Protein bars are an easy way to add protein to your daily diet. Within the wide range of protein bars available on the market, however, there is a lot of variation in quality. You need to be informed to make the right choice.
The composition of protein bars can vary considerably per brand – and even per taste. This is due to the difference in ingredients that a protein bar may contain. This affects the calorie, protein, fat and fiber content, and vitamins and minerals.
In general, protein bars contain 150-400 calories, 10-20 grams of protein, 5-10 grams of fat, 25-35 grams of carbohydrates, and 5-10 grams of fiber. They are also a good source of micronutrients, such as calcium, B vitamins, potassium, and iron.
The source of the protein can vary. Some bars contain yogurt powder, milk, or dairy proteins such as casein and whey, while others are composed of plant sources such as soy, pea, brown rice, nuts, or seeds. Protein sources, such as whey or soy protein isolates, are highly concentrated compared to less processed, full-fledged protein products.
Benefits of protein bars
1. Weight loss
Research shows that high-protein diets are more likely to promote healthy weight loss than diets with a standard amount of protein. This is probably due to the filling effect that inhibits your appetite and helps prevent overeating. If you choose to use protein bars for weight loss, it’s important that you also eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
2. Weight gain
To gain weight, you need to consume more calories than you burn in a day. Protein bars can then be a useful addition to your diet because many protein bars are high in calories. With one serving you can easily add calories without having to eat a lot of extra food. It’s best to choose protein bars with healthy ingredients instead of bars that are full of added sugars and additives.
3. Meal replacement
Protein bars can be a quick way to replace a meal, especially breakfast. While a protein bar isn’t equivalent to a breakfast made up of healthy, whole foods, some bars lend themselves well to emergencies.
4. Muscle growth
If you are a very active person with a lot of muscle mass, or if you want to build muscle, it may be useful to add more protein to your diet. This is how you promote muscle mass and performance. Endurance athletes and strength athletes are advised to consume 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kg of body weight.
Disadvantages of protein bars
To improve the taste, many bars contain added sweeteners, some more natural and healthier than others. Natural sweeteners like dates or stevia are a better choice than unhealthy sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. Too much fructose in your diet increases your risk of fatty liver disease, obesity, and diabetes.
The fat in protein bars can come from whole nuts and seeds, but sometimes producers use highly processed vegetable oils, such as palm or soybean oil.
In addition, research shows that eating too much protein can be detrimental to health: it would increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, and bone, liver, and kidney disease. We are talking about more than 3 grams of protein per kg of body weight.
After all, protein bars can be very pricey. So always compare the price and quality. It is important that a bar contains whole foods instead of highly processed ingredients and as few added sugars as possible to make it worth the price.