New low carb protein bars

Warning: this post isn’t #Paleo Certified.   It’s more about convenience, choosing the lesser evil.

Quest Nutrition led the charge in low carb, high protein, fibre-rich bars.  “Fibre-rich” is really the key in allowing a bona fide “low carb” bar with shelf-stability and decent texture.  Sugar alcohols have also been used in some, but due to the high incidence of maltitol-induced GI discomfort, ymmv.  But in general, you need one or the other to provide bulk and keep it together (except Epic Bars, which use black magic).

For the most part, the new bars have basically copied Quest’s formula with some new flavors.


Disclaimer #1: I’m a whole foods guy.  Not really #Paleo, but when it comes to people’s actual lifestyles, I recognize convenience is a huge factor… and selecting the lesser evil is frequently the best option — eg, you can store a couple LC protein bars in your office, car, etc.; not so much with hard-boiled eggs or other protein-rich foods… and these options are WAY better than many other snacks or “fast-foods” out there.

Disclaimer #2: yeah, I keep a few of these bars in my office, just in case…

Quest recently switched from isomaltosaccharides to soluble corn fibre (SCF), which will likely impact GI effects.  YMMV!  Isomaltosaccharides are cool, but I’m not prepared to say they’re superior to SCF for everyone, in every #context (personally, for the ‘biome, I prefer brassicas, alliums, the gristly bits, galactooligosaccharides, et al.).
[it’d awesome if Bi2Muno would collaborate with one of these companies]


In these n00bs to the protein bar market, some of the biggest differentiating factors are cost, net carbs, ratio of fibre to sugar alcohols, flavor profiles, etc.


With no further ado, here are the newcomers:

[or just skip to the chart at the bottom]




Epic bar


Epic: not really high protein (10-15g/bar), a bit pricey, but probably my favorite because of the exotic flavors.

Advantages: high quality ingredients; the closest contender to #Paleo Certified; wide range of macro’s (from 10g protein & 10g carb to 15g protein & no carbs).



ISSN Oh YEAH Victory

ISSN’s Oh YEAH! Victory Bar: high protein, high prebiotic fibre.

Advantage: good price & ingredients.




ISSN’s Oh YEAH! ONE: same as the Victory bars, except they have less sugar and about half the fibre is replaced with sugar alcohols (they may have done this to reduce GI effects).

Sarah doesn’t like this one or probably any other low carb bars — I’m not a stickler for GMO, sweeteners, etc., in this #context.  We’ve already established these bars aren’t optimal; they’re convenient and better than a lot of other options.




Julian Paleo bar

Julian’s PALEO bars: the company got a bad rap for the bread scandal, but overall decent ingredient.



MuscleTech Mission1

MuscleTech’s Mission1:  high quality protein, isomaltooligosaccharides.




And as promised, the chart (prices may vary):

protein fat carb calories chart



So, there ya have it.  If you need some convenient low-carb protein bars, or just to get some more prebiotic fibre, there are some options.  Many of these bars seem similar (except Epic), and there’s a huge range of flavors to choose from.


Update: some more low carb protein bars


Fit elite png

Fit Elite Bars



B up

B-UP Bars: best texture (similar to Oh YEAH! bars)


calories proper


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  • Gerard Pinzone

    You can make your own Quest bars using this:

    I’d also like to recommend these protein bars:

  • Eric – Golden, CO

    Here is a bar high fiber low carb strangely addictive that I could get behind health wise
    Thank goodness they are not at stores or I would impulse buy them. I’m too cheap to order online for them specifically.

    • interesting, I hadn’t seen these.

      They look pretty good, ingredient-wise… but still, pretty expensive compared to the others.

      better flavors/texture?

      • Eric – Golden, CO

        Expensive yes, I’ll stick to free samples. I haven’t tried the other flavors. The one listed would be indistinguishable unwrapped from an original peanut butter powerbar in texture and taste, which I don’t think anyone would call good. Still, I enjoyed it.

  • Eve

    How much of IMOs are digested? Do you think they promote the growth of bacteria linked to obesity?

    • “How much of IMOs are digested?”
      not much, but expect large inter-individual variation

      “linked to obesity?”
      if anything, the opposite bc IMOs are bifidogenic.

      • Thomas Hemming Larsen

        Are there any studies on IMO? The things people say about it is all over the place.

        I can see that its labeled as 2kcal/g – is even some of that not digested? Or is that caloric value already taking into account its not fully digested (as its only half the caloric value of a carb)?

        • 2 kcal/g is basically just a guess lol

          • Thomas Hemming Larsen

            Thanks Bill. Exactly what I thought about the 2kcal 🙂

            I found this article which is quite comprehensive. Even they don’t state a caloric value (at least I haven’t found it). All of the studies that cites are positive on IMO.

          • JJ Bell

            For anyone reading this, also Warrior bars from Onnit (are similar to Epic) and Grenade bars seem to work black magic (caramel version tastes as such + choc + crispy texture).

          • Thanks, JJ.

            Warrior Bars look similar to some of the more sugary Epic Bars.

            Grenades look like Oh YEAH ONE bars, ie, replacing some of the fibre with sugar alcohols.

          • JJ Bell

            Yes, Grenade Caramel seems to good to be true though, is true black magic. Also I believe Quest are working on some new keto snacks, think Joe Rogan had prototypes on his podcast.

          • New Quest stuff:

            keto mint cups — like their PB cups but mint-flavoured, and fat bomb ratios

            crunch bars which are like regular Quest bars but crunchy and less protein

    • TechnoTriticale

      re: How much of IMOs are digested?

      By whom? You, or your gut bugs?

      Very little of it is digested in the upper GI and becomes blood glucose.

      How much of it gets metabolized by your microbiome (to SCFAs typically, and not BG) depends on the state of that biome, how much prebiotic fiber (like IMO) you eat in a day, and how much gut-antagonist matter is in the balance of the diet.

    • Whether it’s the IMOs or whatever, these bars are still known to spike BG significantly (relative dosage), so that might be a better reason to dodge if that’s important.

      This N=1 tested a 3g “net carb” Quest vs another 26g “net carb” bar and got basically same result:

      “It’s the protein like chocolate cake!!!!” some folk elsewhere who still engage in JM fascination proclaimed, so he then tested 3oz of chicken breast with 22g of the stuff – rock solid BG:

      I thought about doing my own tests as I’m super sensitive, but it occurred to me if I’m going to spank my system I’m going to damn well do it and enjoy it with a proper Snickers or something.

      As to the Primal bars, enter Raphi:

      • agree with the Snickers sentiment 🙂

        but otherwise, seems like your relying on VERY poor evidence to support “these bars are still known to spike BG significantly.”

      • TechnoTriticale

        re: This N=1 tested a 3g “net carb” Quest vs another 26g “net carb” bar and got basically same result…

        Quest has reformulated since then, and I’ve wondered if replacing the IMO with corn fiber was at least in part intended to address the unpredictable BG response.

        re: As to the Primal bars…

        So as not to confuse anyone, The Primal Pantry is a different brand than Primal Kitchen. The PK bars are only 8 grams net carb (3 sugar, all needless). But sure, the use of the words “paleo” or “primal” on a bar may not be as suspicious as “natural”, but they assure pretty much nothing in particular.

  • TechnoTriticale

    There’s also Sisson’s new Primal Kitchen bars. May be too chewy for dentures. Needlessly contains honey.

    I lately gave up on Quest, due to the corn, sucralose, calcium, emulsifier and other questionable ingredients. And frankly, what I want to see hit the market is not another protein bar, but an LCHF bar, or heck, even a keto bar.

    Drums fingers waiting for Eric Westman’s Adapt brand to hit the US market.

    • string cheese!
      doesn’t really fit the bill wrt shelf-stability, but can easily last a few days at room temp.

      • TechnoTriticale

        re: string cheese!

        Agreed, but things to watch out for there are needless low fat (too many of these products are based on skim milk), and a few with natamycin.

    • TechnoTriticale

      re: Drums fingers waiting for Eric Westman’s Adapt brand to hit the US market.

      The bars are now apparently available for US ordering. Site is slow, buggy, and therefore might be iffy to trust with your credit card number:

      NB: bars contain palm oil (for those minimizing n6) and sunflower lecithin (for those avoiding emulsifiers, suspect as microbiome antagonists). Lower carb than Sisson’s, probably full keto.

  • TechnoTriticale

    In today’s news, Epic has sold out to General Mills.

    So then, GM enlightenment, or epic fail?

    Personally, when Big Food™ buys out Mom&Pop Organics, I stop buying M&PO.

  • BungleeayvuhCockleberry

    The electromagnetic force is responsible for all chemical reactions and biology and is behind human metabolism. Energy is a concept, a very abstract human made mathematical CONCEPT. Energy has no existence in physical reality, it is NOT stuff, nor is anything “made of energy”…… Anthony Colpo , Armi Legge, Richard Nikoley and many more gurus are not science literate.