Healthy Protein Bar Review & Taste Test! | BEST Protein Bars 2019

Healthy Protein Bar Review & Taste Test! | BEST Protein Bars 2019

September 12, 2019 58 By William Morgan


(upbeat music)
– Hey, Munchies, welcome to the channel.
If you’re new, I’m Alyssia,
and I am stoked you’re here.
Today, I will be testing a
bunch of different protein bars
and giving you my thoughts
on taste and health.
But of course, that is going
to mean a lot of disclaimers,
because health is
relative, and what I choose
might not be what you would choose,
and that is totally allowed.
So truth be told, I don’t
eat protein bars anymore.
Truth be told, most people
don’t need to eat protein bars.
Truth be told, most people
think they need more protein
than they probably do, and truth be told,
the quality of protein
in most protein bars
isn’t really what I wanna
put in my body for fuel;
I would rather consume whole foods.
There are going to be a lot of truths
to be told in this video, but remember,
take what you want, leave what you don’t.
There is a lot of information to navigate.
First, you have to know why
you’re eating a protein bar.
Most of us don’t need as much
protein as we’ve been told.
It is not hard to get enough protein
from regular whole food sources.
Now exercise breaks down muscle protein,
so consuming protein after the workout
gives our bodies amino
acids to repair and rebuild
those proteins, as well as essentially
the building blocks to build new muscle.
So if you are looking for something
to specifically fuel your
recovery after a workout,
a protein bar could be
a convenient option.
But remember, you don’t not
benefit from the workout
if you don’t eat after it.
You still did it, and your
body still appreciates it.
A lot of people think that
they need a protein bar after,
and they end up eating candy in disguise,
and essentially negate all
the work that they just did.
They would be better off eating
nothing than the candy bar.
There are hundreds of bars,
so my approach to this video
was simply, “hmm, what would I eat?”
Now this video is not sponsored.
I went to about five stores,
and just picked out the ones
that I thought I might actually consider
including in my diet, or recommending
to someone else based on the stats.
These choices are some of the
cleaner ones I could find,
but I will say that I won’t
actually eat all of these,
although I will taste them for you today.
But first, let me tell
you my protein rules.
Number one, protein to calorie ratio.
It is a protein bar after all.
A lot of bars say protein on the wrapper,
and then there’s like, 10 grams
of protein or less, come on.
Most people, depends on
who you ask of course,
suggest 20 to 40 grams for post-workout.
For some, that’s probably
more than we need.
For protein, if about
30% of the total calories
of the bar can be from
protein, that is great for me.
It can’t always happen when adhering
to all of my other rules
though, something’s gotta give.
Two is carb count, so carbs
are also good post-workout.
Carbs combined with protein
can maximize protein
and glycogen synthesis.
The amount of carbs that you will want
will vary based on the
type of exercise you do
and your body, of course.
An endurance athlete, like
a runner or a swimmer,
might need more carbs than
someone doing weightlifting.
But maybe not, it depends on what type
of weightlifting you’re doing.
If you’re not working out as often,
you probably need less
carbs for that recovery.
So if you’re a regular person like me,
just wanting a post-workout bar,
I want carbs to be reasonable.
I don’t want to consume a piece of cake,
but I recognize that some carbs
will help with my recovery.
If your goal is to lose weight,
you may want to consume, and
need to consume, less carbs.
May.
Three, less fat for
post-workout specifically.
Now don’t get me wrong, fat is great,
I am a huge fan of eating a diet
higher in healthy dietary fat.
But for post-workout, a lot
of times it’s recommended
to have less fat, because it
can slow down the absorption
of your post-workout
meal, or bar, or whatever.
Now it’s not necessarily
going to inhibit the benefits,
but if I can limit the fat
I eat after exercise, I do.
Also, I want any fat that is in the bar
to come from healthy, natural sources.
Four, low sugar.
Carbs are okay, sugar I
try to stay away from,
especially added sugar.
I think sugar being low is more important
than calories or carbs being too high.
Five, fiber and net carbs.
Fiber is good, so sure, look for more.
But most bars these days
use fake fiber sources
like IMOs, isomalto-oligosaccharides,
inulin, or chicory root flavor,
soluble corn fiber, et cetera.
These are sneaky, because
they do add fiber,
but they aren’t whole foods.
They should not be our
main source of fiber.
And for a lot of people,
they cause digestion issues.
And especially for IMO fiber,
there have been studies
showing that there is not a
universal blood sugar response,
meaning that some people
do digest the carbs,
even though they’re
supposed to be indigestible.
Net carbs are carbs minus fiber.
Some people like to think
that only net carbs count;
I don’t recommend this approach.
Carbs are carbs, and fake fiber
is not going to be processed
like it would with whole foods.
I’m not saying that you
should avoid it completely,
and if you don’t have
the digestive distress,
then it might be fine for you,
but don’t use it as
your main fiber source,
and don’t think that the
calories or carbs don’t count.
Six, ingredients.
So for me, no aspartame.
I don’t personally like to
consume sucralose either,
some of these bars do have sucralose,
they would not be a
part of my regular diet.
I would go for stevia,
monk fruit, or erythritol.
You can check out my Sweeteners
101 video for more on that.
I also prefer dairy-free,
because dairy doesn’t love me,
but whey is dairy, so it’s hard
to avoid for a lot of bars.
We’ll talk about that more.
Seven, complete proteins.
So not all bars contain complete proteins.
I’m going to touch on
the importance of this.
And number eight, of course, taste.
And…
Let’s do it.
So I did a video years ago,
and it needed an update,
because there are so
many new bars out there.
I saw a few I was excited about,
two of which were these
collagen-based bars:
the Bulletproof collagen
bar, apple pie flavor,
and the Primal Kitchen
coconut cashew collagen bar.
These bars have pretty clean ingredients
compared to mainstream bars.
Downside, they only have
12 to 13 grams of protein,
and contain 12 grams of fat,
so this is higher in fat
and lower in protein than
I’d want for post-workout.
But the main downside and reason
I would not recommend this
for post-workout specifically
is it’s a collagen-based bar.
I might say this could be a snack,
although I try not to
turn to bars for snacks,
but not for a post-workout bar.
So stay with me for a
quick educational detour.
Collagen is a type of protein
our bodies produce naturally,
but we can also get it from supplements,
and it’s made from bones, skin,
and cartilage of animals and fish.
It has become really popular
lately, and rightfully so,
because collagen makes up about 30%
of the proteins within the human body.
It’s great for joint health,
complexion, and longevity,
skin, hair, nails, et cetera.
The catch is collagen is
not a complete protein,
meaning it doesn’t contain all
of the essential amino acids.
There are 20 different amino
acids that can form a protein,
and nine that the body
can’t produce on its own,
that’s why they are essential.
We have to eat them, because
we can’t make them ourselves.
Complete proteins can come
from animal and plant sources.
So whey and egg protein are
two complete animal forms
of protein for instance, and hemp and soy
are complete plant-based proteins.
Collagen, however, only contains eight
of the nine essential amino acids.
Now that doesn’t mean
it’s not worth consuming,
I have collagen every
morning in my coffee,
but for the purposes of the
protein bar like I mentioned
for hashtag-gainz, I want
a complete protein option.
So let’s give ’em a try.
All right.
Hmm, okay.
The Bulletproof one is crumbly and soft,
it also melts in your mouth.
It actually does taste like apple pie,
and not like an artificial flavor,
probably because it
contains actual apples.
I can definitely taste the cashew butter.
It tastes clean, I like it.
Okay.
The Primal Kitchen one is very chewy.
It’s not as sweet, which I prefer.
I think a lot of times
protein bars are too sweet,
and I don’t love the sweetener-y
taste a lot of them have,
but this one I cannot
taste it, which is nice.
It tastes like coconut, but it’s sticking
to my teeth a little too much.
Okay, next up are these Rise bars,
the simplest protein bar, and
I think that is a fair claim,
because I could not
believe these ingredients.
Almonds, honey, and
whey in the regular one,
and cashews, coconut nectar, pea protein,
and lemon extract in the vegan option.
So it couldn’t get much cleaner
than that, which I love.
The vegan one has 15 grams of protein.
It is harder to get as much protein
from plant-based sources,
so that’s expected,
but pea protein is a good choice,
because it is a complete protein,
it has all of the essential amino acids.
Not all plant sources are like that.
Rice protein for instance
is not a complete protein.
So these have good levels
of protein and carbs,
the main downside is
they are higher in fat,
which I prefer to keep lower post-workout,
but I’ll take the fat, because it’s from
a healthy source like
almonds, so it’s a win.
All right.
The almond honey tastes like almonds
and honey, big surprise.
What is a surprise is that
it actually doesn’t taste protein-y.
It’s smooth and creamy, and…
Oh, man, I just love how
few ingredients it has.
I would eat this bar.
Mm, okay, vegan lemon
cashew, it’s soft and smooth,
I like the lemon flavor a lot.
It is a bit chalky from the pea protein.
It’s gonna be the case with almost any
pea protein bar or powder unfortunately.
These also do have a
little bit more sugar,
12 to 13 grams, it’s a little high for me,
but knowing what the
ingredients are is a good sign.
Okay…
(thumping)
Okay, NuGo bars are next.
They are noted as whole foods,
and I do love the ingredients
lists, short and sweet.
The protein is all coming from egg whites,
which I much prefer to whey
or any other processed source of protein.
That being said, without
supplementation of the protein,
they are going to have less
of it, so 12 to 14 grams.
They are lower in fat which is nice,
but the total sugar adds up
even though the added sugar is zero,
because the first ingredient is dates.
It’s a clean bar, but it
could have more protein
and less total sugar to fit the bill.
All right, let’s try peanut butter first.
Okay, peanut butter is very sticky.
I hate when it gets stuck on my teeth.
It’s nutty, sort of like a Larabar,
but with only nuts, and no dried fruit.
It’s very oily.
Super oily, sticks to my teeth too much,
my jaw gets tired trying to chew it.
Little less oily, still very chewy.
Better, but not my favorite.
I don’t think I would eat
either of these regularly.
(groaning)
Jimmy! Wake It Up, clean
protein bar is next.
(laughing)
It caught my eye at Walgreens,
believe it or not, because it says clean.
Also white chocolate cafe latte flavor,
I love white chocolate.
Is it too good to be true?
Fat isn’t too high,
carbs, sugar, and added sugar
are all pretty reasonable,
and over 20 grams of protein.
I was also surprised to
see the ingredients list
isn’t as long or overwhelming
as I would have thought.
I will say, I don’t
love soy protein crisps
as an ingredient, I am not
a huge fan of processed soy.
I don’t love seeing vegetable
glycerin or palm oil,
but it could be worse.
It has like, a pretty icing on top.
Crunchy.
It tastes like a dense Rice Crispie Treat.
Honestly, it tastes like peanut butter.
I don’t really get white chocolate,
and I don’t really get coffee much,
but it doesn’t taste like
a regular protein bar
because of that crispiness.
It’s okay, it’s okay.
I think I’d be over it after a few bites,
I don’t think I could eat the whole thing.
So part of my issue with bars like these
is also the emotional component
with my relationship with food.
I have done so much work to develop
a healthy relationship with whole foods.
Sometimes I think eating bars like this
do more harm to that
relationship than good.
They’re candy bars in disguise,
I mean, look at the icing on this.
And so it’s like I’m
trying to convince myself
that it’s not dessert,
and doing my body good.
Over time, my approach has evolved
to eat whole foods most of the time,
and if I really want an actual cookie,
I just eat it, instead
of trying to substitute
with something that’s super processed.
But I know that that’s
not everyone’s approach,
which is totally allowed.
Quest bars, chocolate chip cookie dough.
So these are some of the cleaner
processed bars you’ll find.
They have solid stats with
the fat, carbs, and protein,
they use erythritol and
stevia, which I prefer.
Some flavors do use
sucralose, and some don’t,
which is a bummer for me
personally, but whatever.
This could be a solid choice,
but there’s still a compromise being made,
as there has been with all of these,
at least for my personal
protein bar rules.
It tastes very sweet, too
much sweetener for me,
and it does taste artificial
and a bit processed.
It’s more like a candy
bar, but I’m not sure
cookie dough is how I would describe it.
Honestly, I used to be
a big Quest bar fan,
before they changed the formula
from IMO fiber to corn fiber.
That being said, I do respect
that they made the change,
because I know that they did it
to address the fact that
those studies were coming out
showing that IMO fiber didn’t have
a universal blood sugar response,
and they wanted to be
sure that their product
was affecting people’s
bodies as they claimed,
so I totally respect the change,
but I miss the taste of the old bars,
because this doesn’t taste as good to me.
One bars are similar to Quest
in terms of ingredients,
they do use the IMO fiber instead of corn,
which does taste better in my opinion,
but I don’t love the idea
of consuming it as much.
So studies have shown that IMO fiber
can actually generate a glycemic response
that is more substantial
than regular table sugar.
The question is, does
it depend on the bar,
the company, and the type
of IMO fiber they’re using,
or does it depend on the person?
Experts say it really depends
on how the fiber is made,
which is of course not going
to be on the ingredients list.
I can’t know looking at the label,
and my feeling is if it’s this complicated
to figure out, do I really want it?
Anyway, the regular One
bar and the One Basix bar
are similar, but the Basix
version is a tad cleaner.
So this Basix cookie dough bar,
it tastes more like cookie
dough than the Quest one.
And I think it tastes less artificial,
and I think it’s better
than the Quest bar.
It’s doughier, it’s less plastic-y.
The blueberry one, I’ve tasted it before.
Mm, it’s so good.
It’s like a Pop-Tart.
I mean, it’s the best one I’ve had today,
and probably will be the best one,
it’s just too bad that they
use IMO fiber and sucralose.
I can taste the protein, but the tartness
of the berry flavor really helps
to balance out the sweetness.
They both have vegetable glycerin,
but the Basix does use sunflower lecithin,
it’s not my favorite, but
it’s better than soy lecithin,
which the other one uses.
And the Basix one uses stevia,
versus the regular which uses sucralose,
so small changes, but I
would honestly pick the Basix
over the regular because of
those ingredients, even though,
man, the blueberry cobbler
one tastes really good.
Okay, I do have to quickly
stop and just remind you
to press subscribe to the channel
if you want more videos like this,
hit that bell so you can be notified,
and please let me know
what you would like to see
so that I can do the research
and get that out for you.
No Cow bars are next.
So these used to be called
Dee’s Naturals, I think.
This is a vegan bar, and
it’s actually pretty solid
with ingredients and stats.
It’s lower sugar and fat,
over 20 grams of protein.
It is a high fiber bar because
it’s IMO fiber, womp-womp.
But the protein blend
is pea and rice protein,
so there are complete
proteins in this vegan bar,
and the other ingredients aren’t bad.
Erythritol, stevia, and
monk root sweetener,
which is preferred for me personally.
I’d say the main downside
is the IMO fiber for me,
but it’s just everywhere
these days in protein bars,
which is a big reason
that I’ve stopped trying
to include them in my diet.
First, let’s try the vanilla caramel.
Okay, it’s like biting into…
(laughs) It’s like biting
into a piece of chalk.
Hoo-hoo!
It’s the pea protein.
I just don’t know if anything
can be done about it,
because it’s the nature of pea protein.
There’s a mild caramel-y flavor,
but honestly the texture
is just making me think
that there’s dirt in my mouth.
How about chocolate peanut butter?
It’s a little bit better.
I think the peanut butter helps
with the chalkiness a little.
It’s a little bit more pleasant,
but it’s not my favorite, I
couldn’t eat the whole thing.
(coughing)
So it was cool to find these
next ones by Julian’s Bakery.
There seem to be three different ones,
but it’s all the same brand.
So the Primal Thin variation
is a whey protein bar.
This is a sweet cream flavor.
There are only four ingredients:
organic grass-fed whey,
always a plus to see grass-fed
and organic, organic
digestive resistant prebiotic
tapioca fiber, (laughs) sunflower butter,
and monk fruit, nice, except what is
organic digestive resistant
prebiotic tapioca fiber?
So tapioca fiber is a toughy,
because it can be the same
thing and labeled differently.
Sometimes tapioca fiber
is actually IMO fiber.
So I don’t wanna completely
revisit IMO fiber again here,
it’s your choice to make,
but a lot of experts
claim that tapioca fiber and starch,
even though it comes
from the cassava plant,
is essentially empty
calories without nutrients,
and in some senses, may
be worse than sugar.
It’s very chewy.
It actually tastes like sweet
cream in flavor, it’s subtle.
I like the flavor actually.
I don’t love the texture,
it’s too chewy and sticky,
and sort of hard.
Meh.
The Paleo variation uses egg white powder
as the protein source, I love it,
I much prefer that to whey,
but it still contains the tapioca fiber.
This one also has organic donut flavor,
which I thought was funny.
It makes it sounds as if
the organic donut flavor
was like, growing out of the ground.
And it’s sweetened with monk fruit.
Also very chewy.
The donut flavor, it tastes
more like vanilla and maple.
It’s natural, but it does
sort of taste artificial,
or like, extract-y in the aftertaste.
I like the ingredients a little more,
but I’m not about the taste.
And the Pegan version,
Pegan is supposed to be
like, paleo plus vegan
if you aren’t familiar.
It uses organic pumpkin seed
protein as the base, neat!
But also tricky.
So pumpkin seeds actually
are a complete source
of plant protein, but they are low in some
of the essential amino acids.
So they don’t actually
provide a complete source
of protein in every bite.
Does that make sense?
It also contains the tapioca fiber.
This is vanilla cinnamon.
It’s a little sweeter
than the sweet cream one.
I don’t like it when it’s too sweet,
so it’s a little much for me.
It tastes stronger, it
also tastes more fake.
The pumpkin seed protein though,
it’s not as chalky as the pea protein.
It’s a little easier
to swallow, literally,
but I don’t think I’d eat it regularly.
At the end of the day, these companies
want you to buy their bars.
They are gonna put whatever
they need on the label
to convince you that it’s
what you want and need.
Oh, you realized you don’t
wanna consume IMO fiber?
We’ll just call it organic
prebiotic tapioca fiber instead,
and even include the health claim
that it’s now with probiotics
and prebiotics on the label
to convince you that it’s what you want,
even though it’s the same thing
and really isn’t doing you any good.
Now listen guys, I am not here to tell you
to eat or not eat these,
I don’t care what you eat,
but I get asked all the time,
is this bar or that bar healthy,
and the truth is it depends
on you and what you want.
I don’t wanna eat more processed
foods, and protein bars,
they don’t grow on
trees, they’re processed.
I’m not saying that you can’t eat them
or that they’re all bad, but
you’ve gotta weigh it out
based on your goals, and what
you wanna put into your body,
and how frequently you
want to include them.
Again, truth be told,
most of us don’t need
that much protein, and we
likely don’t need protein bars
to meet our intake, they
are just a convenience.
So what do I actually eat?
Honestly, probably none of those.
I would prefer a bar that
is actually just meat,
which are becoming more popular.
So you’ve still gotta read the label,
but you likely won’t find IMO fiber
or tapioca fiber in them.
Meat bars won’t have as much protein
as a protein bar actually,
they’ll be moderate in fat,
and significantly lower in carbs.
There will be very little sugar,
but check to make sure, because
some do contain added sugar.
The main thing to watch out for is sodium.
Now sodium isn’t gonna kill
you, or at least most of us.
If we’re eating mostly whole foods diet,
we don’t need to be overly
concerned about sodium
if we don’t have any
preexisting health issues.
But it can add up quickly with these bars.
If I actually wanted a
post-workout snack with a bar,
I would go for one of these meat bars
and a convenient piece
of fruit for the carbs,
like an apple, a banana,
some grapes, berries,
rather than the protein bar.
So the quality of flavor
and texture varies
based on the brand of the meat bar,
but I think I would have to save that
for a whole other video.
Okay, so that is the protein bar video.
I know, I suck at telling you
exactly what you wanna hear,
but I just refuse to tell you what to eat,
because the fact is, we’re all different,
we have different needs,
preferences, goals, and bodies,
and I want you to be able to
decide what’s right for you
without having to blindly listen
to what an internet person
is telling you to do.
That is what gives you power, and control,
and freedom with food, and
with your healthy lifestyle.
Education is power.
Spread the word, and share the video
if you learned something,
I really appreciate it.
I will be back next
week with a new episode,
and remember, it’s all a
matter of Mind over Munch.