Natural Protein Bars are those that have been made without the use of any artificial substances, including colours, flavours, additives, preservatives or sweeteners. There are many reasons that someone would choose to go natural, including allergies and intolerances, personal preference, and taste.
A lot of protein bars on the market today contain artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose, Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium. Sweeteners are a great carb-free ways to sweeten products such as bars and shakes, but some people choose to avoid them due to scares in the past that have associated artificial sweeteners with cancer. Research has told us that these substances are extremely safe in the amounts that are normally consumed, but there are people who choose to avoid artificial sweeteners for their own peace of mind. The good news is that there are alternatives, and natural low-carb sweeteners like Stevia, which is derived from a plant, and and Erythritol, from naturally processed glucose, are enjoying a surge in popularity.
The market for all natural proteins has been growing for some time, but at the present time, the market for all-natural protein bars is still quite small, and there is not a great deal of choice. While baking your own protein bars, or choosing other types of portable protein-rich snacks, like nuts or boiled eggs, are great options, protein bars require no preparation, refrigeration, and can sit in your gym bag for weeks without spoiling, offering the ultimate convenience. Let's take a look at what's out there.
Best Natural Protein Bar
Quest Bars are well known, hugely popular, and they are probably the number one selling protein bar in the world today. Continuing the innovation for which the company is known, Quest were also one of the first major manufacturers to produce all natural bars, which they started doing all the way back in 2008.
Not all of the delicious flavours of Quest Bar are included in the all natural range. While Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinammon Roll, Coconut Cashew, Banana Nut Muffin, Double Choc Chunk and Strawberry Cheesecake flavours are sweeetened with all natural Stevia and Erythritol, the other bars in the Quest range are sweetened using sucralose. In addition, the protein, prebiotic fibre and other flavours (including plant derived sweetener named Lo Han Guo) present in all Quest Bars is natural, and Quest bars are gluten free.
Quest Bars pack in 20g of high quality dairy protein per bar, and are one of the only protein bars on the market to contain significant amounts of fibre. While not carb free, they pack a modest 6g per bar, alongside 5g of fat. At just over 700kJ per serve, Quest bars have the sort of nutritional profile that other manufacturers strive toward, and are frequently hailed as the best tasting protein bars on the market.
International Protein are a successful and well regarded Australian company who are known for maintaining a progressive and well formulated range of products. Ready To Grow Bars are a new addition to International Protein's repertoire, and characteristic of the innovation displayed by this company, are one of the only all-natural protein bars on the market.
Like Quest Bars, Ready To Grow bars are low in carbs and high in dietary fibre. Each bar packs in 21.7g of protein, made up of a high quality whey blend and supplemented by natural nut protein from peanuts and almonds. At present, Ready To Grow bars come in two delicious flavours – Strawberry Coconut and Peanut Butter Caramel, which are sweetened using Stevia. On top of this, Ready To Grow bars are gluten free, so they can be enjoyed by people who have an allergy to this common ingredient. With almost 870 healthy kilojoules in every bar, Ready To Grow bars provide the nutrition required to put on lean mass.
The move toward natural supplements is relatively new, and we are starting to see more and more all natural products join the market. We hope that there will be more choice in natural protein bars in the future. Until then, Quest Bars and International Protein's Ready to Grow are both excellent choices.