The nutrition bar, as its name suggests, provides almost all the nutrients that you need in a small package. These bars may often vary in ingredients, and as such, each of them can provide different nutrients. Other bars even focus on a single nutrient that a person may need for specific situations.
To lay out a general idea of how many kinds of nutrition bars there are in the market, here is a guide to the types of bars and the nutrients that each of them contains. Keep in mind that some nutrition bars may belong to two or more types, and these bars are often more nutritious than others as they give all-around nutrition.
Meal Replacement Bars
Meal replacement bars are consumed to serve as a replacement for full meals whenever you are too busy or always in a rush to prepare cooked food. While they are generally known as meal replacement bars, they are sometimes called breakfast bars due to how they are usually eaten more during breakfast time rather than for lunch or dinner.
The reason why a meal replacement bar is typically eaten for breakfast is that it is during that period in the day that people would often not have enough minutes or hours to cook food and would instead prepare their clothes or take a shower to go to work or school.
For meal replacement bars, there are two main ingredients that should be present in every product, and those nutrients are carbohydrates and protein.
Carbohydrates are what give us energy every day, and we usually get these nutrients from bread or other foods that are rich in glucose and other sugars. As we eat foods that are rich in carbohydrates, our body is able to break them down into simple sugars. These sugars will then flow into our bloodstream, which will then allow our blood cells and other cells that need it to be filled up with enough energy to do all of its functions.
Protein is another crucial nutrient that our body needs as it normally fixes damaged tissues and cells. For those who are focusing on working out their muscles, they would need plenty of protein in order for their muscles to not collapse under immense pressure due to lifting weights or other exercises. Not only does protein strengthen our muscles, but the nutrient can also help control the hormone levels in our hormone-producing organs like the pancreas.
Besides carbohydrates and protein, some meal replacement bars would even have vitamins and minerals to provide a truly complete meal that offers a lot of nutrition.
Explaining what protein bars do is fairly simple, as its name already implies that it focuses on one specific nutrient, and most bars in this category has a lot of it. Some protein bars would have too much of it that it is not supposed to be eaten by regular people and should only be consumed by those who need it for doing rigorous exercise and bodybuilding.
Protein bars typically contain four times more protein than regular meal replacement bars, and this high amount of the nutrient is generally essential for muscles to have to prevent damage and strengthen their tissues.
Research suggests that bodybuilders should consume 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram, while regular people should only take 0.8 grams.
Those who need to satisfy their hunger for a short time during a break in the office or school may want to eat snack bars instead of meal replacement bars. Snack bars generally contain fewer nutrients than meal replacement bars, but its lack of sufficient nutrients for a meal is suitable for situations where you are hungry just a few hours before lunch or dinner.
The most popular snack bar in the market is the trail mix, which usually contains grains, nuts, and fruits that can provide minimum carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins for extra energy. The reason why this kind of snack bar is called trail mix is that it is usually the snack eaten by those who are hiking non-stop and have no time to prepare for food on the trail.
People with digestive problems may opt to eat fiber bars to normalize bowel movement in their digestive system. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that lowers our blood sugar levels if it is too high, thus preventing our body from developing severe complications linked to high sugar levels such as diabetes and pancreatitis.
Besides its function to control blood sugar level, fiber can also soften our stool, which is helpful for those who are having a difficult time pushing the wastes out of the digestive system. On the other hand, some kinds of consumable fiber, like the insoluble one, are able to increase the size of your stool. Our intestines will usually have an easier time pushing out our stool if it is bulky or large.
Keto bars are, of course, for those who are on a keto or ketogenic diet. Keto diet is one of the trendiest types of diet today because of how effective it is for weight loss.
This type of diet limits you to only eating food with low carbohydrates and high fat, which can be quite challenging to follow if you are not wary enough about what you are eating. Because of the diet’s distinct rules, some bars that are consumed for keto is unique, and they shouldn’t be eaten by people who are not on a diet because of how high the fat content is for each bar.
Whole Food Bars
Whole food bars are similar meal replacement bars, but the ingredients used for them are organic and natural, meaning that there are no accidental traces of chemical or pesticide residues in the nutrition bars.
Since whole food bars are organic, you will get all the natural nutrients found in each ingredient, which is usually not the case for inorganic foods as the unnatural processing of the ingredients can often reduce the amount of nutrients in each of them.
However, as the ingredients have normal levels of nutrients, the level of fat in them is natural as well. The high-fat content in whole food bars may deter some people from consuming it, but if you are not focusing on weight loss and bodybuilding, then eating whole food bars is okay.
Those are the main types of nutrition bars that you should know to differentiate nutrition bars from one another. Before purchasing and eating nutrition bars, make sure that they belong to the type that is the most suitable for you. For example, protein bars are not recommended if you are not a bodybuilder, so you should settle with eating meal replacement bars, snack bars, or other products that generally don’t have a specialty. Learning more about what you eat is essential for a healthy diet.