The Protein Bar Battle

I am VERY picky about the protein bars I eat or recommend to others, so when I say that I dig Quest Bars AND B-Up Bars, that is saying a lot. Both brands are gluten free, soy free, very low in carbs, high in fiber, and offer 20 grams of protein per bar. I still remember when Quest had just started out, and had two flavors: Vanilla Almond Crunch and Peanut Butter Supreme, or as I had remembered them, the blue wrapper and the green wrapper. I loved the enthusiasm which Shannon Yorton Penna had in creating the bars and had a hunch the company would grow fast. Quest now has 16 flavors and has expanded to pasta, chips and clothing. Way to go Quest!

It was inevitable that a company would eventually throw down the gauntlet with a distinctive bar of their own. B-Up Bar is a new company with three awesome flavors and is taking off like a rocket, not only because they have great products, but also because the people in the company are friendly, professional and driven just like Shannon and the incredible team at Quest. I truly love both companies and eat both brands of bars, so I thought it would be interesting to look at the features of each brand of bar and also offer my feedback on them.

With Quest, there are TONS of flavors now (16) to satisfy all kinds of palates. They are free of sugar, gluten, and soy, and offer 20 grams of prebiotic fiber, so net carbs are very low. Quest Bars have 20 grams of protein and are sweetened either with sucralose OR stevia and erythritol. Here is the current list of flavors which are available:
Quest Bars flavors
Vanilla Almond Crunch
Peanut Butter Supreme
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Apple Pie
Cinnamon Roll
Chocolate Brownie
Strawberry Cheesecake
Mixed Berry
Coconut Cashew
Lemon Cream Pie
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Banana Nut Muffin
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Double Chocolate Chunk
White Chocolate Raspberry
Cookies & Cream

Me with BUp Bars
Like Quest, B-Up Bars are free of sugar, gluten, and soy, and offer 20 grams of prebiotic fiber, so net carbs are very low. B-Up Bars also offer 20 grams of protein, but they are sweetened with stevia, xylitol and monk fruit extract, all of which are natural sweeteners. B-Up Bars currently come in three flavors, but there will be more delicious flavors added to the group very soon. Here are the flavors:

Chocolate Mint
Sugar Cookie
Cinnamon Roll

I absolutely love the flavor of the majority of Quest Bars (the only one I am not crazy about is the Mixed Berry), and I definitely have my favorites (Peanut Butter & Jelly, Banana Nut Muffin, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough). My favorite flavors remind me so much of the food items they are named for that I am always tricked into believing that I am indulging in the actual food item. One thing I have noticed, though, is that over the span of a couple of months, these bars tend to harden up a lot, to the point where you can’t even bite into them without risk of chipping a tooth. This can be remedied by zapping the bar (WITHOUT the foil wrapper) in the microwave for a few seconds.

In contrast to the Quest Bars, B-Up Bars are chewier. I love the texture of the Sugar Cookie flavor because it seems softer and fluffier than the other two flavors. My favorite B-Up Bar flavor is Chocolate Mint because the mint flavor is pleasant but not overpowering, and the chocolate chunks break up the soft texture of the bar nicely. It seems that I digest B-Up Bars slightly better than the Quest Bars, but this isn’t enough for me to stop eating Quest Bars!

I noticed one other odd thing after spending a few weeks eating mostly B-Up Bars. When I went back to the sucralose-sweetened Quest Bars, I detected an aftertaste which I didn’t really like, so I guess my palate had adjusted to the natural sweeteners found in B-Up Bars. To be honest, I prefer the sweeteners found in B-Up Bars slightly more because they are more palatable. When I tried a stevia and erythritol sweetened Quest Bar after this discovery, I didn’t pick up any aftertaste.

In conclusion, I love both brands of bars and would recommend them both to friends, family, fans, clients and patients.

I Finally Tried Quest Pasta

When I heard about the new pasta from Quest Nutrition, I became quite excited because I love everything this company comes out with. It took me a while to get my hands on a package of these guilt-free noodles, but I finally did a couple of months ago.
I was given the spinach fettucine variety, which contains 20 calories per serving (2 servings in a bag). The noodles are very low carb and gluten free, comprised of 100% soluble fiber from the Konjac root, which is also known as glucomannan. I kept waiting for a time when I would finally feel compelled to try it, and that time coincided with a day in which I was constantly ravenous. I walked into the kitchen and figured that consuming Quest noodles would be an excellent way to fill me up and would also give me an opportunity to finally try them.

I hadn’t heard about the odor imparted by the alkaline water that is used to pack the noodles in, so I was a bit alarmed when I opened the package and was assaulted by a strong, SALTY (weird how it actually smelled salty!), ocean smell, kind of like strong seaweed. I thought maybe the noodles had already gone bad! My cream Burmese Kazu, who by the way is a FREAK for seaweed, jogged into the kitchen to investigate and was convinced that I had opened a package of seaweed, so we did a little dance in which she kept jumping on the counter and I kept removing her from it. Once I rinsed the noodles, the smell went away and so did my little seaweed fanatic.

The noodles are very slippery, and have a chewy, slightly rubbery consistency when you eat them, but they hold sauces very well, and they cook up lightning fast. A minute in the microwave does the trick. I added shredded chicken breast, fresh garlic, black pepper, onions and 2 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce and was very happy with the outcome. I honestly tried to restrain myself and have one serving, but these noodles are so guilt free that I had 2 servings and was satisfied for over two hours. After trying these noodles, I think I might have to keep a supply on hand for those times when I am starving and need to throw some food bulk into a meal. Thank goodness for Quest Pastabilities!

You can order direct from Quest Nutrition: