Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Are ONE Protein Bars Bad For You?

Also Known As: OH Yeah! ONE Bar



Short answer

ONE Protein Bars can be convenient and beneficial for a protein boost, especially post-workout. They're high in fiber and protein while low in sugar, which supports muscle repair and satiety. However, they may cause digestive discomfort due to sugar alcohols and contain artificial sweeteners, which some may wish to avoid. Individuals with dairy sensitivities should also use caution as the bars include dairy-based proteins. Generally, they can be included in a balanced diet but should not replace whole foods.



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Long answer

Nutritional Profile of ONE Protein Bars

Understanding the nutritional profile of ONE Protein Bars is essential for determining their impact on your diet. Each bar is formulated to provide a convenient source of protein, which is beneficial for muscle repair, satiety, and various bodily functions. Let's break down the key components:

  • Protein Content: ONE Protein Bars are known for their high protein content, typically offering around 20 grams per bar. This protein is sourced from a blend of whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate, providing a complete amino acid profile necessary for muscle recovery and growth.
  • Carbohydrates: The carbohydrate content in ONE Protein Bars ranges between 22 to 24 grams, with a significant proportion coming from dietary fiber and sugar alcohols, which are used to reduce the net carb content. It's important to note that these bars generally contain only 1 gram of sugar per bar, which is relatively low compared to many other snack bars.
  • Fiber: Each bar includes around 9 to 10 grams of fiber, which aids in digestive health and can help maintain a feeling of fullness. The source of fiber in these bars often comes from isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs), a prebiotic fiber.
  • Fat: Fat content in ONE Protein Bars is moderate, at about 7 to 9 grams per bar, with a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. The presence of fats assists in nutrient absorption and provides a secondary source of energy.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: While ONE Protein Bars are not marketed as a significant source of vitamins and minerals, they do provide small amounts of calcium and iron.
  • Caloric Information: On average, ONE Protein Bars contain approximately 210-230 calories. This makes them a suitable option for a post-workout snack or a meal replacement for some individuals, depending on their daily caloric needs.
  • Sweeteners and Flavorings: These bars often contain sugar alcohols such as maltitol and erythritol, natural sweeteners like stevia, and artificial sweeteners like sucralose. Additionally, they may include natural and artificial flavors to enhance taste.

It is critical to point out that individual responses to components like sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners can vary. For instance, some individuals might experience digestive discomfort from sugar alcohols (International Journal of Dentistry, 2013). Moreover, while the use of artificial sweeteners is a common practice to reduce sugar content, it can be a point of contention among health-conscious consumers (Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 2010).

Regarding the ingredients used for protein fortification, whey and milk isolates are considered high-quality proteins due to their complete amino acid profiles and high digestibility. However, individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies should be cautious, as these protein sources may trigger allergic reactions or digestive issues (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1996).

In summary, from a nutritional standpoint, the high protein, moderate carbohydrate, and fiber composition alongside the inclusion of minimal sugar make ONE Protein Bars a viable snack option for many. However, an analysis of the specific ingredients and consideration of individual dietary needs is advised before incorporating them into any diet.

Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Alcohols in ONE Bars

When evaluating the components of ONE Protein Bars, a critical aspect pertains to their content of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. These ingredients are often included in food products to offer a sweet taste without the added calories and sugar content typically found in foods sweetened with traditional sugar.

ONE Bars often contain sugar alcohols such as maltitol and artificial sweeteners like sucralose. Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that the body partially absorbs and metabolizes, providing fewer calories than regular sugar. They are commonly used in "sugar-free" or "no sugar added" products.

Maltitol: This is a sugar alcohol that is often used as a sugar substitute because it provides sweetness comparable to sugar but with half the calories. While maltitol can be a good option for those looking to reduce their sugar intake, some individuals may experience digestive discomfort, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea, particularly when consumed in large quantities. This is because maltitol and other sugar alcohols can be fermented by bacteria in the gut.

Sucralose: Also known in the market under the brand name Splenda, is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener that is about 600 times sweeter than sugar. One advantage of sucralose is that it does not affect blood glucose levels, making it a popular choice for individuals with diabetes or those monitoring their blood sugar levels. However, there have been discussions in the scientific community about its potential effects on gut health and the microbiome. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health suggested that sucralose may reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

It is important to note that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed both maltitol and sucralose as safe for general consumption. However, the inclusion of these sweeteners in ONE Bars could be a point of concern for individuals with sensitivities or those who prefer avoiding artificial additives in their diet.

When considering the health impact of these sweeteners, it's essential to approach the topic from a personalized nutrition standpoint. While moderate consumption might be perfectly acceptable for some, others might prefer to steer clear of these additives for personal health reasons or due to potential side effects.

For individuals with gastrointestinal sensitivities, it might be advisable to consume these bars in moderation to prevent any adverse reactions. Additionally, those who are following clean eating practices might opt for protein bars made with natural sweeteners, such as stevia or honey.

Understanding your body's response to artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols is crucial. For those with adverse reactions or for those looking to maintain a more natural diet, seeking alternative protein bars may be the better choice. Conversely, these ingredients can help manage calorie intake and aid in weight management efforts when used as part of a balanced diet.

In conclusion, while FDA-approved and considered safe for the general population, one's decision to consume ONE Protein Bars with artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols should take into account individual health goals, potential dietary sensitivities, and overall well-being. It's always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet, particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions.

Protein Source and Quality in ONE Protein Bars

When evaluating the impact of ONE Protein Bars on health, it's crucial to examine both the source and quality of the protein they contain. Primarily, these bars derive their protein from a blend that typically includes whey protein isolate, milk protein isolate, and in some cases, soy protein isolate. Each of these protein sources has a distinct profile in terms of amino acid composition, absorption rates, and potential allergens.

Whey Protein Isolate: Whey protein isolate is a highly refined form of protein that is derived from milk. It is well-known for its high bioavailability and rapid absorption into the body, which can be beneficial for muscle repair post-exercise. It contains a complete amino acid profile, meaning it includes all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesize on its own. For individuals engaging in regular physical activity, whey protein can be an excellent source to aid in recovery and muscle building.

However, whey protein is a dairy byproduct and may not be suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance or milk allergies. In such cases, consuming ONE Protein Bars could potentially cause digestive discomfort or allergic reactions.

Milk Protein Isolate: Similar to whey, milk protein isolate is sourced from milk and contains both whey and casein proteins. This combination means that it not only provides a quick release of amino acids but also offers a sustained release, which can be advantageous for maintaining muscle protein synthesis over a prolonged period.

Milk protein isolate is generally considered a high-quality protein source due to its comprehensive amino acid profile. Nonetheless, just like whey protein isolate, it may not be appropriate for individuals with sensitivities to dairy-derived ingredients.

Soy Protein Isolate: Soy protein isolate is a plant-based protein that also offers a complete amino acid profile. It's an alternative protein source in ONE Protein Bars that is suitable for vegetarians and people with dairy allergies or intolerances. However, soy protein isolate has been a topic of debate among nutritionists and health experts due to concerns about potential hormone-like effects, given its phytoestrogen content.

While most studies indicate that moderate consumption of soy does not adversely affect hormone levels in healthy individuals, it's important to recognize that individual responses may vary. Some people might choose to limit their intake of soy protein for personal or health reasons.

In terms of protein quality, ONE Protein Bars are notable for their high protein content, often ranging from 20 to 22 grams per bar. The quality of the protein used is typically high, given the bars’ use of isolates which are more pure and concentrated forms of protein. When considering biological value (BV), which is a measure of how efficiently food protein, once absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, can be turned into body tissues, these protein sources score quite high.

To transparently assess protein quality, it's helpful to refer to the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), an internationally recognized method. Whey and milk protein isolates generally achieve a score close to 1, which is considered excellent. Soy protein isolate, while slightly lower, also scores well on this scale, indicating that the proteins in ONE Protein Bars provide the necessary amino acids in a digestible form.

Conclusion: The protein sources used in ONE Protein Bars contribute to their high nutritional value, particularly for those seeking to increase their protein intake for muscle synthesis and repair. While the bars are inclusive of a complete amino acid profile and are processed to be easily digestible, individuals with specific dietary restrictions or allergies may need to approach them cautiously.

ONE Protein Bars and Dietary Fiber Content

When examining the health implications of ONE Protein Bars, a key nutritional factor to consider is their dietary fiber content. Dietary fiber is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system and contributes to a feeling of fullness, which can aid in weight management. For adult women and men, the daily recommended fiber intake is about 25 grams and 38 grams respectively, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

ONE Protein Bars typically contain a moderate amount of fiber, ranging from 1 to 10 grams per bar, depending on the flavor and variety. This fiber is derived from sources such as chicory root fiber, also known as inulin, and soluble vegetable fiber. Inulin is a prebiotic fiber that can promote digestive health by supporting beneficial gut bacteria.

However, it's important to note that the type of fiber in these bars is mostly soluble fiber, which dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the gut. While soluble fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels and help manage blood sugar levels, it is the insoluble fiber that helps with regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Here's a breakdown of the fiber content found in some popular flavors of ONE Protein Bars:

Flavor Fiber Content
Chocolate Brownie 9g
Birthday Cake 9g
Almond Bliss 10g
Peanut Butter Pie 1g

Although the fiber content in ONE Protein Bars can contribute to meeting daily fiber requirements, it should be complemented with other foods rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers to achieve a balanced intake. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are excellent sources of both types of fiber.

It's also worth mentioning that for some individuals, a high intake of inulin can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating, gas, and an upset stomach, especially when consumed in large amounts or by those with a sensitivity to this type of fiber.

Experts recommend introducing fiber to the diet gradually and with sufficient water intake to minimize potential digestive issues. Therefore, when incorporating ONE Protein Bars into your diet as a source of fiber, it's advisable to do so mindful of these considerations and as part of a diverse diet that includes a variety of fiber sources.

In summary, while ONE Protein Bars can be a convenient snack that contributes to your daily fiber intake, they should not be relied upon as the sole source of dietary fiber. Balancing your diet with a variety of high-fiber foods will ensure you receive the full spectrum of benefits that dietary fiber has to offer.

Potential Gastrointestinal Effects from Consumption

When discussing the gastrointestinal impact of ONE Protein Bars, it's essential to recognize that individuals may experience varying responses based on their digestive health and tolerance to certain ingredients. Below are key considerations and possible gastrointestinal effects linked to the consumption of these protein bars.

1. Fiber Content:

ONE Protein Bars typically contain a blend of fiber sources, which can be beneficial for digestive health. However, the bars contain a significant amount of non-natural fibers like isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs), which act as prebiotics. For some individuals, a sudden increase in fiber intake can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal discomfort

2. Sugar Alcohols and Sweeteners:

Sweeteners like maltitol and erythritol are sugar alcohols commonly found in ONE Protein Bars. While they provide sweetness with fewer calories and no significant spike in blood sugar levels, they can also cause gastrointestinal upset. The effects vary among individuals, but those with a sensitivity to sugar alcohols may experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Cramping

3. Dairy-based Proteins:

The primary source of protein in ONE Protein Bars is often whey protein isolate or milk protein isolate. People with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy may not tolerate these ingredients well, potentially leading to:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea

4. Sensitivity to Added Ingredients:

Aside from the main components, these protein bars can contain a variety of flavorings, preservatives, and texture enhancers. Some individuals may have sensitivities to these additives, which could manifest as:

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Allergic reactions

It's noteworthy to mention that a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition suggests that excess consumption of sugar alcohols can be associated with gastrointestinal issues. While no significant adverse effects are expected from consuming ONE Protein Bars in moderation, those who are susceptible to the above conditions should consume them cautiously and consider consulting a healthcare provider to discuss their dietary choices.

In summary, ONE Protein Bars can fit into a healthy diet for many individuals, but it's crucial to be aware of how your body responds to certain ingredients. Monitoring your intake and starting with smaller portions can help you gauge your tolerance and enjoy these bars without undue gastrointestinal distress.

Balancing Convenience with Whole Food Alternatives

Protein bars, such as ONE Protein Bars, are often praised for their convenience. They provide a quick protein boost, are easy to carry, and can be consumed on the go. However, a crucial consideration for nutrition-conscious individuals is how such convenience products stack up against whole food alternatives.

Comparison with Whole Foods

Comparatively, whole foods offer a complex nutritional profile that protein bars struggle to match. Unlike processed bars, whole foods like lean meats, legumes, nuts, and seeds come with a natural richness in essential nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants are inherently balanced in whole foods, promoting optimal absorption and health benefits.

Here are key points to consider when evaluating the convenience of protein bars versus the nutrient density of whole foods:

  • Protein Quality: The protein in ONE Protein Bars is derived from a blend of milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate, which are complete proteins. However, they might lack the natural nutrient companions—such as healthy fats and micronutrients—present in whole food protein sources like salmon, chicken, or quinoa.
  • Fiber Content: Fiber is integral to digestive health, and while ONE Protein Bars do contain some fiber, it's often in the form of isolated fibers, like corn fiber, which may not provide the same health benefits as the naturally occurring fiber in whole fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • Additives and Sweeteners: Protein bars often contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners to improve taste. Natural sweetness from whole fruits, for instance, comes along with vitamins and fiber that enhance overall health.
  • Caloric Density: Calorie for calorie, whole foods provide more volume, which can be more satisfying and beneficial for weight management. Protein bars are calorie dense, which might lead to overconsumption if not mindful.
  • Processing Level: Protein bars are highly processed, which can result in the loss of some nutrients during manufacturing. Whole foods are minimally processed, preserving their natural nutrient profile.

It's also essential to recognize the role of variety in a healthy diet. Relying too heavily on protein bars could lead to deficiencies in nutrients not adequately provided by these products. Integrating whole foods into one's diet ensures a broader intake of essential nutrients.

For those seeking the practical advantages of protein bars without sacrificing the benefits of whole foods, there are ways to balance the two:

  • Save protein bars for times when you're in a pinch, such as during travel or between meetings, rather than as a staple in your daily diet.
  • Opt for protein bars that prioritize ingredients close to their natural state and are low in artificial additives.
  • Incorporate whole food snacks that are also convenient, like pre-cut vegetables, a handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit.
  • Consider homemade protein bars or balls made with whole food ingredients like oats, nut butter, seeds, and natural sweeteners—these can be prepared in bulk and taken on the go.

Ultimately, while ONE Protein Bars offer a convenient source of protein, they should not be viewed as a replacement for the rich nutritional value found in a diet comprised largely of whole foods. An approach that combines the practicality of protein bars with the robust nutrition of whole foods can contribute to a balanced and healthful diet.

The Role of Protein Bars in Weight Management and Fitness Goals

Protein bars, such as ONE Protein Bars, are often marketed as a convenient source of nutrition to support weight management and fitness goals. Let's delve into how these bars can potentially fit into a health-conscious lifestyle and what factors consumers should consider.

Nutrient Profile and Satiety: Protein is known for its satiety-inducing properties. ONE Protein Bars typically contain a high amount of protein, which can help keep you feeling full for longer periods. This can reduce the likelihood of overeating and may result in a lower overall caloric intake, which is beneficial for weight loss.

Caloric Consideration: While protein bars can be a valuable part of a calorie-controlled diet, it's essential to consider their caloric content. Even a high-protein bar can contribute to weight gain if it contains more calories than you expend. Always compare the calorie count of a protein bar to that of a whole food alternative to ensure it aligns with your dietary goals.

Convenience vs. Whole Foods: The convenience of a protein bar is undeniable, but it should not replace whole foods entirely. Whole foods provide a broader range of nutrients, micronutrients, and fiber that are crucial for overall health. When used judiciously, protein bars can supplement a balanced diet, especially when whole food protein sources are not readily available.

Exercise Support: Consuming protein aids in muscle repair and growth. For individuals engaging in regular exercise, particularly strength training, protein bars can provide necessary protein that helps in muscle recovery and adaptation. Optimal timing, usually within a window of 30 minutes to 2 hours after a workout, may enhance the benefits of protein intake.

Quality of Protein: Not all protein bars are created equal, and the same goes for the quality of protein they contain. The bars with complete protein sources, containing all essential amino acids, are preferable. Whey and milk proteins, often found in ONE Protein Bars, are examples of complete proteins which are effective for muscle synthesis and recovery.

Sugar Alcohol and Dietary Fiber: To maintain a low sugar content, ONE Protein Bars typically include sugar alcohols and dietary fibers for sweetness. While these ingredients help keep the sugar content low, they can cause gastrointestinal upset in some individuals, particularly in sensitive individuals or when consumed in large quantities.

Ingredient Transparency: It's crucial to look at the ingredient list to understand what you're consuming. Some protein bars contain a long list of ingredients, including artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. For those prioritizing a "cleaner" diet, it's worth seeking out bars with a shorter, more recognizable list of ingredients.

Ultimately, ONE Protein Bars can be integrated into a diet aimed at weight management or enhanced fitness, but with mindful consideration of their nutritional makeup and how they fit into your overall dietary pattern. Properly incorporated, they offer a practical snack option to support your health goals—assuming the rest of your diet is balanced and nutritious.

Frequently asked questions

ONE Protein Bars may be suitable for vegetarians as their protein content typically comes from milk-based sources like whey and milk protein isolates. However, they are not suitable for vegans since these protein sources are derived from dairy products. Additionally, vegans and vegetarians should be aware of any other ingredients used, such as flavors and sweeteners, which may have animal-derived origins or have been processed using animal products.

ONE Protein Bars contain sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, resulting in a lower glycemic impact, which means they have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. This makes them an option for individuals monitoring their blood sugar, such as those with diabetes. However, the body's response can vary, and it's always wise to consult with a healthcare professional if you have concerns about managing blood sugar levels.

ONE Protein Bars can be used as a meal replacement in a pinch, especially when on-the-go or when other wholesome food options aren't available. Each bar provides a substantial amount of protein and fiber that may promote satiety. However, they are not a complete substitute for a balanced meal as they may lack a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients found in a diverse diet. It's important for individuals to ensure they're still consuming a variety of foods to meet their nutritional needs.

ONE Protein Bars typically contain 22 to 24 grams of total carbohydrates, which include dietary fiber and sugar alcohols that have minimal impact on blood sugar levels. The net carbs, which reflect the carbohydrates that affect blood glucose, are lower due to the deduction of fiber and sugar alcohols. Therefore, they can be more suitable for those following a low-net-carb diet compared to other snacks with higher sugar content.

Ask a question about ONE Protein Bars and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • bloating
  • gas
  • abdominal discomfort
  • diarrhea
  • gastrointestinal distress
  • cramping
  • nausea

Possible long-term side effects

  • potential gut microbiome alterations

Ingredients to be aware of

  • maltitol
  • erythritol
  • sucralose
  • artificial flavors
  • milk protein isolates
  • whey protein isolates
  • soy protein isolates
  • isomalto-oligosaccharides (imos)


  • muscle repair and growth
  • satiety
  • weight management
  • convenient protein source
  • aids in digestive health

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

RXBAR Protein Bars

  • 12g protein per bar
  • Gluten-free snack
  • Chocolate variety pack
  • Four delicious flavors
  • No added sugar
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-26-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-26-2024

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