The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Protein Bars

 

The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Protein Bars

 
Ultimate Energy Bar Comparison Chart

Find the right lectin-free protein bar for you

The number of options and factors to consider when selecting an energy bar is dizzying. You want a bar that’s low in sugar, high in prebiotic fiber, made from healthy, clean ingredients, and palatable. If you happen to be keto, you want your bar to be loaded with high quality protein and healthy fat.

You should also opt for a bar that’s free of lectins, those pesky plant proteins that can cause systemic inflammation and contribute to a range of diseases–as well as weight gain. This is quite challenging, as it turns out, since the trend towards lectin-free foods is relatively new and the incumbent food bar manufacturers are behind the curve.

Dr. Steven Gundry, who pioneered the Lectin Free Diet (also known as the Plant Paradox Diet), has recommended select flavors of certain bars (like Quest Bars). But, these are not the only options. There are some niche bars that are arguably healthier (and tastier) that are lectin-free but didn’t make it onto Dr. Gundry’s list. Considering that there are over 1000 energy bars on the market, it’s no surprise that he might have missed a few!

Everyone has their own unique needs when it comes to nutrition, even within a given dietary plan like the Plant Paradox program. I created the Ultimate Protein Bar Comparison Chart (follows below) in hopes that it will make it easier for you to find exactly what you need, whether you’re Keto, Paleo, Lectin-Free or all of the above. It’s the result of extensive research, including looking at the ingredient lists of literally hundreds of bars, from dozens of popular and niche brands.

I’ve discovered several bars that check most or all the boxes and also taste great…and one in particular that really stands out. See all the bars below or jump to our review of the winner. Bon appetite!

Find the right lectin-free protein bar for you

The number of options and factors to consider when selecting an energy bar is dizzying. You want a bar that’s low in sugar, high in prebiotic fiber, made from healthy, clean ingredients, and palatable. If you happen to be keto, you want your bar to be loaded with high quality protein and healthy fat.

You should also opt for a bar that’s free of lectins, those pesky plant proteins that can cause systemic inflammation and contribute to a range of diseases–as well as weight gain. This is quite challenging, as it turns out, since the trend towards lectin-free foods is relatively new and the incumbent food bar manufacturers are behind the curve.

Dr. Steven Gundry, who pioneered the Lectin Free Diet (also known as the Plant Paradox Diet), has recommended select flavors of certain bars (like Quest bars). But, these are not the only options. There are some niche bars that are arguably healthier (and tastier) that are lectin-free but didn’t make it onto Dr. Gundry’s list. Considering that there are over 1000 energy bars on the market, it’s no surprise that he missed a few!

Everyone has their own unique needs when it comes to nutrition, even within a given dietary plan like the Plant Paradox program. I created the Ultimate Protein Bar Comparison Chart in hopes that it will make it easier for you to find exactly what you need, whether you’re keto, paleo, lectin free or all of the above. It’s the result of extensive research, including looking at the ingredient lists of literally hundreds of bars, from dozens of popular and niche brands.

I’ve discovered several bars that check most or all the boxes and also taste great…and one in particular that really stands out. See all the bars below or jump to our review of the winner.

Bon appetite!

The Ultimate Protein Bar Comparison Chart

The Ultimate Protein Bar Comparison Chart

(Flip your phone for a better view.)

The Ultimate Protein Bar Comparison Chart

What makes for a healthy protein bar?

I chose attributes that are important based on my understanding of popular diets including Lectin-free, Paleo and Keto (because for many people there’s overlap) and I also looked at some broad characteristics:

  • Lectin-free options: The operative word here is “options”, as there is not a single brand where every flavor/variety of bar is lectin-free. Common culprits include cashews, peanuts and sunflower seeds.
  • Keto friendly: Very low sugar, high fiber, high fat, low glycemic index.
  • Paleo friendly: There are some terrific bars that are fine for Paleo but still have lectins. Depending on how strict you are about avoiding lectins, you may want to consider them.
  • No sugar alcohols: I included this because sugar alcohols give many people stomach aches due to their high polyol levels. Some have even been linked to cancer.
  • Prebiotic fiber: Prebiotic fibers such as inulin feed healthy gut bacteria, helping your microbiome, and slow down the absorption of sugar.
  • Preservative-free: ‘Nuff said.
  • Grass-fed whey protein: Because grass-fed whey protein has 3-5x more Conjugated Linoleic Acid and higher concentrations of Immunoglobulin G.
  • High Amazon rating: Bars with at least 4 stars got extra points because the crowds do have wisdom.

What I didn’t look at:

  • Price: Price is all over the map, and different people have different budgets, so I left it out.
  • Taste: Subjective, so we skipped it. But, bars with a high Amazon ratings taste better.
  • Vegan: To keep things simple. But, bars with “N/A” in the whey protein column are vegan.

Winner: MariGold Bars

MariGold Bars truly stand out, and in a very crowded field. They’re the only bars to score highly in all seven categories and MariGold has more lectin-free flavors available than any other brand. And with 4.6 stars on Amazon, you can be confident that they taste great, too.

When MariGold Bars discovered that I’d rated them five stars they reached out and offered to give Human Food Bar readers an exclusive discount. Use promo code HFB10 at checkout or any MariGold Bar link on this page and get $10 off (that’s 25% savings!).

Let’s take a closer look at what makes these bars so good.

✅  Lectin-free options: MariGold Bars has eight lectin-free flavors: Coconut Rage, Macarooned, ChocoNut, ChunkyChoco Pecan, Pure Joy, Chocolate Mint, Texas Praline Pecan and Cinnabahn. The Lectin Free Sampler Pack is great for newbies.

✅  Low sugar/Keto friendly: 6g total carbs, 1-3g sugar, up to 8g fiber, 17g fat, 22g protein (may vary depending on bar).

✅  Prebiotic fiber: Contains up to 8g of coconut or chicory root fiber, which has inulin (Pure Joy has the most).

✅  Grass-fed whey protein: MariGold Bars are a grass-fed whey protein powerhouse. They are also hormone, antibiotic and pesticide free.

✅  Paleo-friendly ingredients: Grass-fed whey, chocolate, coconut, coconut oil,  stevia, inulin, grass-fed ghee, pecans, and very small amounts of coconut nectar and maple syrup (less than a couple grams of sugar). .

✅  No sugar alcohols: Sweetened with stevia, coconut nectar and maple syrup.

✅   Preservative-free: You even have to refrigerate them, a sure sign they’re fresh.

✅  High Amazon rating: These bars have 4.6 stars on Amazon, which is elite for this category. Rest assured: these bars are loved by many more people than just me.
✅  All Organic and Fair Trade:  From grass-fed whey protein and ghee to Fair Trade chocolate and coffee beans, MariGold Bars does not compromise on ingredients.

Read the Amazon reviews and check out all their lectin-free bars below, or start shopping.

Winner: MariGold Bars

MariGold Bars truly stand out, and in a very crowded field. They’re the only bars to score highly in all seven categories and MariGold has more lectin-free flavors available than any other brand. And with 4.6 stars on Amazon, you can be confident that they taste great, too.

 

When MariGold Bars discovered that I’d rated them five stars they reached out and offered to give Human Food Bar readers an exclusive discount. Use promo code HFB10 at checkout or any MariGold Bar link on this page and get $10 off (that’s 25% savings!).

Let’s take a closer look at what makes these bars so good.

✅  Lectin-free options: MariGold Bars has eight lectin-free flavors: Coconut Rage, Macarooned, ChocoNut, ChunkyChoco Pecan, Pure Joy, Chocolate Mint, Texas Praline Pecan and Cinnabahn. The Lectin Free Sampler Pack is great for newbies

✅  Low sugar/Keto friendly: 6g total carbs, 1-3g sugar, up to 8g fiber, 17g fat, 22g protein (may vary depending on bar).

✅  Prebiotic fiber: Contains up to 8g of coconut or chicory root fiber, which has inulin (Pure Joy has the most).

✅  Grass-fed whey protein: MariGold Bars are a grass-fed whey protein powerhouse. They are also hormone, antibiotic and pesticide free.

✅  Paleo-friendly ingredients: Grass-fed whey, chocolate, coconut, coconut oil,  stevia, inulin, grass-fed ghee, pecans, and very small amounts of coconut nectar and maple syrup (less than a couple grams of sugar). .

✅  No sugar alcohols: Sweetened with stevia, coconut nectar and maple syrup.

✅   Preservative-free: You even have to refrigerate them, a sure sign they’re fresh.

✅  High Amazon rating: These bars have 4.6 stars on Amazon, which is elite for this category. Rest assured: these bars are loved by many more people than just me.
✅  All Organic and Fair Trade:  From grass-fed whey protein and ghee to Fair Trade chocolate and coffee beans, MariGold Bars does not compromise on ingredients.

Read the Amazon reviews and check out all their lectin-free bars below, or start shopping.

Real Reviews from Amazon

Please note: Select MariGold Bars are available on Amazon, but to get the $10 discount (promo code HFB10) you must buy on the MariGold Bars website.

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