PhD Smart Protein Bars pack plenty of high quality whey protein and come in a wide variety of flavours, says nutritionist Rob Hobson…

Some of the best protein bars we tested, PhD Smart Protein Bars are fairly large at 64g, offering a blend of milk protein, collagen hydrolysate and soy protein isolate. There’s a wide range of flavours to choose from, as well as half-sized and vegan versions.

Men’s Fitness verdict

You don’t need a doctorate to know PhD bars will meet your post-workout recovery needs. The texture might not be to everyone’s liking, but its recovery credentials make perseverance worth your while.
  • Nice rich taste
  • Good amount of protein
  • Not too sweet
  • Slightly gritty texture
  • High in polyols
  • Big 64g bar

How we test the best protein bars

Registered nutritionist (AFN) and sports nutritionist (SENr) Rob Hobson only tested chocolate-flavoured bars to provide consistency in his reviews. He judged them on their taste, texture and nutritional effectiveness, as well as cost and availability, and the amount of polyols – a type of sweetener which can upset the gut in high amounts.

PhD Smart Bar benefits

With 20g of protein in each bar, there’s enough here to be effective as a post-workout option or to supply you with a source of protein during the day between meals. This is the biggest bar size on test and contains the most calories with up to 261g per serving depending on the flavour. Bear in mind that’s partly because of the serving size.

PhD bars are low in sugar and sweetened with maltitol (polyol). They contain 20g of polyols, the highest of any of protein bars on test. We’d recommend sticking to just one at a time (or going for the half-sized bars), especially if you are sensitive to polyols, as they can have a laxative effect if eaten in excess.

Flavour and texture

The chocolate brownie flavour bar we tested is coated in dark chocolate with a crispy filling and cocoa nibs. It has a deliciously rich chocolate flavour and a slightly chewy texture. We weren’t too fond of the cocoa nibs as they can feel a little gritty and get stuck in your teeth. Though that shouldn’t be the case with other flavours that don’t have cocoa nibs.

It doesn’t taste too sweet, unlike some of the other protein bars on test. Overall, the PhD Smart Bar is a rich flavoured bar with a good amount of protein. With nine flavours and vegan protein bar alternatives, you’re bound to find one that suits you.