Quest bars

PaleOMG mentioned Quest bars in a post once, and I was kind of intrigued by them – a more paleo-friendly protein bar with minimally processed ingredients?

Quest was giving out free sample bars at the Mid Atlantic Regionals, and yep, I tried one. I asked the super friendly representative which flavors were the best and she went through most of them. I was kind of hesitant to try anything chocolate because I love chocolate…but some of the bars had peanuts/peanut butter and I wasn’t in a fruity protein bar type of mood.

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Ingredients:
The ingredient list from the packaging on the chocolate brownie flavor:

Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Isomalto-Oligosaccharide* (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber), Almonds, Cocoa, Water, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Lo Han Guo, Sucralose

I was hungry and didn’t have any other snacks with me, so I ate it, but wondered about the Isomalto-Oligosaccharide, Lo Han Guo, and Sucralose. I don’t have a problem with whey protein or milk protein, but yes, they’re totally not paleo (in case you’re strict). But sometimes you just want a protein bar on hand in case you don’t have food options, you know?

So, when I got home I investigated the ingredients a little. Their website says the Isomalto-Oligosaccharide is “a 100% natural fiber derived from plant sources that is very similar to the better known chicory root fiber.” Lo Han Guo is a natural herb that has been used in China. And sucralose is an artificial sweetener but used in “almost microscopic amounts.”

So, the Quest bars aren’t paleo but I would say they’re the most paleo-friendly I’ve found (no gluten or rice or soy or dairy), other than AMRAP’s Refuel bars. Note though that they have two lines – an original line and an all natural line. The original line uses sucralose (and stevia too in at least one bar) while the natural line uses stevia and erythritol, a sugar alcohol (though Quest says it has “little to no impact on blood sugar”).

Flavors:
There’s strawberry cheesecake, lemon cream pie, cinnamon roll, chocolate chip, chocolate brownie…and they just introduced a white chocolate raspberry flavor.

Protein/Carbs/Fat:
The chocolate brownie bar has 20g protein, 24g carbs (19g dietary fiber and 1g sugar), and 6g fat (1g saturated, 0 trans). Compared to other protein bars, the sugar content is super low and why I’m ok with that tiny bit of sucralose.

Taste:
The chocolate brownie flavor was good – in between the “oh my gosh am I eating cardboard or feet” and “is this really a protein bar or is it a candy bar” spectrum. Not too sweet, but still had flavor and not a chalky taste or weird aftertaste. It was pretty delicious. Strawberry cheesecake and lemon bar are delicious. There’s a berry flavor that’s good, but not my favorite; a chocolate chip cookie dough that is a typical cookie dough flavor. And, lastly, the new white chocolate raspberry flavor (my new favorite – I seriously bought a box, tried one, and then went back to buy a second box, THAT good).

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Conclusion:
Quest bars, while not paleo, are good, on the higher end of protein for bars (20g) and lower end of sugars (1g), and a better option than other non-paleo bars. Plus, they taste good. I’ll be buying some to keep on hand in case of emergency and while traveling.

Bonus:
They have two flavors at Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom – cinnamon role and lemon cream pie, and a few flavors at the Whole Foods in Clarendon. They also have bunches of flavors (it was basically a Quest bar heaven) at some GNC and Vitamin Shoppe locations.

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