Body-builders aren’t the only ones taking over the fitness and wellness industry. By 2025, industry experts expect to see all types of athletes contributing to its projected growth of $48.77 billion. Among the sector’s top benefactors is the renowned protein bar, now available to the commonplace consumer in every corner store and market.
However, not every protein bar will deliver on its promise. Learn how to navigate myths and musts in this comprehensive guide to these nutrient-packed goodies.
If a protein bar tastes just like your favorite chocolate snack, it’s probably rife with sugar, glucose, sorbitol, and glycerol—virtually a sugar party. As high as your run-of-the-mill protein bar is in the protein itself, it may also contain excess levels of artificial sweeteners.
Don’t let a protein-boosted version of a Mars or Snickers bar fool you. Some contain over three teaspoons of sugar—over 50% of the recommended daily intake. Allow yourself the freedom to satisfy your chocolate bar cravings with real cacao, but don’t let the promise of “added protein” get the best of you.
Low-calorie protein bars exist for a reason—they’re a better alternative to most breakfast/on-the-go bars, which are often very high in calories. Protein bars certainly contain enough calories to keep you fueled, but they are also low in sugar and saturated fats. Thus, athletes looking to curb sweet tooth cravings can comfortably do so.
Keep in mind that while high-calorie bars won’t factor into weight gain, they may not support weight loss either. If you love a regular post-workout snack, take note of how much you’re consuming. Remember, losing weight demands a calorie-deficit diet.
When it comes to the vast majority of protein bars, health credentials will vary tremendously. Most athletes will consume a protein bar to help restore muscle mass after a session at the gym. However, you’ll need at least 20g of protein to do so.
Despite high-protein labels, not every product will contain this minimum amount. Keep an eye out for bars with at least 20g of protein, less than 5g of sugar, and a range that provides the daily minimum for all nine essential vitamins and minerals.
Though protein bars themselves aren’t health foods, they do complement a balanced diet. On the whole, they’re a convenient meal supplement and will allow you to achieve your daily protein target. They’ll keep you fuller than the standard Butterfinger and are often genuinely tasty.
Protein bars make an excellent addition to any diet, given that you take the time to look over its nutritional information. The best way to obtain protein is from primary food sources, but you can boost your intake with high-quality protein bars in order to meet your daily requirements.
Some protein bars will cater to specific diets, such as Paleo or Atkins. If you need to, you might even come across a protein bar for Keto! Whatever the case, the best protein bar is low in sugar, nutrient-dense, free of harmful additives, and delicious.
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