Ketosis is a wonderful metabolic state in which to be in for a ton of reasons like – weight loss, mental clarity, appetite suppression, and reduced inflammation.
We know that dropping the carbs and upping the fats has broad and fast-acting benefits for the whole body, but what about protein?
Essential for building and maintaining muscle throughout the body, a lot of keto dieters either fear it because of the dreaded gluconeogenesis-monster, or they simply don’t get enough in general.
The 3 simple reasons why we don’t get enough protein.
- You get bored with meat.
- You’re tired of eggs.
- Protein powder tastes slightly worse than chalk dust.
Regardless of your position on the macronutrient, protein is still invaluable to all people but particularly those trying to lose weight and build muscle through a ketogenic eating plan and exercise routine.
So how do you get that protein in a way that’s convenient and also delicious?
Long a staple with bodybuilders and athletes, protein bars are typically full of carbs in the form of sugar and corn syrup, which are both utter no-nos on a keto diet.
Luckily because of the popularity of carb-cutting, many companies have begun producing keto-compliant protein bars for the discerning low carb consumer.
|Description||Check Amazon's Price|
|Keto Crave Bars|
|InstaKetones Protein Bars|
|Nature’s Plus KETOslim Bars|
|Quest Hero Protein Bars|
What to Look for in a Keto-Friendly Protein Bar?
Well, it’s got to be:
Functional – and in this case that means full of protein – that’s a given.
Delicious – you’re not going to eat it if it tastes like the floor of your gym.
Quality ingredients – there are non-sugar sweeteners you want to avoid, as well as chemical additives that are best left out as well. A good keto protein bar won’t include any of these.
Priced right – a good bar won’t break the bank.
Correct macronutrient profile – low carbs, moderate fiber, high fat, and high protein. That’s the name of the game.
The perfect bar will provide a quality flavor, a good dose of protein, and it won’t be filled with artificial sweeteners, sugar, or other garbage that might impede ketosis.
What are the Benefits of a Keto Protein Bar?
Well, protein bars, in general, are of course delicious convenient sources of protein that will be low in carbohydrates.
In addition, since many companies that cater to keto are more concerned about the overall healthfulness of their product, their bars are made with better nutrition in mind.
Good protein, high fats, low carbs, make it convenient, healthy, and delicious.
Let’s evaluate the best keto-friendly protein bars.
#1. Stoka Bars
Stoka bars are keto-friendly protein bars that are intended to provide a crunchy texture that a lot of protein bars, in general, tend to miss.
Their ingredients list is small, with no unpleasant additives, and they only use erythritol and stevia to sweeten them.
With an appearance similar to a traditional granola bar, and 2 delicious flavors – vanilla almond and cocoa almond – these keto protein bars stand apart from their competitors.
At 1.9 ounces, they’re not overly large but they pack a good macronutrient profile and a whopping 290 calories, so you could theoretically use them as a meal replacement.
The nutritional profile breaks down like this:
- Carbs – 19g (minus 5g fiber and 10g sugar alcohol)
- Fat – 23g
- Protein – 9g
Ultimately, this is a different kind of keto protein bar then you might normally encounter but that’s ok because variety isn’t a bad thing.
In terms of evaluating Stoka Bars:
- Functionality – 9 grams of protein isn’t a lot. These are more like a keto snack or dessert than a protein supplement.
- Taste – These are divergent from typical protein bars that are covered in chocolate and very dense and chewy. The crunch they provide is very welcome and the taste is very good.
- Quality of ingredients – Made of all-natural ingredients including 2 natural non-sugar sweeteners, Stoka has a healthy product with solid ingredients.
- Correct macronutrient profile – High fat for sure, with low carbs and a decent amount of fiber, and an okay amount of protein. Not the best, but certainly you could do worse.
#2. Keto Crave Bars
Keto Crave bars are a very well-balanced bar in terms of macronutrients. Designed to be used by people just starting out in ketosis or seasoned pros, there’s nothing in these that should throw you out of ketosis.
One of the best things about this particular product is the fact that the fats are bolstered with pure, coconut-derived MCT oil.
Since MCTs are immediately converted into energy by the body, Keto Crave bars provide a quick burst of energy, so they’re ideal for a pre-and-mid workout.
These bars are only 1.5 ounces each, so they’re on the small side, but they still clock in at 210 calories. This means they’re a highly concentrated source of MCT and protein, but there’s not an overabundance of fiber.
Their nutritional profile breaks down like this:
- Carbs – 13g (minus 8g fiber and surprisingly 0g sugar alcohol)
- Fat – 16g
- Protein – 9g
These are flavored with chicory root, which is a very low GI sugar. While this is a good thing, many customers report that it gives an unpleasant aftertaste, typically somewhat bitter.
While not altogether unpleasant, it is something to consider. Focusing on making a very keto-friendly product, and with the inclusion of MCTs, Keto Crave has created a very solid product.
- Functionality – These are some of the more ketogenic bars available. Adding in MCT instead of butter powder provides even more ketone-production and a host of other benefits.
- Taste – While the flavor is great, the aftertaste of the chicory root might turn some people off.
- Quality of ingredients – Very high-quality ingredients, nothing unnatural and no preservatives.
- Correct macronutrient profile – Perfect macros for a keto bar, without a doubt.
InstaKetones bars are an interesting addition to the protein bar market. Focused more on providing a quick burst of BHB – beta-hydroxybutyrate – they’ve still managed to create a very protein-efficient bar, with a whopping 15g in this tiny package.
Another interesting divergence is the fact that these come in a surprising orange flavor.
Most protein bars and supplements are decadently chocolate or vanilla, but the burst of citrus is a welcome change from the typical protein bar.
At 2 ounces per bar, they’re filling and full of fiber – 14g to be exact.
While this is great for your digestive system, one big caveat with these bars is that between the BHB and all of the fiber, there is a potential for stomach distress.
In fact, the packaging recommends starting with a half bar and working your way up.
Their macronutrient profile is:
- Carbs – 18g (minus 14g fiber)
- Fat – 8g
- Protein – 15g
These bars are designed for people who work out – the fat, though less than most of these bars, are going to convert to ketones as quickly as possible.
This means an incredible burst of clean energy, and on the flip side, there’s almost twice as much protein in these as the previous products.
- Functionality – For an athlete, Crossfit enthusiast, or weightlifter this is a fantastic product. For just a snack it’s less than ideal.
- Taste – The orange flavor really comes out and if you want something different from chocolate overload, this is pretty different.
- Quality of ingredients – Organic and pure is the name of the game here. Very great ingredient list.
- Correct macronutrient profile – For quick energy and good recovery from workouts, InstaKetones by Julian Bakery are next to perfect.
#4. Atlas Bar
They use a grass-fed whey protein and their macros are sublime.
These also include coconut oil for some good MCTs, and they use erythritol and stevia for sweeteners – nothing artificial.
At 2 ounces a bar, they’re fairly hefty, and with this macronutrient breakdown, they’ll provide a good, sustained energy boost as a snack, mid-workout supplement, or a light meal.
Here are the macros:
- Carbs – 22g (minus 11g fiber and 3g of sugar alcohol)
- Fat – 12g
- Protein – 16g
The macro split is near perfect.
In terms of our other parameters, this is how they measure up:
- Functionality – Full of fiber, fat, and protein, these bars provide sustained energy for recovery or a quick pick-me-up.
- Taste – All natural ingredients with no weird chemicals or additives, these bars are perfectly sweet without being overly so.
- Quality of ingredients – Fantastic ingredients, mostly organic, grass-fed whey; enough said.
- Correct macronutrient profile – Perfect for keto, especially for someone whose exercise requires more protein in general.
KetoSlim bars are very busy – they pack quite a bit of nutrition into a small chocolate bar.
Coated in chocolate and rather bulky (2.1 ounces), these are far more like a “traditional” protein bar than many of the others on this list.
There are a lot of ingredients, which can be good and bad.
The good part is they’ve included a lot of healthy or healthy-adjacent stuff: a green, whole-food blend filled with extracts from several dozen different plants, healthy gut bacteria, vitamin and mineral blend, and a digestive enzyme blend.
This is a lot of nutrition in one bar!
The downside is that they’re covered in chocolate sweetened with maltitol, which can spike blood sugar and hurt your chances of staying in ketosis.
Macronutrient-wise, it looks like this:
- Carbs – 22g (minus 2g fiber and 18g of sugar alcohol)
- Fat – 8g
- Protein – 21g
For the purposes of a keto protein bar:
- Functionality – A big, sweet, bulky protein bar. It does what you want it to.
- Taste – The taste is more akin to a traditional protein bar; that is, overall not bad, but not great.
- Quality of ingredients – There’s a lot going on here, but overall (maltitol aside) it looks good.
- Correct macronutrient profile – 22g of total carbs is a lot when the fiber is so low. Fat is fine and protein is pretty high, so all-in-all, not bad.
Quest is one of the most trusted names in ketogenic supplements and low carb snacks.
Their product line is a testament to quality ingredients and ceaseless improvement, and the Hero bars are no exception.
In particular, the fact that these deviate from the “everything chocolate” model of a protein bar is a nice change of pace – you don’t see a lot of blueberry cobbler items, even in non-keto terms.
They also sweeten their bars with a mixture of sweeteners – allulose, sucralose, and erythritol.
This helps avoid some of the aftertaste issues each of those individual sweeteners sometimes create.
In terms of macronutrients, they break down like this:
- Carbs – 30g (minus 10g fiber and 4g of sugar alcohol. In addition, though allulose is a “sugar”, it only contribute .4 calories per gram, so it’s incredibly negligible on blood sugar)
- Fat – 7g
- Protein – 17g
The 30g of carbs total is a bit daunting but ultimately it’s not as high as it seems. Fats are somewhat low though they fit into a ketogenic diet ratio, and the protein ratio is perfect.
- Functionality – These are a great treat and an easy way to add protein.
- Taste – Really good – perfectly sweet without the aftertaste sometimes associated with sugar alcohol.
- Quality of ingredients – Quality ingredients, as with all Quest products.
- Correct macronutrient profile – A little high on the carbs, even counting for the allulose’s unique properties, but otherwise good and still within keto parameters.
When looking for the perfect keto protein bar, make sure to watch out for those hidden sugars and carbs. Choosing one of these off the list will make sure you’re consuming a keto-friendly protein bar that caters to the keto macros while providing great taste, which will help you stay in a state of ketosis.