If you've even dipped a pinky toe into the fitness world, you've probably seen or tried  Quest Bars. These things are pretty much the granddaddy of all protein bars, with most of them clocking in between 20 and 21 grams of protein for incredibly low amounts of net carbs.

And Quest Bars come in more than twenty different flavors (my personal fave is Banana Nut Muffin). But, when I first tried these protein bars, I was really put off by their gritty texture and how thick and chewy they are. 

As it turns out, I just wasn't well-read on how to properly prepare my snack! According to many in fitness and bodybuilding communities, you're supposed to microwave Quest Bars to get the full textural effect. 

I tried it and, lo and behold!, my Quest Bar was soft, chewy, and delicious. It even smelled like a freshly baked treat–which isn't something you'd expect from a protein bar. 

But I had to wonder...what made my Quest Bar have such a weird texture to begin with? Here are some possibilities that I (read: people on the Internet who are much smarter than I am) came up with.


Quest Bars have an insane amount of fiber per serving, usually averaging between 50-60% of your recommended daily fiber value per bar. But, this can cause issues with the texture of the bar. Too much fiber in foods doesn't always lead to a great tasting snack.

Pre-2014, Quest Bars used a moderately sweet carbohydrate called isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMOs) in their bars. For years, people around the world endorsed IMOs as a source of fiber that cut down on both fat and calories...until people discovered that IMOs aren't technically fiber because they're absorbed into the small intestine.

Additionally, using IMOs make Quest Bars pretty tough to chew. So, Quest Nutrition decided to make the switch to soluble corn fibers in their bars. So yeah, the bars are still pretty thick, but at least this recipe uses actual fiber.

A variety of mix-ins

First off, I want to preface this section by saying that this is in no way a bad thing. Some chocolate chunks or nuts never hurt anyone. Why else do people go crazy for them at frozen yogurt shops?

The fact of the matter is that, whenever there's pieces of other foods like nuts or chocolate or cookie within a usually homogeneous recipe, the texture is going to be different.

But, the good news is, when you microwave your Quest Bar, there's a good chance that some of those mix-ins will become even more melty and delicious.

Pro tip: microwave your double chocolate Quest Bar, close your eyes, and think of a brownie. Your taste buds won't know the difference!

Cellulose gum

No, not the kind that you chew and blow bubbles with. Quest Nutrition is pretty transparent about what ingredients they include in their products, and clearly state on their website that they use both cellulose and xanthan gums. 

These gums act like a binding and thickening agent in Quest bars, which adds to their chewy texture. And while some might be a little freaked out that their protein bars are filled with something that sounds straight out of a science lab, there's no need to worry.

According to an article from Healthline, there's really no harmful compounds or risks to cellulose gum unless you have a (very rare) allergy. 

Palm oil

Like with the cellulose gum and xanthan gum, Quest Nutrition is also clear about why there is palm oil in their Quest Bars. According to the site, palm oil is used to make the fats in the bars themselves more stable. The palm oil even helps to make Quest Bars more resistant to high heat.

But, while your Quest Bars might not melt, many aren't too thrilled about palm oil in their protein bars. While palm oil is pretty natural (it comes from the pulp of palm trees), it's also pretty high in fat.

And, palm oil can also run your risks of cholesterol and hypertension higher than normal. Like everything, it's okay to have palm oil in moderation, but be wary of pounding down too many Quest Bars after a big workout session.

Quest Bars are a great choice for a post-workout snack or a snack to tide you over between meals if you're really strapped for protein.

Knowledge is power with these bars, so go forth and eat...just be careful not to break a tooth!