Quest Bars are amazing, but their Calorie content can be more than 30% lower or higher than stated on the label. That’s a difference that could really mount up and effect your results during a diet, especially if you eat more than one per day.
Let’s take a Cookies & Cream Quest Bar. The label states a net weight of 60 g, but I’ve had bars weighing over 70 g, and others have been as low as 45 g.
Based on the label value of 3.16 Cal (Cal = Calories or kcal) per gram, the light bar contained 142 Cal, and the heavy bar 221. That’s a difference of 79 Cal.
So What Can We Do?
Some people find the best way to diet is to forgo all processed food and consume only whole sources. If you’re one of them, more power to you, but for me that’s a great way to suck all the pleasure out of life, ultimately leading to binging and failure when the cravings become too much.
No, these days I’m a flexible dieter through and through. The addition of treats like Quest Bars—or non-protein candy bars, calories permitting—enable permanent control of body composition in a way that draconian “clean eating” does not.
With respect to the Calorie content of Quest Bars, there’s a simple solution: just weigh them. It’s especially easy if you use a nutrition tracking website or phone app—you simply enter the weight and the program does all the calculating for you.
If you do elect to weigh your Quest Bars, and like to get super-accurate, it’s useful to know that the label weighs 1 g. This means if you like to plan your meals ahead of time, you don’t have to take the wrappers off first—to get the weight of the actual bar, just subtract 1 g.
A Further wrinkle: Soluble Fiber
Quest Bars contain indigestible soluble fiber that indirectly provides energy when fermented by our gut bacteria.
Unlike protein, carbohydrate, and fat, there doesn’t seem to be a generally accepted value for the energy content of soluble fiber. However, Quest Nutrition seems to have used a low one.
(Not to suggest anything underhand—from a marketing perspective it makes sense to opt for the lowest value they legally can.)
It’s a convoluted issue. Soluble fiber provides different numbers of Calories between people, and probably within the same person depending on the state of their gut bacteria at the time. From my reading, 2 Cal per g of fiber seems to be a reasonable average.
Quest Bar Calories for the Paranoid
If you’d rather err on the side of slightly overestimating the Calories from the soluble fiber in Quest Bars, you can recalculate the energy content.
To be sure, this isn’t something that needs to be done every time you eat a Quest Bar. In this age of convenient food-tracking apps, you can just enter a custom food under your profile, and from then on all you need to do is enter the weight.
Again I’ll use the Cookies & Cream example (based on a 60 g bar):
9 g fat x 9 Cal per g = 81 Cal
4 g net carbs x 4 Cal per g = 16 Cal
2 g erythritol x 0.24 Cal per g = 0.48 Cal
14 g fiber x 2 Cal per g = 28 Cal
21 g protein x 4 Cal per g = 84 Cal
Total = 209.48 Cal (compared to 190 stated on the label)
So using our value of 2 Cal per g soluble fiber adds a few Calories. Since the science regarding energy content of soluble fiber is murky, I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong here, but for what it’s worth, the above is the Calorie value I personally use.
My tendency to prefer marginally overestimating the energy content of food stems from having been very overweight in the past, and wanting to never repeat that experience. Your experience may vary.
Thanks so much for reading. If this was useful, I have reviews of all Quest Bars here.
All feedback and questions welcome, I’d love to hear from you—just use the comments box below or send me an email.
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