Before we get into our round up of low sugar vegan protein bar options, there are a few background items we need to clear up in regards to sugar and vegan protein bars….
How Much Sugar Should I Have In a Day?
First things first, it’s important to know what the sugar recommendation is for men and women (vegan and non-vegan alike!). The current recommendation from the American Heart Association is that men consume less than 150 calories of sugar per day – or equivilant to 38 grams if you’re looking at food labels. For women, the recommendation is less than 100 calories of sugar per day – or about 25 grams of sugar per day. This includes sugar that you may add to food or sugar that’s added to packaged foods, cereals, breads, and bars you’re already consuming. To give you a frame a reference, 1 tsp of sugar has about 4 grams of sugar…so if you added a tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of brown sugar to your morning oatmeal, you’re halfway there if you’re a woman and more than a third of the way there if you’re a man. Now, this is only in 1 meal! Depending on what you eat on later in the day for your meals or snacks, the amount of sugar can add up quickly.
How Much Sugar is Considered Low Sugar?
On the other side of the spectrum, the FDA has not defined the term “low sugar” which means that you may see this claim but there is not an actual definition or guide that all manufacturers use. Generally speaking, I tend to recommend clients, friends, and family aim for less than 5-7 grams of added sugar for cereals and meal bars and less than 3 grams in breads or other snack/processed foods. However, that does mean it’s easy to do! In fact, it can be quite tricky to manage if you’re not eating mostly whole plant-based foods. So, for today’s purpose, we’ll be providing you with vegan protein bars with less than 4 grams of added sugar (which is about a teaspoon of added sugar) although many of them listed contain even less than that.
At the same time, it’s important to note that it’s more important to do your best in monitoring and managing sugar intakes instead of trying to get to zero sugar and be completely “pure” or “clean” because honestly, that’s pretty unrealistic and is only going to set yourself up for failure.
So when it comes to vegan protein bars, does that mean we eat whatever we want? Well, no. Does it mean that we’re terrified of the label and only eat products that meet super strict goals even if we don’t enjoy them? Also no. It’s important to choose a vegan protein bar that you enjoy (since you’ll be the one eating it!) that can also help you meet your plant-based nutrition needs.
5 Low Sugar Vegan Protein Bars
(Each Bar Contains Less than 4 Grams (1 teaspoon) of Added Sugar)
Orgain has a line of vegan plant-based and conventional whey protein powders, bars, and drinks. Their Plant-Based Protein Bar contains 10 grams of protein mostly from brown rice and pea protein and 4 grams of sugar along with 4 grams of sugar alcohols that provides the sweetness. Orgain plant-based bars are a fan favorite and with over 190 reviews on Amazon, many people love the clean ingredients, low sugar, plant-based protein and convenient bars that don’t get super melty. Try out Orgain plant-based protein bars today – I recommend the S’Mores flavor!
IQ Bars are a favorite among Keto and Paleo eaters but these protein bars are also vegan, plant-based, and low sugar. The vegan protein bars target the brain and the body with ingredients like Lion’s Mane, MCT oil, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids) plus a nutrition label that’s easy on the eyes. Many people like to keep the bars in the fridge but I think they are great at room temperature or cold. Have you tried IQ Bars? If not, head over to Amazon and check them out for yourself.
3. Protein Puck 3 Flavor Protein Bar Variety Pack – 13 grams of Protein, 2 grams of added sugarLooking for a vegan protein bar that actually tastes like real food?? Then look no further than the Protein Puck. This is a large, heavy, and nutrition packed “puck” perfect if you’ve got a lot of refueling to do or if you’re going awhile inbetween meals, this vegan protein bar can be your mini-meal and keep you fueled and satisfied for hours! It tastes like oats, nuts/seeds, and dried fruit (where the bit of added sugar comes in). If you have a big appetite or you’re looking for a vegan protein bar that will hold you over for a longer period of time while being low sugar, the Protein Puck should be at the top of your list. Check out the Protein Puck today in each flavor.
4. Sunwarrior – Sol Good Protein Bar in Salted Caramel – 19 grams of Protein, No Added Sugar (3 grams of Total Sugar)Sunwarrior has been producing vegan protein powder for eons and have recently started creating their own plant-based protein bars using their nutrient dense protein powder as the base. This means that not only are the Sunwarrior Sol Good Protein Bars high in protein (19 grams of plant-based protein in each bar) but that also means that these bars contain the prebiotic blend found in the protein powder. This is an added bonus as most of the low sugar vegan protein bars do not contain a specific prebiotic fiber blend. With that being said, this is a high fiber bar and would likely not be the best choice pre-workout (high fiber and activity tend to not mix very well). Like some other low sugar protein bars, Sunwarrior uses stevia to create the sweetness and counter any potential bitterness from the protein powder but in general isn’t too sweet. Try out the Sunwarrior Sol Good Vegan Protein Bars in the most popular flavor – Salted Caramel!
REDD stands for Radiant Energy Delicious Delivery and these plant-based protein bars are newer to the vegan protein bar market but with 10 grams of protein and 3-4 grams of added sugar (depending on flavor), they are a great option if you’re eating plant-based and want a low sugar snack or meal replacement bar. The REDD bars also contain a prebiotice fiber blend like the Sunwarrior Sol Good vegan bars but also contains probiotics (live active organisms) and an adaptogenic mushroom blend (although this may not be suitable for everyone). Nutritionally, the REDD vegan protein bars contain less although a significant amount of fiber related to the prebiotic fiber blend (7 grams of fiber in the REDD vegan protein bar vs 14 grams in Sunsweet Sol Good Bars) to help keep you full and satisfied with likely lower risk for GI disturbances. Find REDD plant-based vegan protein bars with low sugar HERE.
There are a other vegan protein bars out there that are low or low-ish in sugar but these are some of my and my clients’ favorites so I wanted to share and help you choose accordingly as well if you’re looking for a low sugar vegan protein bar! If you have any questions about the bars listed or about other vegan nutrition food products and bars, comment below! I’d love to help you out and I wish you happy noshing on all things vegan or mostly plant-based!