How To Choose A Healthy Protein Bar That Isnt Candy
Weve all been there in a rush, needing to grab a quick bite and instead of a sandwich, opt for what you might think is a healthier alternative: the protein bar.
The problem with this health food is when you read the nutrition label to find that it has about 30 grams of sugar and only 15 grams of protein. Bummer.
In order to avoid consuming things that can hurt your diet, there are really just a few things you should look for when checking out the nutrition label to make sure that what youre eating is actually healthy. And with protein bars, when you do look closely at these things, youll quickly find that they arent really a health food at all.
Builders Protein Bars By Clif
From a trusted name in the nutritional bar world, this bar has got 20 grams of protein and a great selection of great flavors. You won’t get more than 10 grams of fat in these gluten-free and vegan protein bars. Protein: 20 grams Sugar: 17 grams Fiber: 3 grams Fat: 9 grams Carbs: 31 grams Calories: 280
Kirkland Protein Bars Review And Its Ingredients Revealed
This bar is also the best meal replacement of meals for people with a busy schedule. Kirkland protein bars Costco is high in protein nutrients to fulfill regular protein requirements.
Rule #: Aim For Less Than 15 Grams Of Sugar
Remember how we said many protein bars are really just candy bars disguised as something good for you?
Well, heres the proof.
Did you know that Gatorades Whey Protein Bar has 29 grams of sugar? And CLIF Builder Bars have 1 more gram of sugar 21g) than they do protein ? Compare that to the Met-RX Big 100 Colossal bar. Lots of protein . But loads of calories overall , and 32g of sugar.
What in the what?
Before you freak out about sugar, know that its not the terrible villain its made to be. And there are many great bars out there with more than 10 grams. The catch? If the bar contains more than 10 grams of sugar, most of that should come from fruit or other natural sugar sources like lactose.
Why are natural sugars better?
Lactose from milk products and fructose from fruits, like all sugars, contain 4 calories per gram. But unlike refined sugars, these natural sugars come paired with the other nutrients you get from fruit or dairythings like Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, Vitamin D, and other things that help your body function.
Good protein bars are oftentimes defined by their nutrients. Its what helps separate a healthy bar from a candy bar. And refined, added sugars dont deliver the added nutrients.
Good Protein Bars Decoded: 5 Signs A Bar Is Worth Eating
Heres the first thing you need to know when you go browsing the health bar aisle looking for options that are actually good for you:
Not all protein bars are created equal.
And if were being blunt most bars that are labeled as being healthy have more in common with a candy bar than a handful of kale or a protein shake.
This is the health industry, where its much easier to slap buzzwords on a label than, you know, actually provide you with what you need.
But rather than let you be frustrated by marketing tactics , we want to make your life easier. Because there are many good protein bars on the market.
Were here to make it easy for you to identify the real deal from the real duds.That doesnt mean you have to earn a Ph.D. in nutrition. Just follow these five rules and no matter what bar you select, you can feel good that you arent wasting your time on a crappy candy bar.
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Aids Recovery After Exercise
Recovery requires the building blocks of muscle: protein. The period immediately after exercise is the most critical for recovery as this promotes muscle protein synthesis and rebuilding, which ultimately can help you gain more muscle.
Interestingly, the most critical period for recovery is in the hour immediately after exercise, and its important to provide your body with a boost of protein as, unlike carbohydrates, our body doesnt store protein for later use. It either uses it or converts it into energy.
Total Number Of Carbohydrates
Second, also be sure you take a peek at the carbohydrate content of the bar. This can be extremely variable as well, especially with all the lower carb products coming out on the market.
For someone who is looking to lose fat, you probably don’t want to go much over about 30 grams of carbs per bar, and this could even be too high depending on your overall diet protocol.
If you’re using the bar immediately after a workout, then you can afford more carbohydrates since the main objective at this time is to have a high carbohydrate intake.
When this is the case though and the protein bar is your post-workout meal, then you’ll also want to try and choose a bar that’s as low in fat as possible, since fat should be avoided during this time period.
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Protein Bars Need To Have The Right Vitamin Content
With the popularity of protein bars and the plethora of choices on the market today, it is important to read food labels and look at ingredients to compare products, according to Allison Curtis, MS, RDN, the director of Integrative Nutrition at the STRATA Integrated Wellness and Spa at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club.
If you’re not sure what to look for, don’t sweat it. Curtis says to focus your attention on protein, fiber, iron, sugar, and calcium, as well as vitamin A and C. Then, answer these questions:
- Does it provide at least 10% of the daily values for these nutrients?
- Does it have less than two grams of saturated fat and under 15 grams of sugar?
- When looking at the ingredients list, do you see whole foods or highly processed ingredients?
If you’re not sure what to grab, check out our list of 15 Best Healthy & Low-Sugar Protein Bars in 2020, According to Dietitians.
Most Of Us Turn To Protein Bars When We Are Too Busy To Cook Or Meal Prep Because They Are Quick Give Us A Power Boost And Are Filling
However, it is important for us to know what ingredients they are made of.
You might be thinking that you are eating a healthy protein bar, but not all the ingredients are the best for health-conscious eaters.
It wouldnt be a bad idea for you to review the ingredients of your bar before you purchase them.
Today we are going to cover the ingredients that you should avoid in your protein bars.
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Macrobar Organic Vegan Protein Bars By Gomacro
From a mother and daughter-run company, these protein bars are made from plant-based ingredients that will fill you up. These protein bars are organic, gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free. They have 12 grams of protein that comes from peas and brown rice. All of the ingredients are sustainably grown, and you can choose from 14 flavors. Nutritional info varies bar to bar, so you’ll want to check the online label for each flavor. Protein: 12 grams Sugar: 11 grams Fiber: 2 grams Fat: 10 grams Carbs: 34 grams Calories: 270.
Nature Valley Coconut Almond Protein Chewy Bars
It may look like your favorite of high protein snacks, GORP 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.
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Manufacturers Should Act Now To Avoid Estranging Consumers
Based on these findings, Protectivity urges manufacturers to re-think how they market and formulate protein bars.
Excessive fats and sugars in snacks have been a hot topic for manufacturers for years and change is already underway. Many popular bar manufacturers are already selling bars with reduced sugar, but clearly more still needs to be done, Brownsell said.
One solution might be clarifying what kind of exercise or activity certain bars should be paired with to help consumers choose a bar based on its nutrition rather just on its protein content or flavor, Brownsell said.
Manufacturers also may need to reformulate with healthier ingredients as consumer awareness grows, Brownsell added.
Its difficult to say from our data if protein bars are a passing fad or a long term health staple. Clearly there will also be a desire for quick, easy and healthy snacks so theres little reason to believe that they wont stick around, Brownsell said. However, as consumers become more aware, theres no doubt that the market will need to adapt with a greater focus on healthier ingredients
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Low Glycemic Index Kind Bars
The glycemic index is a measurement of how much a particular food raises your blood glucose levels. Foods with higher amounts of carbs give your system a high glycemic load and are appropriately titled as such. They flood your system rapidly and give you drastic spikes in blood glucose.
Low glycemic foods dont act this way.
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Kirkland Protein Bars Ingredients:
The truth is it is very difficult to find the bars that are a real source of protein. Most of the bars outside there is just candy with too much sugar and calories. This healthy protein bar contains high protein and a carbohydrate thus provides extreme energy and nutrition to the body. It also curbs your hunger and balance food servings.
The ingredients in Kirkland signature protein bars make it amost beneficial protein supplement to health. The reason is, these non-GMO baris made from natural ingredients and completely gluten free.
Each bar contains more than 20 grams of milk protein. This milk protein is made from whey protein combined with casein protein. This protein is beneficial for its quick energy boost and quick digest.
Instead of sugar these protein bars contains natural stevia extract as a sweetener which makes the bar 100% healthy. The amount of fiber in this bar allows the protein to last for a long time in the system. And for this reason, this protein bars are keto friendly.
Sunflower lecithin, another ingredient that is used in the bar which is beneficial for a healthy heart and skin. Lecithin also keeps cholesterol low.
The ingredients are differing in an amount as there are varieties of flavors of Kirkland protein bars available at Cosco. So that, Each flavor of these bars nutrition is different.
The important thing is all the ingredients are natural and there are no additives and preservatives used to make these bars.
Questbar Protein Bar Cookies & Cream Flavor
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.
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Choosing Your Protein Source
Since were speaking specifically about protein bars, most of this review will discuss those bars including at least 10g of protein per serving.
Automatically that will eliminate a vast majority of health food bars on the market , that dont necessarily fit into this protein classification. These are categorized more as snack bars instead of true protein bars.
Now that doesnt mean theres anything wrong with these. It just means that they dont qualify to be considered within the scope of this article. However, the following ingredient analysis information still applies. So read on, as I think youll still find it useful
As mentioned, protein is certainly one of the key ingredients to look out for in a protein bar. Your common protein sources include:
Note that I have highlighted both the relative amount of protein per serving as well as the type of protein included . These are important numbers to keep an eye on to:
1. quantify whether its actually a legitimate protein bar and
2. identify what protein source are used
Your most dense source of protein will always be whey. But if you have any kind of dairy intolerance, then this may need to be avoided. Depending on the form of whey, it may also make a difference in terms of palatability as well as digestibility.
In my experience, whey isolate/hydrolyzed will be the most easily digested without potential gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, gas, etc.
Rule #: Good Protein Bars Have 10 Grams Of Protein Or More
This rule comes with what should be an obvious if.
If youre using the bar as a protein supplement or meal replacement, you want at least 10 gramsor, ideally, even more,
The biggest thing I tell people is, Know how you plan to use the bar,’ says Anthony DOrazio, director of nutrition and physique at Complete Human Performance, LLC. If Im looking to replace protein specifically, Im looking for around 20 grams of protein,
That means the bars first ingredient will likely be a protein source. Whey isolate, casein, pea, or egg protein are all high-quality choices.
Soy crisps will appear on a lot of protein labels and count as protein, but they arent the highest quality source. So if soy crisp is the first ingredient, even though a bar might have a high amount of protein, its probably not the best choice.
If youre not using the bar as a protein supplement, you can get away with having the lower protein total. In fact, DOrazio sometimes supplements his breakfast with a lower-protein bar thats higher in fat and carbs. Why?
Im using it as a quick source of healthy fat, DOrazio says. The main ingredients are peanut butter, rolled oatsingredients people would recognize.
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The Dangers Of Too Much Sugar In Protein Bars
The dangers of too much sugar in protein bars are well documented. Generally, the first five ingredients are the most important and contain the majority of the nutrition. Natural sugar and soy lecithin are serious processed soy products and should be avoided. In addition, the bar should only contain six to eight grams of sugar per bar. Whether you choose whole foods or processed jams, there is no reason to worry about too much sugar.2
Added sugars contribute to the development of metabolic diseases. These diseases include type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. These foods often contain high amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners. While a protein bar contains protein, its a bad idea to eat too many of them at once. A handful of these high-calorie snacks could be as bad for you as a bag of Krispy Kreme.3
In addition to the unhealthy effects of added sugar, too much sugar can also cause high blood pressure. It can also damage your heart. To avoid the dangers of too much sugar in protein bars, choose natural sources. These are the best for your health. They should contain only natural ingredients. Some brands use genetically modified soy. To make sure that you are not getting trans fats, read labels carefully before purchasing a bar.
Theyre Filled With Sweeteners
Most low sugar or zero sugar protein bars contain artificial sweeteners such as maltitol or Xylitol.
Artificial Sweeteners taste a lot of sugar, but not dont cause the excessive rise in blood sugar levels that sugars do. They dont rot your teeth either.
We use sweeteners in our own Low Sugar Protein Bars and this allows us to keep our bars down to around 200 calories and avoid those spikes in blood-sugar levels which is important for weight loss.
Despite years of hysteria regarding sweeteners, they simply arent dangerous with hundreds of studies in the various common sweeteners demonstrating their safety.
For some people over-eating artificial sweeteners can result in stomach discomfort so you might need to limit how much consume.
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What We Think: Are Perfect Bars Healthy
After taking a look at this nutrition label you may be thinking about how healthy this protein bar is compared to others on the market. Compared to others, yes, this is one of the healthier protein bars you can buy.
With this in mind, you have to ask yourself a few questions. Do I care about how much sugar is in my protein bar? Do I care about how much protein is in my protein bar?
The Peanut Butter Perfect Bar has one of the highest levels of protein compared to its counterparts. The Chocolate Walnut Brownie Perfect Bar has 20g of sugar and 10g of protein. With those numbers, you arent looking at a protein bar anymore. That is a glorified candy bar.
Perfect Bar isnt the only company making bars with these kind of numbers. Almost of protein, energy and granola bar maker is guilty of the same. Why is this a big deal you ask? Well, youre about to find out.