Are Quest protein bars healthy?Yeah Quest bars are fairly legendary in fitness circles. I have friends who talk about Quest bars and their favorite flavors for like 10 minutes. The Quest company, interestingly enough, uses some very impressive guerrilla marketing using networks of trainers and fitness people. With that said, Quest bars are a great product.
Anyway, healthiness. Let's start with protein. The main issue with most protein bars is that the manufacturers use protein fillers such as xylitol, glycerine, and malitol which are not useful from a bioavailability perspective but do register as proteins after a macronutrient analysis. Quest bars don't have those fillers - the protein content is actual whey isolate.
On to carbs. Many protein bars are quite heavy on sugars and things like HFCS are even used - making them like candy bars. Quest (the company) doesn't do this and they focus on sugar alcohols or other more natural sweeteners such as luóhàn guǒ, 罗汉果/ 羅漢果.
Fats / fiber. Quest bars are not low on the fats and this is because many of their bars are based on almonds. Almonds are the most highly recommended nuts for both weight loss and fitness goals due to the fiber content and healthful fats. For people on a high protein or low carb diet, extra fiber is often highly desired.
Now on to non-health areas. Taste. Quest bars taste amazing. There is a flavor for everyone. Try microwaving them for a few seconds if they're too chewy or stiff.
Cost. They are damn pricey. However, I do think the price is justified due to the superior ingredients.
Availability. They are available in the U.S. in two major chains - GNC and Vitamin Shopp and online of course. If you're lucky you can find them at $2/ea for a case.
Finally, Mens Health magazine (Alan Aragon, M.S.) did a review of hundreds of bars from over 60 brands and rated them based on health.
The bar which came out on top was the "Rise bar". It only has 3 natural ingredients. I tried these bars and they're pretty tasty, but they're so hard to acquire - being in very few niche health stores, are very expensive ($3 each or more I think) and very few flavors are offered.
So given all the above, Quest wins in my book.