Update 2/28/20. Walking through Walmart one day, I happened upon the Gatorade Whey Protein Bar. I've heard of this supplement but never had a chance to look at its ingredients, so I knew this was my chance. The box boasts 20 grams of whey protein, but I wanted to know more. In this review, I will look beyond the whey protein and show you the information that you need to know about before you decide if the Gatorade Whey Protein Bar is right for you. Also, see the Fit Crunch Bar review for additional insights.
Gatorade Whey Protein Bar Nutrition
According to the Nutrition Facts label, one Gatorade Whey Protein bar has 360 calories and the following other nutrition information:
|Calories 360||Calories from fat 120|
|Nutrient||Amount||Percent Daily Value|
|Total Fat||13 grams||19%|
|Saturated Fat||10 grams||50%|
|Trans Fat||0 grams||N/A|
|Total Carbs||42 grams||14%|
|Dietary Fiber||2 grams||7%|
|Vitamin A||Amount not given||0 %|
|Vitamin C||Amount not given||0%|
|Calcium||Amount not given||15%|
|Iron||Amount not given||8%|
Like all nutrition labels in the US, there is hidden information about fat content that they make us work for. Let's talk about that next.
Fat In Gatorade Whey Protein Bar
From the Daily Values volume of Nutrition Facts label above, we see that the Gatorade Whey Protein bar provides 19% of our daily allowance of fat (if we eat 2000 calories per day). While that may not sound like much, we need to have a reference point to compare this to.
Here is the key to understanding the Daily Values. Just remember these 2 rules:
- If you see 5% or less, it's “low” in that nutrient
- If you see 20% or more, it's “high” in that nutrient
This means that the Gatorade Whey Protein bar is almost technically “high” in fat by FDA standards. That said, there is something we are NOT told. We are not told the percentage of fat in this nutrition bar.
Percentage Of Calories From Fat
I think we should know the percentage of calories fat that's is in foods – and supplements.
Here's how to do the math to figure this out :
Calories from fat ÷ total calories X 100
From the nutrition table above, we know that 1 Gatorade Whey Protein bar has 360 calories and that 120 of those calories comes from fat. Let's do the math:
120 fat calories ÷ 360 total calories =0.333
0.333 X 100 = 33.3% fat
Answer: each Gatorade Whey Protein Bar gets 33.3% of its calories from fat.
So, more than 1/3rd of the bar is fat.
Putting it another way, if you ate 3 of these bars in a day, you exceeded your daily alliance for fat. You'd have to eat REALLY clean the rest of the day.
Now Let's look at the saturated fat….
How Much Saturated Fat?
We don't have to any math to find out that the Gatorade Whey Protein bar is really high in saturated fat. The nutrition label tells us that each bar has 10 grams of saturated fat. The Daily Value column in the table above also tells us that this 10 grams represent 50% of the amount of saturated fat we are permitted to eat per day.
How healthy is a nutrition bar that provides all that saturated fat?
I think Gatorade knows how serious this is because on the front of the box – in smaller lettering – they actually tell people to see the nutrition label about saturated fat content.
To be fair, most protein bars I see have saturated fat – sometimes a lot of saturated fat too! Given that these nutrition bars are marketed to people who want to be “healthy” I think this needs to be remembered.
Sure, the label also tells us that the Gatorade Whey Protein bar has zero cholesterol, but that's not really a selling point for most people. Most of the cholesterol in our bodies comes from what we make naturally. I would rather eat foods that have cholesterol and a low amount of saturated fat.
Gatorade Whey Protein Bar Ingredients
There are a LOT of ingredients in this bar. I've listed them below.
|Cane syrup||Palm kernel||Palm oil|
|Whey protein isolate||Coca powder||Soy lecithn|
|Whey protein concentrate||corn starch||sugar|
|Chocolate liquour||Cocoa butter||Soy lecithin|
|Vanilla extract||Corn syrup||Brown sugar|
|Salt||Modified corn starch||Whey|
|Salt||Mono and diglycerides||Natural and artificial flavor|
|Glycerin||Invert sugar||Milk protein concentrate|
|Water||Salt||Natural and artificial flavor|
|Sugar||Canola and/or soybean oil||Caramel color|
|Cocoa powder||Non fat dry milk||BHT (preservative)|
|Soy lecithin||Citric acid|
Read the table from left to right. This will tell you the ingredients that are present the most and least. Those at the top are present the most. Those at the bottom are present the least.
As I looked over the ingredients, a few things occurred to me.
Notice from the ingredients list that the first 3 ingredients are sugar and fats. Even though “whey protein” is part of the name of this nutrition bar, whey doesn't show up until the 4th ingredient.
What's up with that?
The word “sugar” is listed 4 different types in the list, but that is a conservative estimate. I think sugar is present even more than this, because the list contains other words such as “glucose” “corn syrup.” These words also mean sugar.
This does make some sense given that the nutrition label tells us that each bar has 29 grams of sugar.
To put things in perspective, there are 28 grams in 1 ounce. Putting it another way, a teaspoon has about 4 grams. If that's correct, it means the Gatorade Whey Protein bar has about 7 teaspoons of sugar – per bar.
Who Makes The Gatorade Bar?
Well of course, it's Gatorade. But who owners them? The company is PepsiCo, the makers of Pepsi Cola. While some might think that that the association with a soda company explains why the whey protein nutrition bar has so much sugar, I'm not sure of this because PepsiCo also owns Quaker Oats too – and that's healthy. PepsiCo does have healthy products. Why isn't this whey protein bar one of them?
While I can understand why the company wants to diversify its brand, and applaud them for trying to improve nutrition for athletes, I have to ask, why they appeared to drop the ball with this product?
Gatorade Bar vs. Candy Bar
As I was looking over the Gatorade bar, it was like I was looking at a candy bar. But, in some ways, I thought the Gatorade bar was worse. For example, here is a side by side comparison between the Gatorade Whey Protein bar and a Snickers bar:
|Gatorade Whey Protein Bar (80g)||Snickers Candy Bar (52.7g)|
|Calories from fat||120||110|
|Total fat||13g (19% DV)||12g (18% DV)|
|Saturated fat||10g (50%DV)||4.5g (25% DV)|
|Trans fat||0 g||0 g|
|Cholesterol||30mg (10%)||5 mg (2% DV)|
|Sodium||160mg (7% DV)||120mg (5% DV)|
|Total carbohydrate||42g (14% DV)||33g (11% DV)|
|Dietary fiber||2g (7% DV)||1g (4% DV)|
Now, this table is not completely correct because the weights of the bars are different. I could not locate a candy bar that had the same weight as Gatorade bar.
That said, looking at both the Gatorade Bar and a Snickers candy bar side-by-side, we can see that both are providing rather similar amounts of several ingredients. Yes, the Gatorade Whey bar provides 20 grams of protein as compared to only 4 grams for Snickers -BUT, that comes at the expense of a LOT of saturated fat and calories. Snickers candy bar has 50% LESS saturated fat than the Gatorade Whey Protein Bar!
Because it has fewer calories and a LOT less saturated fat, I'd pick the Snickers bar over the Gatorade bar.
If those 20 grams of protein are a selling point, you can instead buy the Quest Bar and get 21 grams of protein, fewer calories, less saturated fat AND 17 grams of fiber.
Whey Protein Bar vs. Competition
There are many protein bars to choose from. To help you decide I've created a giant review of protein bars where I broke them down according to calories, fat, sugar, etc.
Here is the protein bar review.
Is The Gatorade Bar Worth It?
Based on the ingredients and nutrition profile, I don't like the Gatorade Whey Protein Bar. Sure, it provides 20 grams of whey protein but that comes at the price of way too much-saturated fat and calories. Why did the company that makes it add so much fat and saturated fat to a nutrition bar that's marketed to people who workout out want to be healthy? I feel the Quest Bar is a much better option for those who want a protein bar. Some might argue that the calories and fat in the Gatorade bar don't matter if you work out hard, but I disagree. I don't think most people workout enough to warrant consuming this product.
Could you recommend a protein bar that would good for a 15-16 yo boy? He plays football and basketball with daily workouts and is a bean pole. He wants to put on some weight, but struggles to get and keep weight as he is so active and obviously has a high metabolism. He simply doesn’t like to eat and has a hard time putting enough calories in compared to all the calories going out.
He has 3 solid and most of the time, healthy meals per day. He drinks milk several times a day. I’m not wanting to use the bars as a substitute for meals, just to keep him fueled with a busy day that does not allow for time to eat much in between meals. The Gatorade bars gave him some extra calories….and of course is tasty so he will eat. He’s picky about taste…..any suggestions??
Hi Lisa, my guess is hes so lean because of a combo of his age and his daily football and basketball workouts. Putting on weight is about adding extra calories, not a lot just a little bit more than hes expending with exercise. While I’d rather he eat more calories from food, I do like Quest Bars. They taste pretty good. I like the chocolic chip cookie dough flavor
Here’s Quest Bars on Amazon they have a lot of good reviews.
Here’s a protein bar review to see how many protein bars stack up to each other.
Any other questions, just ask.
Jeff C says
So I have done a little math and have come up with a few numbers. The comparison between the Gatorade Whey bar and the Snickers was fouled a bit because the Gatorade bar is 34% larger than the Snickers. The following is the comparison based on an 80g Snickers bar.
Calories – 335/ 25 calories LESS than Gatorade bar
Calories from Fat – 147.4/ 27.4 MORE calories from fat
Total Fat – 16.08g/ 3.08g MORE than Gatorade
Saturated Fat – 7.03g/ 2.97g LESS than Gatorade
Trans Fat is equal across the board at zero
Cholesterol – 6.7g/ 3.3g LESS than Gatorade
Sodium – 214.4g/ 54.4g MORE than Gatorade **
Total Carbs – 44.22g/ 2.22g MORE than Gatorade
Fiber – 1.34g/ .66g LESS than Gatorade
Sugars – 36.18g/ 7.18g MORE than Gatorade
Protein – 5.36g/ 14.64g LESS than Gatorade **
Now with all things being equal, the Snickers is actually worse for you than the Gatorade bar. I placed stars next to the two important stats which is Sodium and Protein. Protein is essential for recovery and this is exactly what the Gatorade bar is meant to be, a recovery food for post workout (chicken gets boring).
Sodium came in at a whopping 54.4 grams more than the Gatorade bar. Anyone who has struggled with weight loss knows Sodium is a weight loss killer (and just not all that good for you). I am not a nutritionist nor do I have a degree in fitness, nutrition, or anything related to it. I also do not have a degree in math so my figures may be skewed somewhat, but I doubt it.
Overall, the Gatorade bar is good for a post work out snack or a light meal on the go (no, I am not with PepsiCo or Gatorade). I like how they taste and they quench my desire for a sweet snack.
Hi Jeff, thanks for doing all that math! I’m sure that took some time. While I look at the Gatorade bar as a candy bar, I understand how some would feel otherwise. My take on the Gatorade bar is since most people are not lacking in protein (most already get enough), its not needed. If you want a snack once in a while, sure thing, I’m fine with that. The same can be said for the snickers bar too. When it comes to protein bars, in general, most are too high in saturated fat for my taste to use regularly.
Thanks for the review. I will continue to eat them and lose weight because well, if it fits your macros 😉
These are amazing and I make them fit. Helps me hit my protein while also not depriving me of my sweets which sometimes sends me into a binge sesh.
Thanks Jessica, I hope they continue to work for you.
There are better supplement bars out there for sure. Anyone familiar with protein bars will take one bite of this and know it’s not the healthiest thing out there without ever looking at the wrapper. I get what you’re saying in that regard, but I feel like this review is somewhat misleading in the way it’s presented.
As an example, the Percentage of Fat section is very misleading at best and flat out wrong at worst. First, you state that the bar is 33.3% fat. That is incorrect. Your calculation does not show that the bar is 33.3% fat; it shows that 33.3% of the calories come from fats. There are 13 grams of fat in a 80 gram bar meaning 16.25% of the bar is fat. For the record, I still think that’s A LOT for a supplement bar. Second, the bar has 19% of the daily allowance of fat. So if you eat three bars you’ve had 57% of your daily allowance, you have NOT exceeded your daily allowance for fats as was stated in that section.
As others have pointed out, the Candy Bar comparison is also misleading. Yes, you put the weights of each bar in your table, but in the narrative discussing the comparison, you failed to mention anything about the weight differences. Again, clearly there are better supplement bars out there, but to compare the Gatorade bar to a candy bar as if it were an oz for oz comparison without stating the MAJOR limitation of the comparison is deceptive.
These bars are clearly not for someone who’s seriously trying to put on lean muscle, just like Gatorade is not the ideal sports drink for someone really looking for hydration in long bouts of exercise. But, I’m sure they’ve got their place. For one, they taste really good, so I’ll probably keep a couple around for when I really need a candy fix. Might as well get something good out of my cheat.
Hi John, thanks for saying that. I see your points and you are correct. I could have chosen my words better. I have altered the wording in those sections you brought to my attention. I still feel there are better alternatives out there and protein should not the the only thing to consider when trying to decide on a nutrition bar.
I feel like comparing it to a snickers bar is very misleading . Specifically because a Gatorade protein bar is much larger in size then a snickers bar . Find the values of a snickers bar that’s the same size as a Gatorade protein bar and then decide which you’d rather eat . Most of the values are pretty close and snickers is so much smaller in size . Think about it
Tori, that is why I gave you the differences in weight between snickers and Gatorade, to show that the comparison was not totally accurate. If I could find a snickers bar that was closer to the weight of a Gatorade bar, I would have used it. The main reason I compared them is because if you ate the snickers bar, you are still getting less saturated fat and fewer calories. The only big thing you are not getting in sickers is the extra protein, which most people this bar is marketed to, are already eating enough of.
Lourance Banna says
Today my brother bought some Gatorade whey proteins bars, I asked him why so many bars? He said; ” I need protein after working out”. I went online to search if Gatorade whey protein bar is good or bad and found your article. I told my brother about how many sugar and fat it contains, he was shocked! Thanks for this article it’s definitely helpful and my brother will return them the next day.
Hi Lourance, you are very welcome. How old is your brother? I have a MS in exercise science. I might be able to answer his protein/exercise questions too.
Dave D says
Thank you for your review. I have been looking for a solid review about the Gatorade bar for a while. I do want to point out one thing though. Your comparison to a snickers bar is a bit skewed. To do that comparison correctly you should be doing it on a gram level. Since the Gatorade bar is 80 G vs the Snickers 52.7 G. When you do this the snickers bar does a bit worse than advertised.
The Snickers bar is higher in Calories, Calories from Fat, Total Fat, Sodium, Carbs, Sugars.
Gatorade loses in the Cholesterol, Saturated Fat and Dietary Fiber.
Interested in finding a bar that is healthier, especially for kids, that they will eat 🙂
Hi Dave, thank you for the feedback. when I compared the Gatorade bar to Snickers, I wasn’t trying to be too specific but rather just show that one could get pretty much the same thing -for less money – by eating a Snickers bar. Based on what I saw, the Gatorade bar is just an over priced candy bar. Good points though 🙂 Take a look at the “Kind Bar” as an alternative.
I want a good protein bar that does not contain Sucralose! I would rather consume the junk in the Gatorade bar than consume this chemical. Is there a good tasting protein bar that can beat the Gatorade, but does not contain artificial sweeteners?
Hi Scott, Im sure they are out there but I’m not aware of any at this time. If you find any, do let me know
Come Ready Nutrition bars use only natural sweeteners and contain NO sugar alcohols!
Hi James, thanks. I noticed the bar is also a little high in saturated fat. I added it to my review on Protein Bars which you can see here:
Protein Bar Review
Bhanu Jagasia says
Like the poster Jim above mentioned — I appreciate your time to write such a detailed review. I saw these protein bars at CVS once when I was in a rush for some protein and loved them. Bought a couple boxes then said the exact same thing to myself that these may be too good to be true and wanted to do some research on them.
Yours is the first review I came to and think that it is excellent. I’ll enjoy finishing the last box I bought then say goodbye to them. Bummer, as I thought they were absolutely delicious. Oh well! 🙂
Bhanu, I’m happy my review helped you 🙂
Bailey R says
I think the fat and calories would only matter to those athletes trying to stay thin. What about the guys who are trying to put on some bulk? I think this bar could help in supplementing throughout the day.
Bailey, I think you would do better by just eating a few more calories rather than all the junk that is in the Gatorade bar. Just my 2 cents.
Thank you for such a detailed review. I was given some of these Gatorade bars as free samples and loved them. Bought a couple boxes then said to myself that these may be too good to be true and wanted to do some research on them. Yours is the first review I came to and think that it is excellent. I’ll enjoy finishing the two boxes I bought then say goodbye to them.
Jim, you are very welcome. Im glad I was able to help. Enjoy those 2 boxes 🙂
Terry Z says
Thanks for the detailed review. I happened to pick up a few of these bars yesterday, and though I love the sweet taste (they lured me in with the 20g protein tag, too) didn’t realize how much fat and sugar they contain. No more.
If you’re the Joe Cannon I think you are, I have your book “Personal Fitness Training, Beyond the Basics” 2nd edition. Excellent source. I just obtained my CPT certification thru NASM a month ago, did a 9mo academic program thru a local community college, learned a lot! Your book is my go-to source for questions, tips and advice. Thanks again, keep up the good work.
Terry Z you are very welcome and yes you are correct, I am that Joe Cannon and I’m happy that you are finding my personal training book useful. Do you have the 1st edition or the newer, 2nd edition? Here’s the 2nd edition on Amazon. Could you leave me a review of the book on Amazon when you have a moment? I really want others to know my book exists.
Congrats on getting your NASM CPT cert too!!!
N. Miller says
I love the comparison you did with the candy bar. But unfortunately, bars like this appeal to people who know very little about nutrition, eat garbage most of the week and then scarf down fattening bars on a false attempt to eat “healthy”.
The majority of people can’t fight the sophisticated marketing methods. These companies have turned marketing into a true science. More research is spent on marketing them in the foods they sell. The same goes in the pharmaceutical field.
The saddest part with protein bars like this is that parents buy them for their kids. They will eat two or three in one sitting.
Let’s face it. Almost 80% of what your supermarket sells in a box or can is crap. The trick is to buy the least worse crap. Right? Pepsi Co. couldn’t care less about healthy food. I bet most of the owners and shareholders don’t touch that junk either. This is “food” for the unwashed masses.
N. Miller, I feel your frustration and I can’t disagree. I’ve been thinking that PepsiCo has lost it’s way in how it markets the Gatorade brand for a while now. I think this bar is an example of that.
N. Miller says
When these manufacturers are confronted on TV with their bogus nutritional claims, they always find a way to weasel out of the question. The same goes for products like Pom juice.
I personally wrote to Tetley regarding their tea that claims to have ginseng, guarana, and matcha in it. They won’t tell me how much is in it so as far as I’m concerned, it’s not any better than what green tea gives you. It’s poor marketing BS.
Our governments play a role in allowing this form of fraud to continue. We all know how big money works.
N. Miller, that’s interesting about Tetley not telling you. My guess it has pretty little of those ingredients.