Keto diet is so trendy nowadays. Mainly because it allows you to shed some pounds without putting yourself in a starvation mode.
However, cutting carbs might be challenging for some people, especially if they used to munch some candies regularly.
And this is where keto-protein bars come in.
These snacks allow you to maintain ketosis and serve as a perfect nutrient-dense sugar-free food.
And to ease your shopping, scroll down a bit and learn about 5 best low-carb protein bars on the market.
- 1 5 Best Low Carb (Keto) Protein Bars
- 2 Types of Protein Used in Low Carb Protein Bars
- 3 How Many Calories Does a Protein Bar Contain?
- 4 How to Choose a Low Carb Protein Bar
5 Best Low Carb (Keto) Protein Bars
Perfect Keto Protein Bar
Perfect Keto is one of the best keto protein bars on the market because they offer you a balanced nutrient profile and all-natural ingredients. One bar of Almond Butter flavor, for example, contains 19g of fats derived from nuts, 10g of grass-fed collagen protein and 11g of carbs (with 9g of them being dietary fibers and 1g of stevia).
The manufacturer allows you to choose between four different flavors and two package counts of 12 and 36 bars. Or, you can order a bundle pack and enjoy every taste altogether.
One bar has 230-240 calories, depending on the flavor, which is enough for a snack or a light meal replacement.
Bulletproof Bars Collagen Protein Bar
Another collagen protein bar from Bulletproof Bars contains no added sugars at all and provides you with 5g of prebiotic fiber for better gut health.
Bulletproof Bars products are high in both fat and protein and have five mouth-watering flavors that will keep you full for longer and satisfy your sugar cravings.
One package contains twelve 45g bars, and you can just grab a couple and use them as an on-the-go snack whenever you feel hungry.
The only issue you may encounter with these bars is that they are crumbly because of the ingredients, so they can be a bit messy during eating.
Quest Nutrition Protein Bar
Quest is one of the best low-carb protein bars on the market because of their flavor palette. At the moment, the manufacturer provides you with as many as 23 flavors and offers the Ultimate flavor pack with 12 most popular flavors so that you could pick your favorites.
Quest bars are high in fats and protein and contain carbs in the form of dietary fibers, erythritol, and stevia, so you can be sure that not a bit of added sugars will crawl into your diet.
The only problem with these bars is that they tend to melt easily, e.g. during the transportation to your house, so it might be a bit tricky to get them out of the package.
Stoka Bar Clean & Lean Protein Bar
If you prefer something crunchy over something chewy, then Stoka Bar can easily become your favorite on-the-go treat. Both flavors — Coco Almond and Vanilla Almond — are incredibly crunchy and contain no added sugars and only 4g of net carbs. Bite in or sprinkle it over your favorite meal to make it more nutritious and tasty.
These bars look a bit like granola, but don’t be fooled by their appearance: there are no grains at all, so Stoka Bar can suit individuals with gluten intolerance.
One bar contains 22g of fats and 9g of protein and uses erythritol and stevia extract for the subtly sweet taste.
Atlas Whey Protein Bar
Atlas bars are among the best keto protein bars despite the 3g of added sugars because they compensate for this with 16g of pure whey protein per 1 bar.
The manufacturer offers you three classic flavors — Vanilla Almond, Chocolate Cacao, and Peanut Butter Chip — as well as a variety pack with all of them.
Atlas bars are devoid of any synthetic and artificial ingredients, so they can suit people with different dietary needs. They can serve as a great energy potion for athletes and active people, who need a quick but nutritious snack on the go.
What Is a Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is a form of a low-carb diet that has many similarities with the Atkins diet. The idea behind the keto diet is pretty straightforward:
You cut down the carbs to 20-50 grams per day, or even below that level, and replace the remaining amount with fats and proteins.
This reduction in carb intake triggers the metabolic state called ketosis and allows your body to burn fat deposits more effectively and thus makes you lose weight.
Today, there are several types of the keto diet:
- Standard ketogenic diet. It typically contains 75% of fat, 20% of proteins, and 5% of carbs.
- High-protein ketogenic diet. This type has a ratio of 65% of fats, 30% of proteins, and 5% carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet. This type of diet allows for high-carb refeed periods, typically once a week.
“The cyclical ketogenic diet is primarily used by professional athletes or bodybuilders during the cutting stage, as it eliminates water retention caused by carbs.”
Scientists believe that the ketogenic diet is a better way to lose fat compared to a non-ketogenic diet.
Moreover, since fats are a great source of energy, you can forget about counting calories and tracking your foods during weight loss.
Benefits and Limitations of the Keto Diet
The standard ketogenic diet is the most widely researched type of keto diet. Scientists agree that following this meal plan can be beneficial for people with certain conditions, such as:
- Insulin resistance. Chronic insulin resistance is a condition when your body cells don’t respond to the standard effects of insulin, which causes your pancreas to produce this hormone in larger amounts. Insulin resistance is one of the leading causes of metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes. However, studies show that following a low-carb or keto diet for 14 days can improve insulin sensitivity by 75%.
- Heart disease. Along with lowering blood sugar levels, a keto diet may reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the plasma, thus decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Acne. Following a keto diet cuts down sugar intake and balances insulin and cortisol levels, thereby making your skin cleaner and reducing acne outbreaks.
But like any diet, the keto meal plan has some health limitations as well:
- Gallbladder problems. High amounts of fat require an increased amount of bile to digest them. Thus, if you are prone to or had gallbladder problems in the past, the keto diet isn’t recommended for you, as it can aggravate them and worsen your condition.
- Diabetes. Yes, although a keto diet can help combat hyperglycemia, in people with diabetes it can trigger a potentially fatal condition called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs as a result of ketones — the byproducts of fat burning — building up in your blood.
- Gut problems. Starches and fiber-rich foods like beans and lentils are beneficial to your gut flora, and by restricting them, you can develop digestive issues, such as constipation or diarrhea.
“Fruits and grains are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. By cutting down on them, you may experience the depletion of different nutrients.”
Types of Protein Bars Allowed on Keto Diet
There are thousands of protein bars on the market, with the most common being protein, low-carb, breakfast, and nutritional bars. But not all of them are allowed on the keto diet.
Here’s how these bars differ:
- Low-carb breakfast bars. These may contain oats or other cereals, dried fruits, and honey. As the name implies, they work perfectly for breakfast replacement but, unfortunately, aren’t suitable for the keto diet.
- Low-carb bars. Unlike breakfast bars, this type has a more balanced nutrient profile but still may contain added sugar in some amounts. Also, cheaper options often have sugar alcohols, which may cause indigestion in some people.
- Protein bars. These bars typically have a ratio of 2:1 between protein and carbs. Protein bars are the most common type and are great for weight loss because they keep you full for longer.
- Nutritional bars. Nutritional bars are used mainly for weight gain. They have high amounts of carbs and fats and aren’t suitable for the ketogenic diet.
Check the labels, opt for stevia, erythritol, and other sweeteners and look for higher protein content. Thus, you will maintain the state of ketosis and remain on your path to weight loss.
Types of Protein Used in Low Carb Protein Bars
The type of protein will determine the quality and cost of the final product. Today, the most common protein types used for making snacks are the following:
- Whey isolate. Isolate is the type of protein with high absorption and bioavailability. It is most commonly used in protein bars because it has a good amino acid score and is relatively easy to digest.
- Collagen. Collagen is another type of protein familiar to your body. It’s present in bones, skin, cartilage, and joints.
- Vegan proteins. Vegan protein is usually derived from soy, peas, or hemp. Typically, protein bars contain different plant-sources of protein for better bioavailability. Note that plant protein is harder to digest and may not provide the full specter of amino acids.
How Many Calories Does a Protein Bar Contain?
The amount of calories depends on the serving size and nutrient profile of the product you choose. Most keto-friendly bars reviewed in this guide have around 200-250 calories, which is enough to replace a snack or even a full meal, based on your diet goals.
Consuming Keto Protein Bars the Right Way
Any food needs to be eaten in moderation, and protein bars are no exception. Unfortunately, many people indulge themselves when it comes to ‘diet’ snacks, and forget that they can quickly go beyond their calorie intake.
Here are the main factors that determine how much of protein bars you should consume per day:
- Daily calories and nutrient intake. Monitor your carbs, fats, and protein intake so that a protein bar wouldn’t wreck them. In a regular diet, this isn’t the case, but when you’re following a ketogenic meal plan, any fluctuations can cause an imbalance in your body and put you out of ketosis.
- Level of physical activity. Athletes and active people can use protein bars as a snack, while those who have a sedentary lifestyle are recommended to consume them as a meal replacement.
The best time for eating your healthy protein snacks also varies in different people; however, there are certain patterns common for many individuals:
- Breakfast. Eating a protein bar in the morning allows you to get a healthy on-the-go breakfast without skipping an entire meal. Also, protein bars usually keep you full for longer, as they need more time to get digested, compared to smoothies and protein shakes.
- Snack. As with meal replacements, consuming a nutrient-dense protein bar instead of junk food will aid in sticking to your overall diet plan.
- Pre-workout. Low-carb protein bars can serve as an energy boost and increase your endurance.
- Post-workout. When taken as a post-workout meal, low-carb bars replenish energy deposits and prevent muscles from breaking down, thus speeding up your recovery time.
Usually, 1-2 protein bars a day can provide optimal results for dieting and bulking people. This amount gives you the needed energy while staying within your daily nutritional limits.
How to Choose a Low Carb Protein Bar
When consumed in moderation, protein bars are a great dietary option, as they allow you to reduce your sugar cravings while sticking to your diet plan.
Just use them as a nutrient-dense snack when you have to eat on the go or when you just don’t feel like you want to cook a full meal.
Below, you will find a recap of the main factors that make the best protein bar so that you could easily incorporate it into your daily regimen:
- Total calories. For those who are losing weight, protein bars can come as a form of a low-carb meal replacement rather than a snack, because they typically contain around 200-300 calories. But if you’re trying to build muscles, then you can use protein bars as a post-workout snack to replenish your energy levels.
- Net carbs. Basically, net carbs are the carbs that you can digest. These exclude sugar alcohols, stevia, erythritol, and other sweeteners, as well as dietary fiber. The smaller the number of net carbs, the better for your diet, no matter if it’s ketogenic or not.
- Sugar alcohols. Your gut doesn’t digest xylitol and sorbitol; however, they can trigger the fermentation process, thereby causing digestive issues in some people. If you are intolerant to these compounds, it’s better to avoid them completely.
- Fat content. It’s better to consume protein bars that are moderate in fats, unless you’re eating them as a post-workout snack. Watch the percentage of saturated fats too. The World Health Organization recommends that you limit saturated fats to 10% of your daily energy intake, so it’s very easy to overdo.
Protein bars are an excellent substitute for sweets and other meals, as they allow you to control your sugar cravings without breaking your diet plan.
Yet, not all protein bars are created equal. Some of them still have high carbohydrate content, which can put you out of ketosis.
For those who are following a ketogenic diet, there are three main features that a perfect protein bar should have: low carbohydrates content, higher amounts of fats and protein, and high-quality ingredients.