When you are busy with a full-on training schedule and meal prep, sometimes its nice to just enjoy a quick and easy protein bar. But with the health and fitness industry booming and every company releasing their own brand and flavour of protein bar, it can be hard to know which one is best and actually beneficial. Some bars have so much sugar and so little protein, you might as well eat a chocolate bar.
It is important to know what to look for when picking a bar… Here are a few tips…
1. High protein content
It seems everything is being labelled as ‘high protein’ these days, including, yoghurt, ice-cream, cereal, cookies, bread and even chocolate bars. High protein is definitely a good thing, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, heaps muscles recover and aids in fat lose. But it’s the percentage of protein per serve that you need to be looking at. Most bars are around 50-60g in total, so you want your protein per serve to be at least 15g, ideally 20-30g. That means you are getting a good hit of protein for your dollar.
2. Low carbs
Carbs are often used to ‘pad out’ the bar, make it more filling for a cheaper price, instead of filling it with the more expensive protein. If you are trying to lose weight, the percentage of carbs should be less than the percentage of protein, around 15g. However, if you are looking to gain muscle, the percentage of carbs can be higher, approximately 25g.
3. Low sugar
Some protein bars have as much sugar as a chocolate bar. Some sugars that are found naturally in foods are ok, however the added sugars found in protein bars are highly processed and unhealthy. Ideally the amount of sugar should be less than 5g per serve.
Some fat is ok and even necessary, however you want to avoid any bars that are high in trans fat and saturated fat, such as palm oil. These fats contain a large amount of unwanted calories that the body simply stores as fat. However, a nut bar may contain a higher percentage of fat, due to the healthy fat in the nuts.
5. Less is more
When it comes to ingredients, less is more. Ideally, you would be able to identify all of the ingredients listed and it would mostly be natural ingredients. Common ingredients include:
- Whey protein
- Milk solids
Remember, different flavours of the same brand of protein bar have very different ingredients. Always read the back of the bar and look at the percentage of ingredients per serve. Choose wisely…