The New Snickers Protein Bar Uses Inferior Protein

The PricePlow crew here regularly follows the exploding protein bar market, and we’ve been spoiled lately with several great-tasting, high quality bars. So when we found out about the new Snickers Protein Bar,[1] we had to investigate.

Snickers Protein Bar

Snickers has released a protein bar for its UK fans, but hold the phone… its protein blend is heavy on collagen protein… not exactly stellar.

Can they actually make a Snickers Bar that’s packed with muscle-building protein that still tastes like the original candy bar?

Well right from the first ingredient, we knew we were in for a disappointment from our point of view as athletes – and it’s not because of the calories, fats, or carbs – it’s the protein itself. In this blog post we explain exactly why.

We’ve got the sad story down below, but first, take a moment to compare protein bar prices and sign up for alerts from PricePlow — we’re honestly not sure when or if these will even come out in the US (Mars has not responded to our requests):

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Snickers Protein Bar Ingredients

It all comes down to the protein sources. And what you’re about to see is a sad excuse for a protein bar, especially if it’s marketed as a fitness tool or to young athletes looking for a snack. It’s led by a protein blend that’s inferior to nearly every other bar on the market:

Snickers Protein Bar Ingredients

Snickers Protein Bar uses a rather inferior source of protein to dominate its protein blend… hydrolyzed collagen. And it’s a proprietary blend so you have no clue how much of it you’re getting.

  • Protein Blend

    Snickers Protein bar uses a blend of various proteins that consists of: Hydrolysed Collagen, Milk Protein Isolate, Milk Protein, Whey Protein Concentrate. Right off the bat, a red flag should pop up — hydrolyzed collagen.

    Hydrolyzed collagen is the problem

    Hydrolyzed collagen is processed from the collagen contained in the bones, skin, and connective tissue of animals (doesn’t that sound appetizing?). Hydrolysis is a chemical process used to degrade the peptide bonds between the individual collagen strands to make for a faster digesting protein. Basically think of hydrolysis as a way to “pre-digest” a protein.

    Black Cows

    Ready for some boiled down cow bones to get your collagen protein? YUM!

    The primary reason we’re not nuts about collagen protein is that its amino acid ratio is sorely lacking. Amino acids are the “building blocks” of protein, and they all have different functions and strengths. Not all aminos contribute towards muscle tone or athletic performance.

    As opposed to whey protein which contains all of the essential amino acids (EAAs – these are “essential” to get in your diet because your body cannot not create them itself), collagen is missing one – it’s not a complete protein! In fact, hydrolyzed collagen contains no tryptophan and lacking (ie deficient) in isoleucine, threonine, and methionine.[2] This is bad for dieters and athletes because you’re not getting the full spectrum of amino acids, and thus will have to add more food on top to compensate for the deficient amino spectrum.

    Furthermore, collagen is mostly comprised (~50%) of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, which are definitely great for skin, hair, and nails… but as athletes on this blog, that’s not what we’re interested in here! We need higher levels of the branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), which have been shown to be more anabolic (especially leucine), and with such a high amount of these other amino acids, the better aminos are simply too small in number.

    Collagen Amino Profile

    Here’s an amino profile on collagen so you can get an up close idea of exactly where it’s lacking

    We want muscle gains, not nail-gains!

    To top it off, collagen’s biological value (BV) is piss-poor compared to whey.[2,3] By the way, whey protein is one of the highest BV proteins around too![4]

    Additionally, since the protein blend is a massive proprietary blend, we honestly have no idea how much (or little) of the other higher quality protein sources, like whey and milk, are in the bar. For all we know, the blend could be 95% collagen and 5% other sources. It’s probably not that slanted, but honestly you never can tell with manufacturers and it could legally change from batch to batch.

    If collagen wasn’t first on the proprietary blend, we probably wouldn’t have stirred up so much fuss, but we’re not so lucky.

    Point is, for this being a protein bar, from our point of view as athletes, this is a sad excuse for a protein blend that we do not trust over other whey-dominant or even soy-dominant blends.

  • The Rest

    Snickers Protein Bar Taste

    They’re claiming 100% taste here at least, but can they do better with the protein quality?

    The rest of the Snickers Protein Bar reads much like you’d expect a typical candy bar to be…. lots of sugar, salt, fat and other stuff that tastes good, but doesn’t do a whole lot for you athletically — other than add calories.

    That’s all well and good if you’re training hard enough and monitoring your calories and macronutrients – we really don’t need to eat 100% clean – we would have been quite happy with a “candy bar with all quality protein”, but we already lost out on the “quality protein” part of things.

    Just so we spell it out for you, the rest of the ingredients reads like this:

    Milk Chocolate (15%), (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Skimmed Milk Powder, Cocoa Mass, Lactose and Protein from whey (Milk), Palm Fat, Whey Powder (Milk), Milk Fat, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Natural Vanilla Extract), Caramel (14%)  Sweetened Condensed Skimmed Milk, Glucose Syrup, Invert Sugar Syrup, Palm Oil, Butter (Milk), Sugar, Emulsifier (E471),  tabiliser (Pectin), Salt, Natural Flavouring), Humectant (Maltitol), Peanuts (10%), Humectant (Glycerine), Peanut Flour, Fructo- ligosaccharide, Natural Flavouring (Peanut), Salt, Colour (Plain Caramel), Antioxidant (Natural Mixed Tocopherols).

    (We assume “tabiliser” is a typo for “Stabiliser”).

Macros

Snickers Protein Bar macros aren’t terrible, but it’s a tad high in sugar for true clean eaters.

You can see all of the macros for the Snickers Protein Bar in the image above, but we’ll really key in on the “Per Serving” macros as that’s what you’ll get in each bar:

  • Calories: 199
  • Protein: 18.2
  • Carbs: 18.4 (9.5g Sugar)
  • Fats: 7.1 (2.7 saturated)

Truth be told, at a glance, these macros aren’t all that bad and are comparable to other protein bars, depending on your stance on sugar. It’s what’s between the lines, with regards to protein quality, that bums us out.

Flavors Available

There is only one flavor of Snickers Protein Bar available — the original Snickers flavor – and we’d have it no other way. However, the same company also makes a Mars Protein Bar in the same ilk. That’s not much of a consolation though as the Mars bar is still using that hydrolyzed collagen protein source as its first protein ingredient as well as soy protein isolate.

Takeaway

Protein bars have come along way since they first debuted on the market. We’ve seen much higher quality bars than these in recent years, and frankly, we wished Mars did better. We officially challenge them to go back to the drawing board and make it work with better protein.

They’ll probably sell tons of them, and they probably taste great (we’ll try to review these on our YouTube channel), but we need to be here to tell you that the protein isn’t as good as eating real food or even decent supplemental sources like milk-based proteins, and we’re here to challenge Mars to try harder and do it right.

Frankly, the whole “healthy” candy bar re-invention hasn’t really taken off or seen that much success, but right now, it’s Oh Yeah! ONE Bar (which isn’t really a “candy bar” like their original Oh Yeah! Bars were, but is dominating the protein bar market) and everyone else is following in their wake. Find a way to fit quality protein into your daily macros and enjoy the real thing. This Snickers Protein Bar is too “half-in, half-out” for anyone that’s serious about their diet.

Protein Bars - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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Disclosure: PricePlow relies on pricing from stores with which we have a business relationship. We work hard to keep pricing current, but you may find a better offer on your own.

Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.

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References

  1. http://www.snickersandmarsproteinbars.com
  2. Eastoe JE. The amino acid composition of mammalian collagen and gelatin. Biochemical Journal. 1955;61(4):589-600. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1215839/
  3. Wang L, Wang Q, Qian J, et al. Bioavailability and Bioavailable Forms of Collagen after Oral Administration to Rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2015;63(14):3752-3756. doi:10.1021/jf5057502. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf5057502
  4. Hoffman JR, Falvo MJ. Protein – Which is Best? Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. 2004;3(3):118-130. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905294/
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