Are Protein Bars Really Healthy?
There is no easier way to increase your protein intake than simply grabbing a protein bar. Whether you want a quick snack before or after your workout, don’t have time for a meal, or simply enjoy a ‘healthy’ treat, a protein bar can help. However, is making protein bars your go-to snack option a good idea? Let’s find out!
Protein bars are a no-hassle protein source. Not only are they tasty, but they can also help you build muscles, repair muscles, and even lose weight! However, your protein bar may not really be healthy. In this article, read all about protein bars and discover why some can do more harm than good.
What are Protein Bars?
There are many advantages to eating a vegan protein-rich diet. It helps build new muscles and aids internal repair work in your body. In addition, protein is a source of energy that is digested slower than carbohydrates. So, more protein in your meals will make you feel satiated for longer.
Thanks to the convenience it provides, protein bars have become an easy way to increase protein intake. Not only do these nutrition bars offer proteins, but they also contain fibre and vitamins. What’s more, protein bars can also provide the goodness of micronutrients like potassium and calcium. On top of all the nutritional goodness, most protein bars are also delicious.
Adverse Effects of Not Choosing the Right Protein Bars
Despite all of its amazing benefits, there are a few downsides to protein bars if not chosen correctly. Below, let’s look at how some protein bars may negatively impact your health and how you could choose a healthy one.
Added Sugar in Protein Bars
First of all, you need to acknowledge that not all protein bars are created equal. From one brand to another, these nutrition bars may vary immensely in terms of the quality of ingredients, sugar content, and health benefits.
The rising demand for protein bars has led hundreds of brands to start selling protein bars. In their attempt to grab a slice of the market share, they sometimes fail to keep the customer’s health in mind.
A healthy protein bar, like IQBar, will typically flaunt the goodness of ingredients such as oats, stevia, dates, nuts, quinoa and unsweetened chocolate. However, there are also plenty of protein bars that use unhealthy sweeteners. No wonder most protein bars are sweeter than candy.
Unhealthy sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup contain lots of added sugar, which will negate the positive impacts of eating protein bars. Moreover, high fructose protein bars can contribute to obesity, diabetes, or fatty liver when consumed regularly.
This is rather concerning. Protein bars that have high added sugar are also high in calories. Over time, the protein snack can cause weight gain.
Concentrated Proteins in Protein Bars
Some protein bars use whey and soy that have been overly processed. The production process used to make these whey and soy protein isolates can expose the products to toxic chemical contamination. The production methods can expose the protein forms to toxic chemicals such as BPA from plastics, heavy metals, and pesticides. So, it is best to avoid any protein bars with highly processed, concentrated proteins.
Protein Powder May Contain Gums and Thickeners
Ever wondered how your protein bar stays so tight and intact? Well, there are very few protein bars that are made without any gums and thickeners. These are emulsifiers that can irritate your gut lining.
That’s not all. Gums and thickeners can also cause inflammatory conditions. While these ingredients are harmful to just about anyone, individuals with colitis or Crohn’s disease must avoid these emulsifiers.
Protein Bars Are Not Meal Replacements
Do you use protein bars as a substitute for one or more of your meals? In that case, no matter which protein bar you are eating, you may have to face a range of health issues. Replacing balanced meals with protein bars is not recommended, as this can cause nutritional deficiencies.
Protein bars are high in protein, but they do not provide the full range of nutrients your body needs to remain healthy. No matter how healthy a snack is, it is never a good idea to replace one of your main meals with a nutrition bar.
Perhaps you can focus on eating healthy and well-balanced meals with nutritious whole foods. You could then consume protein bars as an alternative to sugary snacks, but it is important to select wisely. Choose a protein bar that has low or no sugar and does not have corn syrup or harmful emulsifiers. And if you are a big fan of chocolate, you can satisfy your cravings by having protein bars containing unsweetened chocolate.
How to Choose the Right Protein Bar?
Choosing the right protein bar mainly entails selecting one with good ingredients. Check the label before buying. Any reputed health food brand would have a clear and transparent ingredients label. Some protein bar manufacturers might not show their ingredients on the package label. Some use a combination of ingredients that they do not wish to share with their competitors. With such brands, you will not know what is going into your body. It is always best to choose brands that provide a complete list of ingredients so you can make an informed decision regarding the protein bar you will be eating.
Make sure the protein bar does not contain any extra artificial sweetener or highly processed ingredients. Instead, you can opt for protein bars made from natural fruit flavours. Some other beneficial ingredients in protein bars are the more natural ones like oats, quinoa, dates and other dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and yoghurt powder.
Always select nutrition bars that have a healthy source of protein. Protein choices may include brown rice protein, pea protein and chia seeds. High-quality proteins can contribute essential amino acids and help make and maintain muscle mass.
Proteins are able to synthesise red blood and immune cells. Protein bars with good proteins can help in the manufacturing of enzymes and hormones, and they can also provide energy to form fats and carbohydrates.
A healthy vegan protein bar would use chocolate, coconut oil, and tapioca powder to bind all the ingredients together.
Protein bars are nutritional supplements that are rich in protein and a few other nutrients. Whether or not a protein bar is healthy will depend on a few things.
In general, choosing reputable brands that have clean ingredients is always a good idea. You would want to avoid any protein bars that have a high amount of added sugar. It is also a good idea to steer clear of heavily processed ingredients - especially proteins. Finally, pay heed to what type of binding ingredients were used to keep the protein bar together.
Once you find a good protein bar, you can eat it as an easy snack before workouts, after workouts, or between meals. However, using these protein supplements as an alternative to meals can be detrimental to your health.
Also, remember, as a rule, to always go for products with more active natural ingredients in them, especially when it comes to health supplements or skincare.