With so many protein bars on the market, it can feel impossible to find the best option to suit your needs. We’ve brought together the best protein bars for people with diabetes and tips for choosing the best protein bar to help manage your blood sugar between meals.
Note: this article is meant for general education purposes only. It is not meant to provide or replace medical advice from your Doctor or Registered Dietitian. Blood sugar responses will vary depending on many factors, such as individual differences in blood sugar response, baseline blood sugar, previous meals and snacks, use of medications, etc. Always discuss with your healthcare provider to find the best products to suit your individual needs.
Four Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Protein Bar for Diabetes:
1. Net Carbohydrate Count
The net carbohydrate content is the amount of carbohydrates in a given food that will impact your blood sugars. There are three types of carbohydrates in the food – starch, sugar, and fiber. Both starch and sugar are fully digested which means that they can enter our bloodstream and increase blood sugar levels. On the other hand, fiber is not fully digested or absorbed and will not increase blood sugars. Finding the net carbohydrate value of a food removes fiber from the total carbohydrate count to give you a more accurate estimate of how many grams of digestible carbohydrates are in the product you are eating.
To calculate the net carbohydrate content of a food, subtract the fiber content from the total carbohydrate content. For example, the nutrition label pictured above has 17g of total carbohydrates per serving. Of this 17g, 7g is fiber, and 2g is sugar. The remaining 8g of unaccounted-for carbohydrate is starch. To calculate the net carbohydrate content of the product above, we subtract the fiber content (7g) from the total carbohydrate (17g). This gives us 10g of net carbohydrates (a combination of starch and sugar) that will be fully digested, and absorbed and have the potential to impact blood sugar levels.
2. Type of Sweetener Used
Protein bars contain different types of sweeteners depending on the brand. These sweeteners fit into two categories – sugar sweeteners and non-sugar sweeteners. Sugar sweeteners, such as table sugar, honey, agave, or maple syrup, are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream and will increase blood sugar. However, non-sugar sweeteners, such as sucralose, stevia, sugar alcohols or monk fruit, are not fully absorbed by the digestive tract and will not impact blood sugars in the same manner
Whether you choose a bar sweetened with sugar or a non-sugar sweetener is a personal choice that can depend on factors such as your preferences, goals, overall diet, and blood sugar management. In general, we suggest maintaining a diet that is low in both added sugars and non-sugar sweeteners. To apply this when choosing a protein bar, select a protein bar with less than 7g of sugar per bar and/or fewer non-sugar sweeteners in the ingredient list.
3. Fiber Content
Fiber is a carbohydrate that can be beneficial for blood sugar control. Because we don’t fully digest or absorb fiber, high-fiber meals or snacks can have a slower blood sugar response because the fiber slows down the speed of digestion. In addition to blood sugar benefits, fiber also helps keep you fuller longer between meals and snacks. When choosing a protein bar, we suggest one with at least 3g of fiber.
4. Protein Content
Protein is an important nutrient at each meal and snack. It does not directly impact blood sugars and can actually help slow the glycemic response of carbohydrates. Just like fiber, protein is slow digesting and when eaten with carbohydrates, will help to slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream. Look for a protein bar that has at least 10g of protein.
Best Protein Bars for Diabetes
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1. Yofiit Keto Bar
Yofiit Keto Bars have 1-2g of sugar and 10g of fiber per bar. They contain 3g of net carbohydrates and stevia as a non-sugar sweetener.
Get Yofiit Keto bars here (CAN).
2. IQ bar
IQ bars have 1g of sugar and 8g of fiber per bar. They are sweetened with Stevia and have 3g of net carbohydrates.
Get IQ Bars here (US)
Get IQ Bars here (CAN)
3. Julian Bakery Paleo Thin Bars
Julian Bakery bars contain 20g of protein and 1g of sugar per bar (sunflower butter, chocolate brownie, vanilla cake flavours only). They have 1g of net carbohydrate and the non-sugar sweetener monk fruit.
Get Paleo Thin bars here (US).
NoSugar Keto Bars
NoSugar Keto Bars contain 0g of sugar and 7g of fiber per bar. They contain 7g of net carbohydrates and the non-sugar sweeteners erythritol and stevia. They have 5g of erythritol per bar, which is less than many other bars on the market.
Get NoSugar Keto bars here (CAN)
Get NoSugar Keto bars here (USA)
RX Bars are a great option for those looking for a protein bar with fewer ingredients. They have 17g of sugar and 21g of net carbohydrates coming from dates, which are low glycemic. This means that these carbohydrates will raise blood sugar at a slower rate compared to other sources of sugar. They contain 4g of fiber and 12g of protein.
Get RX Bar here (USA).
Get RX Bar here (CAN).
President’s Choice Protein Granola Bar
PC Protein Granola Bars contain 7g of sugar and 5g of fiber. They have 10g of net carbohydrates and 10g of protein.
Simply Protein Bar
Simply Protein bars contain 1-2g of sugar and 7g of fiber. They have 7g of net carbohydrates and 12g of protein.
Get Simply Protein Bars here (CAN).
Zing Nutrition Bars
Zing bars contain 6-7g of sugar and 4g of fiber. They have 17g of net carbohydrates and 10g of protein.
Get Zing Protein bars here (USA).
Evo Hemp Bars
Evo Hemp bars contain 4g of sugar and 5g of fiber per bar. They have 13g of net carbs, 12g of protein, and Erythritol and Monk Fruit as non-sugar sweeteners.
Get Evo Hemp bars here (USA)
Sprouted Protein Bar
Sprouted protein bars have 4g of sugar and 12g of fiber per bar. They contain 20g of net carbohydrates, 16g of protein, and the non-sugar sweetener Stevia.
Get Sprouted Protein Bars here (CAN).
Hungry Buddha Bars
Hungry Buddha bars contain 2g of sugar and 14g of fiber per bar. They have 4g of net carbohydrates, 10g of protein, and the non-sugar sweetener Monk Fruit.
Get Hungry Buddha protein bars here (USA).
Get Hungry Buddha protein bars here (CAN).
Orgain Protein Bars
Orgain protein bars have 6g of sugar and 2g of fiber per bar. They contain 17g of net carbohydrates, 10g of protein, and 3g of the non-sugar sweetener erythritol, less than many other bars on the market.
Get Orgain Protein bars here (USA).
Get Orgain Protein bars here (CAN).
Dang Keto Bars
Dang keto bars contain 3g of sugar and 6g of fiber per bar. They have 5g of net carbohydrates, 9g of protein, and the non-sugar sweetener Stevia.
Atlas Protein Bars
Atlas protein bars have 1g of sugar and 10g of fiber per bar. They contain 9g of net carbohydrates, 20g of protein, and the non-sugar sweetener Monk Fruit.
Get Atlas protein bars here (USA).
Nature Valley Protein Bars
Nature Valley protein bars contain 6g of sugar and 5g of fiber per serving. They have 10g of total carbohydrates and 10g of protein.
Get Nature Valley Protein bars here (USA).
Get Nature Valley Protein bars here (CAN).