One: Happy Birthday

Since I liked the Quest Birthday Cake bar, I picked up a “Happy Birthday” flavour One protein bar on first sight. I am glad I did as I had to wait two weeks to see it again!

These bars used to be known as “Oh Yeah One”. I have no idea why they changed the name. Anyway, lets review the One Happy Birthday bar:

At a glance, the One Happy Birthday bar seems pretty keto friendly. After all, high protein and 1g of sugar is pretty good to me. Sound too good to be true? Let’s review the bar to find out.

Nutrition

Not so good…

A quick glance at the full nutritional information reveals this bar has at least 8g net carbohydrates — not a great start.

This is a good demonstration as to why you should never trust the claims made on the front of a product — always check the nutritional information on the back!

Everything else on the label seems fine. Lots of protein, some fats, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Note this bar includes 5g of sugar alcohol. Not all sugar alcohols are equal, it could affect the net carbs and even spike blood sugar levels. More on this later.

Now let’s move on to the ingredients:

There’s a lot going on. Safe to say, this isn’t Paleo friendly!

This is the first time I have seen Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (IMO). I had to do some research on this and found it was initially introduced as a fibre based sweetener. It has a GI value of 55, which is bang on the definition of “low” but is high in comparison to Erythritol’s GI of 1. Note that in 2018 the FDA issued advice that Isomalto-Oligosaccharides is not a fibre. It is digestible and will spike sugar levels.

As Isomalto-Oligosaccharide is digestible I would treat it like Maltitol. The advise from Keto Connect would be to consider adding half the Isomalto-Oligosaccharide ‘fibre’ as carbohydrates.

I had to find out how that has affected the nutritional label on this product and went out searching for the old label. So here it is:

What surprises me is that fibre is exactly the same. So I would assume that the label has not been changed as per the FDA’s advice. This means you may need to include some of the Isomalto-Oligosaccharide as carbohydrates.

In addition, the sugar alcohols used to include glycerine, which the new label now includes as a net carbohydrate.

Finally, we see our old nemesis maltitol. In my review of the ThinkThink Caramel Fudge Bar, I went over this sugar alcohol in greater detail than I will here. Essentially, maltitol is an ingredient you want to avoid. It has a GI of 35, which means it will raise blood sugar levels and that you should count it as a carbohydrate. Typically people will count either a third or a half of maltitol as carbs.

Taste

I actually like the taste of the One Happy Birthday bar; however, I do find myself comparing it to the Quest Birthday Cake protein bar!

The cake ‘icing’ has a nice fruity flavour to it. This may be due to the sprinkles being squashed into the icing. It also has that awesome “melt in your mouth” texture. Sadly, there isn’t enough icing on the bar and you don’t get the crunchy texture when you bite into the bar.

The inside is another story. It has no flavour (or a whey-like flavour), which (again) leads to comparisons to the Quest bar. This problem is exacerbated by the paper-thin icing layer, which is unable to make up for the insides.

As you will often find with protein bars the texture is a little chewy. This is an issue with most bars and generally, the only way around the problem is to microwave the bar.

I was able to microwave a part of the bar for 10 seconds. The insides softened up and were no longer chewy and — as expected — the bar was better for it.

Overall

Whilst I like the taste of the One Happy Birthday bar, it comes up short in many areas. So I cannot recommend it to anyone doing a ketogenic or low carbohydrate diet. Due to the inclusion of some questionable ingredients, I would even avoid it as a general protein bar.

  • Contains two sweeteners that raise blood sugar levels: Maltitol and Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO)
  • Even if you don’t count those sweeteners, at 8g this bar is carb heavy.
  • Potentially misleading nutritional label, which seems to count the IMOs as fibre.
  • Despite being nice, the “frosting” was rather thin compared to the Quest Birthday Cake bar.

I have been able to find other flavours of the One range in Natural Lawsons. The ingredients are the same, so when I review those flavours I won’t go into as much detail.

Quest Birthday Cake

This is the bar that made me start this site! I randomly picked up a Quest Birthday Cake bar in El Segundo whilst looking for any Keto friendly protein bars. Afterwards, I tried a variety of other Quest protein bars and found them to be very different. Thus I thought I would try out the various flavours before buying a 12 park on Amazon or iHerb. This process of sampling the Quest bars turned into this little blog.

I picked the Quest Birthday Cake bar as I was interested in what the flavour was! I tend to buy the more traditional flavours: Chocolate, Caramel, etc. I was informed that this is the most popular flavour — I have no idea if that’s true.

Quest: Birthday Cake
The glorious packaging — I have no idea what the old look is.

Nutrition

These have great macros for anyone doing Keto or a low carb diet. Only of 4g Net Carbs per bar.

All values are for a single bar (60g).

Calories180kcal
Total Carbohydrates24g
Fibre
14g
Sugar Alcohols6g
Net Carbohydrates4g
Protein21g
Fat
6g
Saturated Fat3.5g
Quest Birthday Cake: Nutrition Facts
Nutritional info on the bar.

Taste

I’ve had a few of these Birthday Cake bars now, as I was able to find them in various stores around California. I find I enjoy the difference in texture between the ‘icing’ or ‘frosting’ and the insides of the bar — this is what puts this bar ahead of many other Quest bars. I find bars are like flavoured rubber and are way too chewy — thankfully the icing ensures Birthday Cake isn’t like that!

The icing is great. It’s sweet and has a nice crumbly texture that melts in your mouth as you eat the rest of the bar. Like real icing I reckon I could eat a bowl of this ‘icing’. In contrast, the inside of the bar isn’t so great. I found — on its own — the insides were dull, just a slightly sweet chewy substance. Fortunately, you eat them together — so it’s not a problem!

Like most Quest bars the Birthday Cake bar can be microwaved for a few seconds (don’t put the wrapper in the microwave!) This softens the insides of the bar and is worth a try.

Overall

I like the Quest Birthday Cake bars. In fact, whilst I was trying out different bars and flavours I still ate this one about 6 times in 2 weeks!

For me, this bar is the standard other bars should be judged against. For a number of reasons:

  • Actually tastes nice and has contrasting textures.
  • Uses a sweetener (Erythritol) that does not spike insulin.
  • Just under 200k
  • Just 4g of net-carbs

Like the rest of the standard Quest range, this bar has great macros for someone on Keto or a low carb diet. It’s sweetened with Erythritol and there’s no Maltitol, Dextrose, or other high GI alternatives in sight.