Love it, like it, hate it: Protein bars

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Protein bars can be a convenient, portable snack or breakfast in a pinch, but many are loaded with sugar, and some brands have hardly any protein! In today’s Get the Skinny, Molly shares her top picks and worst bets for popular protein bars.


The basics:

  • Look for bars with more protein than sugar & ideally no artificial sweeteners
  • Fiber content is less important – most are “isolated” fibers that don’t have same health benefits of real, whole-food fiber
  • Frame of reference: 1 egg has 7 grams protein; 3 oz lean meat has ~20 grams protein.



The following ‘Love it’ options have more protein than sugar, and no artificial sweeteners: 

Quest BarsThinkThin bars – NuGo Slim bars – PowerCrunch barsVictory Bars

The above contain 180-240 calories, 14-21 grams protein, 0-5 grams sugar

Note: Some Quest bars are made with all-natural stevia + erythritol; the other line contains sucralose (Splenda)

Nature Valley PROTEIN bar

190 cals – 12 grams fat – 14 grams carbs – 5 grams fiber – 6 grams sugar – 10 grams protein




190-200 cals – 12-13 grams fat – 15-17 grams carbs – 8-9 grams sugar – 7-10 grams protein 

The following ‘Like it’ options have more sugar than protein, but also contain artificial sweeteners:

EAS AdvantEDGE Carb Control – Atkins Bar – Pure Protein Bar

 The following “Like it” options have about as much sugar as protein, and for most, the calories range from 260 to 350 calories per bar. Not recommended for those looking to lose extra body fat; better suited for those who can use the extra carbs + calories:

PRO BAR CORE protein bar – Vega Sport – Clif Builder Bar – Luna Protein bar



Fiber One Protein Bar

140 calories – 7 grams fat – 17 grams carbs – 5 grams fiber – 7 grams sugar – 6 grams protein

More sugar than protein, and not really a “protein” bar, with less protein than a single ounce of chicken


Special K Protein Meal Bar

180 calories – 5 grams fat – 25 grams carbs – 5 grams fiber – 15 grams sugar – 10 grams protein

50% more sugar than protein