Are Protein Bars Good For You?
They’re an easy, go to snack that keeps hunger at bay. You can pick them up at most supermarkets and have them handy whenever you want. Plus, the wrapper says it is high in protein. So aren’t all protein bars good for you?
Not always, is the honest answer. Clever marketing can fool even the savviest of gym goers and calorie counters. Here’s our low down on protein bars. Follow this checklist when you are picking a protein bar and you should end up with one that is satisfying and healthy.
Sky High Sugar?
You should always check that your protein bar is low in sugar. It may taste delicious, but so does a box of chocolates and they’re not ideal for pre or post workout either. High sugar levels will mean your energy is more likely to spike and then drop. This will leave you with less energy (and often more calories) than a low sugar protein bar. So you may think you are combining the energy of the carbohydrate content of protein, but then that energy just ups and ditches you.
Remember, this is regards to sugar, which is often listed under carbohydrates “of which sugars”. Carbohydrates themselves are not necessarily a negative thing. They will provide you with the energy to take on a full workout (or just tackling the rest of your day in the office). This is especially important if you are eating a protein bar as a replacement for a meal.
Make sure the protein bar you chooses fits in with the calorie intake you are aiming for. Whilst many protein bars are branded as a health product, they can contain more calories than your normal meals. If you are all about the mass gains, this might be a plus for you. If you are restricting your calories, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot.
A low-calorie protein bar, however, is a great way to stick to your diet plans whilst staying full.
Stuffed With Salt?
In a similar vein to the sugar issue, some protein bars contain way too much salt. Salt skews your water retention levels, and in the long term can lead to a whole host of health issues. As anyone who has actively tried to reduce their salt intake will know, this sneaky seasoning can turn up everywhere. So make sure it is very low in your protein bar’s “nutritional information” section.
Filled With Fibre?
Fibre provides plenty of benefits to our body. It helps to keep us feeling fuller for longer, and this is a key reason you should select a high fibre protein bar. In addition, fibre helps to regulate the body’s water intake, so it can help prevent feelings of being bloated. Make sure you look for a high fibre protein bar for maximum health benefits.
If In Doubt, Make Your Own
If you want to prep your own protein bars, it can be a great way to control exactly what you are putting in your body. Protein oats, nut butter, coconut flakes, whey protein and fried fruits all make great ingredients for easy snacks that are high in protein. Of course, make sure you consider each ingredients nutritional content and measure out your portions so you can avoid the same protein bar pitfalls!