Lately I’ve been trying ‘new’ kinds of protein bars like Quest bars and OhYeah! Victory bars. These bars use sweet prebiotic fibers as binding agent. This ingredient is key to give the bars their typical texture. It also serves as a low-intensity sweetener (around 60% of the sweetness of sugar) and contains mainly fibers: 91 g fibers for 100 g of product, of which 55 g are non-digestible fibers. IMO is THE new secret ingredient to make low-carb protein bars.
Using IMO-syrup for protein bar recipes
Anna from Proteinpow.com already tried VitaFiber, so I followed her instructions to make my very first homemade Quest bar: “Heat up the liquid IMO in a pot until bubbles start to form. Remove from the heat, add the other ingredients and mix it until you get a sort of sticky dough. Mold it with your hands into a bar. Press this bar onto a silicone brownie tray and stick it in the fridge for an hour so it sets.”
This was my first bar:
Simple Chocolate Protein Bar
The nutrition facts for this homemade bar: 166.4 kcal, 23.3 g of protein, 25.8 g of carbs, 0.6 g of sugar, 0.6 g of fat, 22.1 g of fiber. (I calculated these values taking into account 2 kcal per gram of resistant oligosaccharides and 4 kcal per gram of digestible carbs).
So yes, you basically get the same nutrition facts as Quest bars, but your bars can be lower in fat if you wish. A typical Quest bar is around 200 kcal, 20 g protein, 22 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 9 g fat and 18 g fiber.
I’ve also tried a brownie-like bar, using a square of dark chocolate and 2 walnuts:
Nutrition facts for the brownie bar: 265 kcal, 25.2 g protein, 28.7 g carbs, 3.3 g sugar, 9.6 g fat, 23.2 g fiber.
Banana Nut Muffin Bar
Nutrition facts for the Banana Nut Muffin bar: 237 kcal, 24.9 g protein, 26.8 g carbs, 0.3 g sugar, 7.6 g fat, 22.3 g fiber.
Blueberry Cheesecake Bar
Nutrition facts: 204 kcal, 24 g protein, 30.7 g carbs, 3.6 g sugar, 2.5 g fat, 22.5 g fiber.
Peanut Butter & Jelly bar
Nutrition facts: 255 kcal, 27 g protein, 28 g carbs, 1.45 g sugar, 8.4 g fat, 22.9 g fiber.
What about VitaFiber powder, what can you do with it? You can use it as a sugar substitute for baking. I’ve been trying to come up with low-carb meringues for a long time. Until now, the result was always a disaster, regardless of the kind of sugar substitute (erythritol, xylitol or others). But the VitaFiber powder acted as an excellent sugar substitute, despite the poor baking capacities of my small electric oven:
Using egg white powder in combination with VitaFiber powder, you can also make a very fluffy, super low-carb but super thick frosting to decorate cupcakes. Besides the fitness-oriented or low-carb folks, I think the texture-giving properties of the product would be very interesting for people who are into cake-decorating crafts.
My verdict on VitaFiber / IMO
When I compared ‘classic’ homemade protein bars with homemade protein bars using IMO, I think the biggest advantage of IMO is that it saves a few calories: when you’re making homemade protein bars, you have to have a binding agent: either a sugary syrup like agave or honey, or some sugar-free syrup made with an artificial sweetener, or a fat ingredient like a nut butter. IMO allows you to put a lot less of these ingredients to create solid bars that don’t need to be kept refrigerated.
And if you’re really into low-carb, you can make a bar just by combining 2 tbsp of VitaFiber and 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder. This kind of simple bar takes less space than a protein shaker bottle and won’t break down in your gym bag.
As opposed to buying ready-made Quest bars or OhYeah Victory bars, the biggest advantage is that you are able to control every ingredient that goes into your bars. For example, I don’t think I need additional sweeteners or salt. I find Quest bars too salty. I also like to be able to choose the kind of protein I put in (for example egg white protein powder or hemp protein instead of whey). So all-in-all, I’d rather take 5 minutes to make a batch of my own low-sodium Quest bars.
Quest bars or OhYeah Victory bars cost me 3 euro per bar, or 32 euro for a package of 12 bars here in Europe. The cost of homemade bars using IMO is lower.
Where can you buy IMO-syrup?