Alternative bars that you might consider are discussed at:
and Primal Kitchen Bars
I no longer recommend any Quest Protein bars.
As of 2015-08-26, Quest has ceased
using IMO, and switched to soluble
corn fiber (which may still be an IMO).
They provide no information
on what adverse corn proteins (like zein)
might make it into the bars. Because they
don't claim “organic”, pesticide uptake is
also a concern. They have also added calcium
carbonate to at least two of the reformulated
sucralose-free flavors, and some contain soy
lecithin, an emulsifier. Supplementing calcium
on Wheat Belly and Cureality guidelines
(with one possible emerging exception that
is not calcium carbonate). Added emulsifiers
are a recent new concern (gut biome antagonist),
and common in junk food, which is what this product
line seems to be turning into. New flavors added to
the Quest line have been using sucralose.
Until we have some clarity on all this, I've stopped
buying them entirely. As it turned out, the most recent
carton I'd bought, of Double Chocolate Chunk, is the new
formulation. In addition to the ingredient concerns raised
above, the flavor has changed, toward cardboard.
Below is what this article used to say, revised to make
the de-listing clear.
Largely by accident (in my opinion, and reinforced by
recent Quest Nutrition bumbling around), some of these
bars used to be acceptable as a snack, and as a source
of prebiotic fiber, under Cureality and Wheat Belly
guidelines. They are gluten-free
and GMO-free, very low net carb, high prebiotic fiber,
but alas also low fat. Quest Nutrition does not have
the full picture.
If all the caveats seem discouraging, the sad truth is that
these used to be the most benign snack bars on the market,
and there are presently NO satisfactory packaged meal
replacement bars on the market at all. There are a couple
of candidate snack bars (Adapt
on which I
may have more to say in the future.
Issues on Quest included:
- All flavors now contain soluble corn fiber instead
of IMO, raising a zein protein concern.
- Over half the Quest flavors contain sucralose,
an artificial sweetener no longer CR/WB approved
due to being a likely gut biome antagonist
(see lists below).
- They contain whey protein, which provokes an
non-trivial insulin response in many people, and
may be a factor in weight loss stall.
- The older high “dietary” (pre-biotic)
IMO fiber content could cause gas (more below).
I have no data on any corn fiber effects.
- These are protein bars, so they are probably not
compatible with being in full time ketosis, if
that's your intent.
- Fat content is also too low to consider them
to be meal replacement (more below).
- Some people got a blood sugar response to the
legacy bars. The reasons for this were not clear.
- No claim is made for “organic”.
This raises questions about
pesticide uptake in the corn fiber.
- Packaging quality control is inconsistent
These flavors do not contain sucralose:
Nut Muffin (but does contain calcium carbonate)
Chocolate Chunk (but does contain calcium carbonate)
These flavors contain sucralose:
Chip Cookie Dough
Butter & Jelly
People have asked Quest to increase the fat*. They don't get it. “We
don't want to add more fat simply to blunt responses
in the people that seem to show higher readings, as
maintaining good calorie control and macronutrient
ratios are much more important in our opinion.”
The FDA, still stuck on low fat, would probably also
hassle them about the “perfect nutritional profile”
claim if they increased the fat.
If you hadn't already been consuming sufficient prebiotic fiber
and/or have suboptimal gut flora, you
might have initially experienced gas with the former
IMO-based bars. One bar was close to the CR/WB target for
daily prebiotic fiber. You may get gas in any case if you
eat more than 2 bars per day. The older bars use IMO
(isomalto oligosaccharides). The newest flavor (Mint)
switched to “Soluble Corn Fiber” (which raises
issues, and the fact that the recent new flavors have
sucralose suggests that Quest is not likely to
intentionally release a more optimal product anytime soon).
Unfortunately, Quest decided to reformulate all the bars
to use corn.
The protein is milk- and/or whey-based, which is a concern
for those sensitive to bovine (cow) dairy. Note for those
outside North America: the dairy content is almost certainly
from N.A. herds with beta casein A1
genetics, and not your A2 cows. You might do fine on A2
dairy, but perhaps not A1.
Some people get a blood sugar response to the older bars that
understood (it was apparently not glucogenesis of the
whey protein or heating of the IMO). These bars are not
labeled for diabetics. I have seen no reports on how the
reformulation might affect this response.
If you buy this product by the carton, be sure to check
the air seal on every bar before putting the box in the
cupboard. In my experience, about 5% of the bars are not
well sealed, and will be dried out rocks by the time you
discover the problem. Only one of the two Quest sampler
boxes is sucralose-free.
This article is only about the protein bars. The newer
Beyond Cereal bars, and other Quest
products are left as an exercise for the reader.
* They are sort of starting to listen
on the fat issue, and lately introduced MCT
Oil Powder. In addition to the cognitive dissonance of
"oil powder", this product also contains soluble corn fiber and
sodium caseinate (aka MSG), and no specific claims of organic