Best Low Carb Protein Bars Reviewed for Taste & Quality
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, or up your athletic game, cutting down on carbohydrates can be hugely beneficial. Many personal trainers swear by it, in fact. Not to mention, these snacks can be great on the go. Protein bars may seem like an easy snack; however, many consumers worry that they may not have the nutrient’s a full meal pack or that they are treats that don’t taste that great. Nevertheless, when you are on a weight journey you need dense, food that gives you the proper calorie and nutritional benefits your body needs.
Protein bars provide the power you need to get through your day, regardless of what your day throws your way. But, why are they so great? And which ones are the best? While everyone is typically afraid they will purchase a chalky, tasteless treat, the real factor to worry about is; how much sugar is in these bars? For example; some brands are no better than candy because of their sugar content. This is something to watch out for! You want to additionally watch out for bars that offer uneven amounts of nutrition you want a full rounded-bar that will taste good, and fuel you throughout the day. If you want a full, detailed list on how to tell the good from the bad then read the criteria for evaluation after you’re done checking out the products on our guide.
- ThinWorks Salted Toffee
- Sweet & Salty
- BSN Protein Crisp
- Crunchy Texture
- ProtiWise Fluffy Vanilla Crisp
- Extremely Affordable
The reason that these are so essential to so many people is the nutritional density of the food. You can pack in protein, potassium, iron, and more! These high concentrations of minerals and vitamins mean that you can fret less about your daily food choices. It’s never been easier to make sure you’re hitting your goals for health! They’re also super convenient since you can bring them anywhere you go. Are you going to miss dinner by a few hours? Pop one out and munch away! Need a snack that you can feel good about? Presto! These products are here to save the day. We’ve selected the best of the best from reviews and by carefully analyzing popular products. Keep reading to find out which ones are good to go, and why they’re so great in the first place.
10 Best Low Carb Protein Bars
1. ThinWorks Salted Toffee
Feeling guilty after your last sweet treat binge? It can be especially hard to lose weight if you aren’t satisfying your cravings. Even the most dedicated individuals can fall victim to the desires of their taste buds. No matter what you do you can’t escape the chemical maelstrom that pushes you into eating unhealthy food. You can, however, pick a healthier alternative that cuts your cravings down and gives you an extra boost of energy.
The Low Cal Option
Many products of this type claim to be good for weight loss, However, quite a few of them have an ingredient list that would suggest otherwise. While most do have low caloric density, this flavor by ThinWorks is truly the best out there in terms of keeping your intake low. This is only made better by the desirable flavor that tastes like dessert. If you need a kick of energy that won’t put your diet plan off track then we highly recommend ThinkWorks. Honestly, any of their flavors, in particular, option, but this one in particular has the best taste of all!
Cost and Value
We rate this as being a very, very good choice for pretty much anybody. Quite frankly most people can benefit from having a sweet-tooth satisfying back-up laying around. Any time you feel tempted by dessert you can choose this as a better alternative. It won’t put you off track, and gives you the decadence you crave. It might make more sense for those on a diet to keep them on hand regularly, however. Those looking to build muscle will find little desirable about this flavor by ThinWorks. Either way, this is an awesome option that cuts down carbohydrates!
- Junk food alternative
- Delicious flavor
- Sweet and savory
- Gluten free
- Low calorie
- Soy based
2. BSN Protein Crisp
We all know too well the feeling of eating a protein bar that tastes like hot garbage, to put it bluntly. Some of these nutritional snacks just add unnecessary suffering to your day. This may sound dramatic, but the last thing you want is to eat something nasty after working out. We prefer our post-gym eats to be a pleasure to eat. Protein Crisp has formulated a delicious recipe that people go wild over. It has a unique, crispy texture that makes it taste sort of like a candy bar! The flavors are pretty dang good, too. With everything from peanut butter to chocolate cake batter, you just can’t go wrong.
Low Sugar Content
Say goodbye to worries about sugar!.This can be a huge concern when it comes to balancing taste and nutritional density. It’s quite frankly surprising that this is such a tasty treat! Although they managed to lower the sugar, they didn’t compromise on flavor. That’s a huge accomplishment in of itself. Pack protein into your day with this decadent treat by Protein Crisplike without the worry of tooth decay, blood sugar spikes, and more. It’s great on the lips without packing more poundage on the hips!
Cost and Value
This is undoubtedly one of the best bargains we could find. It doesn’t have the lowest price on the list, but it’s a pretty close second! Because of this we really can’t recommend this product enough. Not only are they the number one pick on the list, but they also provide excellent value and nutrition. The reviews will blow you away from happy customers who have found the perfect post-workout snack in this flavorful food! The crispy, crunchy texture will tantalize your taste buds and leave you hungry for more, bite after bite. You can’t ever go wrong with these nutritionally dense and totally tasty treats!
- Low sugar formula
- 240 calories
- Crispy texture
- Delicious flavors
- 20g of protein
- Can cause gas
3. ProtiWise Fluffy Vanilla Crisp
Did you know that these very bars are sold in weight loss clinics across the nation? Well, now you do! There’s a good reason for this. There are only 160 calories per bar! That’s an amazingly low number in comparison to other products on the market. This tasty choice is a low-calorie option that will help you pile on muscle instead of pounds. Combine this with the low fat content and you have a recipe for success! If you’re trying to lose weight while you build muscle then this is the snack for you.
A Cheaper Alternative
Many reviewers said that this is a great alternative to more expensive brands. It has a relatively low cost that puts it ahead of competitors by a long shot. Because of this many people have switched over, dropping the shocking price tags and giving their wallets a rest. The savvy shopper will find that this bar has quite a lot to offer. It’s compared to the Ideal Protein vanilla rice krispy treats, which is popular but very expensive. If you need a great imitation that has earned a reputation of it’s own then look no further! You’ve struck gold… or, rather, vanilla!
Cost and Value
As we’ve mentioned this is a highly affordable alternative to some pricier products. This, of course, puts it ahead of its class in terms of value. However, it does have a few points against it. The texture is rather “thick” in nature, and so it isn’t quite as fluffy as the name might suggest. Even so the taste is rumored to be beyond description! If you’re a “texture person” when it comes to eating then you may want to steer clear. If you aren’t, then hurry up and order already! This is a creamy, light, truly divine delight!
- 160 calories
- Low fat formula
- Medical grade
- Affordable choice
- Thick texture
4. Power Crunch Chocolate Mint
Reading the ingredients list is a breeze! These snacks pack in fantastic levels of nutrients while still remaining simplistic. Many similar snacks have a complex list of ingredients that can be difficult to decipher. Now, this is fairly normal with most products, and you shouldn’t be scared of chemical names. However, when you’re eating specifically for a certain level of nutrients you want to have whole ingredients that your body has to work hard to break down.
Takes It Easy On Your Tummy
Even the most sensitive stomachs can rest easy with this product. It’s made to be gentle on your intestines so that you won’t run into any issues while out and about. This is especially great for hiking since the extra exercise can upset your system as it is. If you’re prone to “bathroom problems” or regularly have issues with low appetite or nausea, these are a godsend! They’re light, easily digestible, and ready to eat no matter where you are. Even in the midst of activity on a long, grueling trek you can whip one out and continue moving while you munch.
Cost and Value
There is a flurry of features that make this product a strong contender on the list. It ranks in the top five which means it obviously has a lot going for it. It’s easily digestible, wholesome, and tastes fantastic. However, it is a mint variety which most people either love or hate. We know as many people who are mint maniacs as we do who gag at even the thought of the flavor. This bar is also high in fat with quite a bit of that being saturated fat. Because of this, it isn’t a great weight loss product. It's much better suited to seasoned athletes who consume a high calorie diet. On the other hand, it is fairly low in sugar and is made with real wafer cookies. Whether it’s right for your not is entirely your decision, but we do love this product in general!
Real wafer cookies
High in fat
High in sodium
5. Clif Bar Oatmeal Raisin Walnut
We know you’ve heard of Clif. Everybody has heard of Clif. Literally. It seems like this brand is pretty much everywhere. They’ve become such a popular manufacturer because of their complex formulas that somehow combine into the pinnacle of perfect snack food. Clif has a reputation for quality ingredients that are ethically sourced and entirely wholesome. Whether you’re scaling a cliff or heading home from the gym, you can be sure that Clif is there to see you through.
Home Baked Comfort
Do you remember being a child? The careless freedom that slipped through your growing fingers before you knew it? It was blissful ignorance of the problems to come later in life. We constantly seek out anything that puts these pleasurable memories to the forefront of our minds. Clif captured the essence of childhood in their oatmeal raisin flavor which features walnuts. Bite into it, close your eyes, and transport yourself back to grandma’s kitchen and a simpler time altogether.
Cost and Value
Well, here it is! The highest value product we could find! This pack of twelve Clif bars is super affordable and totally worth every penny. We can’t recommend them enough, and neither can the other reviewers! We may be a bit biased, however, since we’re big Clif fans in general. There’s a multitude of fantastic flavors that will keep you coming back for more. This particular flavor may not hit it off with everybody, however. Some people just don’t like oatmeal raisin, so for those folks, this might not be such a stellar steal.
Provides sustained energy
Doesn’t cause sugar spikes
Huge variety of flavors
High sugar content
6. Muscle Milk Protein Bar
One of the main reasons why so many people shy away from protein bars and even shakes is because of their “chalky” taste. These bars remove the chalky taste and have packed it with delicious flavor, so much so, that you might even forget they are good for you. Additionally, they come in 5 different flavors; cookies ‘n crème, double rocky road, peanut butter cookie, birthday cake, and lemon bliss. Having all these flavors allows you to find the perfect one for you.
As more and more people become aware of gluten in their food, the less appealing it becomes. Not only does gluten provide 0 health benefits, but many people are actually allergic to it. Eating gluten while being allergic can create inflammation in the intestinal tract. This brand took this into consideration and made sure they removed gluten from their products in order to allow everyone to enjoy it.
Cost and Value
When it comes to cost these protein bars, they are a bit on the pricier side. However, they do provide 15g high-quality protein per bar that is paired with great flavor, making them an excellent choice for anyone and everyone that is seeking a tastier protein bar option.
- Excellent flavor
- Low amount of sugar
- Gluten Free
- Clean ingredients
- A bit Pricey
7. Quest Nutrition
Trying to figure out how to balance baking with health? If you love getting in the kitchen and crafting confectioner treats from scratch, then this is the product for you. Quest themselves say that you can easily break up their sweet flavors and put them into a mix for added sweetness. This gives you a great way to enjoy a homemade dessert without the guilt. Pancakes, waffles, cakes, muffins, and more can all get a boost of nutrition if you add a Quest product into the mix. The best way to do so is just to pop them into a food processor and finely grind them.
Terrific Variety Of Flavor
There are so many repetitive, redundant flavors on the market. Almost each product you look at is just a knock off, it seems, from the last. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a good recipe that doesn’t either taste terrible or contain terrible ingredients. Quest has found the right balance between taste and nutrition, and has plenty of great flavors to prove it. Birthday Cake, Blueberry Muffin, S’mores, and Cinnamon Roll are all on the list, and boy, oh boy, do they sound good!
Cost and Value
Ringing in the bottom of the list doesn’t mean that a product lacks quality. In fact, it’s pretty hard to rank these sometimes because everything we pick is so great! Quest is a fan favorite, and because of this it comes highly recommended. The only thing holding it back is it’s price, and it’s high fat content. The large variety of amazing flavors really gives this a leg up on the competition. There are some negative reviews that report problems with their orders. Just make sure everything arrives like it should, however, and you’ll be okay!
Some shipments faulty
8. RXBar Chocolate Sea Salt
We mean it. They really are totally understandable and truly the simplest ingredients in any of these products. In fact, they’re so simple RXBar can list them in a rather large font on the front of their wrapper. Only whole foods are used in the development of this flavorful variety. This is a huge draw for so many people who are sick of not understanding more than two ingredients on the labels of their food.
Absolutely Allergen Free
If you have a highly allergic family member or friend then you know how stressful it can be to find food. It’s even harder if you’re looking for very specific health food! RXBar offers a great source of nutrition and energy because of their simple ingredients. It’s also because of their simple ingredients that they’re so friendly to all sorts of diets! Gluten-free, paleo, kosher, and more are all included on this list. Although there will still, of course, be people who are allergic to their ingredients, they stand a better chance of being safe for many.
Cost and Value
Although these aren’t the least expensive, they aren’t the most expensive, either. The RXBar brand is a great choice because of it’s simple ingredients and wholesome nutrients. Those who are highly allergic to certain foods may find relief, and total satisfaction, with the help of this product. We really do recommend it for that reason! Otherwise, it’s really up to your personal taste preference. Some people aren’t a fan of dates, for example, which make up a large portion of this product. They also reportedly have a rather strange texture. This is most likely a trade off because their recipe is so short. Either way, if either of those two features are off putting, we suggest going a different route.
Whole 30 compliant
No added sugar
Repeated bad deliveries
9. Grenade Nutrition Killa
Tired of taking bathroom breaks that are… a struggle? You get the idea. We aren’t going to get too gross, but it bears mentioning this issue. Luckily, Grenade has the answer to your intestinal woes. This manufacturer has crafted a recipe that gives your body the boost it needs. Toilet time isn’t a topic anybody wants to bring up, but poor diet can lead to a host of problems. If you’re trying to correct your eating habits then this is a great place to start.
A Classy Twist On Chocolate
Ever had European chocolate? No? Well, Grenade is looking to introduce you! There are many products which are higher quality, or just tastier, in Europe. Their cheese, wine, and chocolate are all notoriously better than they are in the USA! Grenade used European chocolate in the design of these bars. This gives them a creamier, softer texture that satisfies anybody’s sweet tooth. Don’t just bite into a tasty snack, bite into a luxurious one.
Cost and Value
Quite frankly, these are super expensive. While they normally have coupons available they still have a pretty hefty price attached. This is most likely because of the quality of their ingredients. It’s a fact of life that when a product is high-quality, the price is going to be higher than average. Whether or not you’re okay with a lesser variety is up to you. A lot of people are totally fine with lower cost snacks! But if you want a luxurious experience with a top quality product, then this is probably a good choice for you to make. This product also comes with a variety of nutritional benefits not found in other bars. We love their taste, ingredients, nutritional benefits, and more! We think you will, too.
Not Allergen Friendly
If you are on a diet or seeking to eat better, you may want to try a meal replacement. Meal replacements are great because they give you the nutrients you need without the unnecessary calories you don’t. Additionally, they are great for snacking in between larger meals. One issue with meal replacements is they aren’t filling enough- that is where the MET- Rx will come in handy. This protein bar not only contains the healthy vitamins and minerals but it’s dense and filing.
Not just a protein bar, but a workout fuel as well. It contains the right amount of nutrients to help with weight loss, boost energy and help with muscle repair. Having this ability allows your bar to be more than just a protein bar but a fuel that helps you recover sooner from intense workouts.
Cost and Value
Just the fact that these offer excellent nutritional value paired with great taste and muscle recovery makes them a great option. The cost is on the mid-range of the spectrum yet is very affordable. Even the flavor is exceptional which is always a plus.
- Great Taste
- Meal replacement
- Low sodium
- Easy to digest
- Some reviewers thought the bar was a bit too sweet
This extensive list of the best products on the market for cutting out carbohydrates is now complete! We hope that you found exactly what you are looking for. Your between-meal snack, or post-workout munchie, has never been easier to find or eat. We made sure to only include the best tasting, healthiest brands we could find! Each and every last one has something to offer a wide variety of folk. Whether you have multiple food allergies, or celiacs disease, or are vegan, we found the perfect variety to satisfy your needs. Don’t get caught up in the wild world of health food! We’re here to help you navigate, and keep you informed on the top products available to you. Not fond of the flavors on the list? Have any questions regarding this topic? Then keep reading! We’re going to run down the criteria we used to pick out the products above and answer some questions people frequently have.
Criteria Used in Evaluating the Best Low Carb Protein Bars
The very first thing to watch out for is what you’re actually gaining as far as nutrition goes. Many of these products are made with a lot of unnecessary fillers. Sugar is the top offender on this list! There’s no point in eating what you think is a healthy snack if it has the same sugar content as a Snickers. Always make sure that the sugar content is low, and you’ll probably be okay. There are a couple other pieces of information to take into account, however.
Ingredients: Always take a long look at the ingredients. Now, we don’t mean watch out for “long names”, or “chemicals”. Unless you have a background in Chemistry it can be challenging to decipher some of the ingredients. This doesn’t mean they’re not good for you or inedible! Don’t get caught up looking for the wrong things. So, what do you look for? Let’s talk about it:
- Carbohydrates: Well, duh! We know, this kind of seems redundant. It’s a mistake to take a brand’s word for it, however. We compared the content of carbohydrates across the board and only picked products that actually had a low carbohydrate count. Try to stay below 5g of Carbohydrates.
- Protein: This is, obviously, what makes this particular food such a great choice for athletes and people trying to build muscle. Boosting your intake of this all-too-necessary macronutrient. It helps you repair the microscopic tears in your muscles that you get when you work out. These tears cause your muscles to grow back stronger, so they’re totally necessary for athletes of all types. This macronutrient is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. It’s through the power of amino acids that it’s able to perform all these miraculous tasks.
- Minerals/Vitamins: These are important micronutrients that you need in order to … well, survive! Iron, potassium, magnesium, and more all fall under this category. Look for a high concentration of these! Unless you’re on a special diet that requires you to avoid certain vitamins or minerals, you’ll just pee out what you don’t need. It’s better to go a little overboard. Not too much, however, since there are some weird side effects you can experience if you do get them in high enough volumes. That’s pretty rare, though, so don’t worry about it too much.
- Processed Soy: Dun-dun-dun! This is actually something you don’t want to see. Soy absolutely has a beneficial effect in some aspects of a diet. However, too much soy is not good for you. In products such as these, you don’t want to see this as an ingredient. Leave the soy for your tofu stir fry.
Obviously, if a product doesn’t taste good you aren’t going to eat it. This is a pretty simple concept and is a basis for employment for every taste tester out there (man, what a job!). We really kept a close eye on customer reviews relating to the taste of a product. There were definitely some that stood out more than others! This isn’t the only criteria to take into account, of course. Some, like nutritional benefits, are more important than others. Taste should be secondary to nutrition-related issues. Of course, a product with high sugar will taste great. However, it won’t be healthy. Just another thing to take into consideration!
There are two basic pieces of information we especially kept a close eye on.
- Texture: Nobody likes a weird texture. Literally nobody. That’s why we were on the lookout for a texturally sound design. You shouldn’t have to deal with a chalky texture (or taste!), and there’s no reason why the inner portion of the snack has to be thick and unpleasant. Most of these are great options taste-wise! Of course, we did feature one vegan product that has a so-so taste… but you’re trading off some of that taste for the lack of animal products used in its production.
- Flavors available: You need a large selection of flavor because of how varying the reactions are to these products. One person might swear by vanilla bean based products, and another might gag at the mere thought of that same snack. Having a wide selection of tastes available to the consumer means ensuring that every person out there will discover a flavor they love. If you don’t like one flavor from a brand, don’t just write all of their products off! Try a couple more, and you might be surprised at how different they can be.
Price Per Unit
Finally, we looked at the price per unit. This is hugely important for a huge range of products! Price per unit is how much each individual product in a pack costs. Essentially, it breaks down the numbers so you can see how much you’re actually paying. If an item comes in a larger size, but you aren’t actually sure about the savings, just look at the price per unit. This will tell you how much money you’re shaving off each individual unit and is a much better indicator of value.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a carbohydrate?
A: Let’s get some science up in this thing, shall we? We all know how big of a fan of science we are here at GearHunt. There’s just something so alluring about understanding the world around you on a more complex level! We try to break it down to simple terms, so bear with us a little.
Essentially, a carbohydrate is an organic compound. No, “organic” has nothing to do with new-age health food in this case. In fact, the term organic actually refers to carbon-based molecules. Or, really, any molecule that contains carbon. This includes starches, sugars, and cellulose! Pretty neat, huh? In fact, there’s a whole world out there on organic chemistry!
So, these are the compounds that most animals break down to make ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This is the chemical we use to produce energy through something called the Citric Acid Cycle. This cycle takes ATP, and turns it into ADP (adenosine diphosphate). This is another super complex topic for a different time.
It’s through this cycle that carbohydrates are put to work providing you with energy. However, there are other ways to achieve the same boost in energy without some of the carbohydrate-related side effects. Low Carbohydrate foods like the products above take this into account and craft recipes that more than make up for their lack of carbohydrates.
Q: Macronutrient? Micronutrient? What does it all mean?
A: Ah, yes. The founding blocks of nutrition! … Well, kind of. Essentially these are the two different groups you’re watching the numbers for. Cutting carbohydrates affect your macros, whereas taking supplemental vitamins affects your micros. These are two very important topics to take into account while you’re looking to build muscle or better your health.
Q: What ingredients should I watch out for?
A: There are two ingredients you really want to steer clear of: sugar, and soy. We went over them both earlier in the criteria, so if you haven’t read that then you should. Without getting too far into the subject just know that neither of these is particularly healthy. Soy has its place in a healthy diet, and so does sugar, but in large quantities, they can pose a problem.
Which flavors are the best?
A: While this is up mostly to personal taste, there are a few flavors that work better than others. It’s no secret that this style of snack can leave a chalky taste in your mouth. If poorly made they can really be unpleasant to eat. Vanilla seems to be the top contender for “best flavor”, as do chocolate blends. We recommend strong flavors, such as mint. This is a great way to mask a sometimes unpleasant flavor.
Q: So, can I do anything besides eat them?
A: Okay, we sort of made this one up. Sort of. Actually, it is a good question to ask that most people don’t even think of. Have you ever tried baking with them? As it turns out there are quite a few interesting things you can do! Here are some ideas:
- Cake Frosting: Blend the flavor of your choosing in a food processor until it’s completely crumbled. Then, mix it in with your frosting! This creates a lovely texture and adds a boost of flavor to any frosting. You can do the same thing to make cake pops for a post-game treat for the kids! The possibilities are pretty endless.
- Pancakes: Love your buckwheat, but feeling something new? Whole wheat pancakes are great for a healthy diet and are a staple source of nutrition. Try the same thing we talked about above! Just use a food processor to grind up a product from one of the brand’s above. Then, add it to your pancakes. It’ll give your breakfast a boost in flavor you’ll love. On top of this, it turns a hearty meal into an even healthier start to your day.
- Muffins: Are you a baking fanatic? We sure are! There’s nothing better than getting covered in flour while whipping up some tasty treats in the kitchen. Adding chunks of protein bars to your recipe can give a sweeter boost than regular fruit might. It also adds more nutritional benefit! Fruit is actually super high in sugar, so if you’re watching out for sugar content stick to adding a Quest or Clif product instead.
- Granola/Muesli: Alright, this one is weird. We know. But think about it! There are quite a few granola-based products out there. Tear them up into chunks and add them to your morning muesli! Plain granola doesn’t have to be grueling anymore. Feel good about what you’re adding to your breakfast, or snack, while still maintaining a great flavor.
Q: How many protein bars are too many?
A: While protein bars are constructed to be used as a meal replacement, many people enjoy them a bit too much and may consume more than once-a-day. We recommend having 2 protein bars a day max, any more could be a bit “too much protein. Yes, there is such a thing as too much protein it’s not exactly harmful yet, it’s not really that great.
Q: Can a protein bar become the only after work out meal you eat?
A: Yes and no. You want to have a balanced diet that incorporates all of your basic needs; therefore, if you cover all your needs then you can have a protein bar as an after-workout meal. But if you have not then it’s a good idea to have a full meal after working out instead.