Supermarket shelves are lined with protein bars everywhere. With a big chunk of people switching their breakfast or post-workout meal with these bars, the options available are endless.
But how do you choose one? Here is a list of ingredients that you should keep an eye out for before selecting the right protein bar for you.
While it is the most prominent ingredient, the quality and quantity have a significant impact on the choice you make.
Protein intake is mainly dependent on your lifestyle. If you are working towards making some considerable gains in the gym, then 20-25 grams will suffice to build muscles. However, if you wish to consume a protein bar as a breakfast supplement or snack, a lower protein quantity will suffice. About 12 grams of protein will keep you full till lunchtime.
As for the quality of protein in these bars, it is recommended to select those that have a dairy-based source of protein. Hydrolysed whey and whey isolates are an excellent choice.
While you are led to believe that carbohydrates are bad for the body, a healthy dose is, in fact, good for the body. A protein bar with less than 10 grams of carbs makes an ideal choice since it keeps you energised throughout the day. Moreover, carbs help with the digestion of proteins for muscle building.
Carbohydrate content, if more than 10 grams, can have a negative effect of increasing fat in the body. High carbs consumption generally leads to a stronger craving for more carbs.
Moreover, protein bars must contain a small percentage of fibre. As less as 5 grams of fibre will suffice since it is the key ingredient that makes you feel full for a longer time.
The other benefits of fibre are stability of blood glucose levels, better digestion, control of cholesterol, and no bloating. Moreover, fibre is a must-have ingredient if your goal is to lose weight.
As surprising as it may seem, sugar is also a necessary component of protein bars. However, the sugar content must not be more than a meagre 6-8 grams.
Watch out for harmful sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners that do nothing except add taste to the protein bar. Sugar alcohols include erythritol, sorbitol, xylitol, and others are less sweet than sugar and carry lesser calories. Unfortunately, high quantities of these cause side effects like gas and bloating, thus entirely defeating the purpose of the protein bar.
Healthy fats in controlled quantities are rather good for the body. Ingredients such as chia seeds, nuts, and coconut oil indicate fats. However, study the ingredient list to ensure there are no trans fats or saturated fats.
Wrapping it Up
Protein bars are basically meals-on-wheels. They are easy to carry around no matter where you go. Moreover, one bar is good enough to fill you up for a few hours.
They contain the essential macronutrients- proteins, carbs, and fats, for a balanced lifestyle.
Spend some time reading the nutrition label of protein bars to find the one that checks all the boxes for your requirements. The rule of thumb for selecting ingredients for protein bars is to look for those with not more than seven ingredients.
Author: Alison Lurie