Are Quest Bars Ketogenic Friendly?

At the time of writing this post I’ve been on the ketogenic diet for over four years and logged over 200 blood ketone tests in an effort to estimate the effects of food and ingredients on my ketosis, including those in Quest protein bars.

I think ketogenic dieters naturally gravitate towards protein bars looking for a convenient sweet treat that won’t kick them out of ketosis but are protein bars the right place to look? In this post, I’ll evaluate a keto dieter favorite, Quest protein bars, give them a ketogenic compatibility grade, and recommend a more ketogenic friendly alternative.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Protein Bar

 Savage Fuel Ketogenic Compatibility Grades:[1]These grades are based only on a foods compatibility with a ketogenic diet, not overall health or any other factors.
A:Completely compatible with positive or no impact on ketosis.
B:Highly compatible, good choices but don't go crazy.
C:Moderately compatible, enjoy but be mindful and limit intelligently.
D:Barely compatible, detrimental to ketosis and not recommended.
F:Not compatible, avoid or kiss your ketosis goodbye.

Quest Protein Bar Ketogenic Compatibility Grade:

QuestBar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Nutrition Facts

Ingredients:[2]Using Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor
Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate), Soluble Corn Fiber (Prebiotic Fiber), Almonds, Water, Unsweetened Chocolate, Natural Flavors, Erythritol, Cocoa Butter, Palm Oil, Sea Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Sucralose, Steviol Glycosides (Stevia).

  • Grade: D (Barely compatible, detrimental to ketosis and not recommended.)

Grade Factors:

  • Label Net Carbs: 4-7 grams of net carbs depending on flavor.
  • Net Carb Estimate[3]My estimation based on the caloric values and glycemic index of ingredients: 11-14 grams of estimated net carbohydrates per bar. (+4-7 grams depending on flavor, +7 grams from soluble corn fiber)
  • Soluble Corn Fiber: Also known as corn syrup solids, there are ~14g per bar and unlike insoluble fiber it has calories. I recommend estimating half of this fiber as net carbohydrates adding 7g to the total. It’s difficult to find good information on this kind of fiber because it almost all comes from the people manufacturing it or putting it in their products and cherry-picking loosely related studies.
  • Protein: 20 grams of protein for your body to convert into glucose via gluconeogenesis. Too much protein can prevent ketosis.
  • Overeating: Difficult not to overeat due to the sweetness triggering cravings, good taste, and elevated blood sugar from the protein and net carbs causing hunger. As soon as I finish one bar I want another.

Quest protein bars have a lot going for them. I like their taste, chewy texture, and they have quality ingredients like unsweetened chocolate, almonds, Erythritol, sea salt, cocoa butter, and sea salt.

Unfortunately, they’re just not made with ketogenic dieters in mind because they’re high in protein, low in fat, and have too many ingredients that raise blood sugar and they leave me unsatisfied and craving more.

My Favorite Ketogenic Friendly Sweet Treat

Chocoperfection

ChocoPerfection blew me away the first time I tried it, the taste and texture were so much better than any other low carb chocolate I’d tried before. I thought it might be too good to be true so I tested my blood ketones one day then ate four bars of it, at the same time the next day my blood ketone reading was even higher than the previous day, I was sold.

I give ChocoPerfection a B+[4]Highly compatible, good choices but don’t go crazy. ketogenic compatibility grade because of it’s low net carbs (2g per 50g bar), high fat, low protein, zero glycemic index sweeteners, and no mystery “fiber”. The only two downsides of ChocoPerfection are that it is expensive and if you really pig out you’ll most likely become the eye of a fart storm,[5]A side effect of high fiber low carb sweeteners like Erythritol and Inulin, you don’t digest them but your gut bacteria does and the gas is the by-product. both are prices I’m usually willing to pay.

They have a lot of great flavors too, dark and dark mint are my favorites and Raspberry is the only flavor I don’t like. The dark mint with a handful of macadamia nuts tastes just like thin mint cookies. You get the classic mint chocolate flavor with the salty and crunchy macadamia nuts, it’s my favorite ultra low carb dessert.

If you’re interested in trying some I’d recommend getting the variety pack and a pack of the dark chocolate so you can try all their flavors and still have more of the dark which you’re going to like anyways. They also have chocolate chips if you’re into baking and free shipping in the United States.

How Quest Bars Can Fit in a Ketogenic Diet

The ideal time to have a Quest Bar is after a heavy lifting or other muscle glycogen depleting activity as the dessert of your post-workout meal. This way you can have a nice workout reward, and not have to worry about the extra net carbs and protein lowering your ketosis because your glycogen deficit should soak up some of your blood glucose.[6]Eating Academy: Ketones and Carbohydrates: Can they co-exist? – Peter Attia, M.D.

A few things to keep in mind are that 20g of protein is nothing to sneeze at, and remember on a low carb diet too much protein can lower and even prevent ketosis by gluconeogenesis,[7]Gluconeogenesis – Wikipedia so you’ll want to adjust your protein intake for the day accordingly. Also to be on the safe side I recommend sticking to the 4g net carb flavors and count half the fiber as net carbs bringing the 4g net carb bars up to 11g net carbs.

Bonus: My Keto Quest Bar Experiment

Since I do my most important work in the morning, and I don’t start eating for the day until after working, my main metric for deciding if a food has a place in my diet is the effect it has on my level of ketosis the next morning.

To find out more about how Quest Bars affect me the day after, I set up a 24 hour experiment in which I tested my blood, breath, and urine ketone levels at 11am while fasted, ingested no calories other than three quest protein bars for the entire day, fasted the next morning and tested my ketone levels again at 11am. The results were that my blood ketones went from 1.6 mmol/L the first day to 1.9 mmol/L the following day.

For more details on the experiment check out the post here.

If you’d like to support me on my keto quest at no extra cost to you please feel free to order any of the products linked on this page or check out the Keto Shop for expertly curated and guaranteed ketogenic friendly products!

Get the occasional Savage Fuel update:

Note: This post contains affiliate links that make me a small percentage of the sales at no cost to you. This is currently the best way for me to keep Savage Fuel sustainable and work towards developing and producing original ketogenic products that I wish existed.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Please consult a medical professional before making any medical decisions. These are my personal opinions based on years of practicing the ketogenic diet. The details in this post may not be up to date so be sure to check for updated numbers.

Notes and References   [ + ]

1. These grades are based only on a foods compatibility with a ketogenic diet, not overall health or any other factors.
2. Using Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor
3. My estimation based on the caloric values and glycemic index of ingredients
4. Highly compatible, good choices but don’t go crazy.
5. A side effect of high fiber low carb sweeteners like Erythritol and Inulin, you don’t digest them but your gut bacteria does and the gas is the by-product.
6. Eating Academy: Ketones and Carbohydrates: Can they co-exist? – Peter Attia, M.D.
7. Gluconeogenesis – Wikipedia