Are Quest Bars Really as Nutritious as Claimed?

Quest bar analysis

Lately, we’ve been hearing more and more from Fooducate community members about Quest Bars. They seem to be tasty, they have an impressive nutrition facts panel, and somebody on their team is doing a kick ass job in marketing.

Quest promotes itself as the “#1 Protein Bar” and at first impression the nutrition numbers look very impressive. Take, for example, the Vanilla Almond Crunch Protein Bar. It’s a 200-calorie bar, but only has half a gram of saturated fat. It’s got 20 grams of protein, which is 40% of the recommended daily intake. The fiber count is super high at 18 grams, almost three fourths of the daily requirement. Most Americans lack woefully in fiber intake; here an individual can erase her deficit with a single bar. Quest sells itself as a low sugar, low carb solution, claiming only 2-6 “net carbs”. Indeed, only 22 grams of carbs, of which 18 are fiber, and just 1 gram of sugars. Amazing.

But then you take a look at the ingredient list, and the house of cards comes crumbling down. This product has “gamed” the nutrition facts panel by using food-like ingredients to compose the bar. Let’s have a look at the Ingredient list:

Protein blend (whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate), isomalto-oligosaccharides, almonds, water, natural flavors, sea salt, lo han guo, sucralose.

First the pros: It is a short list.

Now for the problems. The protein sources are not something you can make at home or buy from a farmer. Whey protein isolate milk protein isolates are a byproduct of cheese production. Body builders buy them in powdered form to add to food and drink. In some cases, they may cause digestive problems such as bloating, cramps, and gas.

Next are the isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMO), the source of fiber in the bar. It is a syrupy goop that tastes slightly sweet but is not considered a sugar because it is a long chain molecule. Although it is found naturally in fermented foods, it is much cheaper to manufacture it in factories by applying enzymes to various starch sources. The problem with ingesting 18 grams of this IMO, is that it feeds only a small subset of our gut bacteria.

A balanced diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains will provide a much better fiber profile for your digestive system. In our book, IMO is a fake fiber. Incidentally, Quest is being sued now, with the plaintiffs claiming that the actual fiber count is lower than stated in the package.

But we digress.

Whenever we see natural flavors added to a product, we try to imagine what it would taste like without them. Added flavors are made in labs and serve to mask the lack of flavor of the other ingredients in the product. Ask yourself this – do you need to add natural flavors to food you prepare at home?

On to sweeteners.

Lo han guo, also known as monk fruit, is the Chinese equivalent of stevia. Instead of a leaf, this is a fruit. Monk fruit extracts, called mogrosides, can be processed to manufacture a powdered sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that may or may not cause cancer, bowel disease, and DNA alterations in mice. We understand that despite no added sugars, this bar is rather sweet due to the addition of processed and artificial sweeteners.

Bottom line:

This product is engineered to taste good and look like a nutrition powerhouse. In fact, it is a highly processed food-like product that we would not eat.

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  • Amy

    completely agree!

  • SixCatFaerie

    Just downright scary! Every bar I’ve ever scanned with the Fooducate app gets a low score for a reason. Eat real food!

    • Don’t be ridiculous

      Perhaps that has more to do with the app and less to do with the bars intrinsic nutritional value.

    • derpentine

      try getting 200g protein daily with only “Real food” and get back to me.

  • GG

    I have a hard time with comments noting that the protein sources are, “not something you can make at home or buy from a farmer.” Well, that goes for most protein sources! I’m very athletic so I keep an eye on making sure I get enough protein to continue building muscle, and the amount of protein I would get from non-processed food sources like nuts, seeds, tofu, peanut butter, cheese, and eggs would also be pretty high in calories. Unless you eat meat, what are your options for on-the-go, high-protein, low-calorie foods that AREN’T processed? (Incidentally, I eat a Clif brand Builder’s Bar every morning, and that works great for me.)

    • Gratefully Anonymous

      Non processed protein sources with very low calories:

      1)PB2 – powdered peanut butter (most of the fat is removed) you mix with water. Found at GNC or online.
      2)Egg whites.

      • Just an FYI

        He also added “on-the-go”…

        • Gratefully Anonymous

          Thank you, I will try to be more specific. Prepare the following in advance, at home,, pack in tupperware in a soft cooler with an ice pack if desired. Bring with you to eat at work, assuming your commute isn’t too long.

          1) Hard boiled eggs
          2) Sandwich of PB2 and sliced half banana on healthy bread
          3) Healthy “Egg McMuffin” reheated in a microwave
          4) Snack on edamame–there are plenty of plant based vegan athletes–even body builders–who get enough protein. Don’t believe the protein myth.

          Free advice done. :-) Hire a registered dietitian if you want more advice.

      • michelle

        ‘Powdered peanut butter (most of the fat is removed)’ – how is this significantly different from the protein sources picked on by the article? Both are processed and I’m pretty sure you don’t powder peanut butter and remove the fat yourself at home!

        • Gratefully Anonymous

          Was there really a need to be snippy? With all the processed crap loaded with chemicals and artificial crap sitting on store shelves, I really didn’t view something like PB2 to be in the same category. But yes if you want to split hairs, powdered peanut butter is not unprocessed.

    • Dani

      If you’re athletic and work out a lot I think you can handle nutrient dense foods with a little more calories

    • derpentine

      solution: eat meat.

  • Carol H

    “They have an impressive nutrition facts panel”. No, they don’t… and for the reasons you give — too much protein and fiber. Your body doesn’t need a snack with so much of either in a small 200-calorie package. Ironic that the lawsuit thinks less fiber is a problem here, when they should be complaining about too much (it isn’t healthy)! Massive amounts of fiber in one sitting will send food down your GI tract too rapidly to absorb any good nutrients (= $$ down the toilet). And the body actually prefers CARBS as a source of quick energy … not protein (it takes too long to digest and convert to energy). Save the meat/protein for one or two of your meals of the day AFTER you have done your exercise. Yes…by now, everyone should know to eat whole grains, beans, vegs/fruit to get fiber — they are loaded (but not overloaded) with it, along with other good stuff. For a nut with less fat try chestnuts; but the fat in nuts is good stuff — just don’t eat too many before strenuous exercise (fat, like protein, takes long to digest).

    • droach587

      Its for working out, not casual snacking. This is a dietary supplement for people who engage in hi-energy active lifestyles.

      • Shari Peterson

        My hub and I eat them after Muay Thai and other days from the gym. They are not meal replacements.

      • Kira

        Thank you for this comment – too many people in this comment thread have clearly missed this point

      • Kira

        Thank you for this comment – too many people in this comment thread have clearly missed this point

    • derpentine

      “too much protein” Hilarious. Do you even lift?

      Good luck getting anywhere near what people would consider “strong” thinking 20g of protein is “too much.” Protip: athletes benefit from up to .8g protein per lb of bodyweight. Which you would have known, if you knew anything about nutrition.

      You act like protein taking extra energy to process is a bad thing… in a nation with 66% of people overweight, they should be intentionally eating inefficient food.

      You know what’s the most efficient? Dietary fat. Takes nearly 0 processing to turn into body fat if you’re in a calorie surplus. It does not take long to digest, that’s 100% wrong. Provide a source

      A source that isn’t “WALK 15 MINUTES A DAY FOR BELLY BLASTING CARDIO!!” grocery-aisle-tabloid preferably

      • Matt

        As do you, you really don’t know anything about nutrition…dietary fat does not turn into fat. Carbohydrates are most likely too because fat doesn’t effect insulin.. Do you kno what insulin Is? I’m assuming you don’t. Americans became obese not because the consumption of fat, but excessively consuming dietary carbohydrates which has screwed Americans up the ass.. All because the demonization of fat from what the usda guidelines recommend all Americans eat, yep diabetes and obesity skyrocketed after that, so you and him don’t know squat about anything

        • derpentine

          You can’t read. Dietary fat turns to body fat only in a caloric surplus e.g. by definition above maintenance calories. Which is what I said. “Calorie surplus” were important words. I didn’t just include them for fun. Read more carefully. Even fat and protein cause an insulin spike in sufficient quantities (like when you’re over maintenance calories/TDEE).

  • overseaschinese

    Just to add a bit on the Natural Flavours. For this particular flavour – Vanilla Almond, both flavours can be sourced naturally. Vanilla Extract can be as natural as one can make at home, it can be commercially extracted to be somewhat cost effective for manufacturers to use. For the Almond flavour, the main flavouring component would be the Benzaldehyde. While it is commonly found as synthetic, there is a growing desire for a NATURAL Benzaldehyde extracted from almonds. It is not only expensive, but can be toxic due to the remnants of cyanide if it is not processed properly.

    Whether they really used natural flavours in the product is a different subject matter although I hope the manufacturer has declared truthfully.

  • 4theluv

    I must disagree. I use Quest bars regularly specifically because of the protein bars out there it is lowest in sugar and fat, and high in protein. For me they are not a snack, but rather a meal replacement on those days I am running too much. While I prefer personally prepared whole foods, and that us my norm, these are my go to instead of the fast food places. There is not a single ingredient listed in this article that causes me any concerns (despite the hysterianic language of what things “may or may not” cause – really? Wth does that even mean?) My biggest complaint is that their cost is so high, though still much cheaper and better than the drive through.

    • dan

      totally agree

    • Shari Peterson

      Agreed. Plus how does a natural flavor suddenly become something made in a lab? I eat maybe 4-6 of these a week along with lots of fruits and vegetables, being a vegetarian. I am 46 and in excellent health. :)

      • Kataclysm1k

        Natural flavors made in labs have the same molecular structure/formula as the ones found in nature. Your body, a biologist, a chemist will find them identical

        • Day

          As a biologist with chemistry background, no we would not find them identical

        • Jørn Andreassen

          You can get vanilla or raspberry flavour from cow dung and put it in foods as “natural flavour”. And you are dead wrong!
          (and since you gave no links you will get the same from me: A statement.)

        • Surfdancer

          Umm…No… Biologist here. They are NOT INDENTICAL.
          An example of nutritionism in all it’s deluded glory.

      • Heathersolo

        Best bar ever. Keeps me on track. Helps me lose weight by providing a “treat”. Fills me up. Makes me smile :) . Love this bar.

      • baggman744

        You obviously don’t know what “natural falors” are.

  • Karrina

    Oh please. It’s much healthier then other protien bars out there so I’m sticking with my yummy quest bars<3 I really don't see anything wrong with them.

  • http://greeneyedguide.com/ Danielle Robertson

    While I don’t like the taste of Quest Bars, I have to disagree with the assessment of using “natural flavors”. Some natural healthy foods like wheat grass, Brussels sprouts and certain grains like quinoa don’t exactly taste yummy on their own, so in your kitchen you might add seasoning and spices to, wait for it, add more flavor. I think it’s short-sighted to judge a product on whether or not it contains natural flavor.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Would be wonderful to learn what those natural flavors are. Unfortunately, they are lab-made materials, not something you would add in your kitchen.

      • http://www.greeneyedguide.com/ Danielle Robertson

        Made in a lab doesn’t automatically make it unsafe just as natural, straight from the ground, doesn’t automatically make something safe or healthy. Would you agree? If the label says “natural flavor” then according to the Code of Federal Regulations the flavor cannot be synthetic. “Nature-identical” is a different story and decidedly beyond the scope of this conversation. (Good article on this debate and its complexities in Reply Post, below) Context matters a great deal when it comes to food safety and unfortunately crucial details get overlooked when nutrition advice is dumbed down. Do I think this Quest bar is better than whole food? No, I’m just saying that identifying food/ingredients that are good for you is not as simple as drawing the line at whether something was made in a lab or a kitchen.

        • http://www.greeneyedguide.com/ Danielle Robertson

          Natural vs synthetic vs Nature-identical on Nutritional Outlook http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/natural-synthetic

        • Tj

          Wow, you people need to get a life!!!!

          • derpentine

            and posting this no-thought piece of shit comment constitutes having a life?

      • Shaun

        Oh no! A Lab! It must be bad then, nothing made in a lab ever made anyone more healthy. Except, perhaps, all of modern medicine. Boo science! Let’s go back to when polio was still a thing!

        • Shaun

          This entire article is all based on one big fallacy, the “appeal to nature”.

      • derpentine

        Salt is made in a lab. Do you not use salt?

        Water is purified in a “lab.” Do you not use water?

  • http://freeingimperfections.com/ Melissa @ Freeing Imperfection

    Finally some common sense. I got 2 of these bars for free to try and I hated them both. The taste was disgusting and way too sweet. I hate fake sugars and don’t get why “healthy” is slapped onto this label.

    • Don’t be ridiculous

      Whether or not you like the taste and your personal hatred of anything you would label a fake sugar have nothing to do with whether or not these bars are healthy. Likewise, your feeling that “healthy” was just “slapped” on this label also has nothing to do with whether or not the bars are, in fact, healthy to eat.
      I’m not saying they are healthy, but your personal tastes and prejudices are completely irrelevant to the question.

    • derpentine

      because low fat, low carb, high protein is a healthy macronutrient distribution generally speaking, which is pretty obvious.

  • nthmost

    What? You can make whey protein at home. People have been doing so for centuries.

    http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Homemade-Whey

    And Quest actually guarantees that the whey they use will not contain lactose, which is the part that usually upsets people’s tummies.

    Whey protein is also clinically shown to feed muscle growth much better than most other proteins, reduce inflammation, and provide a nearly-optimal amino acid profile for humans.

    But, hey, eat factory farmed chicken instead, or whatever. More whey protein for me. :)

    • barless

      quest bar’s dairy source is probably factory farmed so… enjoy your factory farmed whey? doesn’t say rBGH free either.

    • 16 Dollar Prosthetic Spock

      That package looks like a cow barfing cookies

    • Ovidiu Drobotă
  • michelle

    I find it interesting how naturally occurring compounds which can be synthesized to be more cost-effective are labelled as ‘fake’ like it’s such a terrible thing.. They’re identical and your body doesn’t recognize the difference between the naturally occurring source and synthesized one as long as there aren’t other undesirable side products which would be a different issue altogether.
    Make sure you’re properly informed and point to real side effects and risks so that we can take articles more seriously, instead of highlighting ‘fake fiber’ when it’s also found naturally in certain foods. I’m sure there are more sound arguments to make, don’t just use scare words.

    • Skip

      I am not a huge fan of these bars (or any “bars” for that matter) but this article is weak, at best.

  • Paula V

    Grow up!

  • JessicaHoward01

    The ingredients aren’t great, but they’re not the worst either. These would be better for most of america to eat as a meal or snack than what’s being consumed on a daily basis..i.e., McDOnald’s, BK, etc. Also, it’s got less ingredients than 90% of “food” on the shelves today. I give them a 7 out of 10.

  • Matt

    There will always be critics, doubters and the nerds who have to research, analyze and point out every scientific flaw in everything. Find out what is best for you and stick with it. Don’t let these food geeks steal your hunger for what you love. There are much worse things out there.

  • bmoney

    I think the whole impetus of this article is flawed: if you’re going to review a protein bar as it is (a protein bar), then compare it to other protein bars, not natural foods. It would be like comparing the nutritional value of an apple fruit snack to eating an apple. Obviously if I could eat a grilled chicken salad, banana and a low-calorie electrolyte drink while driving back to work from a noon workout, I would. It’s a Captain Obvious move to point out that natural proteins, fruits and vegtables are better for you than manufactured protein bars, and slam a bar because it doesn’t stack-up against a whole meal.

    • Cheryl Ogle

      I agree with this comment whole heartedly.

      • Cingal

        I agree too!

        • J

          Im a Quest bar fan as well. I have sensitivities to Mylitol which is a fake sugar used in diabetic and diet bars etc. Many quest bars use Stevia as their sugar. I have had zero intestinal issues. I agree with the comment above as well! Well written and makes total sense!

    • Alan

      Look into RX Bars. They are made with REAL food and much better for you IMO. There are numerous better options then these bars or power bars, ect. This article is only to educate you on the actual product (Which is what fooducate does.) Not suggest substitutes. Whatever happened to people doing their own research instead of relying on others to do so via internet articles?

      • Dan

        After looking at their nutrition info I’ll for sure try some RX Bars. Just lettin you know that the appeal of the quest bars is the low carb content. A lot of people don’t want the amount of sugar (even if it is just from fruit) that is in the RX Bars.

      • thekater

        Hello? I thought I was doing research when I came across this article…

      • sigh

        Because sugar is what I want out of my protein bar…

    • Alistair Pace

      Exactly what I was thinking, I had my first quest bar today protein powders (personally use garden of life raw protein) and high protein low carb and fat bars are supplements, if you can’t get enough protein from whole foods everyday then supplement every few days with protein supplements like quest bars etc…. But don’t replace whole foods all together that is just silly :P like this article

    • Stephen

      9 out of 10 times the people reviewing these bars are openly hostile to their very existence. It’s like vegans reviewing steakhouses.

    • Ovidiu Drobotă

      Thank you for the discussion on Protein.
      I was getting this one: http://www.proteinen-shop.nl/68–100-whey-gold-standard-protein-227-kg.html and I can say that I had not side effects.

  • Kay

    First of all, natural flavors aren’t as “natural” as you think. The FDA lets these companies get away with so much it’s disgusting. A “natural flavor” ingredient can literally be extracted from the back end of a beaver! Read this article: http://foodbabe.com/2011/12/01/chemical-warfare-with-natural-flavor/comment-page-1/#comments
    I can’t believe companies get away with this. Don’t trust anything labeled with natural flavors and believe me, it’s in almost every packaged food. And also, Matt, who calls the food researchers nerds-we aren’t nerds and we aren’t out to get anyone. We are just more health conscious than the rest of America which BY THE WAY is becoming more and more obese. Don’t be a hater. Be thankful because they are helping you become more informed. Oh yea, and did I mention we are seeing more cases of cancer and heart disease now than ever? I wonder why… We are the people who have seen our loved ones die of these diseases and I know part of it may be genetics but a lot of it has to do with the food that we put in our bodies! Just stick with the basics…REAL food…fruits and veggies.

    • Teresa

      Do you know why we’re seeing more cases of cancer and heart disease? Because those are diseases that appear later on in life, and the diseases that used to kill us at earlier ages have mostly been eradicated (thanks to lab work…). Correlation =/= causation

    • derpentine

      “Oh yea, and did I mention we are seeing more cases of cancer and heart disease now than ever? I wonder why”

      Yeah, so do pharmaceutical companies with billions of dollars in funding and hundreds of thousands of extremely well qualified PhD’s. They haven’t figured it out yet, so there’s no way in hell you have.

  • kristin

    I love Quest bars but now that I’m aware of bad ingredient Sucralose/ splenda –I might not eat very many.. What about replacing Sucralose with Stevia..?

  • JoAnn

    Note that there are “natural” QuestBars with NO artificial sweeteners (no Splenda/sucralose). The natural flavors use stevia and erythritol. They come in double chocolate chunk, chocolate peanut putter, cinnamon roll, strawberry cheesecake, coconut cashew, lemon cream pie, and banana nut muffin flavors. I am a fan, I must admit. I just had the urge for something sweet after lunch and ate a double chocolate chunk bar instead of opening the box of Girl Scout cookies that were beckoning. Yes, I probably should have eaten an apple. But I think the QuestBar was a better choice than the Thin Mints. :-)

    I think eaten in moderation, QuestBars are not at all bad for you. They’re much better for you than other so-called protein bars.

  • Renè hunter

    This article was downright bad. Theres no real facts that has any deep meaning to them. More opinions and unrelated listings of scenarios. This person should be banned from writing as long as he cant be realistic.

    • Don’t be ridiculous

      Agreed. This is an opinion, not fact-based, article, and judging from it, I would not trust the author’s judgement on anything. The writer, after all, may or may not be Elvis writing under a pseudonym from his secret fortress on Mars, where he grows Mars bars on trees.

    • tired of fads

      Hey Rene– I think I see the deep meaning in your comments. I appreciate your creativity when it comes to the English language, as well.

      • Weston Garber

        Are you the butthurt author of this awful piece?

  • kale

    there are natural, vegan protein bars with 20-22 grams of protein but people avoid them because they are so high in carbs. carbs from dates and raw agave syrup usually. organic food bar raw vegan protein bar is great but i do wish they would cut out the agave. the dates and raisins are sweet enough and more than enough carbs. i wish sunwarrior would make a low carb, high protein bar with stevia.

    studies have shown brown rice and a combination of plant based proteins are the same as whey when it comes to muscle growth and maintenance. protein is protein. some even say the raw protein is absorbed even better! and it is less likely to make you bloat too.

    • Shari Peterson

      Yeah I’d love to drum up $150 for some raw protein product! It’s just not in the stars quite yet. :) I hear they had a production stop though at One World a few months ago. Not sure if it was a labeling issue or what.

      http://www.one-world-whey.com/

    • derpentine

      Protein is not protein, there are differences. http://www.ergo-log.com/mix-of-casein-whey-soya-protein-after-strength-training.html.

      But, like you say, protein quality isn’t nearly as big of a deal as people act like it is. It’s a complete non issue if you get enough protein in the first place

  • fitfoodie0000

    Nobody has claimed quest bars are “healthy and nutritious”. They are popular because for people for fit people trying to decrease their body fat or put on lean muscle (ie body builders, trainers, or anyone looking to drop those last five vanity pounds), these bars provide an ideal amount of protein and fiber as a snack while tasting like their favorite desserts that they can no longer have. I always advocate for eating whole and nutritious foods and would not put quest bars into that category. However, when in a caloric deficit they keep me incredible full, prevent a late night oreo binge when I’m on a low carb day, and contribute to my large daily protein requirement without taking the time up of cooking meat. It may not have any micronutrients or be “real” food, but it has the perfect macronutrient profile for an afternoon snack for someone who is looking for a 1-2% change in their body composition.

  • fiskers

    If you don’t have the time to make your own healthy meal or lack the cooking skills then go ahead and eat some dirt bars. They aren’t a meal replacement bar, they still don’t taste that great, you’re only boosting your ego because you think you’re treating yourself to something yummy, guilt-free. Eat real food. And stay away from whole greens, e coli is a nasty bitch.

  • IJ

    As far as protein bars go, this is the best one that you can find on the market — pretty much all protein bars use some form of processed protein be it whey or soy. If you’re one of those hipsters looking for truly all-natural foods, then you probably shouldn’t be eating anything out of a plastic wrapper, let alone a protein bar. This whole article assumes the wrong thing about people that choose to eat these bars, and so it’s all moot.

    • Shari Peterson

      What’s weird is it approaches it as if it’s a review but it’s really to trash all things in a package. Any bar is going to have the same review if it comes in a wrapper – it’s packaged, you should have fruits & veggies instead.

  • Dominique

    I completely agree. Anyone that is trying to be healthy is doing them self a disfavor by eating these bars. Artificial and no calorie sweeteners have a laundry list of negative effects on the body. I don’t know how anyone can convince themselves that these bars are considered ‘clean’.

    • Shari Peterson

      When I am en route between work and Muay Thai and I have but one hand free and 30 minutes, I eat a bar. COMPARED to other bars this one is just not bad. Is it 100% clean? No. It doesn’t say it’s organic either so I am not convincing myself of that.

      If it had sugar someone would complain. No matter what, anything put in a bar to add sweetness (and stevia just doesn’t cut it for many people, still bitter) isn’t going to pass someone’s muster. My one issue on this is that the starting molecule for the sugar alcohol might be extracted from GMO corn which hasn’t been verified – if it is, I would stop eating the brand all altogether.

    • Dave

      Easy to make accusations about negative effects of these sweeteners. Where is your proof ? Stevia and Sucralose have been in use for many years and have been shown to be safe for a great majority of people. ANY food has negative effects on some people. Huge numbers of people have allergies to “Natural” milk and many get violently ill or die from peanuts to name a couple. Come to think of it, how healthy is “natural” sugar ? It’s the main cause of obesity and early deaths. Let’s keep things in perspective here.

    • derpentine

      “A laundry list”

      Such as?

      Please provide real scientific sources which support that statement. Not naturalnews fear mongering garbage. I’ll wait.

  • Quest Rep.

    It’s the Quest bar bandwagon!! Bottom line it’s just not as good as you fan-boys believe. Nothing with Sucralose is.

  • dan

    yeah you dont know what youre talking about

  • Stone

    Do you even lift?

  • droach587

    I fully disagree. I’ve been eating these for over a year, and I not only feel great, my health and wellbeing are proof enough. Most proteins you find in products these days are a bi-product of one or another item. Lastly, if you follow this company you will know that they hide nothing about their product, and truly aim to provide beneficial, supportive products to their end users.

  • Ves

    You guys are only looking at it from one angle… Determining if its healthy is one debate but what is being said is… For instance… Say a bodybuilder wants to eat this, and they are on a strict diet… They want something that won’t effect them in a negative way and still taste good because most of their diet is tasteless… This is not a good option because of what the ingredients truly are. It’s not saying it’s not good to eat, but what it is saying is you might not be getting out of it what you think you my be getting out of it

  • not4me

    By the way… natural flavors can include such nasty things like, Aspartame and msg… no way would I eat a quest bar, any bar that doesn’t list ALL its ingredients is being very misleading… and sucralose, you have to be kidding me…no way… Its a shame these “protein” bars are still mostly crap ingredients… I hope some day there will be a protein bar with “integrity” …

    • Chablis

      You don’t like them. We get it.

  • Idunno Maybe

    If it does have the cheese by product builders use then it’s a amino acid that we need and, it can help you lose weigh too. I think it’s cla that cheese produces and ,it’s expensive to buy by itself so if you get it in a bar them it’s a bonus

  • Idunno Maybe

    And, it seems very unlikely companies would make something bad for you becuz of one simple thing, it’s bad for business.
    Also, the people that run the companies are me and you so, would you or me knowingly make something and sell it to people knowing it could harm them?
    WHAT would and could you eat without sugar or preservatives? We would all starve if not for large food companies too. Let’s face it, theres 7 billion people on the planet that would starve to death without mass distributors of food. We have choices and they are ours too. You can buy the 2.50 pack of “chicken burgers” knowing it’s the chickens nose and who knows what else is in it besides a pound of sodium or you can buy the high quality fresh chicken at the reliable farm like grocery store.
    Here’s something to ponder too.
    People with Ibs can’t eat healthy food.
    But if they eat mcd’s they feel great.
    It’s all cellular programming from your childhood that makes you decide what to eat. Cellular memory.
    That is , when the body is young it becomes what you eat and remembers,acclimated to it forever.
    Except maybe milk sugars for many.
    So eat what makes YOU healthy and happy not what makes someone else happy and healthy.
    I was raised on corn flakes, cookies and chicken and am happy therefor healthy when I eat that.
    I’m also 53 AND A HALF! :) and look half my age I’m told by so many.
    I eat what makes me happy and I listen to cravings.
    I never eat fibre one but the website about people that do sounds hilarious.
    No pun intended.

    The fart like a model t all day because of it.
    It’s probably a very good food and source of fibre . Lol :)

    • Gidget Church

      Hilarious you are…

  • D Coop

    For people who don’t have time to sit around and talk about how much bad food there is out there, quest bars are a great and quick go to snack. I enjoy kind and Lara bars too. You are not scientists and no one really knows what these ingredients do or don’t do. Jus sayin.

  • Andrew Lugavere

    dumb dumb dumb dumb fucking dumb article

    go back on your paleo raw foods diet

  • Cheez Wizard

    “Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that may or may not cause cancer…”

    Sums up the scope of science used in this article, in other news peaches may or may not cause evil tentacle outgrowths

    • VOLARIS

      LMMFAO!

  • mandrews

    Compare apples-to-apples, yes, but this article is pointing out a prevalent argument that what is on the label of nutritional supplements is generally the “tip of the iceberg”. To dismiss the article because you like the bars and don’t want to believe it, which most people seem to be doing (anyone who said ‘yummy’), is unintelligible. It’s like saying the world was created in 6 days because you like the bible. Don’t be stupid. The point is, the company CEO himself admits that IMOs are largely unregulated, tested, or known. He claims they’ve been used for 15 yrs in Asia, but so have sharks’ fins -because they hold some mystical/magical powers. You keep eating the cat in the china-town window. I’ll find a bar that makes logical sense.

    • derpentine

      “You keep eating the shark’s fin soup and believing in miracles”

      What a blatant straw man. You had a decent point and had to ruin it with this garbage.

  • Kataclysm1k

    The only even slightly downside is if the “fake” fiber truly only affects a portion of the bacteria. The protein quality, sweetness, and flavored are all commonly used and safe. As someone who has a difficult time digesting protein, this bar is a lifesaver. I have to indigestion!!!

  • Bri

    This article was very poorly written. Quest Bars are not meant to be some sort of “miracle” nutrition bar. The biggest use for them is for people looking to build muscle mass – HENCE THE PROTEIN ISOLATE. If someone is looking for nutrition in factory-made snacks, they are doing it all wrong! Of course you must eat healthy with real foods, but if you are looking for a quick protein source, these are perfect and way better than most other brands!

  • jimmyy333

    Let’s all be holier than each other! Such sport!! Look, we all get the gist of what these bars offer. Just be grateful that in 5 years or so all the faddists will have moved on to arguing about global warming, or teacher tenure, or vitamin D, or caffeine causing cancer, or caffeine preventing cancer … oh wait– those will be passe too. Still important, but just not as cool. Ah– what’s next?

  • erica

    I love this bar it’s craved my hunger specially with my sweet tooth I think it’s a great protein bar. Including that the sugars are very low witch is great I can never find a protein bar at the store without the high outrageous amounts of sugar. But I also think that the quest bars are way to expensive I think they would have way more buyers if they would lower the price that’s affordable to all communities.

  • SM

    PETITION: Remove the artificial sweetener sucralose from ALL Quest Bars. Sign now!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/quest-nutrition-llc-remove-the-artificial-sweetener-sucralose-from-all-quest-bars

  • lostintyme

    very informative..seems that most people want taste and convenience over knowledge of what they are using to “fuel” their engine.. thanks for the awesome article :)

  • Ali

    Couldn’t agree more! If you are looking for a bar made with ALL natural ingredients, try a PlusBar made by Greens Plus! You won’t find any glorified candy bars coming from them!

    • einstini15

      snickers has less sugar

      • Ali

        What a great insight! I bet snickers provides a serious nutritional boost as well.

  • Cheryl Ogle

    Anyone with a brain would know whole foods are clearly better. As a processed food, it’s my go-to when you compare it to any other bar out there. Fiber be damned – anyone will “sue” for the money any more. Sadly people are retarded when it comes to nutrition labels. They are always based on a “sampling” of a dozen items (so 12 Quest vanilla bars for example) and then “averaged” because it would be IMPOSSIBLE to say in a batch what each bar has. If those people suing can tell me without question, what the amount of cals are in each brownie from a batch of brownies they made, had, then I would say they have cred but as it is, they are simply opportunist. And personally, I despise those people and the people who jump on their bandwagon. Can YOU tell me precisely how many cals are in each protein bar you made from a batch? NO. Because mixing is inconsistent and you can’t control it. This is why they take 12 samples and AVERAGE them (for ALL products by the way).

    IMO’s have a ton of research done on them. They are plant derived from cereal crops. They are probiotic in nature. If you consume more than 30g a day, it can have negative effects. You aren’t supposed to eat these all day as a meal… However, your claim that it can make you gassy directly contradicts all evidence to the contrary. I think you are referring to the reference in the statement: With the high dose of IMO then recommended, there is possibility of gastrointestinal symptoms (like production of copious amounts of gas, bloating, soft stool or diarrhea) with the dose that is about 40 times higher than the no-effect level for laxative effects in humans. **Therefore, consumption of IMO within the recommended dosage is not expecting to pose any health-related concern.** (http://www.fda.gov/ucm/groups/fdagov-public/@fdagov-foods-gen/documents/document/ucm268863.pdf)

    Whey Isolates – the better form of milk protein which was listed primary and then milk protein isolates are far better than casein protein because they are quick to deliver to the muscles. MPI is simply more proteins by weight from skim milk (hence the “isolate”).
    Am I in love with the sucralose? No. But, it’s last on the list and the amount I eat (1 or 2 bars a week), it’s not going to effect me.

    • derpentine

      “are far better than casein protein because they are quick to deliver to the muscles”

      Whey is digested more quickly yes, but saying that’s de facto better is 100% wrong. Casein is very useful, and in fact, studies have shown mixed protein leads to more muscle accretion than whey alone. http://www.ergo-log.com/mix-of-casein-whey-soya-protein-after-strength-training.html.

      Don’t state things you can’t back up.

  • volaris

    All i can say is, Im so hooked i need to go to detox. There must be something addictive in the chocolate brownie quest bar because im up to eating around 4 a day now. And it all started so innocently. I can’t seem to cure myself of these, I know i need help to quit. God help me

    • Gidget Church

      I feel your pain…

  • Meathead

    This article may or may not be utter garbage.

  • Whole foodie

    Thank you so much for this article! I have been seeing so many “clean” eating instagrams that promote this. This clearly is not a whole food option and the website is so misleading. The “cheatclean” campaign is very clever but misleading and unethical.

  • mr.M

    I don’t agree or disagree with you about the sucralose, but your statements on Whey and IMO as “problems” is disheartening. Here some information that was gathered through research and not opinionated blogs. Some facts about whey protein and isisomalto-oligosaccharides:

    1) Whey protein is the protein contained in whey, the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds when making cheese. You state you cannot make this at home but unless you make milk and cheese you’d rule out milk and cheese for the general populous as you can’t make these either. You also state that you cannot buy this from a farmer yet whey protein, along with casein protein, is naturally occurring in milk and cheese. Further, you state that body builders use this, which is accurate, but so do a majority of collegiate and professional athletes. Your side effects are for high doses of whey protein; high doses of many natural foods have side effects as well (ever have too many grapes, apples, watermelon, chicken?). Finally, 20g of whey protein, or 80 calories worth of a 2000 calorie diet, is not high dosage.

    2) “Isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) is a non-digestible, low calorie health sweetener that supports the proliferation of the beneficial bacteria residing in the large intestine (colon), therefore act as a Prebiotic.” … “IMO improves overall gastrointestinal and bowl functions in human in addition to having low calories. It has been reported in clinical trials that IMO do not cause any GI upset when consumed up to 10-20 g/day (the amount of a Quest bar).” Further, IMO does not influence blood sugar or insulin levels and it does not absorb in the small intestines, and as such, is consumed by the diabetic populations as well. You mention that we should get our fiber from natural sources, and I concur, but in order to get the FDA recommended dosage of 28g for women and 32g for men, one would have to consume 14-16 cups of broccoli or 9-10 apples per day.

    Sources:

    Abou-Samra, R., Keersmaekers, L., Brienza, D., Mukherjee, R., and Mace, K. Effect of different protein sources on satiation and short-term satiety when consumed as a starter. Nutr J 2011;10:139. View abstract.

    Abubakar, A., Saito, T., Kitazawa, H., Kawai, Y., and Itoh, T. Structural analysis of new antihypertensive peptides derived from cheese whey protein by proteinase K digestion. J Dairy Sci 1998;81(12):3131-3138. View abstract.

    Ainsley, Reid A., Vuillemard, J. C., Britten, M., Arcand, Y., Farnworth, E., and Champagne, C. P. Microentrapment of probiotic bacteria in a Ca(2+)-induced whey protein gel and effects on their viability in a dynamic gastro-intestinal model. J Microencapsul. 2005;22(6):603-619. View abstract.

    Tsunehiro J, Okamoto K, Awamoto S et ai. Acute and subchronic toxicity and mutagenicity studies on hydrogenated isomaltooligosaccharides mixture, and evaluation of laxative effect in humans. J Japanese Assoc Dietary Fiber Res 1998; l(2) [on Internet: http://jdf.umin.ne.jp
    FDA.gov: http://www.fda.gov/ucm/groups/fdagov-public/@fdagov-foods-gen/documents/document/ucm268863.pdf

  • james

    Pretty worthless article. Probably one of the worst reviews that I have ever read. You wasted my time, thanks.

  • Michelle Lauren Litton

    I am doing a project for school about protein bars. I need to find proof that the statements about the ingredients that are spoken about are true. Because this is a blog I cannot use this information as my only source. My question is where did you find out the statements about the ingredients. Was it from the FDA or the USP web sight? It would be amazing if you can share the sources you got this information from with me!

  • Jill

    Just a quick note: I choose the Quest bars that do not contain sucralose – there are several flavors that do not contain sucralose.

  • kgal1298

    My issue is the way they are marketing them is as total meal and snack replacements and using YouTubers to do it…YouTube’s audience is highly influenced so I’m just wondering if kids might eat too many of these in the quest for actually nutrition. Don’t get me wrong I love some alternative bars and junk food like Lenny and Larry’s, but I highly doubt they should be replacing their snacks on the level this is being marketing. I had to do more research on these because all the press is marketing jargon so far so it’s almost impossible to find real information in their marketing scheme, which I work in marketing I can respect, but I hate marketing as well because basically you become a master of lying in the process for a sale and KPI goals.

  • Harry Otto

    I’d like to put these bars in my Vitamix, create a slurry, then see what the mass spectrometer in the Columbia Univers Lab says. MetRX was caught with false and misleading labeling in the past and these bars haven’t been checked by an independent lab. They taste too good to have the labels they do. But it’s just my humble opinion.

  • irv

    This article is ridiculous. Quest bars are low carb and low sugar, unlike all the other bars except Detour bars. Sugar and carbs cause heart disease by making us insulin resistant.
    If everyone ate Quest and Detour bars, we’d end the obesity and diabetes 2 problem.
    Go ahead, keep eating fruits with a lot of sugar, but don’t complain when you get diagnosed with diabetes 2.

  • Rorschach

    Terrible article. There are 0 sources and i am pretty sure this is 1 of the best protein bars out there.

  • james

    i will have to agree that quest bars shouldn’t be replacing your whole foods every single day. that is not healthy, but i would much rather have a quest bar that picking up some fast food at MCD or something.

    Only problem is that they are damn expensive. i got it down to 21.78 because i used a coupon on iherb. i believe it was 5 dollars off 1 package and 10 off if you buy to packages. here is the page i found it anyways: https://www.facebook.com/quest.bar.coupon.tips

    i can personally recommend the cookie dough. its so good, specially if you microwave it for 30 seconds before eating it.

    • Lynn

      Agreed and what I also like about Quest bars is that if I eat one for breakfast (and I likely wouldn’t have time to eat any other breakfast) this starts my day off right – I don’t feel excessively hungry all day so I am not tempted to snack and graze all day. I also noticed that I do not have daily headaches any more (likely due to getting enough protein now). My new favorite is the ‘s’mores – not too sweet, not too sticky. The microwave is an interesting idea -I will try that too!

      • Alicia

        My personal favorite is cookies and cream:)

    • http://theweightlosslie.com/ The Weight Loss Lie

      100% right. Quest bars are really damn good tasting and compared to 99% of what is out there that is being sold as “healthy”, so I don’t think having one here and there is going to kill anybody.

      And yes, the cookie dough is awesome!

    • turanjr

      Great information, thank you

      Best 3 weeks diet

  • Jason Fee

    There is a lot of bro science being flung around here about fake fiber and processed protein which is not at all scientific. When it comes to food and the body its all about calories a fat is 9 calories and carbs and protein are 4… it doesn’t matter if that carb is some altered fiber or not..your body read it as equaling 4 on the energy scale. That is why someone can eat 1800 calories of processed grease at McDonalds and still lose weight. And Sucralose does not cause cancer and has no evidence to show it does for the uniformed people on here that have been saying it does. Aspartame has been shown to cause cancer in animals though.. so stay away from it.

    • derpentine

      “it doesn’t matter if that carb is some altered fiber or not..your body read it as equaling 4 on the energy scale”

      And you accuse others of broscience? Provide a source which supports isomalto-oligosaccharides at 4 calories per gram. Hint: you won’t, because they aren’t.

  • Greg Willis

    it sounds like you do NOT recommend this product, yet on your Foodeducate app – you give it a B+ ,,,saying it is much better than average, but this articles sounds like you give it D or F,,I don’t understand.

  • clankfu
    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      High processed fake food. Try Larabar or Kind.

      • clankfu

        I was looking for something high in protein with no sugar.

  • Randa

    I tried to verify what you are saying here, just in case, it could be true for exessive amounts of these ingredients, like od on questbars. Other than that i agree with the comments

  • Jzng26

    They’re still far better for you than other junk and other protein bars. I’ve tried many and these are the cleanest tasting and healthiest by far no competition. All the others have fillers and horrible additives , with high amounts of sugars . There is nothing healthy about any protein bars do the research , read the labels and you will see.

    I went from 210lbs to 180 and I include weight training and cardio in my workouts every week which really helped keep the weight off . I try to eat clean but sometimes it’s hard ! That’s where bars like this really help some people . But I agree that they should not replace fiber in fruits and veggies . In the end whole foods are always better , and quest bars can be a good healthier snack alternative . Just don’t use them as replacements to loose weight . Only thing you’re really doing is starving yourself , which is why you’re loosing weight . Better off eating some chicken and rice than eating a bar . Bars can’t replace real food .

  • Karen

    I have to say I am way annoyed by this article. I will not repeat the well-spoken comments of others. Just to say, sometimes one wants a bar, sweet and feeling indulgent and this is a great one! Better than a lot of crap out there–especially as “protein” bars go. And no I am not wanting RX bars–don’t want all the sugars.
    THanks anyway!

  • haha

    *yawn*
    Is anyone surprised by this?
    Seriously?
    Are there people in this world, who actually thought a bar is just as good as natural food?

    I like Quest Bars. I eat them sometimes – instead of chocolate. Not instead of Vegetables and lean meat. And that’s exactly what they’r for.

  • Smarter than you

    This is all subjective!! When you start a sentence with “quest bars MAY OR MAYNOT”…. What the hell does that mean…. So which is it? Only thing they only might be true and really depends the person is the fact extra protein such as whey can cause some people bloating. Like as if that’s a major health concern…. If it is for you then don’t eat them! These bars are not for you everyday person who thinks eating this will make you “healthy”. This is a supplement bar for serious people who workout and want a low calorie nutrient rich food to eat.

  • Ben

    check out AMRAP Bars, real food and Egg White protein powder. … Almond Honey is the best :-)

    • derpentine

      21g fat, 22g carb (15g of which is sugar), for 15g protein. This looks like its a meal replacement bar instead of a protein bar. $25 for 8 is pretty steep compared to Quest, which goes on sale for $20 for 12 on slickdeals at least 3 or 4 times a year.

  • jm

    wake up people quest bars are #1 all the other bars carry a ton of sugar sugar =death

  • Alan

    As high-protein bars go, Quest is easily on of the healthiest, with a very high protein per calorie per net carb ratio. That said, comparing the health profile of a manufactured bar to that of whole foods is stupid, because people eating high protein bars generally aren’t looking for clean health. They are usually looking to build muscle.

  • Aakash La

    Check out Oorja Nutrition bars. They have a very similar promising profile like Quest but none of the bad stuff. They don’t use natural flavors, no added sweeteners including stevia, sucralose or lo han guo. They have low naturally occuring sugar. I find their taste clean and natural and not cardboard. They use naturally occuring chicory root for fiber. As for proteins, whey protein isolate efficacy is debatable but there is no doubt that other sources like milk protein isolate are not that good and bio-available. When someone uses “protein blends”, it’s just a nice way to say that they are using less bio-available or inferior proteins to cut costs. Oorja uses only Whey protein isolate derived from cows with no artificial horomones, and organic almond butter. check this one out and thank me later :-)

  • Cingal

    RX bars – too much sugar. This article / compares a protein bar to real food to prove it’s not real food. Quest bars aren’t supposed to be a substitute for real food but a good alternative to keep you away from the other alternative / fast food. And it is a good alternative – as an once in a while snack – as opposed to real crap fast food (and you know what that is.)

  • chris
  • derpentine

    “Ask yourself this – do you need to add natural flavors to food you prepare at home?

    Are you really this daft?

    You don’t add salt, seasonings, or anything else “made in a lab”? Nut job alarmist organic food tree hugging garbage is all this is

  • Bill Adams

    If that is best taste engineers can come up with, they go and do something they are good at. Quest bars taste like a chemical plant took a crap in a plastic wrapper.

  • Jenna Ice

    Thank you for your input. This was an interesting read. I was about to blindly buy this because for 1. I am DYINNG for something sweet. I have a health condition which I cannot eat any sugar, so my question is does the artificial sweetners still turn into sugar once its in the body? I can’t even eat fruit because of the sugar in it, whether it’s natural or not :( So I was really hoping this would be a good alternative for me,

  • Zek

    “May or may not cause cancer.” Hilarious. xD I guess if you preface every claim with “may or may not,” nobody can say you were lying.

  • michelle

    Quest bars are basically just another kind of protein supplement. They are not meant to replace actual food in your diet! Although pricey compared to other protein bars (I get a box of 12 for $25 from The Vitamin Shoppe), I love them because they are of better quality than other protein bars on the market, have a pretty short ingredients list for a processed food, come in so many different flavors, are convenient for eating on the go, and are high in fiber to keep me full, yet don’t bother my sensitive digestive system.

  • Stephen

    To say something “may or may not cause cancer” is such a profoundly loaded non-statement. It would be nice if bloggers would, or should cite sources for such declarations, I’d love to see the study that concludes with “this product may or may not cause cancer”. The same thing was said about saccharine in the past but the latest studies have debunked that claim. Perhaps fooducation should carry an education prerequisite.

  • Amber

    20 grams is 40% daily value??? Says who? Not if you want muscle.

  • Kaitlyn

    Powercrunch bars are sooooooo much better!

  • Forrest

    Shoot man talk about fear mongering. May or may not cause cancer. Sheesh unless you got hard evidence don’t say it could do something.
    Eating gluten MIGHT make your junk fly off so don’t eat it. This article’s a joke. Isolate protein is the cleanest protein you could ingest and it’s digested very easily.
    Also these aren’t meant for the hippy “omg organic vegan kale munchers”. These are meant for people who want a good source of protein and fiber without the sugar.

  • Debbie Schmidt-Starr

    I Just Made A Call To Quest Bar Customer Service With Question Guote ” The Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Bar Has 4 Net G Of Carbs Listed On The Front Of The Bar…….When In Fact You Read The Nutrition Facts Plainly List A Total Of 26 G Of Carbs?????” When I Talked To The Rep…She Answered That Quote ” The FDA Has Instructed Them To Add The Sugar Acohol And Also The Fiber..Into The Amount Of Carbs…Just Doesn’t Make Sense…..Into Will Continue To Follow Up On This…….

  • Oscar rodriguez

    Don’t eat quest bars I just open one to test what it has in it and it cam up on my screen that it has animal pop in it and I call the company say that I have one of ur bars and it has animal pop in it and they said that it don’t but I tested it 5 time just to make sure and it still cam up the same way so for all u people that love quest bars don’t it them cause all u eating is animal shit

  • Serg

    http://www.fda.gov/ucm/groups/fdagov-public/@fdagov-foods-gen/documents/document/ucm268863.pdf – FDA about IMO.

    As IMO does not influence blood sugar or insulin levels and it does not
    absorbed in the small intestine, therefore, is consumed by the diabetic
    populations as well. IMO improves overall gastrointestinal and bowl
    functions in human in addition to having low calories.
    It has been reported in clinical trials that IMO do not cause any GI upset
    when consumed up to 10-20 g/day. Generally, IMO has been reported to
    be safe up to 30g/day per adult individual.

  • http://www.carvebar.com Carve Bar

    Finally someone see’s the light! Quest sodium bars are not real food and people are blinded by their savy marketing.

  • Gerry Davis

    Sure they are not the best protein bar on the market … they have processed ingredients but they sure are a heck of a lot better than fast food and they help fight though sweet tooth cravings. I’ve tried the all natural protein bar route, found some that are really pretty tasty but if you thought the Quest bars were expensive they broke the bank averaging $3 to $4 a bar. I’ve done the homemade protein bars at home as well with a couple different recipes that turned out pretty tasty. Problem though is time to make, they don’t keep long even in the fridge, and against I come back to time. I would have to make protein bars once a week … combine that with my weekly meal planning, shopping, and meal prep work on Saturday and I would literally loose another 90 minutes of my day. Bottom line, no its not a meal replacement bar, no its not all natural, but it is a decent bar and is able to help meet goals.

  • Alma

    I bought a box of 24 bars. Now I know what has been causing my upset stomach and gas as well as some weight gain.