Protein bars are a convenient and popular snack for people on the go. However, not all protein bars are created equal, and some may do more harm than good when achieving your health goals. In this article, we’ll find out what’s really in your protein bar and explore why not all protein is created equal, highlight specific popular protein bar brands that may not be the healthiest options, and offer some alternative bars that are better choices.
Not All Protein is Created Equal
Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays many critical roles in the body. Protein is vital whether you are trying to build muscle, lose body fat, or maintain overall health. However, not all protein is created equal. The difference between a high-quality and low-quality protein is mostly about the amino acid profile. A high-quality protein contains nine essential amino acids the body cannot produce independently. Some of the best high-quality protein sources are meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
Regarding protein bars, the quality of the protein used can vary widely. Some bars contain highly-processed plant protein, such as pea or rice protein, which may not be as bioavailable to the body as animal-based protein. Other bars may rely on foods like nuts for their protein content, which may be high in healthy fats but not necessarily in protein. Whey protein bars are a better option, but the quality of the whey used can also vary widely.
Other Ingredients in Protein Bars
Protein quality is not the only concern when it comes to protein bars. Many bars contain additives and ingredients that may not be good for your health. Some common ingredients to look out for include:
Artificial ingredients: many protein bars contain artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, which may not be healthy or natural.
Binders and thickeners: some protein bars contain ingredients like guar gum, acacia gum, or carrageenan, which may upset the digestive tract or be linked to cancer.
Sugar: many protein bars are high in sugar or sugar alcohol, which may not be a healthy option.
Soy: some protein bars contain soy additives, which may have estrogen-mimicking effects in the body.
Non-organic or GMO ingredients: many protein bars are not organic and may contain genetically modified ingredients.
Bars With Questionable Ingredients:
Some popular protein bar brands that may not be the healthiest options include:
- Quest Bars
- Quaker Protein Baked Bars
- Kellogg’s FiberPlus Antioxidants Protein Chewy Bars
- Zone Perfect Classic Nutrition Bar
- MET-Rx ProteinPlus Protein Bars
- Gatorade Whey Protein Bar
- Oh Yeah! High Protein Bar
- Detour Simple Whey Protein Bar
- KIND Protein Bar
- Naked Bar
Some protein bar brands that are better choices include:
- Julian Bakery’s Paleo Protein Bars
- Chomps Meat Sticks
- Epic Provisions Meat Bars, Sticks, and Jerky
- Epic Performance Bars
- Tanka Bars
Protein bars can be a convenient and healthy snack option, but choosing the right kind is essential. When selecting a protein bar, look for one that contains high-quality protein, and natural ingredients and is free of additives and artificial ingredients. Reading the ingredients list is essential to ensure a healthy and nutritious snack. It is important to know what’s really in your protein bar and when in doubt, reach for a grass-finished wholefoods meat bar, which can be a great source of high-quality protein and healthy fats.
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