Protein bars are the go-to snacks for people who want to build muscle mass and those looking to lose weight. Although a rise in your protein intake might boost weight loss and make you satiated, too much protein can be harmful and cause weight gain. This is especially accurate with consuming protein bars that usually contain additional calories from fats and carbs.
The Issue With Too Much Protein Consumption
High-protein diets combined with strength training can help build up muscle mass and aid in losing weight. They reduce hunger and boost feelings of satiation. However, more protein intake isn’t significantly better. Your body’s excess protein doesn’t use for repair, and growth will be deposited as body fat.
Not 100% Protein
A typical protein bar is not 100% protein. One bar typically contains higher carb levels as well as a moderate to a high amount of fat. Depending on the type and brand you buy, the amount of calories in the protein bar varies, but similar to the excess protein being deposited as fat, excess calories from fat and carbs will also be deposited as fat, contributing to weight gain.
The Fiber Problem
Fiber is usually thought to be beneficial in a diet like protein, having a lot of advantages. A good protein bar must contain at least 3 grams of fiber, but many bars contain much more. Consuming high amounts of fiber can cause bloating, gas, and digestive stress, as well as cause nutrient malabsorption, which is why you need to cut back on your high-fiber protein bars intake.
How to Fit Protein Bars into Your Diet
Snacking on a protein bar now and then is perfectly fine if you’re rushing and have no time to eat a full meal. However, the bar must fit into your daily calorie needs. Just because protein bars are healthier than candy bars and are convenient snacks doesn’t mean you can eat them anytime you like. Choose one with the least possible additives and preservatives and eat them moderately. Put your focus on getting most of your calorie intake from nutrient-dense foods.
How to Pick a Good Protein Bar
It’s all right to regularly eat protein bars, given that you consume sufficient whole foods at your meals. However, not every protein bar is created the same. Here are things to search for if you’re going to consume one:
The first thing you should do is look at the serving size and calories. For example, multiple protein-style cookie packages contain two servings each and around a total of 500 calories. This approaches about one-third of the everyday needs of a petite, inactive female. You have to make sure that if you consume protein bars as snacks, they must have ample calories.
The next step is to review the ingredients list. Most of the time, protein bars are packed with a long list of hard to discern ingredients. The fewer ingredients the protein bar has, the better.
If you’re consuming protein bars not as convenient snacks, but to increase your protein intake, this one is needed. A lot of nutrition bars currently sold on markets are actually energy bars instead of protein bars. This means these bars have loads of calories that will likely give you energy but aren’t entirely high-protein to be deemed protein bars. Per your protein and overall calorie needs, a great start would be to consume a bar with at least 10 grams of protein for a satiating snack. For athletes just done with post-workouts, it’s essential to go for bars with 15 to 30 grams of protein, depending on their bodies’ size.
If you’re focused on your protein intake, the ideal protein bar must provide at least 10 grams of protein for every 100 calories.
Make sure to check for the fat content and inspect if many calories are from protein or fat. Numerous bars are made with seeds, nuts, and nut butter that quickly amasses fat and calories. These are healthy types of fats, which help stuff you up more, but if you’re looking to eating protein bars as workout recovery snacks, fat can delay the absorption of protein and carbs your body needs. You’d want to go for a lower-fat option.
But if you’re doing a high-fat, low-carb, or keto diet, a higher-fat bar will be the better option.
The ‘net carbs’ label can be rather confusing when it comes to sugar. The sugar alcohols utilized in a lot of low-carb bars can cause bloat and gas. These include erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. Although they originate from plant sources, they aren’t easy to digest by humans. Find a bar with lesser than 5 grams of added sugars and at least 5 grams of fiber.