram of protein, around there.
It could be a little more, a little less but…so
if you just add on a zero. If you got 20 grams
of protein, you want it to be around 200 calories.
Thereabouts, maybe a little less, if you can
find it. Power Crunch. Now these I want to
talk about later but protein to calorie ratio,
you’ve got 14 grams of protein and it’s 205
calories. So you’re not getting quite as much
bang for your buck, protein wise.
These bars, MET RX Big 100, this is a meal
replacement bar so it’s actually not technically
a protein bar. But it advertises, it says
on the front 28 grams of protein, which it
does have. 28 grams of protein. But the whole
bar is 380 calories. So that’s a lot of calories
for 28 grams of protein. But keep in mind,
it’s a meal replacement bar so it also has
a little bit more carbs. This would literally
be an entire meal. Now for some of us this
is maybe more than we would eat in a whole
meal. Maybe you don’t need the whole thing.
Maybe you’ll only need half of it. Remember
that meal replacement bars and snack bars
and energy bars are all different than protein
Muscle Milk. These bars, 320 calories for
25 grams of protein. So, on the high end.
And the Zone Perfect. These are deceiving.
It’s only 210 calories but it only has 14
grams of protein. So again, not enough bang
for your buck. Okay, so you’ve looked at the
protein, you’ve looked at the calories, next
you want to look at the carbs. Now again,
carbs are really going to vary based on your
fitness goals. For post workout and building
lean muscle you do want carbs in your protein
bar. So there is a huge disconnect between
the idea of carbs being good or bad or the
enemy. They’re not the enemy. Carbs are good.
Specially post workout you need them to replenish
and recover and rebuild.
How many do you need, that’s the question.
So if you’re on a weightless journey, you
might need less carbs. May be, maybe not.
But for me, I like to stick to about a one
to one ratio, maybe even a little bit more
carbs than protein. One to one protein to
carbs or one to one and a half protein to
carb. So, another bar that I don’t know if
you’ve seen around. I saw it at the health
food store. Go Macro. It’s a vegan protein
bar so may be, I mean I don’t know a lot about
vegan protein bars but maybe it’s – I mean
I’m assuming it’s harder to get the protein
in there – this maybe an okay option. The
problem is, there’s 37 grams of carbs for
10 grams of protein. So that’s like a four
to one ratio, carbs to protein for 260 calories.
If you’re really going for protein, aim for
20, aim for a ratio closer to one to one.
Okay, so next macro nutrient we want to look
at is fat. It can be a little bit controversial
because you don’t want a ton of fat in your
protein bar. Especially if it is post workout
but some fat is good. So, you want to look
for less than around ten grams per bar. Of
course this is all relative to the amount
of calories. You don’t want to just look at
the fat and then not look at the calories
or carbs or protein. But with all the other
general rules we’ve been making around 20
grams of protein, around 200 calories, around
20 to 30 grams of carbs, you want, I’d say
less than ten grams of fat.
So this bar, these protein crunch bars, they’re
really good but they have a lot of fat in
them. They have 12 to 14 grams of fat and
it’s about equal to the carbs and the protein.
So it’s not really a good balance for a protein
bar. It’s more like an equal parts protein
– fat – carbs bar. As an alternative to a
candy bar though, it’s great. And it tastes
just like a Kit Kat. The next thing to talk
about, after we’ve had all those macro nutrients,
are sugar and ingredients – sugar is an ingredient.
And bars that aren’t really protein bars that
make you want to think that they are. Here’s
a bar that I found at the store. Full Bar,
it is clinically proven to help you lose weight.
I have no idea how because when I look at
these stats, it’s 170 calories, 4 1/2 grams
of fat, 28 grams of carbs and five grams of
protein. So not only are those stats pretty
much terrible because usually when you want
to lose weight you want to eat a little bit
more protein and little bit less carbs, generally
speaking. And this is the antithesis of that.
The first ingredient – oh I guess it’s not
focused – but just trust me, it’s brown rice
syrup which is just a sneaky word for sugar.
So, ingredients count. Ingredients are really
– may be not to everyone they count – but
to me, I like to look at the ingredients and
know what they all are and know that they’re
all going to benefit me.
I don’t want to eat something that, you know
I don’t want to put it in my body if it isn’t
going to do me any good, especially if I’m
eating it as a nutritional supplement. Cliff
Bars. Everyone thinks these are protein bars
but they’re not. There’s no, there’s ten
grams of protein in this, for 240 calories
and 43 grams of carbs. So usually I mean,
I don’t know the exact history of this bar
but I think it’s for mountain climbers or
rock climbers or whatever. That’s what the
guy’s doing on the cover. So it’s probably
more like an energy bar. Energy bars usually
have a lot of carbs because it’s for when
you’re doing an activity. But this is not
a protein bar.
So this is not your ideal post-workout snack.
And even the Cliff protein bar, this one same
company. This is their protein version. I
already told you I’m not nuts about it. 22
grams of sugar in this and, how much in this
one – 21 grams of sugar in that. That’s a
lot of sugar. Especially for muscle building.
We really want to avoid that much sugar if
we can. Almond Joys. These have 20 grams of
sugar. That’s less than this bar – 220 calories,
this is 270. 26 grams of carbs, this is 30.
So really the only place that this beats the
Almond Joy is in protein. But that’s because
they put a lot of protein in it coz it’s a
protein bar, right? And honestly looking at
these nutrition labels, this has more ingredients
than the candy bar.
So, is the Almond Joy a better choice? I’m
not going to tell you to go eat candy instead
of a protein bar but I’m saying this is one
instance where you’re pretty much picking
up a candy bar instead of a protein bar. Luna
Bars. Everyone thinks they’re really healthy.
They taste okay but the ingredients – soy
rice crisps, soy protein isolate in organic
rice flour, organic toasted oats- which is
rolled oats in organic dried canned syrup
– at least it’s organic. Organic roasted soy
beans, organic brown rice syrup – which is
sugar. Also, remember, I’ve said this before
in my videos but the ingredients have to be
listed in the label by their prevalence by
weight. So whatever ingredients are first,
are more prevalent.
That means they are the most prevalent ingredient
in the entire bar or whatever product you’re
looking at. If sugar or syrup or brown rice
syrup or organic brown rice syrup or any of
those other names for sugar are the first
ingredient or towards the top – in one of
the first two or three ingredients – that
means sugar is used a lot in that bar. That’s
not what you want. That’s a candy bar. Larabars.
There’s a lot of hype about them because they’re
clean. The ingredients – cashews, dates, chocolate
chips, bla bla bla. Pretty good ingredients
and very few. I like to see that. But just
because this is a bar making health claims
doesn’t mean it’s a protein bar. All bars
aren’t created equal, right? So this one is
claiming it’s a good source of fiber, and
has three grams of fiber out of the 28 grams
And one bar is equal to a quarter cup of fruit.
Well you’re probably in this instance better
off eating an actual piece of fruit or a quarter
cup of fruit and you’ll get more fiber from
that. And it’ll probably taste better. It’s
really not fair for me to say that because
I’ve never actually tasted one of these. But
– maybe I should try right now. I’ll just
taste it right now. I guess I can’t return
this one. This is chocolate chip cookie dough.
So, things about those bars, they use ingredients
like dates and cashews which are good clean
ingredients but remember, cashews still have
a lot of fat, dates still have a lot of sugar.
And even though I like to choose cleaner ingredients,
sugar is still sugar.
Power Bars. Another example of an energy bar.
This is not a protein bar. Now Power Bar does
have a protein bar. Same company but this
is the energy bar, this is the protein bar.
So know the difference. So if you’re looking
for post workout or protein supplement, this
is the way to go. Even though, actually I
don’t really love this bar. This bar has 12
grams of sugar in it which is just not necessary.
Even though it does have 20 grams of protein,
25 grams of carbs, 210 calories, 6 grams of
fat. All the other things sound pretty good.
But it has 12 grams of sugar, only 4 grams
of fiber and it has a ton of ingredients on
the ingredient label.
And that’s kind of like what I boil down to
if I’m like, ‘okay, this hits almost on my
criteria.’ I look at the ingredients and if
there’s stuff I don’t know and if I really
can’t count all of the ingredients on my fingers
then I nix it. Alright. Hopefully they’ll
let me return that still. Skinny Girl. I’ve
never tasted these but I’ve tasted their vodka
and it’s pretty good. Don’t put that in there.
First of all, ingredients before I even see
the nutrition label. Ingredient number one:
organic brown rice syrup. Sugar. 180 calories,
8 grams of fat, 25 grams of carbs. We’re good
so far but protein, 7 grams. So it’s not advertising
itself as a protein bar but it’s making a
lot of other health claims like it’s natural,
it’s kosher, it’s high fiber.
Yeah, if you consider 5 grams of fiber, high.
And it’s only got 7 grams of protein. I would
say this ain’t going to make you skinny,
girl. Atkins. Low carb. That’s what Atkins
is all about. Right? There’s 23 grams of
carbs in this. Now, 9 of those are from fiber
which is pretty good. One of those is from
sugar. 11 from sugar alcohols. Now sugar alcohols
aren’t terrible. They’re not metabolized
as carbohydrates which is why they don’t count
in the net carbs. And also, 250 calories,
17 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat. I
know Atkins is all about lower carb and higher
fat but that just seems a little high. Alright,
Special K Protein Bars. This protein bar only
gives you 10 grams of protein and it’s 170
So, definitely not quite hitting the mark.
Plus there’s 3 1/2 grams of saturated fat
out of the 4 1/2 grams of fat in the bar.
Now the worst thing about the Special K protein
bars – and really, all the Special K products
– is the ingredients list is like 3 1/2 miles
long. It’s so many ingredients. I don’t know
what 90% of them are. But a lot of them end
in ‘ose’ which means sugar or some sort
of sugar. This bar has 15 grams of sugar and
10 grams of protein. So there’s more sugar
in it than protein. What’s the point of eating
this? Going back to candy bars, these Power
Crunch – I’ve never actually eaten this – I
just saw it. But I was so intrigued, I was
like oh my God, it’s like a candy bar.
It’s chocolate with nuts in it and it’s a
hundred calories and 5 grams of protein and
8 carbs and 6 grams of fat. But they trick
you because it’s actually two servings in
this bar. So it’s 200 calories and 12 grams
of fat and 16 grams of carbs and it does have
10 grams of protein which is better than a
candy bar but still, other than that, it’s
really about the same. So maybe it’s more
nutritious. I do know what most of these ingredients
are, which is good. But again, Macro nutrient
wise, not much better. So we have come to
what are the good choices. We’ve talked
about all of these terrible choices of protein
bars. What ones can I actually eat? So the
top three that I would say are worth eating
would be these three.
So you’ve got Pure Protein, Think Thin and
Quest. Now really, I only eat one of these
protein bars and it’s Quest. But if I couldn’t,
for some reason, get Quest Bars, I would say
these are probably your next best bet. The
reasons I don’t eat these are mostly ingredients.
So this Pure Protein Bar has a lot of ingredients
in it. It also does use sucralose – which
is Splenda – which is fine. A lot of protein
bars use Splenda but where I can avoid it,
I try to. And I don’t know what a lot of the
other ingredients are. But you get good stats.
For 200 calories you get 20 grams of protein,
18 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fat. So,
pretty good. And they taste okay. They don’t
taste great but they’re like manageable. I
don’t feel like it’s a treat after my workout
The Think Thin Bars. I’ve never actually tasted
one of these but the stats – 230 calories,
20 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbs, 8
grams of fat. Everything macro nutrient wise
is good here. Zero grams of sugar because
you have twelve grams of sugar alcohols. So
if you know you’re someone that can handle
sugar alcohols and it doesn’t bother your
digestive system then this could be an option
for you. The reason I don’t choose this is
there’s only two grams of fiber. So out of
those 25 grams of carbs only two of them are
fiber. And that is the exact – well one of
the many – reasons that I end up choosing
Quest. Quest Bars. This is cinnamon roll flavor.
It’s one of my favorite flavors. This is cookie
dough, chocolate chip cookie dough flavor.
Also one of my favorites.
I also love white chocolate raspberry, double
chocolate chunk, cookies and cream. I think
those are my main favorites. Am I missing
any one? They’re all pretty good but those
are my favorites. The stats on these are amazing.
You get, on the cinnamon roll one, as an example,
for 170 calories you get 20 grams of protein,
25 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat – none of
that is saturated fat – and of those 25 grams
of carbs, 17 grams are fiber. Dietary fiber.
So in all these other bars that I showed you
today, the max that we saw was like 5 – 5
grams of fiber. Generally you see 2 to 3.
But in quest bars, this is 17 grams of fiber.
Net carbs – total net carbs in this bar is
three because it only has one gram of sugar
and 5 grams of erythritol which is a sugar
alcohol – a natural one. So this bar for me
is a win.
On top of all the stats it tastes freaking
amazing. It tastes good plain. I like to just
carry them with me in my bag. But also, they’re
really good heated up. So in the microwave
or in the oven – if you bake them, toaster
oven, whatever. And there’s a lot of recipes.
If you’ve never seen the Quest 15 second recipes,
now is the time to check it out. The chocolate
chip cookie dough. 190 calories, 8 grams of
fat, 21 grams of carbs, 21 grams of protein.
Again 17 grams of fiber. You just can’t beat
it. What is their secret? I don’t know. But
the other great thing about these – so we
talked about all of those macro nutrients,
the calorie ratio, the carb to protein ratio
– is all good. The ingredients are also awesome.
They’re super clean. They’re pretty much the
cleanest protein bar you can find. They’re
just delicious. So, there you have it. All
of the protein bars. How I make decisions
on which ones I want to consume based on their
macro nutrients, their ratios, their ingredients
and at the end of the day, the only one I
eat is Quest. That doesn’t mean it’s the only
good one but it’s the only good one for me.
Because I do love Quest Bars so much I thought
it would be fun to make my own 15 second recipe,
#15SecondRecipe. So thank you for watching.
Make sure you subscribe, like this video and
share it with a friend. Maybe it’ll help someone
make a healthier choice on their protein bars.
Stay tuned for next week. We have another
Two-Ingredient Takeover recipe coming up.
There’s only two left in the series. So make
sure you check it out. Bye.