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