Finding the right protein bar can be extremely difficult. This is because there are so many selections on the market today. So many companies are attempting to join in on the fun of the protein bar market by making a product and slapping “protein bar” on the packaging. This is enough to fool the everyday consumer, but not us. We refuse to stand by and let you select the wrong “protein bar” when you buy your goods online or inside a retail outlet.
As human beings we have a natural sweet tooth. Many humans appease this sweet tooth with the use of a candy bar like a Twix or a Snickers bar. There are so many other healthy alternatives that can take care of that sweet tooth while promoting a healthy way of life and muscle gains. Spoiler alert: it’s not a candy bar, it’s a high quality protein bar.
Why Should I Eat Protein Bars?
The best protein bars can provide you with:
- Increased Energy
Clean calories from high quality protein bars can provide energy to get you through the day. We’ve all had a greasy cheeseburger before and those are calories, but you can tell the difference between clean and dirty calories.
- Elimination of Sweet Cravings
A good tasting protein bar can eliminate your need and want for sugary candy and fatty foods. The majority of high-quality protein bars taste like a sweet, but use ingredients that are much more healthy for you.
- Muscle Gains
High quality protein bars use high quality protein powder in their creation process which can help improve your gains.
Overview of the 2017 Best Protein Bar Guide
One of the biggest issues facing the protein bar market is what we already described above. So many consumer package goods companies are creating bars, loading it with under quality protein, putting 20g of protein on the label and people just assume it is good. That is not the case.
Not every protein bar is good for you. Not all protein bars should be treated equal. Walk into a gas station and look at the protein bars. They are camouflaged in with the candy bars. We don’t mean this in the way that they are put next to the candy bars, but the fact that a lot of these “protein bars” are actual candy bars!
Don’t waste your time and your health by looking up non-quality protein bars. Fitness Informant has complied a comprehensive list of the the six best protein bars on the market today! Stop being fooled. It’s time to be educated on the world of the best protein bars.
We have taken the liberty to help you find your next protein bar. This is our list of the top six protein bars on the market. You will not find a more honest, better compiled list than ours.
Our overall top 6 protein bars of 2017 was put together to help inform you to make better buying decisions when it comes to the protein bar category. We cut through the BS and the marketing to provide you with a true list of the 6 best protein bars available in 2017.
We rate each protein bar on five different categories. We start by looking at the ingredient profile of the protein bar. We investigate the types of protein and the other ingredients used to make the protein bar. The higher quality protein sources and less fillers, the better score the bar would get. We also look at the macro nutrients of each protein bar. A lot of individuals want to know calories, total fat, total carbohydrates and total protein.
Next we look at the taste of the protein bar. We look at taste in two ways. The first is does the bar taste like the label says? For example, does a cinnamon twist protein bar actually taste like a cinnamon twist. Second, we judge the overall taste of the product. We combine these for one score.
Texture is very important to the protein bar category. Texture encompasses the hardness of the bar, the chewiness, the crunch and the chalkiness. A good textured bar will have a nice combination of all the good things about texture.
Finally, we talk about the products value. Value is the combination of ingredient profile, taste and texture as it relates to price and to the competition. Just because a product is “cheap” in terms of price tag, does not mean it is a value. You need a combination of ingredient profile, taste, texture and price to be a good value.
We’ve seen the “other” lists out there. Truth be told, they are crap. They are suggesting products based on commission dollars, and not based on ingredient profile, effectiveness, taste, mixability and value. Our list includes the best of the best on the market today. You won’t be disappointed by any protein bar on our top 6 list. We guarantee it.
The Best Protein Bars: 2017 Reviews & Comparison Table
The following table compares the top 6 pre-workouts of 2017 in order from #1 to #6. It showcases their optimal features and gives you the option to purchase them at the lowest price online.
Table of Contents
Our Testing Process
We examined four different areas of each protein bar when we compiled our rankings:
- Ingredients Profile
When we review each protein bar on their ingredient profile, we look at the ingredients used, quality and amounts, and the macros of the protein bar. Many protein bars include a variety of beneficial ingredients, but ruin the bar with filler ingredients like sugars. We make sure the bars are macro friendly and the sources of protein and ingredients are high quality.
We review taste on two different components. First, how close does the protein bar taste to the actual name printed on the label. For example, does blueberry cobler actually taste like blueberry cobler. Second, we review it on overall taste (in our opinion) versus others in the same flavor category.
Texture refers to how well the protein bar chews. Is it soft? Hard? Chewy? Chalky? We look at all of these factors when determining the texture score of the protein bar.
Value is a combination of ingredient profile, taste, texture and cost. We do not just look at the price tag like a lot of others do. If a product is priced at a premium, we inform you if it is worth the premium price or not based on all the categories. We look at the overall picture of the protein bar, and how it compares to other protein bars on the market.
Please Note: Many of the top 10 supplement lists you find online are written by content writers with no in-gym or supplement experience who are paid by the word count to write an article for a website trying to generate money. These lists are influenced by brands who pay for placement. These lists contain protein bars supplements that are, for the lack of a better word, garbage.
The following products on our best of list were used by the author of this article. He used the protein bars through the duration of a full box. Sample packs were not used in determining the rankings of the following best protein bars.
Stop relying on faulty information that is influenced by outside writers and money. This list is the real deal. We don’t steer you wrong. Be Informed. Live Fit.
Rankings of the Top Protein Bars
Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, here’s our list of our top 6 protein bars of 2017.
6. MusclePharm Combat Crunch Bars
Combat Crunch Bars from MusclePharm are great protein bars from a reputable sports nutrition company. Combat Crunch Bars were the first protein bar to be baked. This provided a much needed shake up in the protein bar market. MusclePharm capitalized on a weak point in the protein bar market to take market share away from competitors. By leveraging a strong brand and a great tasting protein bar, Combat Crunch Bars became a popular choice among those in the fitness community.
Combat Crunch Bars contain 20g of protein per protein bar. Combat Crunch Bars utilize protein isolates (whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate) as their main source of protein. This bar contains whey and casein protein. The Combat Crunch Bar does contain 15g of NET carbs (carbohydrates less fibers less sugar alcohols) but a very limited amount of sugar alcohol for those who are sensitive to it. With 7g of fat the Combat Crunch Bars have a pseudo macro friendly profile for those who count their macros. A tad higher on the carbs than other bars, this is still a great profile.
Who Makes It: MusclePharm is a strong recognizable brand in the sports nutrition industry. They have marketing that is second to none. The bright green colors of their packaging is sure to always catch your eye. On top of that they worked with some of the worlds most premier athletes including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Shawn Merriman and more to put their name on the map. Today, MusclePharm is one of the most recognizable brands in the industry.
What’s In It?
One bar contains:
- 20g Protein – Whey Protein Isolate and Milk Protein Isolates; isolates prove to absorb more into your system
- 15g NET Carbs – With 12g of Dietary Fibers and 1g of Sugar Alcohols this reduces the overall carbs from 28g to 15g.
- 7g of Fat – Macro friendly
- Chocolate Chunks – appeases to your sweet tooth
Combat Crunch Bars are a solid protein bar for those who are serious about their health and wellness. With a great flavor to tag along with a baked texture, the Combat Crunch Bar provides a much needed change from the traditional protein bar market.
5. Chef Robert Irvine Fit Crunch Bars
FIT Crunch Bars from Chef Robert Irvine are awesome protein bars from someone who really has not had a huge place in the protein bar or sports nutrition industry. FIT Crunch Bars are larger than your typical protein bar which means you will also get more protein per bar than the other protein bars. With that also comes a higher amount of calories and fats, but it does not come at the cost of a higher amount of carbs. FIT Crunch Bars have a place in the industry and they are here to stay due to their ingredients, taste, texture and value.
The nice thing about FIT Crunch Bars being made by a culinary expert is he knows high quality ingredients. FIT Crunch Bars utilizes whey protein as the main source of protein in these bars. While most use milk proteins (80% casein and 20% whey) FIT Crunch uses only whey protein. At 30g of protein per bar you are getting one of the highest sources of protein in a single protein bar. Sure, you get 16g of fat per bar but you are only getting 9g of NET carbs per bar making the FIT Crunch Bar macro friendly for those looking for more protein in their diets.
Who Makes It?
Chef Robert Irvine is famous for his shows on the Food Network. He’s been in episodes of Chopped, Beat Booby Flay and others. Robert Irvine is also a fitness enthusiast who used his culinary knowledge to enter into the protein bar market.
What’s In It?
One bar contains:
- 30g Protein – whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate only; a higher quality protein bar
- 9g NET Carbs – due to the use of dietary fibers and sugar alcohols this brings the bar down from 27g of carbohydrates to only 9g of NET carbs
- 380 Calories – due to the high calories in this bar this can be used as a good meal replacement bar or a supplement to a diet struggling to get enough calories (bulking)
- 8g Saturated Fats – these are the “good” fats that you need and want in your diet
FIT Crunch Bars deserve a place in the protein bar game. They are baked and taste great! They have more protein per bar than the competition. These are perfect for those who are looking to add more protein and calories to their diet.
- 30g of Protein
- Whey Protein Isolate & Whey Protein Concentrate Main Source
- 5 Different Flavors
- 380 Calories for Meal Replacement
- Great Taste
- Soft Texture
4. Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites
Cake Bites by Optimum Nutrition are one of the best tasting protein bars that we’ve ever tried. What is also unique about them is they come in a pack of three instead of a whole bar so they can be easily shared with your swole mates. As a fairly new protein bar on the market it is proven to be tough to keep these on the shelves as people are flocking to buy them. They are different than your typical protein bar but in a very good way. The taste and texture will make your eyes light us as you will truly believe you are eating desert.
Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites purposely target your taste buds and not necessarily with the use of high quality ingredients. They do utilize milk protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate as the main protein source. You are getting 20g of protein per package is what we’ve come to expect from a protein bar. It is macro friendly with only 7g of fats but it does contain 25g of carbs which can prove to be an issue. This is the sacrifice they made when making this great tasting protein bar! They truly wanted you to feel like you were eating cake.
Who Makes It
Optimum Nutrition is probably the most well known brand and the biggest brand in the sports nutrition industry. They win awards at the Olympia each year for their protein through BodyBuilding.com. They make everything under the sun in this industry and have their finger on the pulse of everything.
What’s In It?
One bar contains:
- 20g Protein – utilizes milk protein concentrate (80% casein and 20% whey), whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate. A lot of casein in the protein blend but you do need to feed your body throughout the day.
- 7g Fat – very limited amount of fat in an amazing tasting protein bar (you’d think there was so much more) and it has 4g of the good saturated fats
- 25g NET Carbs – this bar does not utilize sugar alcohols which is why the taste is superior to other bars but it does affect the NET carbs as this is on the higher end of protein bars
- 5g Sugar – with how good this tastes you’d imagine that this is higher, so for this awesome tasting protein bar the limited sugar is good
- 3 Cake Bites – allows you to do portion control if you want to limit your carb intake and it makes it easy to share with swolemates
Cake Bites do contain more carbs than your traditional protein bar, but they taste amazing. We talked about how not all protein bars are good for you, well this protein bar tastes like it is bad for you but based on the ingredients used it is not. The only issue you might have is if you’re limiting your carb intake. Otherwise this protein bar is an awesome addition to this market and we would suggest that everyone needs to have these. You truly can have your cake and eat it too…guilt free and at a great price!
3. ProSupps MyBar
MyBars from ProSupps are another baked protein bar added into the protein bar game but distinguishes itself from the other baked bars by being better tasting with a better texture. MyBar was highly anticipated by the market because of beta tests that proved that they would be something special. They are able to utilize a chocolate coating to make you feel like you’re eating a candy bar but the reality is you’re eating a high quality protein bar!
MyBar from ProSupps utilizes the best protein blend you can have in a protein bar: whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. Unlike other bars who utilize milk protein as their primary source, MyBar uses the best. The MyBar does contain a higher amount of carbs but that is due to the fact that they do not rely on sugar alcohols which positively affects the taste. At 15g of NET carbs and 10g of fats this is a little on the higher side of a macro friendly diet, but it has to be to give us the taste we get and the texture we desire.
Who Makes It
ProSupps is a reputable sports nutrition brand most famous for their pre-workout Mr. Hyde. However, ProSupps makes many different products in the industry including protein powder, aminos, vitamins, fat burners and more.
What’s In It?
One serving contains:
- 20g Protein – whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate is the primary protein source meaning you are getting a high quality protein bar
- 16g NET Carbs – higher than a majority of protein bars on the market but MyBar does not rely on the usage of sugar alcohols to reduce the NET carbs thus making ti better tasting and does not affect those who have issue with sugar alcohols
- 10g Fat – we would typically see around 7g here on a protein bar but the MyBar does contain 5g of saturated fats which are good for you
- Chocolate Coating – makes you feel like you are having a desert aka cheat meal but you’re really not
MyBar from ProSupps is a special protein bar. It is baked which provides better texture and taste. All this while using high quality protein as the main protein source. Other baked bars in this category typically use a lower quality protein or do not taste as good. MyBar is the best baked protein bar we’ve ever tried.
2. Quest Nutrition Quest Bar
Quest Bars from Quest Nutrition revolutionized the protein bar game. Quest Bars were the first protein bar introduced to the market to gain popularity for being different in a very good way. Traditionally protein bars tasted dry, were hard to chew and the only reason they were consumed is because we were told they were better for us. Quest Bars were consumed because they tasted good, had a better texture and were truly good for us.
Quest Bars are the most macro friendly protein bar on the market today. With the use of sugar alcohols and dietary fibers they are able to have a protein bar of only 3g of NET Carbs. All this while still giving us 21g of protein and only 8g of fat. They also use protein isolates as their main protein source for faster absorption into our system. Quest Bars did it right when sourcing their ingredients and relied heavily on their ingredient profile to win customers over. Their taste and texture are good too which seems surprising given the lower amount of fats and carbs.
Who Makes It
Quest Nutrition revolutionized the protein bar game. They were the first brand since PowerBar to come out as a protein bar only company to become the leader in the industry. After a change in formula put the company at risk, Quest went back to their original formula to regain market share. Today you can find their products in convenience stores nation-wide. They also make protein chips, breakfast bars, pasta and protein powders.
What’s In It?
One bar contains:
- 3g NET Carbs – these active carbs are so low because of the use of sugar alcohols and dietary fibers taking the carbohydrates from 21g to 3g
- 21g Protein – a solid amount of protein in this bar utilizing protein isolates (whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate)
- 8g Fat – macro friendly protein bar that tastes good while limiting your fats; you also get 3g of saturated fats which are good for you
- Prebiotic Fibers – reduces your active carb level making it macro friendly
- 190 Calories – one of the lowest calorie protein bars on the market
Quest Bars have been the industry leader for a long time and we can see why. They use high quality ingredients while making a good tasting, decent textured protein bar that is macro friendly at a good price. These are readily available in gas stations throughout the nation (USA) and are a solid choice to buy while you’re on the run. They have over 20 flavors to choose from, no other protein bar company has that.
1. OhYeah! ONE Bar
OhYeah! ONE Bar by ISS Research gained popularity on QUEST Bars when Quest Nutrition changed their formulation on their original QUEST Bar (they have since gone back to the original formulation due to complaints). There was room for a new player in the protein bar space and OhYeah! ONE Bar capitalized by creating our top rated protein bar. It utilizes a high quality ingredient profile while staying macro friend. It gives us superior taste and texture compared to others and they don’t even inflate the price!
OhYeah! ONE Bar tops our list because they were able to make a great tasting protein bar with an awesome texture all while maintaining quality ingredients and being macro friendly. ONE Bars contain only 5g of NET carbs and 7g of fats. They are able to keep carbs low and fats even lower. ONE Bars also contain 21g of protein from whey protein isolate and milk protein isolates, a high quality protein blend. These bars are also gluten free which is big in the fitness community. One area of highlight is the sodium count is also really low on these compared to others.
Who Makes It
ISS Research makes a lot of different products for the sports nutrition industry. They do brand most of their products under the OhYeah! umbrella but they also carry other items like Victory Bars which are very popular.
What’s In It?
One serving contains:
- 21g Protein – high quality protein isolates (whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate) provides for better absorption by our bodies
- 5g NET Carbs – still macro friendly by using sugar alcohols and dietary fibers to reduce carbohydrates from 24g to 5g
- 7g Fat – a low fat total keeps this bar macro friendly while still providing superior taste
- 140mg Sodium – one of the lowest sodium content bars available
- Tasty Coating – whether it is chocolate or vanilla you are eating a bar that makes you think you are having desert
OhYeah! ONE Bars were able to secure our #1 spot because they use high quality ingredients while creating a macro friendly bar that is great tasting, with superior texture and at a great value. They give you everything you want in a protein bar that makes you realize you never need to eat another candy bar in your life.
ONE Bars were able to capitalize on what Quest Bars did in terms of ingredient quality and macro compliance while creating a better tasting protein bar.
This completes our full list of the best protein bars of 2017. The protein bars listed above earned the right to be in the top 6 protein bars of 2017. Each protein bar had a great ingredient profile that was comprised of ingredients that promoted a healthy way of life and contributed to muscle gains.