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10 best protein bars, tried and tested during tempo runs and long cycle rides

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Let’s be honest, we’ve all tasted a protein bar at some point and thought: “That is actually disgusting”.  Despite this, protein – which provides the building blocks for essential stuff such as cells, muscles, bone, nails, hormones and enzymes – has achieved a hallowed status in the health and fitness world, mainly due to its ability to help you recover after a vigorous workout and gain muscle mass.

It’s big business – just look at the supermarket shelves: extra-protein Weetabix, protein powders that come in every flavour you can think of, protein shakes, protein bars, protein yoghurts. We can’t get enough of the stuff.

No longer reserved just for top athletes, protein has crept into every boutique gym and inner-city kitchen alike. Globally, the protein bar market size was valued at $4.66bn (£3.29bn) in 2019 and is expected to reach $7.03bn (£4.97bn) by 2027.

Over the years, we have tried many protein bars and, without fail, two things happen. The first is they taste gross – like a mixture of earwax and chalk. The second thing is they get shunned to the back of the snack drawer, never to be seen again (until they go past their sell-by date and end up in the bin, of course).

With this in mind, we set out to find the best protein bars that deliver nutrition and flavour.

How we tested the best protein bars

During our quest to find a protein bar that actually tasted, well, nice – while also being healthy enough to serve as a filling post-workout boost (and not just a glorified chocolate bar) – we tested some of the biggest names in the market. We tried them both pre- and post-workout, after training in the gym and tempo run sessions and mid-way through long cycle rides out on the bike, to see which ones delivered on taste, high protein and low sugar. These are the ones that really packed a punch.

The best protein bars for 2024 are:

  • Best protein bar overall – Grenade carb killa chocolate chip salted caramel, box of 12: £25, Grenade.com
  • Best protein bar for cycling – Clif Bar white chocolate macadamia nut, box of 12: £19.98, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best protein bar for ultramarathons – Tribe raspberry protein flapjack, box of 12: £15, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best plant-based protein bar – Trek Power millionaire shortbread bar: £1.50, Ocado.com
  • Best recovery protein bar – Veloforte forza protein bar, box of 12: £35, Sigmasports.com
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