Top Picks for the Best Protein Bars UK

The best protein bars offer a convenient way to supplement essential nutrients when on the move – but with many brands and flavours out there, how can you determine which ones taste great, are healthy enough for regular consumption, and provide the necessary protein boost?

To answer that, it’s important to understand why consuming protein is as crucial as staying hydrated. Protein plays a functional or structural role in all our cells. It is primarily involved in growth and repair while also providing energy. In short, protein is vital for your body’s everyday functioning and immune response.

After a workout, your body uses protein to build muscles, so it’s crucial to ensure you consume only the best. We’ve tried all the leading brands and compiled our findings for your convenience. Read on for our comprehensive reviews of the top 12 protein bars available.

Top Protein Bars of 2023: A Quick Overview

  • Top Protein Bar Overall – Fulfil Vitamin and Protein Bar
  • Best High-Protein Option – Grenade Carb Killa Bar
  • Top Vegan Protein Bar – Misfits Protein Bar
  • Most Delicious Protein Bar – Barebells Protein Bar
  • Best Low-Sugar Protein Bar – MyVegan Carb Crusher

How much protein should we have?

We recommend 0.7g of protein per kg of body weight for the average adult, which is under the guidance provided by the British Nutrition Foundation. While it’s essential to aim for adequate protein intake from whole food sources in your diet, protein supplements can be beneficial for boosting your intake if you’re working towards specific fitness targets.

Determining how much protein your bar should have is necessary when products vary from 5g to 25g. Any amount will contribute if your goal is merely to supplement your protein intake.

However, if you want to build muscle, we suggest a must intake of 20g protein in a bar or 15g for lighter individuals. Remember that you can’t build bigger muscles simply by consuming more protein; you also need a stimulus such as weight training.

How we tested the protein bars

At Shapeshift, our team members tried and tested dozens of protein bars, narrowing them down to our top 12 selections. We evaluated them based on taste, protein content, sugar content, the naturalness of the ingredient list, and the variety of flavours available.

So, which protein bar stands out as the best on the market? Here’s what we discovered, starting with our overall top pick…


Fulfil protein bars deliver great taste, balanced nutrition, and essential vitamins, making them a convenient, healthy snack for an active lifestyle.

  • 15g of protein
  • Available in 12 flavours
  • 204 calories

This one had one of the best tastes among our sampled high-protein bars. With a sweet aroma upon opening, it offers a delightful salted caramel flavour. Featuring a chocolate coating and a nougat-like chewy interior, it is both delicious and satisfying.

The bar contains 15g of protein and only 1.9g of sugar, using milk protein and collagen hydrolysate (a more digestible form of collagen) as sources. It’s also fortified with nine essential vitamins, including C, E, and B12, which is particularly helpful for those on a plant-based diet. Like other low-sugar options, it has a relatively high polyol content (13g).

Overall, this creamy bar boasts a delectable caramel flavour that is well-balanced by its saltiness, without any unpleasant protein aftertaste.


High protein bars with low sugar and carbs. Perfect for snacking on the go and aiding in muscle recovery.

  • 22g protein 
  • 215 calories 
  • Available in 11 flavours

Grenade Carb Killa bars enjoy an enormous following thanks to their authentic flavour profiles that accurately match the label. These bars boast an impressive 22g of protein and only 1.5g of sugar, one of our best ratios. However, the taste relies on sweeteners, making them too sweet for some palates. Those without a sweet tooth might find them slightly overpowering.

For those who can appreciate the sweetness, Grenade Carb Killa bars offer one of the highest protein contents found in a bar and are gluten-free.


A guilt-free indulgence with no added sugar or artificial flavours. Packed with 15g of protein to fuel your day and support muscle growth.

  • 15g protein
  • 193 calories
  •  Available in 12 flavours

Misfits first launched their plant-based protein bars in 2020 and have since gained recognition as one of the best vegan protein bars money can buy. These bars boast an impressive nutritional profile for a plant-based option, with 15g of protein and 3g of sugar, which is slightly higher than some competitors but still acceptable.

The bar’s texture might be disappointing for cookie dough enthusiasts, as it is drier and more akin to shortbread than creamy cookie dough. However, considering it is a vegan protein bar, the taste is still quite enjoyable and comparable to dairy-based alternatives.


A tasty snack with 20g of protein and only 2-3g of sugar. Perfect for satisfying cravings and promoting muscle recovery after workouts.

  • 20g protein
  • 190 calories 
  • Available in seven flavours

With 20g of protein and only 1.4g of sugar, Barebells protein bars quickly earned a spot in our top four. As for the taste? It’s impressive as well. Among all the protein bars we sampled, this one resembled a regular chocolate bar, making it our top choice for the best-tasting protein bar. The doughy centre is complemented by a crispy outer chocolate shell, with small cookie pieces adding to the deliciousness of every bite.

Like most protein bars, the low sugar content is balanced by sweeteners, which are OK in moderation. The flavour selection leans heavily towards nut-based options, which may not be suitable for those with nut allergies or aversions. We recommend the Cookies and Cream flavour for a satisfying experience.


Made with organic ingredients and packed with 20g of protein to support muscle growth and recovery. A delicious and nutritious snack for active lifestyles.

  • 20g protein
  • 281 calories
  • Available in three flavours

This bar ranks high on our list due to its excellent taste and protein content balance, with minimal additives. It contains 20g of plant-based protein (from soy protein isolate) and a relatively natural ingredient list featuring unsweetened chocolate, organic soy and rice flour, cane sugar, and sea salt. The flavour is chocolatey without being overly sweet, and the refreshing minty taste is reminiscent of an After Eight. The bar’s texture is also impressive, with a chocolate coating and crunchy double-layered interior.

The only drawback is the 17g of sugar, the highest sugar content among the bars we tested. However, this is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a high-protein bar with minimally processed ingredients. We also tried (and loved) the original CLIF energy bar (£20.75 for 12, Amazon), which contains less protein (10g) but is a delicious energy-rich snack.


A plant-based snack with 15g of protein and only 2g of sugar. Perfect for vegans and those watching their carb intake.

  • 15g protein
  • 212 calories 
  • Available in one flavour

This vegan bar offers a respectable 15g of plant-based protein from soy, brown rice, pea, 1.2g of sugar and 217 calories. It’s a suitable protein boost for those aiming to meet their macronutrient intake (the ideal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates based on their weight and fitness goals) while keeping sugar consumption low. The bar also has a pleasant taste, with a fudgy texture, a chocolatey flavour, and a hint of sea salt for balance.

Like other high-protein, low-sugar bars, it contains artificial sweeteners such as vegetable glycerol, isomalt, and sucralose (used in the sugar alternative Splenda). However, its diverse plant-based protein sources and low sugar content make it worthwhile.


A satisfying and nutritious snack with 13g of plant-based protein and no added sugar. Perfect for pre or post-workout fuel or on-the-go.

  • 12.8g protein
  • 238 calories 
  • Available in six flavours

This bar ranks among the best-tasting and least-processed options we tried. Though its protein content isn’t as high as some competitors – for a more protein-dense vegan bar, we recommend MyVegan – it offers 12.8g of protein from whole almonds, rice, and pea protein. Visually appealing with visible almond chunks and dark chocolate chips, this bar has an enjoyable texture. Other flavours include Mint Choc Chip, Maple and Peanut, and Caramel Choc Chip.


A delicious and convenient snack with 20g of protein, less than 2g of sugar and 236 calories. Ideal for those with active and busy lifestyles

  • 20g protein
  • 236 calories
  • Available in nine flavours

Envision a jammy dodger protein bar, and you’ll know the Birthday Cake PhD Smart Bar. While the fun flavours of this brand are intriguing, we found the Birthday Cake bar to be tasty in small doses but also chewy, jammy, and messy.

We also sampled the Chocolate Brownie flavour, which was less overwhelming. The protein content in these bars ranges between 20g and 21g, and the Birthday Cake bar has a sugar content of 2.2g – reasonably high but not as high as Misfits or Clif bars. These bars could be an excellent option for children who train or adults with a sweet tooth.


This protein bar has 20g of whey and soy protein with only 2.5g of sugar. Although it contains artificial sweeteners, it has a nice crispy and tasty coating.

  • 20g protein 
  • 223 calories 
  • Available in nine flavours

While flavours like Cookies and Cream may not help protein bars shed their reputation as sugary sports snacks, this bar is undeniably tasty. It contains 20g of whey, soy protein, and just 2.5g of sugar. However, the texture is somewhat synthetic compared to the other 20+g protein bars on our list. The bar has a nice, crispy coating, but the caramel-like layer inside which could be more appealing.

As with other low-sugar bars, this one is not free of artificial sweeteners. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a protein-packed bar that’s enjoyable to eat, this one does the job.


This protein snack is made from 54% peanuts and almonds, held together with dark chocolate. It has a delightful nutty flavour and crunchy texture but comparatively lower protein (12g) and higher fat content (17g).

  • 12g protein
  • 274 calories
  • Available in six flavours

As far as protein snacks are concerned, this bar is about as natural as they come. Made from 54% crunchy peanuts and almonds, it’s held together with dark chocolate. The bar boasts a delightful crunchy texture and nutty flavour. Its all-natural ingredient list results in comparatively lower protein content and higher fat content (12g and 17g, respectively), which is why it doesn’t rank higher on our list.

Benefits of eating protein bars

1. Good source of nutrients

Protein bars offer a convenient, nutritious, and ready-to-eat snack option. They make a practical addition to your daily routine with a wide range of flavours and a long shelf life.

For those seeking a midday snack, a well-balanced bar with a reasonable amount of protein and high-quality ingredients could suit your lifestyle.

The combination of protein and carbs in these bars also makes them suitable as a pre-or post-workout snack, providing the energy needed for exercise or aiding muscle recovery afterwards.

Additionally, many protein bars are a good source of dietary fibre, which is crucial for maintaining digestive health and may help curb overeating between meals.

Protein bars often contain essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and B vitamins, ensuring you meet your daily requirements for these vital micronutrients.

2. Replacing meals

Protein bars are frequently viewed as a speedy alternative to replace a meal, particularly breakfast.

Although a protein bar can’t compete with a breakfast of various wholesome whole foods, some might be suitable in certain situations.

When in need of a quick breakfast occasionally, opting for higher-calorie protein bars without added sugar or hydrogenated oils could be a reasonable choice.

3. Gaining muscle

For highly active individuals with significant muscle mass or those aiming to build muscle, increasing protein intake may support their goals.

Studies indicate that supplementing with protein can enhance muscle mass and performance, provided that overall physical activity and diet are sufficient.

4. Putting on weight

You must take in more calories than you burn daily to put on weight. Protein bars can be a very beneficial addition to your diet.

Many protein bars are calorie-dense, offering a substantial amount of calories in a single serving. This makes it convenient to add calories without consuming much additional food.

For instance, some protein bars may provide over 350 calories per bar. These can be easily consumed between meals to increase calorie intake and support weight gain.

Even when aiming to gain weight, choose protein bars with wholesome ingredients instead of those loaded with added sugars and additives.

5. Losing weight

Numerous individuals turn to protein bars to aid their weight loss journey.

Some studies suggest that high-protein diets contribute to healthier weight loss more effectively than diets with standard protein levels. This is likely because protein has a satiating effect, which can suppress your appetite and help prevent overeating.

It’s important to note that if you decide to use protein bars for this purpose, healthy weight loss also involves maintaining a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly.

Is there a protein bar that is the healthiest?

The definition of ‘healthy’ can vary. Due to artificial sweeteners, many protein bars claim to have shallow sugar content, such as less than 3g of sugar in a 20g protein bar.

Suppose your idea of a healthy bar involves minimal highly processed ingredients. In that case, you might need to accept more sugar and carbohydrates.

It’s worth noting that while it’s generally better to avoid overly processed ingredients, protein bars will likely contain a processed form of protein. This is because whole food proteins have more naturally occurring sugars. For example, natural food sources like nuts and dates might provide 10g of protein, but the bar would also contain 15g of sugar and 25g of carbs.

Processed protein doesn’t necessarily mean low quality. Whey protein, which comes from milk, is a high-quality source of protein even though it’s processed. Familiar plant-based protein sources used in bars include soy, rice, and pea protein.

When should I eat a protein bar?

It’s common for people to focus on the timing of protein consumption before or after workouts. Still, the consensus among experts is that precise timing is optional.

Instead, it’s essential to consider protein intake over an entire 24-hour period. Consuming a lot of protein at breakfast is ineffective, and neglecting it for the rest of the day is counterproductive. A better approach is to have a good quality protein source every few hours throughout the day.


Our picks for the best protein bars offer a convenient and delicious solution for individuals looking to maintain or increase their protein intake while on the go.

Each of these bars has been carefully evaluated based on taste, nutritional content, and ingredient quality, catering to various preferences and dietary needs.

Whether you’re an athlete, trying to lose or gain weight, or just seeking a tasty, protein-packed snack, these protein bars are a practical choice for busy lifestyles.

As you explore the options, remember to prioritize bars that provide wholesome ingredients and an appropriate balance of macronutrients for your goals. Happy snacking!

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