10 Best Protein Bars Out Now (2019)

Find out which ones made the list!

Protein bars are a very useful nutritional tool which offers an effective amount of protein in a small package (literally).

The convenience and nutritional value are what make these bars attractive, not to mention, some taste indistinguishable from your typical, delectable treat. Protein is a must in every healthy diet but ensuring adequate daily intake is non-negotiable if you plan to maximize your muscle gains.

So, supplementing this macronutrient is a great way to meet your needs. But keep in mind, quality can vary greatly between the many protein bar options on the market.

So, we’ve put together some viable, quality options with several different price ranges to make the process more stress-free on your end.

Why Is Protein So Important?

Protein is a macronutrient which must be consumed in larger quantities because it’s a vital source for body tissue health (muscle, nails, and skin), repair, metabolism, and other numerous bodily processes. (1)

When we weight train, muscle tissue breaks down and protein is needed to re-build the tissue while carbs and fats (other macronutrients) are used for energy. And protein (mainly animal-based) also naturally supplies all nine essential amino acids which are building blocks of protein. (2, 3)

But to get adequate amounts of all nine amino acids from plant-based sources, you’d have to eat several different food sources to avoid deficiencies. And although soy is said to be a complete source, two of the essential amino acids are found in small amounts. (3, 4)

So it’s important to make sure you’re getting a complete serving of protein to maintain nutritional adequacy.

Check Out These Top Protein Bars…

1. Detour Lean Muscle Protein Bar

Detour Lean Muscle bars are a hefty nutritional option for not only supplying your protein needs but the number of calories (370 per bar) makes for a meal option too.

There are a few different sources of fast-digesting, quality protein which includes whey concentrate; whey protein crisps, whey protein isolate, and hydrolyzed whey protein.

Fast-digesting protein is very beneficial for maximizing muscle protein synthesis (MPS) relatively quickly and even has an advantage over slower-digesting proteins for initial MPS. So, it’s a very ideal source of post-exercise nutrition, although, it’s an appropriate option for any time of the day. (3)

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 370 calories, 12g of fat, 20mg (7%) cholesterol, 460mg (19%) sodium, 33g (11%) carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 27g sugar alcohol, and 32 grams of protein. Cookie pieces and protein crisps are added for a crunchy texture.

Each serving also includes a decent percentage of 21 vitamins and minerals (not all) so it’s a great option for a meal replacement. Not to mention, the macronutrient profile is acceptable for a meal replacement.

However, we recommended against swapping out most of your meals with a protein bar.

Another notable ingredient is the omega-3 fatty acids (1,000mg) which are an important nutrient for promoting heart health and maintaining healthy cell membranes.

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

2. Quest Nutrition Protein Bar

Quest Nutrition bars are undoubtedly the most popular among the fitness crowd. There are numerous flavor options and each bar contains 20+ grams of protein, a healthy dose of fiber for aiding in digestion and there are no added sugars either.

So, it’s no wonder these protein-packed treats are always in the discussion for the best protein bars. Although, they will soon be acquired Simply Good Food Co. and we hope the quality remains the same.

The protein contents are made from milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate. A few of the other notable ingredients include almonds, natural flavors, natural colors from plant-based superfoods and sucralose.

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 180 calories, 6g of fat, 5mg (2%) cholesterol, 220mg (10%) sodium, 24g (9%) carbs, 14g fiber, <1g sugar, 6g erythritol, and 21 grams of protein. Vitamins and minerals are minimal (calcium (8%), iron (2%), and potassium (2%)).

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

3. Pure Protein Bar

Pure Protein bars are a good option for convenient protein on-the-go (or at home). These treats aren’t anything fancy but where they shine is in their value. Quality protein at a reasonable price point is hard to beat.

The protein formula is a combination of milk protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey protein isolate.

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 190 calories, 6g of fat, 15mg (5%) cholesterol, 180mg (8%) sodium, 17g (6%) carbs, <1g fiber, 2g sugar (8g sugar alcohols), and 20 grams of protein. There are very small amounts of calcium and iron so the bars are not nutritionally complete. But Pure Protein has placed more of a focus on the “protein contents” to make them a simple option for getting adequate protein intake.

A few of the main additional ingredients include cocoa, natural flavors, soy lecithin, sucralose, hydrolyzed collagen, peanuts, soy crisps (soy protein isolate), and almond butter.

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

4. GoMacro MACROBAR

The name “Macrobars” is pretty reflective of what the product offers… and it’s obvious that the focus is on providing a healthy supply of macronutrients. These delicious bars are organic vegan-friendly options made from clean ingredients.

The protein is plant-based (organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic pea protein) from sufficient sources and the powder is naturally sweetened with brown rice syrup which is also used for binding the ingredients together.

Brown rice syrup is higher on the glycemic index (GI) scale than most sweeteners and it will cause a spike in blood sugar, so just be aware if you suffer from blood sugar issues. (5)

The additional ingredients include organic peanut butter, organic puffed brown rice, organic fair-trade chocolate chips (organic coconut sugar, organic cocoa, organic cocoa butter), and organic peanuts.

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 290 calories, 11g of fat, 0mg cholesterol, 40mg (2%) sodium, 37g (12%) carbs, 2g (8%) fiber, 14g sugar (8g sugar alcohols), and 20 grams of protein. Vitamins and minerals are minimal with 6% calcium and 10% iron.

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

5. Epic Protein Bars

These protein bars are a little different from what most people are used to when it comes to protein supplement snacking.

The bar is made from uncured bacon (no nitrites or nitrates) salt, vinegar, and celery powder. And there are no artificial ingredients.

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 150 calories, 10g of fat, 25mg (8%) cholesterol, 590mg (25%) sodium, 7g (2%) carbs, <1g (2%) fiber, 5g sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

So, if you’re the type who prefers meat as a protein source then you’ll really enjoy an Epic bar.

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

6. Rise Bar

Ok, if you really desire to have a minimal-ingredient protein bar, then look no further.

Now, the Rise bar will vary in the number of ingredients (3-5) depending on the flavor. But the almond honey has only three ingredients which are almonds, honey, whey protein isolate. There are no hidden ingredients and the whey protein is very high-quality.

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 280 calories, 16g (25%) of fat, 0mg cholesterol, 25mg (1%) sodium, 20g (7%) carbs, 4g fiber, 13g sugar, and 20 grams of protein. Vitamins and minerals are low at 15% calcium and 6% iron.

There is no soy or artificial sweeteners.

7. Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bar

Optimum Nutrition is known for making amazing protein powders but they also make some pretty darn good protein bars.

Milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate are the protein sources, plus, natural flavor is used along with sucralose and stevia for sweetness.

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 250 calories, 9g (14%) of fat, 5mg (2%) cholesterol, 170mg (7%) sodium, 20g (7%) carbs, 10g fiber, 1g sugar, and 20 grams of protein. 8% calcium and 4% iron.

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

8. Met-RX Big 100 Colossal Bar

Met-RX Big 100 Colossal bar is made for the hardcore snacker who needs the extra calories but it’s a good source of protein to support your hard work in the gym.

The protein sources include a combination of fast and slow-digesting forms which include soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, casein, soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, and egg white. Slower-digesting proteins are more beneficial for maintaining prolonged periods of protein synthesis.

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 410 calories, 12g (14%) of fat, 0mg cholesterol, 510mg (21%) sodium, 47g (16%) carbs, 3g fiber, 30g sugar, and 20 grams of protein.

A serving supplies healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals, although there’s no Vitamin D, or K. But, there’s a sufficient amount to where a bar could be a viable meal replacement option. However, not for the majority of meals.

There are corn syrups and added sugars in this formula if a concern.

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

9. MusclePharm Combat Crunch Protein Bar

Musclepharm protein bars are popular and one of the tastier options but these bars do provide a good source of the muscle-building nutrient (protein).

The protein forms are whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate and the main additional ingredients include prebiotic fiber, peanuts, sugar, and maltitol.

One protein bar contains the following nutritional information… 210 calories, 7g (11%) of fat, 40mg (13%) cholesterol, 460mg (19%) sodium, 28g (9%) carbs, 12g fiber, 5g sugar, and 20 grams of protein. The only significant mineral to note is calcium (22%).

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

10. Grenade Nutrition Carb Killa Protein Bar

There’s no denying that the ‘Carb Killa’ protein bar is a fan favorite and it just sounds cool! MusclePharm is a European company which ensures quality in each bar by using sustainable ingredients.

The protein in each ‘carb killa’ bar is from calcium caseinate (milk), milk protein isolate, and whey protein isolate.

One 60 gram bar has 215 calories, 8.1g of fat, 5mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium (6%), 21g (7%) carbs, 6g (24%) fiber, 2g sugar, and 22 grams (44%) of protein.

Additional ingredients include maltitol, soy protein, soy oil, sucralose, natural flavor, and vanilla powder.

Sweeteners used are xylitol and sucralose.

Note: This is not a minimal-ingredient protein bar so it’s advised to read the label for any additional ingredients which you may not agree with. Each flavor option may vary slightly in its nutritional value.

That’s a Wrap

Protein bars a very beneficial nutritional aid when it comes to getting enough of the macronutrient responsible for muscle growth. Sometimes it’s just hard to meet your daily protein amount and food isn’t always an option.

So, we’ve given you some great options which are not only tastes pretty good (subjective opinion for most consumers) but that will ensure you’re always feeding your muscles.

Now, as you can probably tell, the bars vary in what they have to offer. Some are more conducive to the individual who desires to lose weight. But, if you’re trying to bulk up, then some of these protein bars are the perfect solution to helping you maintain a caloric surplus.

Some contain a good amount of micronutrients like vitamins and minerals but others don’t. So, there’s no one best bar for every situation. You have to decide which option/s would be best for your goals and lifestyle!


References:
1-Reference, Genetics Home. “What are proteins and what do they do?”. Genetics Home
2-“How Do Muscles Grow?”. www.unm.edu.
3-Hoffman, Jay R.; Falvo, Michael J. (September 1, 2004). “Protein – Which is Best?”. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. 3 (3): 118–130. ISSN 1303-2968. PMC 3905294. PMID 24482589.
4-Friedman, M.; Brandon, D. L. (2001-3). “Nutritional and health benefits of soy proteins”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 49 (3): 1069–1086. doi:10.1021/jf0009246. ISSN 0021-8561. PMID 11312815.
5-“GI Database”. www.glycemicindex.com.