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You Can’t Sit With Us: PROTEIN BARS

Lauryn Evarts talks diet, fitness, fashion, & health.

Protein bars make me wanna throw.

They’re SO misunderstood & SO freaking nasty.

People are like, “ya, look at me eating my protein bar, being all healthy & shit.”

I can’t deal.

Another highlight of my life? When people say “protein bars fill me up so I’m not hungry later. They’re the perfect snack.”

Gag me/yawn/barf.

Please: if you’re eating a brownie protein bar because you think you’re being healthy, just eat a damn brownie instead.

To any protein bar fans, I’m sorry. I’m also sorry if you’re deeply offended, but I gotta call it like I see it. ESP considering it’s a seven HUNDRED million bullshit industry.


Ignorance may be bliss when you’re chowing down after a workout, munching on a Balance bar, feeling all proud of your ‘healthy,’ low-cal choice, because it’s so, totally convenient.

BUT {!!!}— here’s the deal: you might as well eat a Snicker’s.


I just don’t get it.

Why eat a bar filled with shit when you can grab a fresh pressed juice, a coupla hard boiled eggs, a handful of nuts, a big salad, or some fruit?

& if you don’t have time ( wah, wah, wah ), then plan ahead.

Like, don’t be lazy!!! It’s your health.

Ok, so let’s get down to nitty gritty. WTF’s actually in protein bars & why do I hate their chemical-y guts?

Welp, according the The Picky Eater:

“Soy protein isolate ( SPI ) is basically the isolated protein component from the soy bean. Creating SPI requires a heavily chemically engineered process to “isolate” that protein: the end result of which is a denatured protein that is stripped of all the nutrients ( fiber, minerals, complex carbs ) that the original bean contained.

Additionally, to isolate the soy protein, the soy beans are soaked and sprayed with chemicals like aluminum and hexane – which often leaves behind residue that you don’t want to be eating. Hexane is a neurotoxic petrochemical solvent that is listed as a hazardous air pollutant with the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ). The spray-drying method used for soy can also form nitrites – compounds that can form carcinogens in the body.

And if that’s not enough, SPI is always GMO ( remember this post on GMO’s? ) and filled with pesticides.

Lastly, SPI has a higher concentration of trypsin inhibitors – which are chemicals that reduce trypsin (an enzyme that helps digest protein) in the body.

So SPI may have started out as a plant, but once it gets to you, it’s far from it. The products that use SPI also have the craziest list of ingredients and are super processed themselves (methylcellulose, disodium inosinate, or niacinamide anyone?) – which is another reason to stay away from those products altogether. Remember if you can’t pronounce it, you probably don’t want to be eating it.

Some tips about SPI – it can be “hidden” under other names like:

+ textured vegetable protein ( TVP )
+ soy protein concentrate
+ Soya, Soja or Yuba
+ textured soy flour ( TSF )
+ textured soy protein ( TSP )

The Bottom Line: NEVER eat products containing soy protein isolate or any “terms” related to soy protein isolate in the list above. Read your ingredient lists carefully and stay away from products with long ingredient lists you can’t pronounce!”

{ Above info from The Picky Eater }

You guys wanted to know TSC’s take on protein powder, which I’ll def post soon ( < get excited, this is like a six page rant ), & lemme put it this way: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Ahhh, well jolly-G, I feel like a thousand pound weight’s been lifted off my shoulders from sharing my utter disgust towards protein bars.

So! Sorry Protein Bars- #youcantsitwithus.

x L

P.S. I’m not a bar fan in general, even a fruit/nut Lara bar. I’d rather just eat an apple.

{ Oh, & don’t believe me? Here’s some nasty-ass evidence: 1 // 2 — happy reading! }.

  1. Hi Lauryn! Love your nutrition posts and I agree with you that MOST protein bars are disgusting sugary candy bars. Personally, I’d much rather have that snickers 🙂 However, I do enjoy certain nutrition bars with no additives (like larabars and perfect bars). As a fitness instructor and nearly 6 months pregnant, protein is so important in my diet and since I don’t eat a ton of meat, I have to supplement with bars and shakes. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t find me chowing down a balance bar anytime soon, but I do think nutrition bars have a place! Just sayin’ Xo

    1. Love this! Larabars & Perfect bars don’t fall into my protein category— they’re more fruit/nut bars to me (I still don’t like Lara & Perfect though, personally). I’m talking more along the lines of Clif, Balance, & Promax bars (the stuff that has a bunch of additives). Congrats on your pregnancy! xo.

  2. Oh my goodness my friend was just telling me today about her protein shake diet and I saw this and HAD to send it to her. I myself never really drink/eat processed proteins and this article is going to most likely KEEP me away from those. Yuck.
    Thank you!

  3. I’m not a huge fan of protein bars either. I tried Cliff bars before because I had them around the house and I could instantly tell they weren’t “healthy”. The one I had tasted like a brownie, and brownies are not usually healthy. Plus bars never tend to make me feel full or satisfied. If I finish a whole box, then we can talk about feeling full. 😉

  4. Great post! I do sometimes drink protein shakes but I try to use hemp protein or other natural protein. When it comes to protein bars I just make my own nut and fruit bars/balls. So much tastier and defo much better for you! Love to do my own cooking and baking cause you surely won’t find any nasties in there. x

  5. I totally agree with this! I for a long time did not go near or touch protein bars/supplements (with the exception of Larabars, but those are NOT an protein bar). However, when I got too heavily involved in exercising, I turned to them as an extra source of calories, and honestly I felt crappy – they were never satisfying at all and I could tell!
    In my opinion, if a person feels it is necessary to take protein supplements or eat protein bars, then they are exercising too much.
    I agree that they are extremely unhealthy, and just candy bars with added bullsh** protein to entice people!

  6. So I guess all of the Kashi cereals are out? Pls don’t yell at me! 😉 I’m new at all of this. Trying to be better. Are any cereals ok?

  7. Hi Lauryn-I was wondering what you thought of the Quest protein bars? They are the only ones that I have found that I love and do not taste like crunched up vitamins. Can you give me some input on these bars. They are really delicious and they actually cut my appetite. thank you, jeff

    1. Why is whey protein a problem? I’ve never seen any evidence that it’s bad for you.

  8. Thanks for this! Processed, sugary bars are yuck and like others I keep Lara bars around for when I’m in a pinch and need a quick snack. Even with those though, I have to watch the ingredients and the sugar content, even if it’s natural sugars some of them have like 19g in one bar. Can’t wait for the protein powder post!

  9. What a great post! Thank you so much 🙂 I will be staying far away from these products for sure. The links are great…the 3rd link has some great info about soy based meat replacers. I have been eating more veg and have been wondering about the safety of tempeh , tofu and seitan.
    BTW …I love your blog! So smart and funny! Thanks 🙂

  10. What do you think of organic hemp protein powder? Certified as having used no GMO. The only ingredient is raw cold milled organic hemp protein powder. The brand is Manitoba Harvest: hemp foods. I had it to my vegetable smoothies. I thought it was good but now I’m second guessing! I’d love your input!

  11. Lara “ALT” protein bars are made from pea protein and 10g of protein. But they have like 25g of sugar! Like ew might as well just eat a candy bar.

    1. I agree. Although Larabars aren’t in my protein bar category, I wouldn’t eat them. I would rather just eat an apple & some nuts!!!

    2. The sugar in Larabar ALT bars is entirely from dates. There is zero added sugar. Would you rather eat a Snickers bar than a handful of dates? The only difference is that the dates in ALT bars are blended together. Thus, the two are not comparable.

    3. I’m not talking about a Lara bar as they’re more of a fruit bar & not protein bar. But I would definitely rather eat an apple than a Lara bar.

  12. Great post! I wrote a similar one a few months ago called “Cliff Bars Are Full of Crap.” Most people don’t realize just how much sugar and junk is stuffed in those babies and the fact that a Snickers bar in some cases is actually BETTER than a protein bar. I do however, agree with some of the previous posters. I love Larabars and Pure Bars and eat them as as an occasional dessert. I also really like Quest bars for a bunch of protein if I;m on the go after a workout. They’re sweetened with Stevia but they do have whey protein isolate…thoughts on that?

  13. I love how this post is both really smart and freaking hilarious at the same time. I’ve noticed in the past when I was eating Luna Bars, LaraBars, or Clif Bars I would get such a stomach ache! I’d much rather have a banana with almond butter or something like that in a pinch.

  14. Uh, yeah, agreed! And how about all the zillions of processed, nasty, fake “health” food out there. Protein bars are just the beginning!

  15. What about the Tone it Up protein bars and protein powder? They are organic, but I’d like your input. Thanks!

  16. Wow I just dislike their artificial taste, so wasn’t a fan and never eat them. But didn’t really know they were this unhealthy. So many people are misinformed by the industry then, thinking they are doing the right thing.. x_x Ulgh

  17. Preach! I hate the taste of protein bars. Like, hate-hate, feel a little sick just thinking about that fake, chemically flavor. Blegh!

  18. Yay! I’ve been waiting for this post! Thanks for the info. Can’t wait for the protein powder post!! 🙂

    1. agreed!! protein powder is probably what bothers me the most! (I know there are a few natural ones but so many are just so chemical packed, yet are glorified as “healthy” just because they carry the name “protein powder”) ahhhh drives me crazy haha!

  19. This is an awesome post Lauryn! I always knew that eating a Cliff bar or Luna bar was NOT the best food choice in any situation {real food is far superior} but I didn’t know the extent to how bad it really was for you. And I had no idea about the soy protein isolate crap. Reading labels is truly eye opening. Now I have a new thing to look out for! Thank you thank you thank youuuu.


  20. This post is so wonderful. I have never understood how someone eating a chocolate covered, chocolate chip caramel protein bar could think it’s better than an apple or some eggs. (I don’t know if that bar is a thing but I mean.. you get the point.) Thanks for this!

  21. Ah so glad someone in the health/wellness blogosphere finally talked about this!!! I literally never understood all this hype about protein bars & how “healthy” they are…..and the worst argument I get is “but i need protein after a workout” it’s like everyone forgets the 384829 sources of protein in real foods! Haha thank you for this post! I do like Lara Bars and such but with how pricey they are I just stick to my piece of fruit!

  22. Ok, seriously, high freaking five for this post. I swear I could have written it myself. Protein bars seriously cannot sit with us!

  23. It drives me NUTS when my boyfriend is like “oh I’m eating a protein bar for breakfast – it’s healthy!”
    no!!! No it’s not!!!

    The same goes when people say they’re eating yogurt as a “healthy snack.” Sure, it does have protein, but it also has the same amount of sugar as a candy bar. Snack? Yes. Healthy? No.

  24. I just would like to warn you that some of these protein meal bars give me a pancreaitis…horrible stomach pain followed by gas pain…I thought that I was doing the right thing by having a quick protein packed breakfast. Now I wonder what kind of damage I’ve done. Wonder how many others are affected the same way. I had been eating them most every morning for a couple of years and the problems have just started.

  25. I am so happy you posted this. I have been eating protein bars since starting to lift weights and do crossfit the beginning of this year. Lately I haven’t been feeling my best and also have noticed that I have been craving more and more protein bars. They haven’t been satisfying me. They were messing with my stomach. I just quit eating them and feel so much better already. Really. I am disappointed in myself. I should have known better. But thank you so much for your insight. I needed to read this today.

  26. Thanks for your info. I found it really helpful. Recently i bought a protein bar with a combo pack and its very nice to have it. You can also try it once

  27. Thanks for your information. I found it helpful. Recently i bought a protein bar with a combo pack and its very nice to have it. You can also try it once

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