I don’t do product reviews often, but maybe I’ll start. These are kind of fun.
I get asked about the Quest Bar all the time. Quite honestly, I’ve eaten a lot of them and tried nearly all the flavors. I owe it to you to break these down. In the process, I’ll be squashing your fantasies and kicking your dog on my way out.
Mama said to always give you the good news first. Quest bars taste great, especially relative to the other bars on the market. They are consistently kind to the buds in almost every flavor (I’m partial to the varieties which contain “chips”). They have very few ingredients and have a low calorie count for those of you into that sort of thing.
Quest bars have no sugar or sugar alcohols added. That’s good and bad. We know sugar is the enemy, and you’re well aware of the Kaplifestyle mantra, “fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat.”
Here’s why it’s problematic. Without sugar, how are Quest Bars so damn sweet? Have a peek at the two ingredients below.
Lo han guo, also known as monk fruit, is the Chinese equivalent of stevia. Monk fruit extracts, called mogrosides, are processed and result in a powdered sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar. You remember my post on Stevia? Something tasted artificial to me. I don’t know; it just doesn’t feel “right.”
At least that’s semi-natural. The other sweetener they use is sucralose. They use it because it is non-caloric, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to ingest it. From Wikipedia:
It is manufactured by the selective chlorination of sucrose (table sugar), which substitutes three of the hydroxyl groups with chlorine. This chlorination is achieved by selective protection of the primary alcohol groups followed by acetylation and then deprotection of the primary alcohol groups. Following an induced acetyl migration on one of the hydroxyl groups, the partially acetylated sugar is then chlorinated with a chlorinating agent such as phosphorus oxychloride, followed by removal of the acetyl groups to give sucralose.
Natural flavors? Cryptic. Here’s a funny definition from grist.org:
Natural flavor is a catchall term for any number of (naturally derived) chemicals concocted to enhance the taste of your snack. They’re dreamed up, extracted, and blended by flavorists in labs to preserve what your food would have tasted like before it was processed, frozen, heated, pasteurized, or otherwise addled on the way to your grocery store. Even stranger, that chemical cocktail doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the food in hand. The raspberry essence in your smoothie may come from orris root; that vanilla-flavored item may get its signature spice from — I kid you not — the anal glands of a beaver.
Let’s be honest – you eat the Quest bar because you can’t find something natural that tastes like candy but provides 20 grams of protein in only 170 calories. I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t real food with ingredients that are good for you. But what good would I be if I didn’t offer you an alternative?
How about a chicken thigh for roughly 160 calories and 15 grams of protein? Toss in half an apple for another 50 calories and you have a snack with 210 calories that is made of whole foods. It will hit both your sweet and savory desires while being the true definition of natural flavors.
Mama also told me to end with some good news. Quest bars come in convenient little packages.
Why does doing things right take extra effort?