Top 5 Protein Bar Lines
Discovering a great protein bar can make a bad day good and a good day better. Finding a bar you love with the appropriate nutrition facts has gotten so much easier now that the market has exploded with high protein, low carb and low calorie options. What used to be synthetic tasting blobs of slightly damp, chocolate whey protein powder have come to challenge actual candy bars in terms of texture and flavor. There are a ton of great options out there but there are also some real duds. Thankfully, I’ve been crushing protein bars for a solid 5 years now and I’m here to direct your search for protein bar perfection
When judging a protein bar, I look for two main things; satisfaction and nutrition quality. Generally speaking, the best protein bars offer a big dose of protein (20-30g), little or no sugar, and a moderate amount of other carbohydrates and fats. Since most companies nowadays are offering high fiber, high protein, low calorie options, the nutrition quality comparison has become a toss up for the top competitors. But when it comes to flavor and texture, the men truly stand out from the crowd of boys. There are some real gems out there so I’ll take you through the best protein bar lines on the market and give you flavor recommendations along the way.
The Top 5:
1st Place: Oh Yeah! Nutrition: ONE Bars
Coming in at 1st place is Oh Yeah! Nutrition's line of ONE Bars. All of these bars have a smooth, velvety texture that is unlike that of any other bar. The flavor offerings are outstanding, especially the Birthday Cake flavor, which is, without a doubt, the most successful take on a non-chocolate flavor on the market. The macro breakdown for these bars are also outstanding. 20g of protein, 1g of sugar, and less fiber than Quest Bars or MusclePharm's Combat Crunch Bars. So good. So deserving of the number one spot. Seriously, if you see these on the shelf, you have to grab a few.
2nd Place: Quest Nutrition: Quest Bars
Coming in at number two is Quest Nutrition's revolutionary line of Quest Bars. Quest Bars were the first on the market to offer high protein, low sugar, and high fiber content at a calorie price of under 200. The texture isn' quite ONE bar level, but it's very good. Where the Quest Bar shines is in terms of mouth pleasure is with its flavor. All of the many flavors on offer are delicious and some are truly exceptional. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is the best take on cookie dough available, and its stevia sweetened, chocolate chunks (not chips, CHUNKS) make it damn close to protein bar perfection. As far as the nutrition quality goes, these are top notch. Every flavor offers at least 20g of protein without more than 5g of sugar and 200 calories. Quest will go down in history as the George Washington of the protein bar industry for creating this, first of its kind, line of outstanding bars.
3rd Place: MetRx: Fit Crunch Bars
Rounding out the top 3 is Met Rx's line of Fit Crunch Bars. These bars are by far the most satisfying of any bar on the market. Although these bars have a 380 calorie price tag, the experience of eating one will leave you genuinely convinced that you're eating a candy bar. The Fit Crunch bar offers a unique, baked, "protein cookie" center under a layer of creme and crunchy crisps which is then dipped in a chocolatey coating and drizzled with extra frosting. Even though these bars have more calories than the other bars on this list, they're the perfect choice when just one of the smaller bars isn't going to cut it. On that note, these bars contain 30g of protein each, and only 6g of sugar. A delicious and overwhelmingly satisfying option, the Fit Crunch line is the indulgent dessert of protein bars
4th Place: MusclePharm: Combat Crunch Bars
Coming in at number 4 is MusclePharm's Combat Crunch line. The Combat Crunch line is like a delicious hybrid of the Quest Bar and Fit Crunch concepts. It has a baked center with filling and a dipped surrounding, very familiar to that of the Combat Crunch line. On the other hand, the texture of the cookie and interior is more like that of the Quest line. Likewise, the nutrient breakdown is more similar to the Quest Bar line's with 20g of protein, lots of fiber, and very little sugar. These bars are slightly more satisfying than the Quest Bars, but aren't quite as exceptional when it comes to flavor. The exception to that rule is found in the Cinnamon Twist Combat Crunch bar though. The Cinnamon Twist bar is like a tougher, chewier, crunchy cinnamon roll. It's outstanding.
5th Place: Pure Protein: Pure Protein Bars
Rounding out the top 5 at number 5 is the Pure Protein Bar line. Pure Protein's offering is the oldest on the list and it's of a quality that was way ahead of its time. The Pure Protein line offers bars with 20g of protein with right around 200 calories. These bars don't have the massive dose of fiber that most of the other bars have so they're not as bulky. On the other hand, these bars pack some serious flavor and high quality textures. The chocolate salted caramel and chewy chocolate chip flavors are fantastic. Since it's a more established line of products, these bars are significantly cheaper than the other bars on this list. Likewise, they offer a delicious alternative to the person whose GI tract can't handle all of the fiber from a Quest-like bar.
A Note About the Bars on this List:
All the bars on this list have at least 20g of protein per serving, less than 6 or less grams of sugar, and they taste awesome. Three of the five lines on this list feature high fiber content in order to keep bar size up while the calorie count stays down. Quest Nutrition led the way with this high fiber approach but I have mixed feelings about it. On the positive end, the use of Isomalto-Oligosaccharides and pre-biotic corn fiber has allowed companies to create really delicious bars with interesting texture profiles. Unfortunately, the high fiber content of these bars makes it really easy to do some damage to your relationship with your toilet. Eating more than 2 or 3 of the high fiber bars in a day will likely leave you pretty "backed up". (yes, I’m speaking from experience). But, some of these bars are so damn good and nutritionally sound that I readily sacrifice two days of bathroom regularity for some deliciousness way too often.
The Nutrition Facts
Best and Worst Of The Lines with Flavor Rankings
Birthday Cake: 10/10
Almond Bliss: 9/10
Cinnamon Roll: 9.5/10
Flavors to Avoid: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: 10/10
- Double Chocolate Chunk: 8.5/10
- Banana Nut Muffin: 9/10
- Apple Pie: 8.5/10
- Cookies and Creme: 8.5/10
Flavors to Avoid: Chocolate Brownie, Vanilla Almond Crunch
Fit Crunch Bars:
Cookies and Creme: 10/10
- Peanut Butter: 10/10
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: 9/10
Flavors to Avoid: None
Combat Crunch Bars:
- Cinnamon Twist: 9.5/10
- Chocolate Cake: 9/10
Flavors to Avoid: Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Pure Protein Bars:
- Chocolate Salted Caramel: 9/10
- Chewy Chocolate Chip: 8/10
- Chocolate Peanut Caramel: 8.5/10
- Chocolate Deluxe: 8/10
Flavors to Avoid: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Coconut
Written By: Evan Shaulson