After reading many blogposts about Quest bars on the American blogosphere, I decided to give them a try. This article is not going to be very interesting for American readers, since this isn’t really a new product for them, but I figured out I might give my International readers a better idea of what to expect if they want to try the latest product US-bloggers are raving about.
To begin with, this blogpost is not sponsored ; I didn’t get the bars for free, I actually bought them. As I didn’t want to buy a big package, I bought individual bars (2.95 euro per bar, quite expensive but there were no shipping costs).
Where can you buy Quest bars in Europe?
I bought them on xxlnutrition.nl, a Dutch site that delivers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. I really like the fact that if you order before 5 pm, you’re guaranteed to receive your order the next day. And there’re no shipping costs. You can also buy Quest bars on predatornutrition.com and on the European webshop of bodybuilding.com.
I rarely eat protein bars. I sometimes buy one OhYeah! bar when I find myself in a supplement store, or an occasional Atkins bar when I’m really out of inspiration and feeling lost in a supermarket aisle. But I usually regret eating them because of the after-taste of sugar-alcohols. That’s why it sounded like a good idea to try Quest bars, since “Quest is the first truly low carb bar that doesn’t contain glycerin, simple carbs, uses no sugar and no sugar alcohols.”
So, let’s start with the things I like about Quest bars:
• I didn’t miss the chocolate coating of other bars. I actually prefer protein bars ‘naked’, without any coating.
• There’s no after-taste like other protein bars that are full of sugar alcohols.
• The texture of the bars may be a bit too hard, but you can place them a few seconds in the microwave to get a softer texture.
• Overall, most of the bars tasted good. I tried Apple Pie, Vanilla Almond Crunch, Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Peanut Butter Supreme, Mixed Berry Bliss.
But are these bars really worth it? Well, honestly there are a couple of details that I didn’t find that great, contrary to the many enthusiastic American reviews.
• The packaging says “natural flavors”, but some bars still tasted quite artificial in my opinion. Especially Mixed Berry Bliss and Apple pie. This kind of apple pie has nothing to do with our Dutch or German apple pies.
• I found all the bars too salty for my taste. On the nutrition facts, one bar represents 15% of the recommended daily intake for sodium. To me, this sounds like a lot for such a small bar. The salty taste combines well with peanut butter flavorings, but I find it a bit disturbing in the vanilla-almond bar.
• 18 g of dietary fiber per bar. I think that’s a lot of fiber (the nutrition facts say 72% of the recommended daily value). It’s more than one whole cup of black beans. If you already eat enough fiber in your daily diet, you can actually end up eating too much fiber.
• Isomalto–oligosaccharides come second in the ingredient list. These kinds of fibers have healthy benefits, but Wikipedia also states side-effects: “IMO also have certain side effects when consumed in excess amounts. The maximum permissible dose of IMO that does not cause gastric disturbance is estimated at 1.5 g/kg body weight, which is higher than for any other sugar substitute. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended the intake level for IMO at 30 g/day. This level is expected to be well tolerated with no or least side effects. In case of higher dosage (e.g., greater than 40 g/day), there is a possibility of gastrointestinal symptoms like flatulence, bloating, and soft stool or in some cases diarrhea.” Which basically means that eating more than two bars could cause you some digestive issues…
Would I buy them again? They do make a better choice than OhYeah! or Atkins bars, so I would probably buy them occasionally when I feel like I need a treat or something fancy (almost 3 euro for a bar of 60 g means “fancy” for me…). However, this is not the kind of food I would choose to eat on a regular basis.
Have you tried them? What’s your take on these bars?