Protein Bars: What to look for?

Protein Bars: What to look for? hover background

Many of us live hectic lives and do not always have time to sit down and enjoy a solid meal. In these situations, we look for something quick and convenient to hold us over until our next meal.  Some of the most popular items in these situations are protein bars. They are advertised as healthy and nutritious, so they are obviously a great alternative to a full meal, right? Not entirely; the truth is that these types of bars can be a useful snack in certain situations. However, many of these bars are loaded with calories, fats, and sugars and have nutritional profiles eerily similar to that of a candy bar. You must be very careful when choosing a suitable protein bar.

 

 

What should you look for?

When inspecting the nutrition facts on protein bars, there are certain things that you want to pay special attention to, including calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, sugar, and fiber.

 

 

Calories:

Protein bars range in calories from 100 to above 400; so they can take up a large part of an individual’s daily caloric needs. Protein bars are not likely to fill you up or keep you satisfied relative to a solid meal. Consequentially, they should be used sparingly in your diet. When choosing a nutritious bar, you will want to limit the number of calories as such as possible; you should look for bars with 100 to 200 calories. 

 

 

Protein:

Protein is another important component that you need to consider, both in terms of amount and source.  In your bar, you will want to look for more than 10 grams of protein, but the closer you can get to 20 grams, the better it is. In terms of source, you want to check the ingredients and look for protein that comes from whey sources, while trying to avoid proteins that come from soy sources. Whey protein is thought to be better absorbed in the body and have a more favorable amino acid profile.

 

 

Fat:

It is recommended that you consume 20 to 30% of your daily calories from fat. But you should limit saturated fats to less than 10% of your daily calories. In you bars, you should look for less than 5 grams of fat; ideally, there would be no saturated fats, but look for ones with less than 2 grams. 

 

 

Carbohydrates and Sugar:

Carbohydrates are an essential part of our diet, making up 45 to 65% of our daily calories. While lower carb bars are better, there are not many with less than 12 grams per bar. It is more important to limit the amount of sugar in the bars rather than the total number of carbs. You should look for bars that contain less than 6 grams of sugar.

 

 

Fiber:

Fiber is an important part of our diet that aids in digestion and helps keep us feeling full after a meal. The USDA recommends getting 25-30 grams of fiber a day. So you should look for a bar with a minimum of 3 grams of fiber. 

 

 

Summary of what to look for in a Protein Bar:

Nutrient

How much?

Calories

Between 100-200

but preferably closer to 100

 

Protein

At least 10 grams protein,

But closer to 20 grams protein is better

 

Total Fat; Saturated Far

Less than 5 grams Total Fat;

Less than 2 grams of saturated fat

 

Carbohydrates;   Sugar

Less than 25 grams of total carbs;

Less than 6 grams of sugar

 

Fiber

At least 3 grams of fiber

 

 

No bar is going to be perfect in every category, but here are some of the best ones to try:

Name of Bar

Calories

Protein

Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbs

Sugar

Fiber

Quest Bar

Quest Bar

170

20

5

0

24

3

18

Think Thin Lean Protein & Fiber BarsThink Thin Bar

180

13

7

3

23

2

5

Oh Yeah! Good Grab BarsOh Yeah! Grab Bars

190

14

9

3

18

4

3

Pure Protein BarPure Protein Bar

180

21

4.5

3

17

3

2

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