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15 Best Healthy Protein Bars, According to Dietitians
Whether you’re looking for a nutritious, on-the-go option to tide you over between meals or a portable snack to maintain muscle mass between workouts, low-sugar, high protein bars are often the answer to your nutritional needs.
“Protein bars are great for traveling, pre- or post-workout snacks, and as a snack to keep blood sugar balanced during busy days,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Krista King, MS, RDN, LDN, CPT, of Composed Nutrition. “They are convenient to keep with you at your desk or in your bag for a quick snack on-the-go. They can also be a great addition for a fast and easy breakfast on-the-go,” she adds.
When determining if eating protein bars is good for you, the protein source, how much there is, and what other nutrients it’s paired with all need to be taken into consideration.
That’s why we asked nearly a dozen nutritional experts for help in determining what criteria make the best protein bars.
What makes a protein bar “healthy”?
If you’re looking to further your better-body goals, you may consider eating high protein bars. While it might sound beneficial, unfortunately, most of the protein bars in the market are loaded with sugar alcohols or saturated fat and lack fiber.
Registered dietitian Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, and owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition tells Eat This, Not That! that they key in selecting a clean and healthy protein bar is to “look for a nice balance of healthy fat, protein, and fiber to help keep you satisfied. Choose a protein bar with between 200 to 400 calories and up to 20 grams of protein per serving.”
It’s not just macronutrients that matter when it comes to determining the best protein bar. Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, of To The Pointe Nutrition says ingredients are equally important. “Look at the ingredient list and identify transparent foods like nuts, whole grains, and fruit.”
Angie Asche, MS, RD, CSSD owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition adds that she looks for good sources of protein, “like whey protein isolate, pea protein, brown rice protein, and eggs. “
The nutritional criteria for the best protein bars.
Not just any protein bar landed a spot on our list of best protein bars. We compiled a list of over 100 protein bars so we could compare their nutrition and ingredient information. With the help of dietitians, we came up with specifical nutritional and ingredient criteria we had to follow to select the best protein bars:
- 8 grams protein minimum: To qualify as a “protein bar,” each bar had to have no less than 8 grams of protein. Hillary Cecere, RDN of Eat Clean Bro, a meal delivery service, recommends aiming for 15-20 grams of protein if you’re looking to gain muscle and 7-12 grams of protein for a satiating snack.
- 13 grams sugar maximum: The best protein bars have no more than 13 grams of sugar.
- 3 grams fiber minimum: When it comes to fiber, Fine recommends opting for a protein bar with 3 or more grams per bar or serving. “However, caution with those boasting more than 10 grams of fiber as these are likely loaded with isolated fibers that can cause stomach discomfort,” says Fine.
The ingredient criteria for the best protein bars:
- High-quality protein sources: We prioritized protein bars that sourced their protein from high-quality isolates and concentrates (such as grass-fed whey protein) as well as whole food ingredients (like nuts or antibiotic-free meat). “Nuts, nut butters, grass-fed meats, egg whites, and seeds are my favorite whole food protein sources for a protein bar,” Cecere says.
- Natural sweeteners: “Last, in regards to added sugar, check ingredients and choose options with natural sources of sugar like cane sugar or fruit. Whole fruit (in comparison to fruit juice and fruit concentrate) is not considered an added sugar,” says Fine.
- Whole-food ingredients: Whether they’re used to flavor or sweeten, the best protein bars only use whole food or natural ingredients—no artificial ingredients allowed.
- Healthy fats: Fats are essential for your body to absorb certain nutrients and they also help to keep you satiated. We prioritized protein bars that contain healthy fats from nuts and seeds rather than those that use vegetable oils as fillers and binders.
- Low to no synthetic or isolated fiber: “Ingredients I watch out for and advise athletes avoid (especially around the times they’re training as they can cause bloating, gas, abdominal pain) include artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols like maltilol, erythritol, and xylitol, and large amounts of synthetic fibers like soluble corn fiber or chicory root,” adds Asche.
- No sugar alcohols: Sugar alcohols have risen in popularity recently because they are a low-calorie way manufacturers can sweeten protein bars; however, dietitians advise against consuming large quantities of this ingredient. “In some people, sugar alcohols can cause gastrointestinal distress,” says Cecere.
The following 15 low-sugar, best protein bars met our nutritional requirements and deserve a spot in your pantry. After discovering the best of the best, keep reading to uncover the protein bars that are Not That!s below.
The Best Healthy Protein Bars
1. Best Overall: RXBar Chocolate Sea Salt
1 bar (52 g): 210 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (5 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 12 g protein
If you want to feel like you’re eating a decadent salted brownie while meeting all your protein needs, you’ve met your match with an RXBAR. Dubbed a favorite by many of the experts we spoke to, Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian, particularly likes the simplicity of ingredients: “RXBAR does a nice job of making bars out of recognizable ingredients. They are very straightforward on their packaging and tell you that each bar contains dates, nuts, egg whites, and flavors. My personal favorite is the Chocolate Sea Salt, and I find that the 12 grams of protein really keeps me full.”
2. Best Tasting: KIND Protein, Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 bar (50 g): 250 calories, 18 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (5 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 12 g protein
With creamy nut butter and crunchy peanuts, this healthy snack bar packs in a respectable amount of digestion-aiding fiber and muscle-maintaining protein.
3. Best for Muscle Gain: ALOHA Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Plant-Based Protein
1 bar (56 g): 220 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (14 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 14 g protein
Say “aloha” to a toned body when you include this bar in your diet. And don’t worry about the 24 grams of carbs: “Carbs actually help protein get into the muscle fibers,” says Isabel Smith MS, RD, CDN and founder of New York-based Isabel Smith Nutrition.
4. Best Vegan: GoMacro Macrobar Protein Paradise, Cashew Caramel
1 bar (60 g): 260 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 11 g protein
Asche notes that “excellent option for athletes looking for a vegan protein bar.” You can thank the vegetarian dynamic duo of organic sprouted brown rice protein and organic pea protein for those 11 grams of protein. This bar is also loaded with healthy fats from cashews and flax seeds, which are a great plant-based source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Plus, it’s really one of the tastiest protein bars out there.
5. Best for Weight Loss: Primal Kitchen Almond Spice
1 bar (38 g): 200 calories, 16 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 115 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 8 g protein
If you want to lose weight, you’ll want to keep your blood sugar balanced to remove thos dreaded spikes in blood sugar that can leave you hungry. “This bar has 8 grams of protein and minimal sugar, which helps keep blood sugar balanced by preventing a blood sugar spike (and subsequent drop),” says King. “This flavor, specially, contains cinnamon. Cinnamon has been shown to improve fasting blood sugar levels, making it a great addition for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin sensitivity, and those with PCOS experiencing blood sugar irregularities.”
6. Best Whole Ingredients: ThinkThin Protein & Superfruit Bar, Coconut Almond Chia
1 bar (62 g): 260 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 115 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (10 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 10 g protein
Unlike their chewy, Play Doh-like bars, this thinkThin bar gets most of its protein from whey, almond, and sunflower. protein and is sweetened with real dark chocolate.
7. Best Meat Bar: Mighty Bar Grassfed Organic Beef, Cranberry & Sunflower Seed
1 bar (28 g): 70 calories, 3.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 8 g protein
Organic, grass-fed beef isn’t cheap for a reason. Testing shows that when cattle graze on their natural food instead of inflammatory corn, their protein consists of more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA): fats that have been utilized in weight-loss pills.
8. Best for Men: Clif Bar Whey Protein Salted Caramel Cashew
1 bar (56 g): 250 calories, 11 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 14 g protein
If you’re hungry for a delicious protein boost without sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners or zero-calorie sweeteners, this bar will become your go-to. It’s the perfect blend of creamy nut butter and crunchy cashews.
9. Best for women: Health Warrior Organic Pumpkin Seed Bars
1 bar (36 g): 180 calories, 12 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 8 g protein
“Pumpkin seeds are a great source of plant-based protein, essential fatty acids, and minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium,” says King. And these nutrients are particularly important for women’s health. “Zinc plays a crucial role in hormone balance. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help ease period pain, it helps to balance excess androgen levels (like testosterone) that are often seen in PCOS, it helps to clear the skin, plays a vital role in thyroid hormone synthesis, and helps ease the stress response. Magnesium plays a role in regulating blood sugar and insulin levels, in the production of hormones, supports the thyroid, and calms your nervous system to help ease the stress response.” Plus, as women are more prone to osteoporosis, adding magnesium-rich pumpkin seeds to your diet will help the formation and maintenance of healthy bones.
10. Best Paleo Protein Bar: EPIC Bar Smoked Maple Bacon
1 bar (43 g): 150 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 590 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 8 g protein
These Paleo, gluten-free bars are made from hormone-free pork and not much else. These high protein snacks are loaded with protein, so enjoy one after your workout to rebuild the muscles broken down during your gym sesh.
11. Best Keto-friendly: Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bar
1 bar (45 g): 220 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 115 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (5 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 12 g protein
With nine grams of net carbs, Bulletproof’s bar is a bit higher than your average keto protein bar, but it’s a worthwhile carb expenditure. Its protein comes from grass-fed collagen, a trendy protein derived from bovine or marine sources (in this case, it’s from grass-fed cows). It’s particularly beneficial because it “helps to boost collagen production in the body, which has benefits for hair, skin, nails, joints, and gut health,” says King. Plus, this bar is rich in MCT oil, which studies show can prevent long-term weight gain due to increased energy expenditure.
While this bar is great for those following the Bulletproof or cyclical keto lifestyle, King also likes to recommend it in general for a snack for those working on blood sugar balance.
RELATED: No-sugar-added recipes you’ll actually look forward to eating.
12. Best for Fiber: Exo Bar Chocolate Fudge Brownie
1 bar (60 g): 210 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (16 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 10 g protein
It might remind you of Fear Factor, but eating insects is the next big thing. And did we mention that they pack a nutritional wallop? In terms of high-protein snacks, crickets have about as much protein as chicken breast but with three times the calcium. And in this bar, they provide a big chunk of the protein in this bar.
13. Best Indulgence: Luna Protein Mint Chocolate Chip
1 bar (45 g): 170 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (2 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 12 g protein
Gluten-free and made with real chocolate, this Luna protein bar won’t just maintain your better body, but it will also help crush those dessert cravings in a healthy way.
14. Most Natural: Rise Bar Lemon Cashew
1 bar (60 g): 260 calories, 13 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (1 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 15 g protein
Just four simple ingredients make up this bar that tastes addictively similar to lemon shortbread: organic cashews, coconut nectar, pea protein, and lemon extract. That’s it. Don’t you love simple high-protein snacks?
15. Best Whey: Naked Nutrition Peanut Butter
1 bar (52.5 g): 210 calories, 8 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 110 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (6 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 15 g protein
Do you hate reading through ingredient lists on the back of protein bars wondering when you’re going to run into a sketchy ingredient or something you know you should avoid? Us too. Which is why we’re giving extra points to Naked Nutrition’s Naked Bar. This protein bar is made of just five fully transparent ingredients (no “natural flavors” here). Fuel your active lifestyle with this grass-fed whey protein powered bar.
If you wonder which protein bars are not good for you, here are the 7 worst protein bars:
Even though these low-sugar protein bars meet the same low-sugar, high-protein requirements as our best protein bars, they don’t meet other important nutritional marks.
The following worst protein bars landed a spot on our list of bars to avoid for numerous reasons:
- They contain more than 10 grams of sugar alcohol, which can have laxative-like effects.
- The protein is from highly-processed sources rather than whole foods.
- The higher fat content is from inflammatory vegetable oils rather than healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
- They contain artificial flavors and/or sweeteners.
1. ThinkThin Chocolate Strawberry
1 bar (60 g): 240 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 22 g sugar alcohol), 20 g protein
Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting a deal with this sugar-free bar. To compensate for the lack of sugar, thinkThin loads this bar up with sugar alcohols—22 grams exactly. One of those is maltitol, a low-calorie, plant-based sweetener that a study in the International Journal of Dentistry found to be associated with stomach and abdominal pain as well as excessive internal gas and flatulence. Not something that makes us want to eat these high protein snacks.
2. Nature Valley Coconut Almond Protein Chewy Bars
1 bar (40 g): 190 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (5 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 10 g protein
It may look like your favorite of high protein snacks, GORP (good-old fashioned raisins and peanuts) in a bar, but what you’re really eating when you chomp down on this Nature Valley bar is more fillers than whole foods. It looks like roasted peanuts and coconut, but more of the protein and fat you see in the nutritionals is from soy protein isolate and palm oil than whole foods.
SimplyProtein Crispy Lemon Bar
1 bar (40 g): 150 calories, 4.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (7 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 15 g protein
SimplyProtein Baked Chocolate Chip Bar
1 bar (40 g): 210 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (13 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 11 g protein
These bars may be high protein snacks, but their ingredient lists read more like supply lists from a chemistry lab than foods from your pantry: soluble tapioca fiber, vegetable glycerin, and “natural” flavors. None of the ingredients are harmful to your health, but why miss out on the additional health benefits and micronutrients you get from whole foods for the same amount of protein?
4. ZONE Perfect Nutrition Bar Dark Chocolate Almond
1 bar (45 g): 190 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (2 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 12 g protein
Don’t be fooled by the name of this bar; the “dark chocolate” is less of what you’d picture in an 85 percent dark chocolate bar and more sugar, alkalized cocoa powder (which renders all antioxidants useless), milk powder and fractionated palm kernel oil (instead of healthy-fat-rich cocoa butter). Not ideal in terms of high-protein snacks.
5. QuestBar Protein Bar Cookies & Cream Flavor
1 bar (60 g): 200 calories, 8 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (15 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 2 g erythritol), 21 g protein
Don’t believe everything you read. QuestBar describes this bar as being made “with real cookie crumbles and delicious white chocolate cream,” but according to the ingredients, the only place that cream could be lurking is in “natural flavors.” Not to mention, the bar may be almost sugar-free, but it’s made with a laundry list of additives and chemicals, including artificial sweetener sucralose, and the only whole food is almonds.
6. Pure Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter
1 bar (50 g): 190 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 8 g sugar alcohol), 20 g protein
Is 20 grams of protein worth having to eat fractionated palm kernel oil, artificial sweeteners, disodium phosphate, natural flavors, and laxative-like sugar alcohols? We think not and say no thanks to this protein bar.
Are Protein Bars Good for You?
If you’ve ever scanned the protein bar section of your local supermarket, pharmacy, or big-box store, the experience may have made your head swim. The options, it seems, are endless.
Protein bars can vary enormously in terms of important factors like calories, fat, sugars, additives, and other ingredients. If you don’t read labels carefully you may find yourself downing something more akin to a candy bar than to a truly nutritious and protein-packed mini-meal or snack.
What’s more, protein bars can be costly, even though many of them contain easy-to-obtain and inexpensive ingredients that most people could put together at home for a fraction of the price of a pre-packaged product. That said, you can’t beat the convenience of a protein bar when you could use an energy boost and don’t have time for a sit-down meal.
But before you start packing protein bars in your gym bag or backpack, it’s important to have a sense of how much protein you really need to eat each day—an amount that varies depending on a number of individual factors—so that you can figure out how to healthfully fit protein bars into your diet.
From there you can start shopping for the bars that fit the bill in terms of nutrition, flavor, and cost.
How Much You Need
Protein is vital to many functions in the body, but the body can’t produce this macronutrient—it has to come from food. When dietary protein is broken down during digestion, compounds called amino acids are formed: These are the building blocks of the protein the body uses to build and maintain muscles and organs.
Protein also is vital to the production of blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and even hair.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Protein
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, according to Harvard Health (roughly your body weight multiplied by 0.36), but this rule doesn’t take into account certain factors that can impact an individual’s protein needs.
Since protein is necessary for building muscle, folks who are very active—athletes, say, or people with physically demanding jobs—should eat a bit more. The same is true of women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Bodybuilders tend to eat even more protein than the average person in order to support muscle growth.
This calculator from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can help you home in on your daily protein requirements (along with the recommended amounts of other nutrients) based on age, sex, activity level, and other factors.
Another way to look at ideal protein intake is to consider how much you eat at individual sittings. The average person should eat between 25 and 35 grams of protein at every meal.
The richest sources of dietary protein are meats, poultry, fish and shellfish, eggs, and milk and other dairy products. But there are plenty of plant sources of protein as well, including beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. These are all foods that are easy to include in a balanced diet, so if you eat a variety of them in ample quantities each day, you probably get plenty of protein.
The trick when it comes to picking your protein sources is to stick with those that are low in saturated fat and processed carbs and rich in nutrients. You may be better off eating a 3-ounce salmon steak (17 grams of protein), for example, than a richly marbled sirloin steak (23 grams of protein).
Keep in mind as well that eating too much protein can tax the kidneys and so people who are predisposed to kidney disease should be careful not to overdo their protein intake.
If you’re going to include protein bars in your diet—either as a regular between-meal snack, as a grab-and-go option when you don’t have time for a full meal, or as a part of a weight-loss or weight-gain strategy—reading and understanding the ingredients labels on the different types of bars is key to choosing the healthiest options for you. Here are some general guidelines to consider:
- Protein content. For a between meal or pre- or post-workout snack, look for a bar that has at least 20 grams of protein. A meal-replacement bar should have at least 30 grams of protein. If your favorite bar comes in under these parameters, you can munch a handful of nuts to make up the difference. Do take a less is more approach to these guidelines: The body can digest only between 20 and 40 grams of protein in one sitting. If you routinely eat more than that not only will you not benefit, the unused calories can lead to weight gain.
- Protein type. The protein in bars typically comes from dairy or plant sources. The most common are whey, soy, eggs, milk, rice, peas, and hemp. If you have any allergies or sensitives (you’re lactose intolerant, for instance), be sure to choose a bar that’s based on a type of protein you can safely eat.
- Calories. If you’re looking for a bar to eat between meals, stick to one that has around 220 to 250 calories. A protein bar that subs for a full meal can have might have 300 to 400 calories.
- Fat. Ten to 15 grams of total fat is ideal and no more than two grams of saturated fat is ideal. Steer clear of unhealthy trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils.
- Fiber. This element is key: Fiber is filling, so the more fiber in a bar, the more likely it is to keep your belly satisfied until your next snack or meal. Don’t settle for fewer than three to five grams of fiber in a protein bar.
- Sugar. Beware protein bars that rival candy bars in terms of sugar content. Some get their sweetness from as many as 30 grams of added sugar—when the ideal is around five grams or less. Artificial sweeteners (such as erythritol, sorbitol, and maltitol) aren’t a better option: They often cause bloating and gas.
A Word From Verywell
If you’re trying to lose weight, eating a carefully selected protein bar between meals can help to curb your appetite so that you don’t head for the candy aisle or fill up on high-fat, sodium-packed snacks. Protein bars also can pad your calorie intake if you’re trying to gain weight. weight. If either of these is your goal, work with a nutritionist to figure out how to most effectively work protein bars into your diet.
When Should I Be Eating Protein Bars?
When it comes to protein bars, there’s a lot of choice out there and sometimes it can be hard to know which bar is best and even when and why we should be adding them to our diet. In this article we talk all about our best-selling protein bar, Smart Bar so you can understand exactly why it is so ‘smart’.
When should you be eating protein bars?
As you’d probably guessed, the best time to enjoy a protein bar is pre or post workout. Beforehand a protein bar can help to boost your performance and after it will contribute to muscle repair and growth. Due to their high protein content, Smart Bar is ideal following exercise to aid recovery, making it the perfect post-workout snack.
However, Smart Bars can be used any time of the day, between meals, as an on-the-go breakfast, to curb your sweet tooth or even as toppings for recipes to boost your protein intake.
Who should be eating Protein bars?
Protein bars aren’t just for recovery and performance; they can be part of a weight-loss journey, a snack for a rushed parent on the go or just as a tasty treat when you fancy something sweet.
Smart Bar is suitable for both men and women seeking macro-friendly indulgence i.e. those who crave confectionery but are wanting a low sugar alternative that will fill you up for longer. Additionally, the convenience of Smart Bar as a grab and go snack that can be enjoyed anytime of the day makes it a cupboard essential for anyone with a busy lifestyle.
Smart snacking is even easier with the Smart Bar Half Size. With the same great taste but in a handy snack size, it is the perfect protein filled treat to carry round in your gym bag or coat pocket so you’ll never be caught out hungry again!
What is Smart Bar?
PhD Nutrition’s Smart Bar is a convenient and great tasting low-sugar, high-protein snack. Available in eight outrageously tempting flavours, Smart Bar contains a super-soft protein centre that is coated in gooey caramel and crunchy protein crispies dipped in smooth milk chocolate. Sounds seriously indulgent right? Which must mean it isn’t healthy? Think again! With a massive 20g of quality protein and less than 2g of sugar per bar it really is the smart choice when it comes to protein bars.
Written by Holly Archer
Holly è una nutrizionista per la salute e la performance
The Advantages of Eating Protein Bars
Protein bars make for meal replacements and snacks.
Image Credit: margouillatphotos/iStock/Getty Images
Protein is an essential macronutrient that supports several structures in your body. You can find protein in numerous sources including eggs, meat, fish and nuts. However, many people rely on protein supplements to get their recommended daily amount. The protein bar is just one option that has several dietary and lifestyle benefits.
Many weight-loss plans — especially those marketed as “high-protein” — rely on meal-replacement bars to control portions and reduce calories. Meal-replacement bars typically contain high amounts of protein and fiber to help you feel fuller longer, along with many other essential vitamins and minerals to ensure well-balanced nutrition. The American Dietetic Association notes that meal replacements, including protein bars, are effective for weight loss when part of a well-rounded diet. However, you cannot rely entirely on meal replacements for your diet. Protein bars don’t supply all the nutrients and antioxidants found in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Snack Between Meals
Eating snack-size protein bars can help reduce overeating between meals. Many bars come in indulgent dessert flavors — like chocolate, peanut butter, fudge brownie and lemon meringue — to satisfy your sweet tooth while avoiding blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes. Over time, blood sugar spikes — associated with snacks like candy bars and other sweets — can lead to weight gain. Your body converts excess blood sugar, which is not immediately used for energy, into fat.
Supplying your body with necessary nutrients can help you get the most from your workout. A protein bar consumed before exercising supplies you with steady energy during your activity. It also offers benefits after your workout. The amino acids found in protein bars help provide the building blocks your body needs to generate new muscle tissue, repairing the microscopic muscle tears that occur over the course of your workout.
Protein bars have the advantage of convenience. They are small and can be consumed quickly by active people or professionals. Meal replacement and snack varieties provide an easy option for dieters who lack the time or resources for extensive meal planning. Additionally, protein bars don’t require measuring and mixing — as with protein powders — or refrigeration, as with manufactured protein shakes.
The American Council on Exercise warn that you will not benefit from protein bars if you choose the wrong ones. Consuming high-calorie meal-replacement bars as a snack can lead to weight gain. Also, avoid protein bars with significantly high amounts of sugar, fat and sodium — look for protein bars that contain less than 140 milligrams of sodium, and contain sources of added sugar, such as sucrose, honey, brown rice syrup or high fructose corn syrup. You need to limit your sugar intake to 25 grams daily for women and 37.5 grams for men, so make sure your protein bars aren’t taking up a significant amount of your allowance.
The 9 Best Protein Bars for Women in 2021, According to Nutritionists
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Protein bars have been a staple for decades—and with good reason. “They’re convenient, portable options for snacks and meal replacements,” says Andrea Goergen, MHS, RDN. They can be especially beneficial options for on-the-go snacks, as well as a protein-rich bite before or after workouts. But of course, as with any packaged food, options abound—which is exactly why we asked registered dietitians for their top picks so you can find the one the works for you.
Ahead, learn more about the best protein bars for women.
Meet the Expert
- Andrea Goergen, MHS, RDN, owner of Cultivate Healthy in the Washington, DC area.
- Mona S. Cabrera, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian based in Mission Viejo, CA.
- Tamar Samuels, RD, NBC-HWC, co-founder of Culina Health.
- Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, and author of The Easy Diabetes Cookbook.
- Toby Amidor, MS, RD, a nutrition partner with Clif Bar and Company.
- Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, author of The Nourished Brain.
- Carrie Gabriel MS, RDN, owner at Steps2Nutrition.
What to Look For in a Protein Bar for Women
As far as the quantity of protein goes, Mona S. Cabrera, MS, RD, suggests aiming for at least 4 grams of protein, but ideally 10 grams or more—preferably from sources such as nuts, seeds, whey protein, pea protein, or egg whites (opting for whole food-based ingredients).
It’s also important to check the fiber content: “Both fiber and protein help us feel full, which is key for nutrition bars because they’re usually used as on-the-go snacks between meals. Fiber has the bonus of supporting a healthy digestive system, so go for protein bars that have at least 5 grams of fiber,” suggests Tamar Samuels, RD, NBC-HWC.
Make sure the bar you choose isn’t packed with sugar—many have so much sugar that they could easily be called a candy bar, warns Cabrera—or artificial sweeteners, which can often cause tummy troubles.
Protein bars can be a staple part of any woman’s diet—so long as you choose right. Plant-based pick Health Warrior Honey Sea Salt Pumpkin Seed Bar won the all-around best-in-bar award from Team Byrdie, as it boasts an impressive amount of protein as well as a clean ingredient list. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, opt for Nature Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Protein Bars, at a price of just $.57 per bar.
“If you’re trying to lose weight, protein can help keep you satisfied between meals and therefore avoid mindless snacking or overeating,” says Breanna Woods, MS, RDN.
In addition to weight loss, protein bars can help with nutrition-specific goals. “If you’re an active individual, a well-chosen protein bar may help you reduce body fat,” says Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD, CPT.” Case in point: A small study in the Journal of Biological Sciences showed that combining consumption of whey protein bars with resistance training over four months helped improve lean body mass.
Plus, protein bars gone right are convenient, balanced snacks. “Whether you’re trying to increase your overall protein intake or you need something to hold you over between meals, a protein bar is easy to take on the go or eat when you’re short on time,” says Woods.
They do—and you should go by the expiration date printed on the bar. “Expiration is dependent on the ingredients,” says Kathy LaBella, RDN, ACE-CMES/CPT, a sports nutritionist in Old Saybrook, CT. “Every bar is different, depending on its formula. Bars can also go bad if left out in a high temperature, so it is best not to leave them in your car.”
“Protein bars as snacks are great for between meals or can be used to keep your calm your growling stomach if you know your next meal is too far in the future,” says Goergen. “The carbohydrate content of protein bars can provide pre-workout fuel and recovery fuel, in addition to protein for post-workout recovery. If you need a boost to keep you going through an endurance workout, try having a snack protein bar before a workout. ”
“Just beware of the fiber and fat content to prevent GI issues during your run or workout,” Goergen adds. If your post-workout meal is planned for more than 30 to 60 minutes after your workout, consider a post-workout protein bar snack to support your muscles, she adds.
Higher-calorie bars can be eaten alone or paired with fruit, vegetables, yogurt, or string cheese as a meal replacement—but only when you aren’t able to prepare a meal. “Protein bars should not be your only meals, so please remember they should be a supplement to a regular meal,” says Goergen. “If you’re dealing with kidney issues, concentrated forms of protein can lead to consuming too much, which can be dangerous for damaged kidneys. And consuming too many protein bars can lead to excessive intake of the vitamins and minerals added to the bars and toxic levels of certain nutrients in the bloodstream.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Amy Gorin, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist and has over a decade of experience in the nutrition industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She specializes in plant-based nutrition and is one of the most recognized nutrition experts in America. For this article, she consulted 14 additional experts to share their insights, as well as their go-to protein bars for women.
Are protein bars really just candy bars in disguise?
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I was traveling by air recently and eating my usual “lunch on the go”—a protein bar and an apple. Across the aisle, I noticed another passenger eating a candy bar. It made me think about recent studies documenting the deplorable state of the average American diet, and the rising rates of obesity.
Yet, at first glance, the snack he was enjoying and my quick lunch seemed similar. We were both eating a rectangular bar coated with chocolate icing. I wondered: is my protein bar really a healthier option or is it a lot more like a candy bar than I’d care to admit?
So, I carefully compared the nutritional contents of a Snickers Bar, a Luna Bar (Nutz Over Chocolate, my personal favorite) and, for good measure, a Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey granola bar. Here’s what I found.
- Calories. The Snickers bar had the most calories per serving (250). But the serving size of a Snickers bar was larger: 52.7 grams, versus 48 grams for the Luna Bar and 42 grams for the granola bar (both of which were 190 calories per serving). This means that, gram for gram, the calorie counts were similar.
- Fat. The Snickers bar had 12 grams of fat. That’s roughly twice as much fat as the other two bars, and more than a third of it was unhealthy saturated fat.
- Sugar and salt. Again, the Snickers bar was the loser, with its 27 grams of sugar being well above the 11 grams in the granola bar and 10 grams in the Luna Bar. However, the salt content was lowest in the Snickers bar.
- Protein. True to its billing as a high-protein food, one Luna Bar has 9 grams of protein — that’s up to 20% of an entire day’s requirement. The Snickers bar had 4 grams and the granola bar, 3 grams.
- Fiber. To be considered “high-fiber,” a food should have 5 grams of fiber per serving. Only the Luna Bar came close to this, with 4 grams of fiber.
- Vitamins and minerals. The Luna Bar provides a decent dose of calcium (35% of your daily needs), iron (30%), folic acid (100%), and vitamin D (15%). Not bad! The other bars contained no significant amounts of these nutrients.
And one more thing…
Luna Bars are marketed as “The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women” because of the calcium, vitamin D, iron, and folic acid in each bar. So, if you’re a woman, will these bars make you healthier? And what if a man (like me) eats these bars regularly?
It’s true that women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, so it’s important for women to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Women are more likely to become deficient in iron thanks to menstrual bleeding. And women of childbearing age should get enough folic acid to help prevent certain birth defects in their children. Even so, the amounts of the nutrients in a Luna Bar are unlikely to have much impact on the health of the average female (or male) fan.
So which snack will you choose?
When you get right down to it, a Snickers bar isn’t all that much worse than many nutrition bars. For example, the difference in calories shrinks when the portion sizes are equalized. And the protein content of these bars won’t make much difference for the person who already eats a well-balanced diet with other good sources of dietary protein. Nevertheless, I can’t recommend a daily candy bar, although the occasional splurge probably won’t harm you.
Remember, the “value” of any food has to be considered in the context of a person’s overall diet, including the total balance of calories, protein, fat, and sugar consumed throughout the day. And let’s not forget that the calories you burn through physical activity also matter a lot. I planned to work out as soon as I got home from my trip. I hope my fellow passenger was planning to do the same.
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Are protein bars and shakes good sources of protein?
How much protein do we need?
That depends, said David Egerdahl, a registered dietitian and manager of patient services at UCHealth Memorial Hospital. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein is 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men. While the RDA is generally a good goal for Americans, weight, activity level and age should all be taken into consideration when figuring out your daily protein needs.
“For example, as we age we’re losing muscle at an accelerated rate, so to retain your muscle, you need more protein, typically close to double the RDA. Younger kids also need more protein than the RDA because they’re growing,” Egerdahl said.
Dr. Annie Moore, MD, MBA, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and medical director of patient coordinated services at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, said you can also think of protein needs in terms of a percentage of your daily calorie intake. She recommends that 25-to- 30 percent of your daily calories come from protein. If you’re a competitive athlete burning 4,000 calories a day, for example, you should consume about 1,000 calories of protein. Someone on a typical 1,600 to 1,800 calorie diet needs only about 400 calories of protein per day.
Protein: Quantity vs. Quality
Protein is an important nutrient in our diet. It’s an essential source of amino acids, which the body can’t produce on its own. Protein helps build muscles, tendons, organs and skin. If you don’t get enough of it, bodily functions can break down. Quantity is important but quality is too.
Moore points out that protein often is accompanied by fat. “The most common cousin with protein is fat. You need to think about what type of fat you’re eating with the protein. For example, nuts and certain fish come with healthy fats. Organic meats usually do, too,” she said.
Kristina Comer, UCHealth clinical dietitian for solid organ transplantation, doesn’t think Americans have a problem with the quantity or quality of protein we get in our diets. The problem, she said, is the quantity of calories in our diet. Common go-to snacks are chips, candy bars and crackers. A protein bar would make a healthier choice, but it should be consumed instead of — not in addition to — other snacks or even a meal.
“These [protein bars or shakes] are marketed as health foods so often a person will add it to their day rather than changing things around. Even though most of these products are packed with nutrients like fiber and protein, they also come with about 200 calories.”
Dr. Annie Moore, MD, medical director of UCHealth University of Colorado Patient Coordinated Services, thinks protein bars and shakes are no match for non-processed whole food.
Sugar content should also be considered, she said. Some bars and shakes have as much sugar as a candy bar. Comer advises consumers not to let the grams of sugar in the bar or shake surpass the grams of protein.
Protein Bars, Shakes and Snacks, Oh My!
Protein shakes and bars, and even snacks like cookies and chips, come in all flavors and contain different ingredients. There are whey and casein products and vegetarian varieties such as soy and pea. You need to factor in taste, dietary preferences, allergies, etc. as you would any other type of food before choosing the product that’s right for you. If you can’t tolerate dairy products, you’ll want to steer clear of products with whey and casein, two popular protein sources. Going vegan? Try a shake made with protein sourced from peas or soy.
Egerdahl and Comer agree that while whole food is always the best choice, protein bars and shakes can be a healthy snack choice or even meal substitute if you use them and choose them wisely.
Bars and shakes are considered nutritional supplements, meaning they should be used to supplement something that’s missing from your diet, Egerdahl said. According to a recent study, most Americans are getting their fill of protein. So, chances are if you’re not a semi-professional athlete needing to repair or rebuild muscles after a challenging workout, you don’t need a 20-gram protein shake. “There’s no benefit to eating excess protein,” said Egerdahl.
But it is important to spread your protein consumption throughout the day since your body can only digest about 20 to 40 grams of protein at a time (a 3-ounce serving of chicken has about 25 grams). If your breakfast typically consists of pancakes, waffles or cereal, a protein bar or shake, instead, in that case, would be a good swap.
Comer thinks that protein bars or shakes make good snack choices. “Protein makes you feel full, and it also helps regulate your blood sugars, whether you’re a diabetic or not. So, grabbing a protein bar instead of a granola bar is a good choice.”
On the flip side, Moore is not a fan of protein bars and shakes — at all. She prefers natural sources of protein.
“I’m a big fan of whole foods. I have never seen a bar that I thought was better than real food,” she said. “If you need a quick, healthy snack on the go – grab some almonds.”
Can You Consume Too Much Protein?
David Egerdahl, a registered dietitian and manager of patient services at UCHealth Memorial Hospital, shows off his healthy lunch packed with protein.
For people with liver or kidney issues, eating too much protein can further damage those organs. The kidney and liver help process protein, eliminating the waste produced by it. When those organs don’t function properly, proteins are not adequately metabolized, and waste can build up in your system.
For people with properly functioning livers and kidneys, excess protein for prolonged periods of time may put a strain on those organs.
“There’s not a lot of good information with regards to the danger for healthy people to eat an excess amount of protein. In fact, a lot of athletes do it without any trouble. But to be on the safe side, I typically recommend people don’t go beyond one gram per pound of body weight. If you’re a 150-pound person, you wouldn’t want to go beyond 150 grams of protein a day,” Egerdahl said.
Comer points out that when you’re exceeding the amount of protein your body can process, that protein is going to end up as fat. “It’s extra calories that your body doesn’t need or can’t process,” she said.
90,000 Why Protein Bars – Protein Bars Composition
Are Protein or Grain Bars Always a Healthy Snack? Why are protein bars good for you?
How much added sugar, preservatives, fats, and other additives are there? Is it true that the labeling often does not match the actual composition of energy bars, and there are no vitamins and minerals at all? What are the benefits and harms of energy bars? What is the use of cereal bars? To answer these and other questions, the experts of Roskachestvo investigated the quality of protein bars and other fitness snacks of four types of 20 brands (TM): muesli / cereals (7 TM), fruit and fruit-nut (6 TM), protein (6 TM) ) and for weight loss (1 TM).
What bars are considered useful and what consumer concerns are associated with them?
The study included four types of bars. They differ in composition and functionality. Protein (protein) bars are considered a good source of protein. They are recommended by sports nutritionists and trainers as a supplement to the main diet when natural products are not able to achieve daily protein intake, for example, during periods of weight gain, intense training and competition.Muesli bars are a source of slow carbohydrates in the form of cereals, and cereal bars can also contain berries, nuts and chocolate. Slimming bars help prolong the feeling of fullness and reduce appetite, which is especially important for those who are losing weight. Fruit and Fruit Nut Bars are rich in fiber and micronutrients and contain beneficial elements from berries, nuts and fruits.
Before launching a special project to test protein bars and other healthy snacks, Roskachestvo analysts studied consumer opinions and systematized concerns about these snacks.
Key consumer fears:
A lot of sugar.
The calorie content and BZHU declared by the manufacturer do not correspond to the actual values.
Large amount of saturated fatty acids.
Not useful or different from regular chocolate bars.
Protein in the composition is less than stated.
Mentioning vitamins and minerals on the packaging is a marketing ploy.
High calorie content (including due to sugar in different types, syrups, etc.).
Unnatural and harmful composition, the presence of trans fats, preservatives.
So, many people believe that the bars are unnatural, contain a lot of sugar, preservatives and trans fats. Bars are associated with concerns that manufacturers misrepresent packaging and all claims about minerals, vitamins, and high protein are a marketing gimmick. Examination of protein bars will show how true this is.
In order to find out which of these fears are in vain and which are justified, Roskachestvo experts examined popular bars: cereal / muesli – Everyday Gigant, DiYes, Healthy Snack, My Like, Corny Big, Musler, Fitness; fruit and nut-fruit – Smart Formula, Pikki, R.A.W. Life, Frutilad, Fit & Fruit, Bite; protein – Bombbar, 33 ProteinRex, Champ, Ironman (32 Protein Bar), Everyday, Schwarz; for weight loss – Racionika. Of these, 18 products were produced in Russia, 1 in Poland, 1 in Germany.
Products were tested for 86 indicators, including labeling, organoleptic properties
, amino acid composition and energy value.
What was not found
Let’s say right away that the experts did not find any serious discrepancies with the marking.Some TM bars contain a small amount of preservatives, but the myth that bars consist of one “chemistry” is not confirmed. Trans fats were not found either. Read more about this below.
Hardness and taste
There were no comments on organoleptic properties either. All the bars turned out to have a taste and smell characteristic of this type of product, all without any foreign flavors. Only one bar, Smart Formula, had a soft consistency, while 11 TM products were defined as hard.When choosing, keep this in mind so that your teeth do not suffer.
Are bars a valuable source of protein or not?
A survey conducted by Roskachestvo showed that protein, fat, and carbohydrate content (PFC) was a more important criterion when choosing bars than calorie content and price. We figured out how much protein the bars contain and how much amino acids can be obtained from them. What is the composition of the protein bars?
Of the 20 TMs, only the Pikki marking did not correspond to the actual value.True, the manufacturer did not overestimate, but underestimated the protein content on the label: tests showed 10.16 g per 100 g instead of the declared 9.2 g.
As expected, protein bars live up to their name: they contain the most protein in comparison to other types of bars. But within the group, the spread is more than two times: in the protein snacks itself – Schwarz – 35.7 g per 100 g, and in Champ – only 16.9 g.
So what did our Protein Bars review reveal? The discrepancy between the declared protein content and the actual protein bars can be called a myth.Quality protein bars are a good source of concentrated protein and outperform many grains, dairy, meat and fish in terms of protein content.
High protein foods (per 100 g):
Dried porcini mushrooms – 30.3 g
Peanuts – 26.3 g
Dutch cheese 45% – 26.3 g
Tuna – 24.4
Lentils (grain) – 24 g
Chicken meat – 18.2 g
Chicken egg – 12.7 g
honored coach of Russia in bodybuilding, master of sports in bodybuilding, master of sports in powerlifting
– Protein bars are essential for athletes to increase their daily protein intake when it is impossible to make a protein shake or eat.Carbohydrate and energy bars (containing caffeine or guarana) are used to feed athletes in cycling and competitive sports at a distance or while playing. The good thing about the bars is that they can be taken on the road and used without additional preparation. Plus, you get a controlled portion of macronutrients with the bar. Protein bars should be taken evenly throughout the day between meals. Carbohydrates can be eaten before and during work.
When asked if you can eat protein bars while losing weight, you need to remember that even protein bars contain a portion of carbohydrates.Losing weight especially needs to monitor the carbohydrate content. It is not recommended to take caffeinated bars in the evening. Do not substitute bars for essential natural meals, and if you have nutritious foods on hand, use them.
nutritionist and member of the Russian Union of Nutritionists, Nutritionists and Food Industry Specialists
– I would recommend the use of bars with a high-quality composition to people who regularly play sports.In this case, the way in which the bars are included in the diet will depend on the sport and on the individual’s goals. Also, the benefits of protein bars for fitness will be appreciated by people who do not have the opportunity to fully eat (on the road, at a meeting). Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t replace your full meals with even the healthiest protein bars on a regular basis.
Protein not only performs a structural function, but is also an enzyme or biological catalyst that accelerates reactions.Protein molecules are composed of amino acids arranged in a specific sequence, and they are divided into two groups: nonessential and irreplaceable. The human body can synthesize replaceable amino acids by itself, and essential amino acids must be ingested with food without fail, because their lack leads to a weakening of memory and a decrease in immunity. There are eight such amino acids in total: isoleucine, valine, leucine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, lysine and phenylalanine. The rest of the amino acids are classified as nonessential, but some of them are conditional, since the nonessential amino acid can be synthesized in the body only from the essential.
Thus, it is important to get 11 amino acids from food. According to WHO recommendations, the daily requirement for essential amino acids for an adult weighing 70 kg is 12.88 g. Can one bar cover the need for all at once?
One bar – no, but 2-3 bars (depending on the weight of the product) will be able and even overlap the norm. Three protein bars can handle this: Ironman (109% DV), Schwarz (109.36%) and Bombbar (123.3%).The Racionika slimming bar also showed good results – 52.72%.
honored master of sports, two-time world champion in body fitness
– If we exercise, then we need to count all the calories that we consume during the day. A bar with fiber, protein and carbohydrates will be better than a chocolate bar or just some other sweet with sugar and other additives.Such a bar will take much longer to digest than a regular chocolate bar. But it should be borne in mind that if there are sweeteners in the bar, they can cause discomfort in the intestines. And if the goal is still to lose weight, then, from my point of view, you need to do without bars, but eat full-fledged foods and follow the diet and exercise regimen.
Fats: Should We Believe the Labeling?
Among all the bars studied, we did not find any discrepancies between the labeling for fat and the actual content in any of the bars studied.However, we found a wide range of performance in the nut and fruit bars category. The most saturated fats contained 23.9 g (Pikki), while in the same category the Fit & Fruit bar had only 8.5 g. The presence of nuts in the composition does not mean that the snack will be rich in fats. According to TR CU 022/2011, the daily rate of fat should be about 83 g (with a caloric value of 2500 kcal per day). Be aware of the fat content when eating foods with nuts.
Tip: Fats can slow digestion, which is why nutritionists and athletes do not recommend eating high-fat bars before physical activity.
When consuming fat, it is important that saturated fat is less than 10% of the total daily fat intake, and when consumed, it is necessary to replace saturated fat and trans fat with unsaturated fat, as recommended by the WHO. Not all of the bars tested meet this norm: seven of them contain less than 10% saturated fatty acids (SFA), while some brands have this content exceeding 30%, which is three times the norm.
Carbohydrates: are the numbers understated?
Carbohydrates in the product are the main source of calories.Nutritionist Nagima Semchukova explains that all micro- and macronutrients are important and necessary for our body, but the effect of nutrients can be different. For example, both cereal flakes and glucose syrup belong to carbohydrates, but their effect on the body is different. In almost 100% of cases, cereal will benefit you more than glucose syrup. The less processed the constituent ingredients of the bar, the fewer sweeteners in it, the more useful it will be for us, regardless of the percentage of ingredients.
In the course of the study, we compared the declared values in the labeling with the actual ones, and also calculated how many calories from the daily value you can get from one bar. Nobody wants to go outside the norm with one light snack.
We took into account the mass fraction of carbohydrates without fiber and found discrepancies in two TMs:
“Healthy snack”: the content of carbohydrates in the labeling is overstated by 10 times.Instead of the declared 78.73 g, only 7.5 g was found.
Bombbar: understated carbohydrate labeling. Instead of the indicated 6.5 g, 17.5 g were found.
According to TR CU 022/2011, it is recommended to consume 365 g or 1460 kcal of carbohydrates per 2500 kcal / day. The largest amount of carbohydrates is found in fruit bars “Frutilad” (73.9 g) and Smart Formula (73 g). To compare protein bars, let’s take two brands: in the Racionika slimming bar there are 48.7 g of carbohydrates, and in the Champ carbohydrate protein bar itself – 54.6 g.And although Champ claims 40.4 g on the label, these are average values, which the manufacturer warns about. With regard to indicators of the nutritional value of food products, the labeling may be supplemented with the inscription “average values” (Art. 4, Ch. 4.9, clause 14 of TR CU 022/2011 “Food products in terms of their labeling”). In this case, a discrepancy between the declared and actual values is allowed.
To better understand these numbers, let’s compare the most carbohydrate bar with other foods:
Medium banana – 28 g
Whole grain spaghetti (140 g) – 37 g
Simple bagel – 38 g
Baked Sweet Potatoes (200g) – 49g
Conclusion: One bar is clearly not enough to immediately exceed the daily carbohydrate intake.Even a banana will be more energy intensive. Perhaps, people with high physical activity, on the contrary, will be disappointed with the relatively low carbohydrate content in one snack. But it should be borne in mind that insufficient energy saturation with a bar can lead to the desire to eat another one, and this will already affect the daily calorie intake.
Dietary Fiber: Benefit Without Harm?
Fiber (the second name for dietary fiber) is primarily responsible for the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.Plant fibers are of two types: soluble and insoluble. In the intestines, they absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance. According to TR CU 022/2011, it is recommended to consume 30 g of fiber per 2500 kcal per day.
We calculated in the course of the study the mass fraction of dietary fiber in a bar per 100 g. As it turned out, the bars are far enough from that one bite provides the daily fiber content. At the same time, the richest in fiber types of bars were muesli and protein, and not fruit-nut, as one might expect.
A bar of only one TM will be able to meet the daily requirement – “Healthy Snack” (63.44 g per 100 g). None of the TMs showed discrepancies with labeling for fiber content. Nutritionist Nagima Semchukova warns that eating cereal bars containing a lot of dietary fiber can lead to intestinal disruption.
Energy value: not true?
One of the most pressing consumer questions concerns the energy value of the bars.Doesn’t the manufacturer underestimate the calorie content in the labeling? For those who closely monitor their weight and keep track of calories, it is important that the snack does not have any hidden calories.
The consumers’ fears were not in vain: almost a third of the studied TMs indicate incorrect data on the energy value of their products. True, not all of them underestimate calories, there are those where the amount of calories was overestimated.
Nagima Semchukova, nutritionist:
– If your goal is weight loss, bars, carbohydrate or protein, combined with exercise and a balanced diet are a great tool to achieve your goal.Simply losing weight by eating bars is not a good idea. First, you can do the opposite because some of the bars are very high in calories. Second, the bars do not contain enough of all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Daily Calorie Requirements: Does One Bar Replace a Whole Meal?
Several factors affect the daily calorie requirement: age, gender, body weight, and level of physical activity.Accordingly, there are several methods for calculating the calorie content for each day. We took the average amount of 2500 kcal per day (according to TR TS 022/2011), however, we draw your attention to the fact that, for example, a 33-year-old woman weighing 55 kg with average physical activity requires a much smaller amount of calories – about 1690 kcal per day.
The most nutritious bar, Pikki, covers almost 1/5 of the daily value – 18.4%, while the bar with the lowest calorie content – Healthy Snack – only 4.06%.Considering that one Healthy Snack bar weighs 55 g, then such a snack will leave too little trace in the total daily norm – only 2%.
Nagima Semchukova explains: “Bars are a concentrated source of nutrients. However, they should certainly not be used as a regular meal (instead of a full meal). Yes, with a high-quality composition, they can serve as a good, useful addition to a balanced diet, but it is worth resorting to their use during periods of high physical activity, as well as in situations where it is not possible to fully eat food (for example, on hikes, trips) or provide compliance with hygiene measures.Bars are a way to provide the body with support when it is most needed. ”
Sugar and icing: like candy?
A lot of consumer concerns have been associated with the bar’s core property – its sweet taste. If this snack is so tasty and sweet, then maybe there is nothing but sugar?
To find out if a bar was made from the same glaze and waffle wafer, we determined their mass fraction in the entire product.The study did not reveal indicators in half or a third of the bar.
When calculating the total sugar content in the bars, the results showed a very wide range of values - from 7.9 g per 100 g to 63.6 (which is almost two-thirds of 100 g of product!). In general, most manufacturers do not tolerate data on the amount of sugar per package, which makes it difficult for a consumer to lead a healthy lifestyle. Only two brands put sugar on their packaging.But these values did not match the actual values. The Corny Big label indicates 33 g – in fact 38.1, Fitness – 22 g, and in fact 37.3.
Producers of 5 brands put “no added sugar” on the label, which was confirmed by research. But the sources of sugar in them can be other ingredients from the composition – fruits, berries, dairy products, etc.
The WHO recommends that reducing free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake is part of a healthy diet, while reducing free sugars to less than 5% is believed to provide additional health benefits.You will not be able to meet the recommended norms with any bar: the consumption of 100 g of any of them will exceed the norm, and after all, other sources of sugar may also be consumed during the day.
Conclusion: in general, the fears are justified, since the bars can indeed contain a lot of sugar, and some exceed the daily intake. But among the variety of these products, you can find those in which the sugar content will be less than 10 g (per 100 g), in particular those where there is no added sugar.Keep in mind when choosing that the sugar in the bars will still be contained in some of the main components of the product.
Vitamins Inside: Marketing Gimmick or Really?
In various materials on the Internet, you can find loud claims that nutritional bars can not only give you a boost of energy, but also become a good source of vitamins and minerals. The consumers, whose opinion we found out before starting the study, are skeptical: there are no vitamins in the bars, this is a continuous advertisement.Among the 20 TM bars in our study, only four manufacturers made statements about vitamins and minerals on the packaging. Let’s see if we can trust this information.
Among all the minerals, we selected two – calcium and iron – to see if the labeling claims were true.
Iron . According to CU TR 022/2011, vitamins and minerals account for at least 15% of the average daily requirement of an adult for vitamins and minerals per 100 g of solid food products.If the manufacturer indicates on the packaging the amount of some mineral substance, then SanPiN allow deviations in this case. According to SanPiN 126.96.36.1998-01 clause 8.3.2, deviations of no more than 20% are permissible for the declared iron content. Among the 20 TMs, only Bite did we find a discrepancy: instead of the indicated 2.2 mg of iron, the bar actually contained 2.8 mg.
If we compare the composition of the bars by the presence of iron, then the spread is very large. According to TR CU 022/2011, the recommended daily intake of iron is 14 mg.The leader in this indicator – the Fitness cereal bar – covers 81% of the daily requirement, while 33 ProteinRex – only 6%.
Calcium. There were no comments on the reliability of the calcium content in the labeling either. Only one manufacturer overestimated the numbers: instead of the declared 300 mg per 100 g, we found only 103 mg. And here the spread in the content of this element turned out to be rather big. Bars with a minimum calcium content will cover 1.5% of the daily requirement of 1000 mg, while the leader, Schwarz, will cover 34% of the daily requirement.
As in the case of minerals, SanPiN allow a discrepancy between the amount declared in the labeling and the actual content. For different vitamins and vitamin groups there are different deviation rates: for vitamins C, B1, B2, B6 – 20%; for vitamins A, D, E, B12, folic acid – 30%.
In our study, we determined the presence and content of the following vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, C, A, D2, D3 and E.Let’s say right away that there are no massive inconsistencies between the declared and actual content. Only two brands have inconsistencies:
Bite: discrepancies in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and E.
Schwarz: discrepancies in vitamins B1, B2, B9, B12, A, D3.
However, do not rely on the fact that the bar will cover the daily requirement for all essential vitamins and minerals at once.Among all the products studied, there is not a single bar that would reach 100 percent in this regard. There is also no clear leader in terms of the sum of indicators: a bar can be a leader in one vitamin group, but will lose in terms of the content of other vitamins. Considering this and the large spread in indicators among TM, read the labeling carefully. Contrary to expectations, there are vitamins and minerals in the bars, although their quantity does not always correspond to what is indicated on the label.The discrepancies are small, so in most cases you can count on the fact that you will receive exactly as many vitamins as indicated by the manufacturer.
Preservatives: used but not always
To confirm or disprove the myth that bars are unnatural foods with high levels of preservatives, we measured the levels of three acids used as preservatives in food. All TM products were tested for compliance with TR CU 029/2012 “Safety requirements for food additives, flavorings and technological aids”, for which the content of benzoic, sorbic and sulphurous acids was determined.
Benzoic acid and its salts are used in food preservation (food additives E210, E211, E212, E213). By blocking enzymes, it slows down the metabolism in many unicellular microorganisms and fungi, inhibits the growth of mold, yeast and some bacteria. It is added to food products in pure form or in the form of sodium, potassium or calcium salt.
Benzoic acid (E210) was found only in products of 4 TM: “My Like”, R.A.W. Life, Champ, Ironman (32 Protein Bar). But even in the case of the “My Like” bar with the highest content of benzoic acid (539.6 mg), this cannot be called a violation: the norms of TR CU 029/2012 allow less than 1500 mg of the substance.
However, the natural content of benzoic acid in raw milk can reach 6.0-10.0 mg / kg, in sour cream – 11-18 mg / kg, fermented milk – 12.5-20.0 mg / kg, and with more high concentration of raw milk content can reach even more.Considering that concentrated whey can be used as a protein in bars, the presence of acid in small quantities can be explained by natural origin.
Sorbinic acid was found immediately in 8 TM bars, but again without exceeding the norms of TR CU 029/2012 – no more than 1500 mg. Sulfurous acid was found in 11 TM bars. And again, none of the manufacturers exceeded the norm of 2000 mg / kg of the substance.
As you can see, the myth that bars consist of solid preservatives is not confirmed.Manufacturers, if they use them, then without exceeding the regulation norms.
Read more about preservatives HERE .
General recommendations for the selection of
Carefully study the labeling: manufacturers indicate in it reliable indicators of calorie content and BJU (with minor deviations). So you can choose the type of bar, taking into account the calorie content of your daily diet. Healthy bars can actually be a source of vitamins and minerals, and in some cases, dietary fiber.But loud marketing promises on the label shouldn’t be blindly trusted. This is especially true for sugar: it is found in all bars studied, including those with no added sugar. With the right choice, a bar can be beneficial – a good source of fiber, protein, slow carbs and micronutrients.
What are protein bars, what are they for, and how to use them?
Protein bars are part of the special sports nutrition. They are used when it is necessary to achieve certain results and at the same time it is important to supply the body with the right amount of quality protein. It is important to know how to benefit from sports nutrition.
Protein Bars General Information
Protein bars are foods that are high in protein. Such a “delicacy” allows an athlete to overcome increased appetite by providing the body with the necessary proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
In addition to athletes, anyone can eat such food, especially those who need to lose extra pounds.
Benefit and harm
These foods can be beneficial when used correctly. Key Benefits of Protein Snacks:
- natural products are used;
- provide a supply of protein and carbohydrates;
- is comfortable to use in the gym or outside the home;
- help to reduce weight;
- increase muscle volume;
- deliver the necessary energy to the body.
Attention! Protein bars are recommended for athletes because they spend a lot of energy during training, and protein is needed to build muscle. An ordinary person without sufficient stress and frequent consumption of such food will consume empty calories with fast carbohydrates and can harm the body.
The disadvantages of such a diet are as follows:
- The composition often contains a large amount of sugar and E-dyes.
- Protein proteins may be substituted for gelatin or collagen. Therefore, some types of product are less effective than a simple protein shake.
- Will not replace the main power supply. If you don’t eat anything besides them, you can do great harm to your health. This is just a post-workout snack.
The usefulness of any product depends on the correct application. The quality of the obtained nutrients is important here.
The balance of benefits and harms of protein bars depends on the quantity. Experienced athletes recommend not more than two servings per day. It is optimal to snack on such food in the following cases:
- One hour before the start of the workout. A quality bar will give you the fast energy you need, which will positively impact your workout intensity. It is also suitable for those who are losing weight. An intense workout will burn the calories of the bar and all other excess calories.
- As a snack if you don’t have a protein shake on hand.In this case, there is no exact time indication, the main thing is not to get carried away and not eat more than 2 pieces a day.
- Directly during training. Helps maintain glucose and protein levels.
Attention! For those who do not exercise, you should choose bars without special additives like caffeine, guarana.
When choosing such a sports nutrition, you need to carefully look at the composition, since there are bars that are different in the following indicators:
- Protein saturation.The product may contain 30, 60, 75% protein.
- The presence of sugar substitutes in the composition.
- The presence of confectionery fats, which, under the influence of temperature, are easily converted into trans fats that are dangerous to the body.
- Protein source. It can be soy, dairy, curd varieties for every taste.
- Ratio of fast and slow protein.
- Complete or incomplete amino acid profile.
Attention! Some manufacturers may incorrectly indicate the composition of protein bars on the packaging, so it is better to buy the product from popular and trusted companies.
Many athletes argue that a protein shake is better and should only be consumed when a full meal is not available.
90,000 Protein Bars: Eat or Not?
The rhythm of our life is so high that a full meal has become the exception rather than the rule. But progress does not stand still, and protein bars that have appeared not so long ago have become a salvation for many. Sweet tooth lovers have finally found a healthy alternative, and athletes have found a snack on their way from work to training.
But are protein snacks as harmless as they seem at first glance?
Why do we need protein bars?
Of course, protein bars are a quick and convenient way to get more protein to help build muscle. Those who exercise intensely need more protein. According to research conducted by Canadian scientists from McMaster University, 1 an athlete needs twice as much protein as a sedentary person.If you exercise regularly, then you need to increase the amount of protein you receive to meet all the needs of the body. Protein bars can help you with this. Many are made from whey, casein, and sometimes a combination of both. Some bars contain creatine, others may contain carbohydrates. Of course, depending on the presence or absence of certain additional ingredients, the beneficial or harmful properties of protein bars also change.
Effect of bars on endurance
Steve Herzler, Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Dietetics at Ohio University, has conducted a number of studies to determine the effect of different brands of protein bars on athletes’ endurance. 2
The experiment compared two of the most popular products in the US – Ironman PR Bar and PowerBar . As a result of the study, it was found that when both protein bars are consumed, an increase in blood sugar occurs.However, in the case of the Ironman PR Bar , the effect was stable, due to which the athletes experienced greater endurance. With the PowerBar , the story is slightly different. After a significant increase in blood sugar, its sharp decline occurred, which made the consumption of bars similar to the use of the notorious Snikers and Mars .
Based on this study, recommendations for the selection of protein bars have emerged.
How to choose a protein bar?
Carbohydrate content: not more than 30 grams
Still, we must not forget that we use protein bars more often for a snack than as a substitute for a full meal, so if you want to lose weight, and the carbohydrate content in them is more than 30 grams, then your goal becomes ineffective.For example, in the Protein Light bar, the carbohydrate content is only 2.6 g, which will not affect your figure in any way, and in the All-In-One Perform bar – 23 g – is also within the normal range, so you can afford them without a twinge of conscience. However, there are exceptions to any rule. If you, for example, come out of a heavy strength training or have worked out many hours of cardio and understand that you still have a carbohydrate reserve for today, then, in principle, there are no restrictions for you.
Fiber content: at least three grams
More often than not, manufacturers load their products with sugars and other fillers, forgetting about healthy ingredients such as fiber.Take Myprotein products as an example. The numbers are pretty impressive: Protein Light Bar – 26 g, All-In-One Perform Bar – 5.4 g, Oats & Whey Protein Bar – 7.3 g. Needless to say, these products more than cover the minimum fiber requirement?
If your goal is fat burning, then you need to pay attention to the nutritional value of the snack. After all, one bar can contain almost a daily rate of energy in its composition.Sometimes it can be difficult to determine how useful a particular product is by its appearance. Fortunately, every package now has nutritional information on it to help you make your choices. Keep in mind that while many of the bars look like candy, they can contain as many calories as a full set meal. So don’t forget to read the composition. Marketing gimmicks work in all areas, and in this case they are no exception. Sometimes on the package you can see “0 calories” and after reading the composition, you can understand that just the calories in the product correspond to a full meal.
The product lines offered today are so wide that you will definitely find something that suits you. For example, a Protein Light bar contains 198 calories, which can easily match a snack throughout the day without affecting further meals.
Since we are introducing protein bars into the diet, additional useful ingredients in the composition would serve as a pleasant bonus. For example, the All-In-One Perform bar, in addition to the standard set of ingredients, contains five grams of creatine monohydrate, three grams of L-glutamine and one gram of L-leucine, which will help not only get an explosive flow of energy, but also take care of muscles.
Amount of Protein in One Protein Bar
Naturally, the amount of protein is an important factor in the composition of protein bars. This is especially true for those who are trying in every possible way to cover the amount of protein consumed per day. The absolute favorite here is the All-In-One Perform Bar, which has 28 grams of protein.
Protein Bars Benefits
May increase protein synthesis
This is important if you are exercising because protein will help your muscles grow and repair.There are other ways to increase protein synthesis: Scientists from St Thomas Hospital in London have conducted a study, according to the results of which growth hormone can provoke muscle protein synthesis. 3
More intense training will lead to more muscle damage, which in turn will also lead to faster protein synthesis. 4
However, none of these methods will be as effective as increasing the amount of protein ingested. A protein bar, eaten before or after training, will speed up protein synthesis.
Research in 2011 showed that whey protein bars reduce the amount of the hormone ghrelin, also called hunger hormone, which leads to decreased appetite. 5
Improves muscle recovery after intense training
Research by Australian scientists has shown a significant improvement in muscle recovery with a single intake of 20 grams of protein. 6
Harm of protein bars
In addition to the high calorie content of some foods and the high content of carbohydrates in them, it should be borne in mind that the constant consumption of protein bars can lead to an excessive amount of protein in the diet, which is dangerous in the presence of kidney disease. Ideally, a high protein diet should accompany you during periods of muscle building. At other times, it would be desirable to reduce the amount of protein consumed. However, more research is needed to be sure of this.
It must be remembered that protein bars can never replace a full meal and enrich the body with useful nutrients. Their frequent use can negatively affect your body due to the sharp spikes in blood sugar they provoke.
But if, with a rational diet, you are irresistibly drawn to sweets or you really want to eat a roll or even a whole pizza, then yes, in this case, a protein bar will be much healthier than baked goods.
Author: Elena Bychkova
Editor and proofreader: Farida Seyidova
Make healthy chocolate bars according to our recipe:
The truth about the benefits and dangers of protein bars
Not much is known about the benefits and dangers of protein bars, although every athlete or just losing weight probably always has at least one in his bag, just in case he wants to have a snack.Most perceive them as a substitute for sweets. But protein bars are different types of bars. This is a common collective name, which in some cases may not correspond to reality. Therefore, do not mindlessly consume bars one after another. First you need to find out what it really is.
What is it – a protein bar
Protein bars were called because of their relatively low carbohydrate content and relatively high protein concentration.In some cases, vegetable proteins are used instead of animal ones.
We advise you to study: “What are the benefits of soy protein and how it is obtained.”
In most cases, protein bars contain:
- protein mixture;
- thickener to bind the protein into a single structure;
- chocolate or molasses frosting;
- flavorings and aromas;
- sugar or sweeteners.
Sometimes individual amino acids are included.The energy value of the bar is provided by carbohydrates and fats. Dried fruits, nuts, and stevia are healthier as a sweetener, but sugar is often used.
What are protein bars for:
- replenishment of the need for vitamins and minerals;
- replacement of “harmful” sweets;
- fat burning;
- Muscle building;
- getting the required energy.
Types of Protein Bars
Low Carb.They are characterized by a low sugar content, which can be practically neglected. Suitable for nutrition during weight loss and drying.
Carbohydrate and protein. They contain proteins and carbohydrates in optimal proportions. Suitable for a balanced diet.
Low calorie. They have the lowest calorie content of all, and often contain L-carnitine. A good choice if you need to lose weight first, and only then work out the relief and build muscle.
We advise you to study: “Sports supplement L-carnitine: what it is and how it works.”
Protein (high protein). With a maximum protein content. Designed mainly for dry mass gain and drying. Recommended on a low-carb diet.
Energy (high carbohydrate). They differ from the rest in their increased carbohydrate content. Designed to accelerate muscle gain.
What is important to know before using
When asked if you get better from protein bars, you can say yes. If you use them without measure, exceeding your daily calorie intake.And there are several reasons for this:
- Any bar contains carbohydrates, and on average there are at least 20% of them, even if it is a supplement with fat-burning L-carnitine. Carbohydrates are added as a gum and flavor base.
- Almost all bars have an energy value of more than 100 kcal per 100 g, and in high-carbohydrate bars it can even reach 500 kcal. One such bar can take up a significant amount of the daily calorie intake.
- The content of protein (protein) in the composition can reach a maximum of 60-75 g per 100 g.And the more it is, the worse the taste. Therefore, it is better to choose something in between. For example, the MAXLER DOUBLE LAYER BAR contains 24.2 g of protein per 60 g serving, which is 40%.
We advise you to study: “Which whey protein is better: concentrate, hydrolyzate, isolate.”
Are there sugar-free bars
There are no sugar-free bars at all? There are low content options. Even the most famous QUEST BAR contains 1 g of sugar per 60 g, although the product is often included in the “Sugar Free” rating.The top also includes BOMBBAR BOMBBAR bars, which, according to the manufacturers, also do not contain sugar. This can be considered true, since there is only 0.01% in one portion – in such a volume it does not harm the body. A natural ingredient, stevioside, is used as a sweetener.
There are also variants with fructose. It is considered a sugar substitute, but the difference from it is only obtained from fruits, not sugar beets. When abused, the harm from such protein bars for the figure is no less than from regular sucrose.The only plus of fructose is that it does not cause sudden surges in sugar, and therefore is allowed for diabetics.
Many people are discouraged from buying protein bars by the high cost. And it cannot be denied: the price of even the smallest bar of 30-40 g is comparable to some snickers. But the composition is more important here. In snickers, proteins and carbohydrates are contained in a ratio of 1: 3, and in a protein bar – at least 1: 1, and in most cases more – 2: 1.
It is the lower ratio of trans fats to fast carbs that becomes the most important nuance in the question of whether protein bars are healthy.This is their main advantage over chocolates. In addition, it is important that you avoid the sugar spikes that common sweets cause. This avoids the effect that immediately after consuming sweets, a person again wants to eat something. Protein bar in such cases prolongs the feeling of fullness.
Answers to the most popular questions
Can you eat protein bars while losing weight?
You can. If the goal is to burn fat, then it is important to choose the lowest calorie content.With vigorous training, it can be higher, because during the exercise you burn more calories. The main thing when using bars is that they should not lead to an excess of the daily calorie intake.
Can Protein Bars For Children?
Children are better off buying protein-free bars: cereal, fruit, fruit and cereal. Choose the lowest sugar option and don’t give your child more than 1 meal a day.
Are Protein Bars Possible for Pregnant Women?
It is possible, only it is necessary to carefully approach the choice, paying attention to the composition, so that it does not contain components prohibited for pregnant women.It is better to consult a doctor about this.
How many protein bars can you eat per day?
Unlimited quantity. But it’s important to keep track of your calorie intake. If you consume more than you spend, then you will not be able to lose weight. The best option is up to 3 pieces per day. In the evening, the protein bar is best consumed no later than 5:00 pm.
Can I breastfeed protein bars?
It is possible, but with the permission of the doctor.Moreover, you need to choose those that do not contain sugar, flavorings and flavors. Otherwise, the child may develop allergies.
Should I take protein bars before or after training?
After training, you need to help the muscles to recover, so here it is better to choose options with a protein content of about 20 g. If you plan to eat the bar before training, then the amount of protein may be less. The main task here is to get additional energy.
Do not miss interesting news and events in the telegram channel: https://tlgg.ru/fitbarnews
Protein bars for weight loss – benefits and harms. How to choose the best one?
Protein bar is a convenient and practical product that is easy to store in your bag. However, do these bars really help you lose weight? How they differ from muesli – pros and cons. All about how to make the best protein bar at home.
// Protein bars – what are they?
Protein bars are a food product made from sports protein or whey protein.They resemble regular chocolate bars in shape (and often in taste), but the key difference is the lack of added sugar.
Quite often, protein bars are advertised as a means for weight loss – misleading the buyer about the benefits of the product. While low-carbohydrate and protein-based diets do help you lose weight, the bar alone cannot lead to weight loss.
Unfortunately, protein bars can contain ingredients that impair metabolic function and make it difficult to lose weight – primarily fructose syrup and trans fats.That is why it is important to study the composition of the ingredients before buying a bar.
// Read more:
Protein Bars Composition
A protein bar usually contains processed milk protein, fructose syrup (it provides both a long shelf life and a “pleasant” airy texture), imitation chocolate (mixture of cocoa butter and sugar), as well as stabilizers and flavorings.
In this case, the main task of the sugar syrup in the protein bar is to glue the ingredients and give the bar a stable structure.In addition to sugar, collagen hydrolyzate (gelatin treated with acid or enzymes) can act as a stabilizer.
The problem of the quality of ingredients
Since protein bars are positioned as a product that does not require special storage conditions (for example, a refrigerator), this does not allow using real chocolate as a icing – it will simply melt.
The most popular vegetable oil for making the “chocolate” coating of protein bars is hydrolyzed palm oil.It is cheap, tasteless, and remains solid at room temperature. The main disadvantage of this oil is the possible content of trans fats.
// Read more:
Protein bars without sugar
If a sports nutrition manufacturer decides to attract the consumer’s attention with the phrase “protein bar without sugar”, not only additional structure stabilizers, but also sweeteners appear in the composition , sweeteners and flavors.
The texture of the bar becomes less airy, and the taste is significantly flatter and more synthetic. It is also interesting that quite often manufacturers replace sugar with some other simple carbohydrate unknown to the mass consumer (for example, maltodextrin).
Despite the fact that the body reacts to maltodextrin in much the same way as to sugar, this substance is not directly sugar. Unfortunately, this technique is completely legal. However, these protein bars are contraindicated if you want to lose weight.
Muesli bars – what are they made of?
If a protein bar, despite all the disadvantages, can be considered a useful product for losing weight (in some cases, this is the best option for a snack) – muesli bars are more correctly considered a dessert or candy. The main task of the manufacturer is not to create value, but to convince the buyer that there is such a benefit.
For example, the phrase that there is no added sugar means only that no white table sugar has been added to this bar in its pure form.In this case, molasses, fructose syrup or synthetic honey are not considered pure sugar and can easily be present in the composition.
The presence of nuts and whole grains is undoubtedly beneficial to the body – however, the content of fast carbohydrates in the composition should raise some suspicion.
Best Protein Bars
The pursuit of the cheapest protein bar can be especially detrimental – in fact, the price of such a product is directly related to the quality of the ingredients used.Although the high price does not guarantee additional “benefit”, the manufacturer’s maximum savings on the cost of the ingredients will clearly not improve the quality of the bar.
A protein bar is nothing more than a regular snack disguised as a “healthy product”. In reality, such bars should be on a shelf in a chemistry lab, not in a health food section. It is necessary to realize that such a product is the result of deep processing of the original ingredients.
At the same time, the pleasant taste, high protein content and lack of sugar in the composition does not mean that this protein bar is the best in the category.The final list of ingredients can stretch over several lines – even if from the point of view of calories everything looks “normal”, such a product should be resorted to in case of emergency.
New Fitseven materials, 5 times a week – in telegram:
Sports protein bars only at first glance seem to be a useful product for athletes. A careful study of their composition suggests the opposite – and the more protein and less pure sugar there is in such a protein bar, the more questions you should have regarding the ingredients used and their level of processing.
Continuing the topic
Date of the last update of the material – March 12, 2019
Top 10 protein bars, rating with a detailed description
- Main types
- Protein Bars
- Features selection
- Protein Bars Rating
Protein bars are essential for a light snack.They are high in protein and low in sugar. Healthy and nutritious, they help the body recover from exercise without causing weight gain.
Protein bars are divided into several types, depending on the composition and purpose of use:
- cereals – such a product is ideal for those who are planning to lose weight. They contain cereals as a source of fiber;
- high-protein – the protein content in them exceeds 50%.Suitable for gaining muscle mass. They need to be consumed before and immediately after training;
- low-calorie – help in the fight against excess weight. As a rule, the composition contains carnitine;
- High Carb – Nutritional bars recommended for muscle gain.
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Protein Bars Benefits
A protein bar is a healthy snack at work, on a walk, or at home when you can’t have a full meal.Many believe that this product acts like chocolate. But in fact, they have the same only one thing – the feeling of fullness after consumption. Remember that chocolate raises blood sugar levels, destroys teeth and leads to weight gain. Protein bars do not have these disadvantages.
With their help you can:
Recommended to be taken before and after training. But don’t substitute them for a full meal too often. The body needs a balanced diet.
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When choosing, you need to focus on several parameters:
- Target. If you are planning to lose weight, then choose cereals and low-calorie types. They will give you a feeling of fullness without increasing body weight. If the product is needed for a periodic snack without a specific purpose, then any type will do.
- Composition. Only a well-balanced composition will ensure that the body receives the nutrients it needs.
- Taste. This is a minor, but still important parameter. Delicious bars are much more pleasant to eat than, therefore, there will be more benefits from them.
You also need to pay attention to the manufacturer of the bars. The more he has a choice of products with different tastes and composition, the better for the consumer. But heavily promoted brands inflate the cost of their products. It is better to choose according to the composition so that only natural ingredients are included in it.
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Protein Bars Rating
We have compiled a rating of protein bars that are of high quality, balanced composition and affordable cost.
Make the choice yourself, taking into account your preferences for protein content, carbohydrates and taste characteristics.
Product of a well-known manufacturer. A distinctive feature is the complete absence of sugar.
Natural ingredients are used to improve the taste. The product contains vitamins and minerals.It was voted the best sports bar in testing.
In second place is the best selection of those losing weight. This is a natural bar that is high in fiber and 20 grams of protein. Sugar is very small – less than 1 gram.
Weider 52% Protein Bar
Consists of 52% protein (26 grams).Ideal for those involved in heavy sports and following a protein diet. Its regular use stimulates the growth of muscle mass. The calorie content of one bar is 182 calories, so you don’t have to worry about being overweight.
VPLAB LEAN PROTEIN FIBER BAR
The perfect snack for women due to its exquisite taste. Although there is not so much protein in it, only 25%, but fiber takes as much as 70%.By consuming this bar, you will enjoy the taste and lose weight.
And this is the best sports bar for vegans and healthy diets.
Contains vegetable protein, glutamine and BCAA. Sweet and delicious, it does not contain natural sugar.
Protein Big Block.
The protein content is 50%. This product perfectly satisfies hunger, but contains a large amount of carbohydrates, so it is not recommended to take it for those who are losing weight. But for professional bodybuilders and anyone looking to gain weight, this is a great snack option.
VPLab High Protein Bar
Contains 40% protein (20 grams) and 290 calories.Differs in pleasant taste and affordable price. It contains a large amount of vitamins and minerals needed by athletes.
Power System L-Carnitine Bar
An excellent choice for losing weight. It has a pleasant taste and light consistency (you can not drink it with water).
Each bar contains 300 mg of carnitol, an important substance for gaining muscle mass.
VPLAB 60% PROTEIN BAR
One of the most powerful high-protein bars in terms of composition. 60% whey protein, minimal carbs and great taste will help you fill up and gain muscle mass.
Professional Protein Bar
A powerful food rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals.Contains 40% protein. The calorie content is high 296 calories, so it is not recommended for those who are losing weight.
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90,000 Learning to Use Protein Bars for Good: What Are Their Benefits and Harms?
Protein Bars were created specifically for athletes who need to adhere to a strict diet. But today they are also used by ordinary people who replace them with a full-fledged meal. Those who want to lose weight or gain muscle mass without a lot of fat should probably not eat chocolate.Protein bars, on the other hand, may not only be legal, but useful. But in order to use them correctly, you need to understand what they are and what protein bars are for.
What are protein bars and why are they needed
Protein bars are not the same as conventional protein bars. They differ in composition and level of utility. As the name suggests, these bars contain a lot of proteins. It is known that to keep the body in good shape, and the body in shape, you need proper and balanced nutrition.It so happens that is not able to fully eat . Then such a bar can come to the rescue. He replenishes the body’s reserves of proteins, fats and carbohydrates and allows you to forget about the feeling of hunger for a while.
Bars include carbohydrates, mostly fast. They also contain biologically valuable proteins, a small amount of vitamins and vegetable fats. They are divided into several types: bars with cereals, bars with L-carnitine, bars with a large amount of carbohydrates in the composition and with a high protein content
Protein Bars – What Are They For?
Snacks with L-carnitine or cereals are most often used by those who are losing weight.But, of course, they are not an alternative to a nutritious diet.
High protein bars are popular with athletes. They often consume a protein bar after training to gain muscle mass . This is achieved due to the fact that 20% of the composition of the bar is carbohydrates. But those who are at the drying stage or are training for weight loss should not use them . The harm of such bars is possible precisely because of the presence of carbohydrates in the bars.They can lead to weight gain.
High Carb Protein Bars Help Saturate Fast Carbs Post Workout . Typically, at this time, the body needs glucose, and you can get enough of it by closing what is called the carbohydrate window. But at any other time, such bars don’t make sense – they’re just sweetness with empty, useless calories. To make the right choice, consider why you need protein bars specifically for you.
If you are looking for protein bars, which ones are better to buy, then pay attention to the products of a trusted manufacturer, and be sure to read the composition on the package.
The benefits and harms of protein bars
It might seem as though protein bars that have obvious benefits just can’t be harmful. But in reality, everything is not so simple. The positive and negative impact of the product will be determined by the composition of the bar and how well it is chosen.
What can you eat before and after your workout to lose weight? Find out here!
If we talk about the benefits of the bars, then it is as follows:
- According to the manufacturers, mostly bars are made from natural raw materials.
- They replenish the reserves of carbohydrates and proteins in the body.
- They contain a small amount of fat.
- They are easy to use in any conditions and in any place.
There is only one way you can be sure that the bars are 100% natural and healthy – if you cook them yourself.In principle, this is not so difficult, and you can find many interesting recipes.
Keep in mind that even the best bars cannot replace complete sports nutrition and protein from foods.
Are protein bars harmful? The danger in their composition can be a large amount of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives with the letter E. The harm of protein bars can lie in sugar alcohol.It easily leads to flatulence and bloating. If you experience these symptoms, you should not use the bars.
It should also be taken into account that in bars, unlike sports nutrition in its full-fledged version, protein proteins can be replaced by gelatin and collagen . They are easy to digest, but the characteristics are seriously inferior to those that can be obtained by drinking a protein shake.
Also remember that protein bars with mixed benefits and harms are only a nutritional supplement.They balance nutrition well, but they cannot replace it. Food must be complete and correct, otherwise you will not achieve your goal, whether it is gaining muscle mass or healthy weight loss. The bar can only become its optional addition.
British scientists have shown that the abuse of dietary protein products, including protein bars, can lead to serious damage to the liver and kidneys.
Is it possible for children protein bars ? In principle, there is no particular ban on this, but it makes sense too.Since babies are unlikely to pursue the goal of losing weight or gaining muscle, there is no point in additional protein for them. And replacing full-value nutrition with a snack for a growing body is incredibly harmful. Plus, among the contraindications to many bars, the age under 18 stands out.
The benefits and harms of protein bars, reviews of which will help to understand more about them – these are individual questions. It is necessary to take into account a number of contraindications to their use . This is an individual intolerance and an allergic reaction to the components of the product, pregnancy and lactation.Bars are not recommended for people under 18 years of age. Ideally, you should consult with a specialist before using them.
Choose the right bars:
How to use protein bars correctly?
For the supplement to bring only benefits, you need to clearly understand how to properly consume protein bars. This will largely depend on the goals pursued. In good bars, the composition is balanced, there is no excess sugar and fructose, so the rules for their use are the same as for other sports supplements.
Pre-study how to use protein bars is advised by the manufacturer. The packaging usually states that a day is allowed 1-2 bars of . Do not exceed the allowable dose and do not try to replace all nutritional components with bars. Increasing the dosage can only be tolerated if the load is increased. It doesn’t hurt to figure out how to drink protein in general, regarding exercise.
Protein Bars: Best When To Eat?
Protein bars are taken to replenish the body’s reserves of various nutrients, in particular protein.They are taken along with simple and sports nutrition. So, it is recommended to take bars in the following cases:
- If you can’t eat or drink a protein shake, the bar can be a pretty good snack . There is no clear indication of when to eat protein bars. The main thing is not to exceed the allowed amount and not to replace all your good nutrition with them.
- When it comes to when to eat high carb protein bars, experts advise to consume them one hour before training .They will give the body what is called fast energy, which will help increase the intensity of your workout. This option is suitable for those who are losing weight. This way, they will be able to exercise more actively, and all the calories contained in the bar will be burned during training.
- Protein bars, when we are trying to figure it out, are sometimes advised to use right during training . It is believed that in this case, the snack will maintain the blood glucose level and the level of protein in the body.In addition, during the course of the exercise, the athlete may feel intense hunger, which will negatively affect the intensity of the training. A protein bar, on the other hand, will be a good option for a snack, as it saturates the body with the necessary components. It is easily absorbed and does not provoke a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, therefore it will not cause discomfort during physical activity.
- If you know what the carbohydrate window is after training , and you would like to close it, the bars may well handle it.
It is allowed to eat such bars and those who are not involved in intense sports. In this case, you should choose snacks without special additives like creatine, caffeine, guarana. Your best bet is to choose a simple protein-carbohydrate bar for a relatively healthy snack.
Classic Homemade Protein Bar Recipe
Not all commercially available Protein Bars are Naturally Safe . If you are not familiar with the intricacies of their correct choice, you can try making a bar at home.There are many interesting recipes that can include whey protein, eggs, fruits and berries. We will offer a classic universal recipe for a homemade bar.
It requires the following components:
- cup of oatmeal;
- 2 egg whites;
- 4-5 scoops of whey protein;
- 0.5 cups of milk powder 0% fat;
- ¼ cup of water;
- 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil.
- A cup of raspberries, blueberries and / or other berries to taste.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Stir the protein, oatmeal, and milk in one bowl, and the berries, banana, protein, and water in another. Rub a baking sheet with oil, mix all the ingredients in one bowl and grind them with a blender. Put the mass on a baking sheet about 25 by 25 centimeters in size. You will have seven servings of the bars.
These bars help to gain muscle mass. Since there is not much fat in them, the proteins in the composition are well absorbed by the body.It can be consumed both before and after training. In addition, since the calorie content of such a homemade bar is significantly lower than that of conventional sweets, it can be used as an alternative to unhealthy desserts. 100 g of the finished product contains 15 g of proteins, 26 g of carbohydrates and 3 g of fat . Calorie content – 198 kcal per 100 g . Find out more protein bar recipes here.