What's the Word on Keto Protein Bars?

What's the Word on Keto Protein Bars?
Daniel Thompson

on September 12, 2019

Protein is a necessary building block for every cell in our body. It creates and repairs tissues, makes required enzymes and hormones, and forms the backbone of our bones, muscles, skin and blood. 

For keto dieters, protein is all the more important as an energy source, but it can be tough to hit your required daily protein intake through the standard three square meals a day. Protein bars are a standby for those looking to build muscle or quickly supplement their protein intake on the go. However, many protein bars come with a dirty little secret: carbs.

In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know to eat protein bars without slipping out of ketosis and share the best protein bars for keto dieters.   

Can You Have Protein Bars on Keto?

If you want to eat protein bars on the keto diet, you’ll need to be vigilant about checking the labels. Unfortunately, many commercially available protein bars also contain loads of sugar--some with even more sugar and saturated fat than a doughnut!

However, low-carb protein bars do exist and can help keto dieters stay on track while bringing some positive dietary benefits. 

For starters, protein bars are easy to eat on the run and are a much better option than grabbing something from a vending machine. If it comes to choosing between a sugary snack and a protein bar, the latter is obviously the better choice if it’s the right kind. 

Meal replacements like protein bars have been shown to be an effective weight loss tool. The American Diabetes Association, for example, says protein bars can aid in significant weight loss because they provide a portion-controlled alternative to regular meals and take decision making out of the equation when it comes to eating.  

Nutrition experts say when looking for the ideal protein bar that will truly up your protein intake without weighing you down with carbs, look for one that:

  • Has around 15 grams of protein
  • Contains some fiber 
  • Is a healthy source of vitamins and minerals

What to Avoid

Your number one enemy when looking for a keto protein bar is sugar. This restriction will immediately take many of them off the table. ZonePerfect nutrition bars, for example, contain 14 grams of protein but 15 grams of sugar. That’s equivalent to many candy bars! Remember, sugar is a big no-no because it’s a carbohydrate that dramatically spikes blood glucose levels. Keto dieters are advised to limit carbs to fewer than 50 grams per day. 

Aside from sugar, many protein bars contain ingredients that aren’t necessarily restricted on keto, but are good to avoid in general. Low quality oils like canola oil, for example, are found in many packaged foods like protein bars. They contain artificial trans fats that have been linked to heart disease and should be avoided when possible. 

Additionally, watch out for protein bars that have ‘natural flavors’ on the list of ingredients. This vague category of ingredients is problematic because it’s an umbrella term for all sorts of food additives. While many natural flavors are perfectly fine, the term can be used to mask undesirable additives like autolyzed yeast extract, a high-sodium substitute for MSG. If you see ‘natural flavors’ on a label, you’ll probably want to do some more digging.

The best rule of thumb is to look for keto protein bars that contain high-quality, whole ingredients you know and understand. If it’s filled with ingredients that sound like they were made in a lab, it’s probably best to skip it. 

The Best Low Carb Protein Bars for Keto

Keto Bars

Keto Bars were one of the first keto protein bars to come on the map, created when the founder couldn’t find a pre-packaged snack that met the strict macro requirements of the keto diet. Their longevity is proof that they’re both effective and delicious. 

Keto Bars are made in-house in small batches with an ingredient list made up of clean, whole foods you might find in your own pantry and will never have trouble pronouncing. They come in three mouth watering flavors: chocolate peanut butter, dark chocolate coconut almond, and mint chocolate, with special limited-edition flavors released on occasion. 

All three mainstay Keto Bar flavors have just 3 grams of net carbs and a healthy dose of protein (between 6 and 8 grams) and fat (between 19 and 21 grams). These bars are sweetened with Stevia and erythritol, both of which are safe sweeteners for keto dieters. They’re also gluten free and vegan.

Perfect Keto Keto Bars

Formulated specifically to provide a protein boost without causing dramatic spikes in blood sugar, Perfect Keto’s Keto Bars contain about 11 grams of protein and only 2 to 3 grams of net carbs in every bar. The protein in these bars comes from grass-fed collagen protein, which is sourced from the connective tissues of animals. 

The company spent a year perfecting the recipe, which makes use of quality ingredients like almond butter for healthy monounsaturated fats, MCTs which provide energy and fuel your brain, organic coconut oil and sea salt. They’re sweetened only with Stevia and contain no sugar alcohols. They’re also free of dairy, soy and corn fiber. 

In addition to eating these tasty bars straight out of the wrapper, you can also use Perfect Keto Keto Bars to make fat bombs. Try this recipe for a yummy salted caramel nut butter version

InstaKetones Protein Bar

Not a fan of the typical chocolate/peanut butter flavor of the majority of protein bars? Then you must try the InstaKetones Protein Bar, which comes in a tangy orange burst flavor. 

InstaKetones meal replacement bars were designed to boost blood ketone levels and help get the body into ketosis faster. Each bar contains 11.7 grams of GoBHB, which is what’s known as an exogenous ketone. Exogenous ketones are a supplement that can produce the same effects within the body that happen when we restrict our carb intake. Thus, they’re a great option for those just starting their keto journey and looking to jumpstart ketosis. 

With 15 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber, these bars will keep you feeling full for several hours. Try snacking on one before your next gym session for a lasting supply of energy to fuel your workout. 


While lots of protein bars use protein from animal sources, you won’t find many that fully embrace their meat-based roots when it comes to flavoring. DNXBars are the exception. Made with protein sourced from grass-fed beef, grass-fed bison and free-range chicken, these savory protein bars come in flavors like bacon jalapeno and jamaican style bison. 

DNXBars take the title for the fewest carbs out of all our ket protein bar picks, with many of the flavors containing less than a gram of total carbs. You’ll find between 10 and 14 grams of protein in each bar along with a healthy serving of fat. 

In addition to being keto friendly, DNXBars are paleo and Whole30 approved. They contain no added sugar, sodium or preservatives. 

Make Your Own

We know it’s quick and easy to grab a packaged protein bar and run, but you might think twice about buying them when you realize how ultra-easy it is to make your own. 

Making your own keto protein bars is not only much more cost-effective than buying them off the store shelf, but it also allows you full control over what goes into them and how the flavor turns out. Plus, you can make a big batch and store them in the fridge to make them just as easy to reach for as the packaged version when a hunger pang strikes. 

There are endless ways to make your own protein bars, but they all contain a few basic categories of ingredients:

  • Dry base like coconut flour, almond flour, or shredded coconut
  • Soft binding agent like nut butter or egg
  • Keto sweetener like Stevia, erythritol or monk fruit sweetener
  • Ingredients for added texture and flavor like chopped nuts, seeds, cocoa powder, cinnamon and sugar free chocolate chips

If you need a little inspiration to get started, try this simple keto protein bar recipe. 


  • 1 cup nut butter (check the label to avoid added sugar)
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp erythritol or equivalent of your favorite powdered keto sweetener
  • 2 tbsp collagen protein powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well to combine. Kneading with your hands works well. 
  3. Press the mixture into the baking dish until it’s of uniform thickness all around, about 1 inch thick. Don’t worry if the edges are uneven or if the mixture doesn’t completely fill the dish (in a pinch, you can even bake these on a thick piece of aluminum foil!). 
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges become crispy. Remove from the oven and cool before slicing into bars. Enjoy!
  5. Wrap and store leftover bars in the fridge for up to a week. 

About Left Coast Performance

Left Coast Performance is a community of people living and thriving in a ketogenic lifestyle. In our online store, you’ll find a range of high quality keto friendly products like our MCT oil to fuel your workday and our bone broth protein powder to boost your protein intake and improve gut health. 

Our promise to customers is that all products are made with clean ingredients and contain no artificial flavors, colors or fillers. Shop now and enjoy free shipping on every order. To learn more about Left Coast Performance and get tips for living your best keto life, visit our blog and follow us on Instagram

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