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Keto Nutrition

Best Low-Carb Protein Bar

Are you looking for a quick on-the-go munch or post-workout bite? Protein bars are a great portable snack when you’re in a pinch and need something to eat quickly.

But the protein bar aisle is saturated with countless choices and lofty nutrition claims.

Here’s the thing: Just because something has the word “protein” in it does not address it automatically healthy. There’s a time and place for a healthy protein bar, but those probably occur less than you probably think.

The best protein bars can serve as a healthier alternative to other packaged snacks. Moreso if you lift weights and in need of a quick post-workout meal. You can also replace meals on the go with protein bars.

In these cases, a low-sugar protein bar is better than most fast food and can provide a quick hit of protein if a sit-down meal isn’t an option. But that’s about the extent of the benefits offered by even the healthiest protein bars.

Why? They’re not any nutritionist’s idea of a healthy snack.

Depending on the bar, they might be upwards to 250-300 calories and packed with added sugar. Plus, many high protein bars are packed with fillers.

One dietitian suggests looking out for added and fake sugars like sucralose, erythritol, and aspartame.

So what makes a protein bar deserving of being on your grocery list? After analyzing dozens of protein bars, our choices focused on protein bars made of whole grain or whole food ingredients.

Our calory threshold is 300 per bar. We also looked for choices with no more than 10 grams of added sugar. To be recognized as a protein bar, we require at least 10 grams of protein per serving.

We also feel that fiber is essential to help keep you full. Thus, all choices on our list have at least 3 grams of fiber or more per serving. We also tried to retain sodium counts under 300mg per bar.

This is what makes the best protein bars.

You can always make your own low sugar protein bars, but these are some of the market’s healthiest protein bars if you don’t have time.

But keep in mind that some have more sugar than others. After, you won’t eat food if you don’t like how it tastes. It doesn’t matter if the protein bar has good marketing.

What makes a protein bar “healthy”?

If you’re looking to further your better-body goals, you may consider eating high protein bars. While it sounds beneficial, most of the market’s protein bars are loaded with sugar alcohols or saturated fat and lack fiber.

Registered dietitian Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, and owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition, suggests that you look for a balance of healthy fat, protein, and fiber. Doing so ensures that your protein bar can keep you satiated.

Also, choose a protein bar with between 200 to 400 calories and up to 20 grams of protein per serving.

It’s not just macronutrients that matter when it comes to determining the best protein bar. According to Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, says ingredients are also essential.

That said, read the ingredient list carefully and classify natural foods like whole grains, nuts, and fruit. It is also advised to look for good protein sources like whey protein isolate, pea protein, brown rice protein, and eggs.

Ingredient criteria for the best protein bars:

  • High-quality protein sources: Proteins sourced from high-quality isolates and concentrate and whole-food ingredients.
  • Natural sweeteners: Sugar sourced from natural sources like cane sugar or whole fruit.
  • Whole-food ingredients: The best protein bars only use whole food or natural ingredients.
  • Healthy fats: Must contain healthy fats from nuts and seeds rather than vegetable oils as fillers and binders.
  • Low to no synthetic or isolated fiber: Stay away from synthetics fibers like soluble corn fiber or chicory root.
  • No sugar alcohols: Despite being low in calory, dietitians advise against consuming large quantities of sugar alcohols.

Nutritional criteria for the best protein bars

Not just any protein bar settled a spot on our list of best protein bars. We compiled a list of more than ten protein bars for ingredient and nutrition comparison:

  • Eight grams protein minimum: To qualify as a “protein bar,” each bar had no less than 8 grams of protein. Hillary Cecere, RDN of Eat Clean Bro, a meal delivery service, recommends aiming for 15-20 grams of protein if you want to gain muscle. But 7-12 grams of protein for a satiating snack.
  • Thirteen grams sugar maximum: The best protein bars have no more than 13 grams of sugar.
  • Three grams fiber minimum: When it comes to fiber, Fine recommends opting for a protein bar with three or more grams per bar or serving. However, be wary of protein bards that have more than 10 grams of fiber. These are likely loaded with isolated fibers that can cause stomach discomfort.

After careful study, we rounded up our top choices for the best protein bars. The following are the low-sugar, best protein bars reached our nutritional requirements and deserved a spot in your pantry:

Organic Peanut Butter Protein Bars by Skout

These bars are made with plant-based proteins. They are USDA certified, kosher, vegan, non-GMO, grain-free, and, most of all, they’re gooey-good. And they’re made with just four ingredients.

Protein: 11 grams

Sugar: 18 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

Fat: 10 grams

Carbs: 25 grams

Calories: 210

RXBar Chocolate Sea Salt

If you want to feel like you’re eating a decadent salted brownie while meeting all your protein needs, you’ve met your match with an RXBAR.

Dubbed a favorite by many experts, RXBar boasts simple ingredients. Each bar contains dates, nuts, egg whites, and flavors.

A 52gram worth of RXBard Chocolate Sea Salt contains the following:

  • 210 calories,
  • 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
  • 240 mg sodium
  • 24 g carbs (5 g fiber, 13 g sugar)
  • 12 g protein

PROTEIN From Real Food Bars

Don’t be fooled by its granola bar facade! This crunchy snack from KIND packs in 12 grams of plant-based protein only has 6 grams of added sugar.

Each bar has:

  • 250 calories
  • 17g of fat
  • 125mg of sodium
  • 17g of carb
  • 5g of fiber
  • 6g added sugar
  • 12g of protein

Pumpkin Seed Protein Bars by Health Warrior

Each of these protein bars holds eight grams of organic plant protein from pumpkin seeds.

We like that you can recognize the ingredients in these protein bars and that each bar contains six grams of sugar. The chewy texture is a nice plus, too.

Protein: 8 grams

Sugar: 6 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Fat: 13 grams

Carbs: 11 grams

Calories: 170

One Gluten-Free, Low-Sugar Protein Bars

With flavors like Birthday Cake and Pumpkin Pie, this bar will not only cure your sweet tooth, but it’ll also stuff in a protein punch post-workout.

These bars are super delicious and have 20 grams of protein, far more than most on the market. They now also come in minis for a portion-controlled treat.

Each bar contains the following:

  • 220 cal
  • 8g total fat
  • 140mg of sodium
  • 24g of carb
  • 8g of fiber
  • 1g total sugar
  • Zero added sugar
  • 20g of protein

Vegan Organic Food Bar by Bearded Brothers

Free is the name of the game here. These bars are gluten-free and soy-free, plus they’re vegan.

Because these aren’t loaded with protein, they’re best to eat when you’re on a hike and need an energy boost.

Each bar is made with roughly seven ingredients, so you know what you’re eating, like dates and figs.

Protein: 4 grams

Sugar: 18 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

Fat: 5 grams

Carbs: 26 grams

Calories: 150

ALOHA Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Plant-Based Protein

Say “aloha” to a toned body when you include this bar in your diet. And don’t worry about the 24 grams of carbs. According to Isabel Smith MS, RD, CDN, carbs help the protein get into the muscle fibers.

A 52-gram bar contains the following:

  • 220 calories
  • 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat)
  • 95 mg sodium
  • 25 g carbs (14 g fiber, 4 g sugar)
  • 14 g protein

LAYERS Layered Protein Bar

RXBAR’s newest innovation is chewy, gooey, and nutrient-dense. Packed with 14+ grams of protein, it possesses a wholesome ingredients list and is sweetened with dates and honey. It has that candy bar taste and texture, but only 4 grams of added sugar.

A bar of Peanut Butter Chocolate has the following:

  • 250 cal
  • 14g total fat
  • 180mg of sodium
  • 20g of carb
  • 3g of fiber
  • 13g total sugar
  • 4g added sugar
  • 15g of protein

Whey Protein Recover Bars by Gatorade

These protein bars have a whopping 20 grams of whey and milk protein. These bars are meant for extreme workouts and are eaten by NFL athletes.

They’re loaded with protein but are also heavy on the sugar. Still, they’re one of the most delicious protein bars you can buy, both in terms of flavor and texture.

Protein: 20 grams

Sugar: 29 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Fat: 13 grams

Carbs: 41 grams

Calories: 350

GoMacro Macro bar Protein Paradise, Cashew Caramel

This is an excellent option for athletes looking for a vegan protein bar. You can thank the dynamic vegetarian duo of organic sprouted brown rice protein and organic pea protein for those 11 grams of protein.

This bar is also loaded with healthy fats from cashews and flax seeds, a great plant-based source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Plus, it’s one of the tastiest protein bars out there.

A 60-gram bar has the following:

  • 260 calories
  • 11 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
  • 35 mg sodium
  • 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 10 g sugar)
  • 11 g protein

Omega-3 and Grass-Fed Whey Protein Bars

The primary ingredient in this protein-packed bar is grass-fed whey protein concentrate.

It’s packed with fiber (7 grams to be exact) and only 4 grams of added sugar. Plus, it has a great flavor and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well. 

Each bar has:

  • 200 calories
  • 7g total fat
  • 120mg of sodium
  • 22g total carb
  • 7g of fiber
  • 5g total sugar
  • 4g added sugar
  • 14g of protein

Original Refrigerated Protein Bars by Perfect Bar

This bar is rich in taste because it’s made with honey and nut butter.

It stays good for one week out of the fridge. And what it lacks in accessibility, it makes up for in taste.

It’s creamy, crunchy, and reminiscent of cookie dough, which makes sense, given its high sugar and fat.

Protein: 17 grams

Sugar: 18 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

Fat: 18 grams

Carbs: 26 grams

Calories: 330

Primal Kitchen Almond Spice

If you want to lose weight, you’ll want to keep your blood sugar balanced to remove those dreaded spikes in blood sugar that can leave you hungry.

This bar has 8 grams of protein and minimal sugar, which helps keep blood sugar balanced by preventing a blood sugar spike. This flavor, mainly, contains cinnamon.

And cinnamon has been shown to improve fasting blood sugar levels, making it ideal for diabetic, pre-diabetic, insulin sensitive, and those with PCOS.

Each bar weight 38 grams and contains the following:

  • 200 calories
  • 16 g fat (8 g saturated fat)
  • 115 mg sodium
  • 9 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar)
  • 8 g protein

Plant-Based Protein Bars by Zing Bars

Designed by registered dietitians, these chewy bars are entirely plant-based and boast 10 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. The Dark Chocolate Coconut Vitality Bar has macaroon-style shaved coconut and tastes like an almond joy.

For every bar, you’ll get the following:

  • 210 calories
  • 11g total fat
  • 55mg of sodium
  • 24g of carb
  • 7g of fiber
  •  9g total sugar
  • 10g of protein

Protein Bars by Rise Bars

You get three ingredients in this protein bar: almonds, honey, and whey protein isolate. So there’s no need to acquire a chemistry degree before buying this protein bar.

The best part? You get 20 grams of protein for each bar.

Protein: 20 grams

Sugar: 11 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

Fat: 16 grams

Carbs: 20 grams

Calories: 280

Mighty Bar Grassfed Organic Beef, Cranberry & Sunflower Seed

Organic, grass-fed beef isn’t cheap for a reason.

Testing shows that when cattle graze on their natural food instead of inflammatory corn, their protein consists of more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. They also have conjugated linoleic acids (CLA). These are fats that have been used in weight-loss pills.

Each 28-gram bar has the following:

  • 70 calories
  • 3.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat)
  • 280 mg sodium
  • 4 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar)
  • 8 g of protein

Protein & Superfruit Bars by thinkTHIN

Not only does this yummy bar from thinkTHIN has 10 grams of protein and fiber, but it also contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. This gluten-free and non-GMO option is both sweet and tart from the combination of chocolate, pomegranate, and cherry. 

For every bar, you will get the following:

  • 230 calories
  • 9g total fat
  • 140mg of sodium
  • 30g carb
  • 10g of fiber
  • 8g total sugar
  • 10g of protein

Simple Whey Protein Bars by Detour

This great, tasty bar has 20 grams of protein that will fill up in the short term until your next meal. There are only four grams of sugar in each bar.

With six grams of fiber per protein bar, it should keep you feeling stuffed for hours after eating.

Protein: 20 grams

Sugar: 6 grams

Fiber: 6 grams

Fat: 8 grams

Carbs: 24 grams

Calories: 230

Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bar

Bulletproof’s bar is slightly higher than your average keto protein bar with nine grams of net carbs, but it’s a worthwhile carb expenditure.

Its protein comes from grass-fed collagen, a trendy protein derived from bovine or marine sources (in this case, it’s from grass-fed cows). It’s beneficial because it boosts collagen production in the body, which benefits hair, skin, nails, joints, and gut health.

Plus, this bar is rich in MCT oil, which studies show can prevent long-term weight gain due to increased energy expenditure.

This bar is also great for those following the Bulletproof or cyclical keto lifestyle.

For every bar, you can get the following:

  • 220 calories
  • 14 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
  • 115 mg sodium
  • 14 g carbs (5 g fiber, 2 g sugar)
  • 12 g protein

Conclusion

Numerous low carb, high-fat protein bars align with the keto diet to keep you stuffed between meals or provide a quick and easy breakfast.

It’s essential to look for ones that pack a decent amount of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and other nutritious ingredients.

Of course, whipping up a batch of homemade bars is a great option as well.