What Are The Best Protein Bars For Weight Loss and Muscle Gain?
Protein bars might be something that you associate with bodybuilders and meatheads only, but you don’t have to be a gym rat to benefit from getting more protein in your diet.
It also plays an important role in your mental health to help improve your concentration and ward off depression. This is because many neurotransmitters in your brain are made of amino acids (3).
Finally, you need protein to help build lean muscle and help your body repair itself after injury or illness. As you can see, protein is one macronutrient you don’t want to become low in (4).
If you find it difficult to get more protein in your diet, then consider supplementing with a protein bar. Before you run out and buy the first one you see, it’s important to know what constitutes a good protein bar. If you pick the wrong one, you’ll just be indulging in a glorified candy bar.
In this guide, we will give you some tips for choosing the best protein bar. We’ll also introduce you to our favorite low-carb, keto-friendly protein bar to best support your ketogenic diet.
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The #1 Protein Bar for Ketosis
Here’s Why This Is Our #1 Choice:
- Doctor formulated product
- No fillers, chemicals, additives or bad ingredients
- Lowest carb content
- Tasty and satisfying sweet tooth
- Perfect macros for keto dieters
What To Look For When Choosing Protein Bars
Protein bars are great because of their convenience. They come prepackaged and can be taken just about anywhere. You might not be able to smuggle a T-bone steak into the movie theater the next time you want to enjoy a snack, but no one is going to complain if you open a protein bar.
Additionally, many protein bars are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which can make them a great way to get some added nutrients in.
The problem with most protein bars is that many of them are no different than your favorite candy treat in terms of nutrition. They’re highly processed, loaded with copious amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, and contain partially hydrogenated oils. Indulging in most commercial protein bars can send your glucose levels soaring and kick you right out of ketosis.
To prevent this from occurring, we’re put together a list of tips to help you pick out the best one.
#1. Become a label reader
You’ve probably seen a label reader in action at the grocery store before. They stand in the aisle holding a particular item, staring at the back label. It might look foolish, but these people are onto something.
Before you purchase a protein bar, check the label to make sure it fits your macronutrient needs. Don’t just assume that it’s healthy just because it’s labeled as a protein bar. A good protein bar should only contain a few net carbs, which is the amount of total carbs minus the grams of fiber.
Additionally, if you’re on the keto diet, you’ll need a bar that contains a good amount of fat, too. Remember that if you want to stay in ketosis, your carbohydrate intake should be limited to five percent of your total daily calories.
You could easily blow it on a protein bar that contains too many carbs and not enough fat, so be sure to check the label.
#2. Focus on ingredients
Most nutritionists will tell you to pay attention to quality over quantity. There’s a lot of truth to this. It’s more important to worry about eating foods that contain high-quality ingredients as opposed to worrying about how much you’re eating. If you’re on the ketogenic diet, then you’ll want to pay attention to both.
Look for a protein bar that does not contain garbage ingredients or fillers, such as refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, preservatives, and food dyes or colorings. These ingredients are highly inflammatory and will make you feel worse than you did before you needed a snack.
#3. Stay away from artificial sweeteners
Food manufacturers are on to the fact that people won’t buy their protein bars if they are loaded with sugar. They also know that people won’t buy their bars if they taste terrible, either.
So they think they can work around this by pumping their bar full of artificial sweeteners. After all, they contain no calories, so they can’t be bad, right? Wrong!
Most commercial artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose are disastrous for your gastrointestinal system. If you want to have an upset stomach all day long, then treat yourself to a “sugar-free” protein bar that lists an artificial sweetener as one of its first ingredients.
Instead, stick with keto-friendly non-calorie sweeteners such as monk fruit, stevia, and erythritol, which are naturally derived from plant sources and won’t give you the tummy troubles like the chemically processed ones do.
For more information on which sweeteners and sugar substitutes are best, check out our article here.
What Are The Best Tasting, Healthy and Sugar-free Protein Bars?
We’ve done the research and come up with a list of the top three best low-carb protein bars out there, starting with our number one pick first. Here are our reviews:
#1. Perfect Keto
You can’t go wrong when you buy a Perfect Keto Protein Bar.
After all, it’s a protein bar designed by a keto company, so you know it was created with ketosis in mind. It is the lowest carb and the most keto-approved product.
Perfect Keto protein bars contain 19 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein from collagen, and only 3 grams of net carbs.
Notice that the ratio between fat, carbs, and protein is ideally suited for a person on the keto diet. You won’t find this in too many bars on the market.
It even has soluble tapioca fiber to help maintain a healthy digestive system. Most companies use low-quality binders such as honey, dates, sugar syrups, or corn fiber.
In place of traditional preservatives, Perfect Keto uses sunflower lecithin and natural flavors to help keep your bar shelf stable so you can travel with it safely without worrying about added chemicals.
Our #1 Choice for Ketogenic Diet!Check Best Price!
Here are some pros and cons of this bar.
- Only 3 grams of net carbs
- No artificial flavors, preservatives, or junk ingredients
- Contains 19 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein (the perfect keto ratio)
- Provides a good source of grass-fed collagen protein and MCTs
- Contains no gluten, dairy, sugar alcohols, or sugar
- Tastes amazing!
- Will be available in three flavors by 2019 (almond butter brownie, salted caramel, and lemon poppyseed)
- Supports healthy hair, skin, nails and a properly functioning digestive system
- Provides you with another keto snack option that isn’t a fat bomb!
- Won’t spike blood sugar
- Doctor formulated
- Helps curb cravings by satisfying your sweet tooth without provoking an insulin response
- Fully supports the ketogenic diet
- Limited flavor choices
Quick note: If you’re on a strict keto diet, Perfect Keto is your #1 choice. It’s the only product in the market that meets all the strict keto requirements that we’ve found so far. Other low carb brands usually have a few ingredients that aren’t keto-friendly.
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#2. Quest Protein Bars
Quest Protein Bars aren’t in the same ballpark as Perfect Keto, but if you need something to eat and your only other option is a candy bar, then go ahead and try one.
They contain 10 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, 4 grams of net carbs, 1 gram of sugar, and 15 grams of fiber per bar.
We like that the bar contains so much fiber because this will help keep you full and prevent you from overeating, but the fat and protein ratio isn’t as ideally suited for keto as the Perfect Keto bar. It’s more suitable for low carb diets.
Additionally, Quest Protein Bars contain a milk protein blend, peanuts, and soluble corn fiber, which are cheaper ingredients than the Perfect Keto bar.
There are no sugar alcohols, which is nice because you’re less likely to have stomach problems after eating it. But we’d like to see higher-quality ingredients such as coconut oil and almond butter in place of peanuts and milk.
Here’s what we like and don’t like about it.
- Only contains 4 grams of net carbs
- Provides 20 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat (remember that you want more fat than protein on the keto diet)
- Contains no sugar alcohols
- Gluten and sugar free
- Provides a yummy chocolate and peanut butter flavor to help satisfy your sweet tooth
- Contains peanuts, which aren’t keto-friendly
- Contains milk protein isolate, which isn’t keto-friendly either
- Contains soluble corn fiber, which is a good source of fiber but it’s another ingredient that isn’t keto-friendly
- Contains sodium caseinate as a preservative instead of just sea salt
Bulletproof is a well-known company with solid products, so we expect a lot from their protein bars. These bars contain collagen protein from grass-fed cows, which is a popular keto ingredient to help give you healthy looking hair, skin, and nails.
They also contain Bulletproof’s signature Brain Octane oil and XCT oil to help keep you sharp and focused without crashing. We also like the use of organic lemon oil in place of sugar and organic cashew butter in place of peanuts.
One bar contains 210 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of net carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of protein. Because the net carbs are so high, you may have to do some adjusting with the rest of your diet when it comes to counting your macros.
We also don’t like the use of palm oil, which isn’t good for the environment. Overall, this isn’t a bad bar to enjoy once and a while.
Here are some pros and cons.
- No sugar or sugar alcohols
- Features collagen from grass-fed bars and organic coconut oil
- Contains a good source of amino acids to keep you sharp
- Features Brain Octane and XCT oils to support ketosis
- Gluten-free, non-GMO and contains no dairy
- Uses lemon oil in place of sugar and cashew butter instead of peanuts
- Contains 8 grams of net carbs, which is high for a keto bar
- Lemon is tasty, but we like the flavor provided by the Perfect Keto bars better because they are better suited to curb your cravings for something decadent!
Before you write proteins bars off as something only workout fanatics use, consider that protein is necessary to help you lose weight and improve your cognitive performance. Eating a protein bar in between meals is a great way to curb hunger while doing something good for your body.
Keep in mind that if you’re on the ketogenic diet, you have special requirements for a protein bar. It needs to contain a good amount of fat while also being low-carb.
Most commercial protein bars are nothing more than glorified candy bars. They contain added sugars or sugar alcohols, and partially hydrogenated oils. We found three low-carb proteins bars in this article to help you the next time hunger strikes and your next meal is hours away.
Our top choice is the Perfect Keto Protein Bar, which contains the perfect macronutrient ratio for a keto diet. It’s the best tasting and healthiest because it contains all natural, high-quality ingredients with no junk or fillers. With tasty flavors such as almond butter brownie and salted caramel, you’ll curb cravings and fuel up with fat-burning ketones. These bars are a perfect keto snack for you anytime, especially when you travel on the plane.