Many protein bars contain too much sugar and other carbohydrates for diabetics. If you follow a diet that favors foods low on the glycemic index, then you may find man protein bars score way too high to fit your nutritional needs. While they are healthy and provide the protein that you may need to build muscle, recover from intense workouts and lose weight, they may not fit the dietary guidelines you are trying to follow.

The good news is that you don’t have to give up on bars as a protein supplement. You can find some low carb protein bars that help you increase protein intake without ditching your diet. Very few protein bars contain fewer than 10 grams of carbs, but if you consider net carbs rather than total carbohydrate content, you will have a lot more options. Keep reading to learn what net carbs are and how they are calculated.

Understanding Net Carbs and Sugar Alcohol

The Atkins Diet introduced the idea of net carbs many years ago, and advertisers embraced the term as a way to downplay the number of carbohydrates in their products. If you are trying to increase the amount of fiber in your diet along with protein, you may find the idea of net carbs useful when selecting low carb protein bars.

The idea is that not all carbohydrates cause blood sugar spikes, and some foods that contain healthy carbs are relatively low on the glycemic index. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the number of fiber grams in the product from the total number of carb grams in the product. Some people also subtract sugar alcohol grams from the total carbohydrates because sugar alcohol does not negatively impact blood sugar.

Take the Atkins Diet Endulge Bars as an example. Each bar contains 16 grams of carbohydrates, including 9 grams of sugar alcohols and 6 grams of dietary fiber. It might look like this is a fairly high-carb protein bar, but if you subtract the fiber and sugar alcohol grams from the total, there is only 1 net carb in each bar. If you are counting net carbs rather than all carbs, you could consider this a very low carb protein supplement.

You may consider looking at net carbs rather than the total number of carbs in a protein bar if you fit into any of these categories:

  • You are diabetic and need a low sugar protein supplement.
  • You are trying to increase your fiber intake as well as your protein intake.
  • You are trying to consume foods that are low on the glycemic index.

Foods with low net carbs will help you reach all of these goals. Fiber is a healthy source of carbohydrates and gives your body the long-term energy you need to sustain an active lifestyle. Working with net carbs will ensure you limit unhealthy carbs while getting your fill of dietary fiber. Whether you count the sugar alcohol grams out of your carb count or not depends on where you stand with that ingredient. It is mostly used to avoid excessive sugar which will lead to blood sugar spikes.

The Best Low Carb Protein bars – Top Recommendations

The Atkins Endulge bars mentioned above are among the lowest carbohydrate protein bars on the market if you take out the grams from sugar alcohols, but there are a few other bars that you may also want to consider. Remember to read the labels to see all ingredients before deciding that a certain bar meets your nutritional needs or fits within your diet.

Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar

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You don’t have to consider net carbs to consider this one of the best low carb protein bars on the market right now. Each bar contains 10 grams of carbs, and that includes 1 gram of fiber and 5 grams of sugar. If you don’t like including sugar alcohol in your diet, this is one of the few low carb bars that does not include that ingredient at all.

The potential downside to this bar is that you only get 14 grams of protein in each Power Crunch bar. Some of the other low carb bars featured here offer a bit more protein if this is to low for your needs.

Nugo Smarte Carb Protein Bar

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This is not one of the most popular protein bars on the market right now, but it is one of the lowest carb options if you count net carbs. Each bar contains 20 grams of protein and only 2 net carbs. It is also a sugar-free protein bar, so you can expect it to contain some sugar alcohols.

Quest Nutrition Protein Bars

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Quest protein bars are featured regularly on this website because they are among the healthiest protein bars on the market right now. If you want to increase your fiber intake alongside your protein intake, this is one of the low carb protein bars that you want to consider.

Each bar contains 24 grams of carbs, but that includes 18 grams of fiber. If you subtract the fiber, there are only 6 net carbs per bar. Sugar is used, so you don’t have to worry about sugar alcohols. Each bar also contains 20 grams of protein, so it is one of the higher-protein bars offered today.

Protein Powder vs. Protein Bars

If you can’t find protein bars that are low enough in carbohydrates for your nutritional needs, consider protein powder instead. You can make your own protein powder cookies, pancakes and other baked goods. You can also add protein powder into some meals if you use it creatively. It is much easier to find a low carb powder than bar since bars require flour, oats and other high-carb ingredients in order to hold together in bar form.

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