Let’s get one thing straight – protein bars or whey protein shakes are no substitute for proper food. Getting lean is about eating right and protein bars are usually filled with sugary carbs which will spike your glucose levels and turn to fat – basically no better than a chocolate bar. But all the big supplement brands have them and some are better than others – if you’ve got no alternative then they can be a decent enough option to get your protein intake up. I went out and scoured the shelves of my local health food shop to see what I could find.

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USN Pure Protein

First up is USN’s offering boasting a ‘chocolate ice cream’ flavour. To be honest I think chocolate cardboard might be more appropriate but at least there isn’t much of an aftertaste. The bar’s got a slightly gooey top to it and then a harder base. Protein content is reasonable although sugars are a bit on the high side.
Protein: 25g
Carbs: 33g
Sugars: 14g
Fat: 8g

PHD Flapjack

PhD Protein Flapjack

This one wins hands down on the sugar count – a paltry 2g is nothing short of impressive. On the flip side the protein content isn’t all that high at 19g. The carbs are also pretty high as you’d expect for a flapjack. Taste test? Not too bad if you like peanut and it has a nice consistency to it. Overall decent but the carbs are too high for my liking.
Protein: 19g
Carbs: 35g
Sugars: 2g
Fat: 7g

Protein Power Bar

PowerBar 30% Protein Plus

A pretty small bar this one. It’s soft and chocolaty to taste which is quite nice, but based on the low protein and very high sugar content you may as well be having a chocolate bar for all the good it’s doing you. Not great.
Protein: 17g
Carbs: 17g
Sugars: 16g
Fat: 4g

CNP Bar

CNP Pro Bar XS

This ‘high protein meal bar’ from CNP has the highest protein content of any of the bars and the sugar content is very low which is impressive. It’s berry flavour with a sort of yoghurt coating and it’s kind of crunchy to taste. I’m actually pretty impressed with this one.
Protein: 31g
Carbs: 20g
Sugars: 3g
Fat: 5g

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Maxi Nutrition Promax Lean

This one contains 125mg of caffeine which is roughly the same as a cup of coffee – worth being aware of if you’ve already had a couple of cups. It’s also got green tea extract to boost it’s ‘lean definition’ claims. Sugar level isn’t great but not as bad as some others and the taste is similar to the PowerBar with a soft chocolate texture that’s ok. Overall a fair effort from Maxi.
Protein: 23g
Carbs: 19g
Sugars: 11g
Fat: 5g

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Optimum Nutrition Oats & Whey

Optimum Nutrition’s effort contains real wholegrain oats which is pretty good compared to the artificial ingredients in most of these bars. Protein content is average and the sugars are amongst the lowest in the test which earns a big tick from me. The texture is extremely chewy and quite hard to bite into but the taste overall isn’t too bad. A good bar.
Protein: 23g
Carbs: 28g
Sugars: 5g
Fat: 5g

The winner

My vote goes to Optimum Nutrition’s Oats & Whey and CNP’s Pro Bar XS for their low sugar content. CNP’s bar wins out on the protein intake but if you also want to get some good carbs in as well I’d go for ON’s product.