As a bariatric dietitian, I am always trying out protein supplements – from bars, to powders, to pre-made drinks, I attempt to try anything and everything that my clients are using or that I suggest to them. I have always had a hard time with protein bars. Most of them make my stomach feel funny, and most of them taste like chalk to me. Just being honest here! I used to always eat PowerBars when I was running track… that was our thing, PowerBars and bananas for an after school snack. Unfortunately most of the PowerBars aren’t really bariatric friendly (and don’t taste all that great).
When I am looking for a protein bar for my bariatric patients, I look at the fat content and the sugar content. Fat and sugar can cause dumping syndrome in a patient that has had weight loss surgery, and dumping syndrome is just as awful as it sounds. So I look for bars that have less than 7 grams of fat per bar and less than 4 grams of sugar per bar (or if they have more than 4 grams of sugar I look at the ingredients to see what KIND of sugar – refined sugars like white sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, etc. tend to cause dumping while natural sugars like fructose, lactose, etc. likely won’t cause dumping). And of course I want them to have a decent amount of protein, so I hope for at least 10 grams or more in a bar.
The other day while I was shopping at Kroger, I saw that Pure Protein Bars were on sale for 10 for $10. I picked one up and looked at the label – the stats were basically perfect! Less than 4 grams of sugar, less than 7 grams of fat, and a whopping 18-21 grams of protein depending on the flavor. So I picked up a few to try, and so far I have been impressed!
Pure Protein Bars boast 10 different bariatric patient friendly flavors – I only found 4 different flavors at the store I went to and tried them all. Here’s the stats on their flavors (all stats are on their 50g bars, which are most appropriate for my patients):
- Chocolate Deluxe: 21g protein, 4.5g fat, 3g sugars
- Greek Yogurt Strawberry: 20g protein, 4g fat, 4g sugars (of the ones that I tried, this was my least favorite. I could really taste the whey protein in it and it was more gritty than the others.)
- Greek Yogurt Blueberry: 20g protein, 4.5g fat, 4g sugars
- Chewy Chocolate Chip: 20g protein, 5g fat, 3g sugars (this one was my favorite – it was like eating chocolate covered cookie dough, YUM!)
- Chocolate Peanut Butter: 20g protein, 6g fat, 2g sugars
- Chocolate Peanut Caramel: 20g protein, 6g fat, 2g sugars (can anyone say Snickers bar replacement??? I want to try this one!)
- Chocolate Salted Caramel: 19g protein, 5g fat, 3g sugars
- Dark Chocolate Coconut: 19g protein, 6g fat, 1g sugar
- S’Mores: 19g protein, 5g fat, 3g sugars (pretty good at first, but had a really bitter, funky, whey protein aftertaste to it… not a huge fan.)
- Peanut Butter Caramel: 18g protein, 7g fat, 2g sugars (this was really good, my second favorite)