Are Pure Protein Bars Healthy?

By | June 22, 2015

Pure Protein bars provide a decent amount of protein at relatively cheap prices.

3 types of Pure Protein bars:
• Original
• Greek yoghurt
• Fruit and nut

They come in sizes of 50g, 57g and 78g, and a range of flavours.

At first glance, the nutrition numbers look good: 20g protein, 2g sugar and 200 calories for the chocolate peanut butter flavour (50g serving size). But let’s take a closer look at the nutrition facts and ingredient list to uncover more…


1. Good macronutrient ratio

Pure Protein bars have around 200 calories, 18-20g of protein per serving and a 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs. They are low in sugar and fat.

2. High quality protein

Whey and milk proteins are the primary protein sources for most Pure Protein bars. The two major protein groups of milk are whey (20% of total milk proteins) and casein (8o% of total milk proteins). Both are complete proteins. Food protein quality is determined by amino acid composition, digestibility of protein and bioavailability of amino acids. Based on the amino acid profile, both milk proteins – whey and casein – are a complete source of amino acids. When compared to other proteins, milk proteins have higher nutritional value due to the high content of essential amino acids and good digestibility. Milk proteins also have a high biological value. This means that they are utilised efficiently by the body.


1. Sugar alcohols

Pure Protein bars are sweetened with sugar alcohols, which can cause bloating, gas, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Hence, the warning on the label:

“This product contains sugar alcohols, which may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.”

If you are sensitive to sugar alcohols, you should limit or avoid consumption of Pure Protein bars.

The amount of sugar alcohols varies from 5g-15g for 50/57g bars (regular size) to 7g-17g for 78g bars (large size). Check the product label to find out the sugar alcohol content.

MORE: Best Protein Bars Without Added Sugar

2. GMOs

Pure Protein bars contain genetically modified ingredients such as soy protein isolate, soy protein crisps, corn starch, corn syrup and canola oil.
(See –> Dangers of GMO Foods: What You Should Know)

3. Aftertaste

Pure Protein bars are also sweetened with sucralose, an artificial sweetener that can leave a weird or unpleasant aftertaste.

4. Synthetic vitamins and minerals

Pure Protein bars are fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals. Unless you have a deficiency, you are unlikely to benefit from the added vitamins and minerals. In fact, excessive intake of certain vitamins and minerals can have toxic effects.

Fortified food labels are not always accurate. There may be more or less than the stated amounts of vitamins and minerals, so you could be getting too much of a good thing.

5. Poor quality protein

Soy protein isolate and hydrolyzed collagen are used to increase the protein content of Pure Protein bars. Both are cheap sources of protein.

Soy protein is a complete protein. However, there two concerns arising from the soy protein used in Pure Protein bars:
- it is derived from genetically modified soybeans (See –> Dangers of GMO Foods: What You Should Know)
- the potential health risks associated with soy consumption (See –> Soy: Friend or Foe?)

Hydrolyzed collagen is not a complete protein. It is extracted from skin, bone, cartilage or tendon of animals or fish.

6. Low fibre

Pure Protein bars contain very little fibre, about 2g per bar (50g serving size).


There are better quality protein bars than Pure Protein bars. Check out some of the best protein bars here.

MORE: What Are The Best Protein Bars?




Photo credit: Pure Protein bar by Dannielle Blumenthal is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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