Photo by Tanya Constantine via Getty Images

I couldn’t possibly try all the options out there and still have time to do anything else with my life

Rebecca Firkser
July 16, 2018

Choosing a packaged protein bar is a lot like dating. There are countless possibilities when it comes to picking “the one,” and unfortunately, you may have go through a lot of options before you find your match. I recently reviewed 10 protein bars, and after the story published at least 12 brand representatives and five people with thoughts and feeling on protein bars emailed me to ask why their bar didn’t make the cut, or if I wouldn’t mind sneaking theirs into my (already published) story. The answer is short, and once again, it's like dating: I couldn’t possibly try all the options out there and still have time to sleep.

There are too many protein bars. There are the classic power bars, chocolate-coated and chalky, packed with enough soy protein isolate to will replenish nutrients lost in anything from an hour or two of weightlifting to a triathlon. I’ve seen lots of protein bars flavored as desserts, like chocolate brownie, birthday cake, and strawberry-frosted doughnut. Did we really need our protein supplement to taste like fruit-filled pastries? Certainly not, but I can name at least three different brands of protein bar that name their flavors in this manner. Then, of course, there are the more outwardly wellness-y protein bars. Some are fortified with the superfoods du jour like collagen, spirulina, and maca; others tout their minimal ingredients, often by printing them right on the front label of the bar in neat block letters.

Don’t get me wrong, I truly do enjoy some of the 742 brands of protein bars out there. They’ve saved me from having to eat the mushy pasta or possibly beef on numerous flights, and thankfully put something sturdy in my stomach when I realize I’m on my way to happy hour but haven’t eaten since 11 a.m. I know which protein bars I like, which ones I’ll tolerate, and stare in bewilderment at the 30 or so on display in any given store that I have yet to try.

But again, protein bars are like dating. I’m not saying you have to pick just one for the rest of your life, but there is certainly no need for hundreds of options. Plus, you can still do perfectly well on your own.

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