If you're a health nut like me, or just someone looking to get healthier after a semester spent stress eating, then you've probably encountered quest bars. As THE protein bar on the market, you've probably had friends talk it up as a miracle food. Unlike other protein bars which contain high amounts of sugar and little to no fiber, this quick post-workout snack seems like the perfect thing for someone's whose on the go. At around 15 g of fiber and 2 g of sugar per bar, it can be difficult to question its healthiness. "It seems so obviously good for me," I used to think, "there doesn't seem to be any downside and it even comes in cookie dough flavor!" That was two semesters ago, but after this past summer where I ate only whole, natural foods, I beg to differ.
Although I still grab one from time to time since it's better than the "gluten-free muffins" on campus, I found out very quickly this semester that this product is just as much of a processed food product as the rest of them. A few weeks into the semester, I grabbed a quest bar and although it was delicious (who doesn't love cookie dough?) it made me feel uncomfortably full. In case you don't know, the average sized women require approximately 21 g of fiber per day and the quest bar is more than half. I also became extremely thirsty and ended up drinking my entire water bottle.
Each quest bar flavor varies around 300-ish milligrams of sodium— that's equivalent to three ounces of canned tuna! Worst of all, I looked at the ingredients label of my bar and found that its fiber was derived from corn! Suddenly, I had flashbacks to my nutrition cultures class. Specifically, I remembered my teacher explaining that most farms in the United States were commercialized solely for growing corn to mass produce all sorts of devious, money-making products like chips and cereals. The thought that I had been perpetuating this machine shook me to my core.
That isn't to say that quest bars are nefarious. Like all the other brands, they could probably get away with sweetening their products with large amounts of sugar or fake-sugar— but they don't. Many potential customers are lost since they dislike the taste, but it still remains a low-sugar bastion in our world of hypo-sweetened products and for that, I don't view them as bad as its competitors.
However, if you're looking to feel more healthy and fresh with your body, the quest bar probably isn't for you.