Can You Eat Expired Protein Bars?

how long do protein bars last
Expired Protein Bars

Yes, you can eat expired protein bars, but be cautious. A 2020 study from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW shows that many food products remain safe after their “best before” dates. However, while protein bars might be safe, their nutritional quality, taste, and texture may degrade over time.

So, do protein bars expire? Yes, the expiration date on the protein bars is the information that supplement companies are required to apply on the labels to inform consumers when they can expect the food to maintain its highest quality. It is not the prediction of when the protein bar is no longer adequate to eat. Depending on the country, manufacturers voluntarily put a “use by” or ” best before” on every protein bar. In other words, the expiry date isn’t based on any scientific measurements. It is an estimation. However, how do those dates affect the actual quality and taste? In this article, I will dive into whether is it safe to eat expired protein bars.

What happens if you consume expired protein bars?

Consuming expired protein bars can vary in risk depending on the bar’s ingredients and how long past expiration they are. Ingredients like nuts and oils can go rancid, potentially causing stomach discomfort or a bad taste, usually within a few months past expiration. However, if the bar is only slightly past its expiration and has been stored properly, it might be safe but with reduced nutritional quality. For your safety, always check for signs of spoilage like off smells, tastes, or mold before consumption.

Is It Safe To Eat Expired Protein Bars?

Yes, it is generally safe to eat expired protein bars but be cautious. The expiration dates are just a manufacturer’s best estimate on how long their food will taste its freshest and it’s got little to do with how safe the food is to consume. The protein bar expiration date guarantees the best quality and flavor.

According to a Consumer Reports article titled ‘How to Tell Whether Expired Food Is Safe to Eat,’ except for foods like meat, dairy, and eggs, almost all packaged foods have an expiration date, but this date is an estimate and it’s got nothing to do with the actual safety of the food.

do protein bars expire
Out Of Date Protein Bars

Just because ‘best before,’ ‘sell by,’ and ‘use by’ dates are on the labels, these dates are not actually related to product safety. They are intended to inform retailers and consumers about the expected highest quality and taste. According to a 2019 study titled ‘Relationship between Food Waste, Diet Quality, and Environmental Sustainability’ by Zach Conrad from the US Department of Agriculture and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), ‘Ninety percent of Americans misinterpret the dates on labels’. For more information about foods and their actual shelf life, check out the USDA website.

In contrast, if the protein bar is way past its expiration date or looks or smells weird, it’s not safe to eat because it could make you sick. Always check your protein bars if they’re past their expiration date before eating.

How long do Protein Bars last?

Protein bars can last for several months, but their nutritional quality may vary depending on storage conditions and ingredients. The longevity of protein bars, according to a 2022 study by Aleksandra Szydłowska from Warsaw University of Life Sciences (WULS), is influenced by various factors including storage temperature, fatty acid composition, and antioxidant activity. The research highlights that storage temperature significantly affects the fatty acid profile and antioxidant properties of protein bars. Bars stored at lower temperatures showed less change in nutritional value and quality over three months.

How Long Are Protein Bars Good After the Expiration Date?

Protein bars are good several months after the expiration date. Due to their very low moisture content, protein bars are safe at room temperature. The best way to know whether protein bars have gone bad is by visually looking for mold, or yeast, or using your sense of smell for warning signs. In other words, there is a difference between expired and spoiled.

Expired protein bars are generally safe to consume, but they may have a dry or crumbly texture, along with unevenly redistributed color. A spoiled protein bar, aside from its altered appearance, may also emit unusual and unpleasant odors and taste strange. In other words, trust your taste buds and sense of smell. That’s more or less your guide on how to recognize if the protein bars are unsafe to eat.

What To Do With Out-of-Date Protein Bars?

You can still eat out-of-date protein bars. Manufacturers typically set the label with conservative expiry dates so you may not even notice any difference in quality, especially if the protein bar recently passed its date. You can further extend the life of protein bars by freezing them.

There are a few ways to avoid food waste and extend the life of protein bars, such as refrigerating or freezing them. Refrigeration not only extends shelf life but also helps preserve the vitamin content. Any food left at room temperature is susceptible to the loss of certain vitamins like E, C, and A. Freezing is the ultimate method for prolonging the freshness of protein bars. Putting bars in the freezer instead of the garbage can almost double their shelf life.

Can Protein Bars Go Bad?

Yes, protein bars can go bad. Any manufactured food item is perishable and can spoil at some point. Protein bars past their expiry date are still safe to eat but may change in flavor. They might not taste as fresh, be less soft, and become drier. So, just because something has passed its expiry date, it doesn’t mean you cannot eat it. It won’t be as fresh or tasty, but it is still edible and won’t pose any health concerns. It’s important to note that food poisoning typically results from contamination rather than the natural process of decay.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Protein Bars?

On average, the shelf life of a protein bar can range from 6 to 12 months, depending on the type of protein used during the manufacturing process. New technologies for extracting whey from cow’s milk, like Nutrilac PB-8420, allow for extended shelf life and a high-quality texture. Additionally, the shelf life will depend on the type of preservatives added. Some commercial preservatives can significantly extend the shelf life, whereas more organic ones may have a shorter duration.

Where to find expired protein bars for sale?

You can find expired protein bars for sale on several online marketplaces like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, and others. However, it is not recommended to purchase expired protein bars online. While expired protein bars are generally safe to eat, you may not have information about how these protein bars were stored. Some bacteria thrive in warmer temperatures, and improper storage may affect their quality. In other words, you just don’t know if the seller maintained good storage practices. These practices aren’t widely known unless someone has a background in food manufacturing.

My Thoughts

The expiration date is only an estimated timeframe for when a protein bar may start to lose its optimal quality. Food manufacturers’ practices are not regulated by law, so these dates are not necessarily based on scientific evidence. It is generally safe to consume protein bars past their expiration date, but you should use your judgment when assessing their quality. Avoid buying expired protein bars online, as you have no way to determine how they have been stored.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is a personal trainer and writer at Millennial Hawk. He holds a MSc in Sports and Exercise Science from the University of Central Lancashire. He is an exercise physiologist who enjoys learning about the latest trends in exercise and sports nutrition. Besides his passion for health and fitness, he loves cycling, exploring new hiking trails, and coaching youth soccer teams on weekends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts