Before I get into my Quest Protein Bar Review (which are amazing btw), let me try to put protein bars into context..
What you put into your bodies you get out, whether that be in terms of strength and performance, health or even looks. An intensive training regime will get you so far but it is your diet that will ultimately determine the end result. Abs are made in gym and revealed in the kitchen remember!
- What does a balanced diet look like?
A healthy & balanced diet is essential for health, and an easy way of ensuring a healthy balanced diet is to fill 1/3 of your plate with low GI (glycaemic index) or wholegrain carbs e.g. oats, wholemeal pasta, basmati rice, sweet potato or quinoa, 1/3 with vegetables, fruit or salad and a 1/3 with lean protein e.g. fish, chicken, eggs or lentils. And yes, you can still have your ‘treats’’, everything is allowed in the 80:20 rule, think moderation not deprivation! Check out my guide to portion sizes for more information.
- Where do protein bars fit in?
Protein is an important building block in the body, and if you’re working out then your protein needs will be increased. This is because exercise increases protein turn-over, i.e. the rate at which your body breaks down protein (catabolism) and rebuilds it (synthesis). Protein requirements range from 0.8-2g/Kg of body weight a day, with the higher amounts applying to those who are strength training and trying to gain muscle mass. You should aim to take onboard at least 20g of protein after a workout, which is the equivalent of: 75g chicken breast/beef; 1/2 tin tuna/salmon; 100g turkey; 150g cottage cheese; a pint of milk; 3 eggs or a protein bar!
Failure to meet your daily protein needs could result in protein (muscle) loss, even if you are working out. Muscle loss can also occur if you’re trying to lose weight and do not take on board a sufficient amount of protein. A recent study actually showed that individuals needed twice the recommended daily intake of protein to prevent muscle loss whilst losing weight/eating an energy deficit diet i.e. 1.6g of protein per Kg of body weight a day.
In addition, protein increases satiety (keeping you fuller for longer) and contributes to a healthy immune system – an inadequate protein intake can lead to the depletion of immune cells and the inability of the body to make antibodies (which fight infection).
In my opinion, protein bars can can be a convenient (they require no mixing, shaking or preparing and they are easy to carry in any gym bag), low calorie and low volume way of helping one to achieve daily protein needs, and a bar can make a super tasty and healthy snack for ‘on the go’ or in-between meals. But of course, food always comes first.. protein bars should be used as a supplement and not as a food replacement.
- What about Quest bars?
Quest Bars seem to be ‘superior’ to other protein bars as they contain no added sugar or artificial sweeteners and are gluten-free (meaning people with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity can enjoy them too). The ingredients list is also relatively short in comparison to other protein bars.
The 60g Quest Bars comes in at 170-210 calories and provide 20g of protein. On average a bar contains 5g of fat with the nut containing bars containing more e.g. Vanilla Almond Crunch has 9g because of the healthy fats in the nuts. The bars contain a low amount of naturally occurring sugars (between 1g and 4g).
The main ingredient in the bars is whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate, both of which are high quality protein sources that can be used to increase muscle mass when combined with resistance (weight) training. They have a low glyceamic index and contain the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorous and magnesium (differing amounts dependent on the flavour).
Quest bars have a relative low “NET carbohydrate” amount because our bodies don’t take on board the fibre content which makes up the majority of “TOTAL carbohydrate” amount. The fibre is not digested and used as energy at all, the Isomatooligosaccharide is a type of carbohydrate that is almost digestion resistant.
- What are Quest Bars like?
The bars have a chewy texture, and most important of all, taste AMAZING! The bars when warmed (in the microwave for 10-15 seconds) taste like dessert and are super filling and they can also be made into some delicious recipes.
My personal favourite flavours are Strawberry Cheesecake, Vanilla Almond Crunch, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (YUM!), White Chocolate Raspberry and Coconut Cashew. They are also available in Double Chocolate Chunk, Mixed Berry Bliss, Peanut Butter Supreme, Apple Pie and Banana Nut Muffin. The following flavours I am yet to try.. Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Cinnamon Roll (this sounds so good!), Lemon Cream Pie and Chocolate Peanut Butter (I cannot wait for my next delivery of them!!).. Overall it’s a thumbs up from me!
- Where can you buy Quest Bars?
What are your favourite flavours?!