Back in 2010, I reviewed some of my favorite picks for healthy granola and protein bars. But, 4 years have passed and there are many more new favorites that I will share with you! I will start off this series with one of my favorites: the Quest Bar!
*I have not received any type of compensation in writing this post.*
These are definitely my number one pick at the moment. Why? They are packed with protein (20 grams of quality whey protein). They are lower carbohydrate since they are an excellent source of fiber, you can subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrates to get your net carbohydrates. Check out this label from below.
What the heck is an isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO)?
Isomalto-oligosaccharides are natural for the body to digest, but we don’t use this type of fiber for energy (meaning we actually can’t break it down to fully digest it, but it is normal for our body to pass it through the digestive system). Many protein bar companies add a lot of sugar alcohols or harsh gas-forming fibers to their bars, but IMOs are the least “gas-forming” and much more gentle on the digestive system.
An IMO is also classified as a prebiotic fiber which means they are a beneficial type of fiber that we need in order to produce healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract. Probiotics are different–they are actual healthy bacteria that help increase they number of healthy bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics help to nourish the healthy bacteria that already exist.
I recommend that you don’t eat more than about 30 grams of IMOs per day (one Quest bar contains about 16 grams). So, try not to eat more than one Quest bar per day. If you do, you will be right around the threshold for maximum IMO fiber intake for the day and may experience some digestive discomfort. However, the more you weigh (and the taller you are), the more you are likely to be able to digest them.
One Quest bar contains about 2 grams of erythritol. This is a sugar alcohol that is generally harmless. It can actually be found naturally occuring, and does not likely cause digestive discomfort like other sugar alcohols are notorious for doing. The benefit is that this sugar alcohol tastes sweet without causing blood sugar spikes!
A natural, zero calorie sweetener. Stevia is natural and generally harmless. I try to keep intake below 4 mg/kg BW (recommendations according to WHO) just to be on the safe side. What does this mean? A 50 kg female should not intake more than 200 mg of stevia per day. I estimate this to be no more than 4 servings of stevia per day just to make sure it is safe.
Sucralose aka Splenda
I try to avoid Splenda because I have a no-artificial sweeteners policy. Not for safety reasons, but because why do I need them when there are so many other natural options? Anyways, you can find many Quest bar flavors without Splenda in them. But, there are a handful of flavors that do contain Splenda (but, it is such a tiny amount, I don’t think it is cause for concern in my book).
There you have your ingredients run-down! Now, what about flavor?
I love the taste of Quest bars, and I know many other people feel the same way I do. If you don’t like the chewy texture, try microwaving them to make them soft and warm! I think you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. I will pretty much eat ANY flavor (except I try to chose more of the natural flavors).
Overall, I give Quest Bars a rating of A (not A+ because of the Splenda).
Don’t you love Quest Bars?