How to pick a good Protein Bar
When you’re in a rush, a protein bar could be just the thing for you.
Not all protein bars are made the same way and while some will help you reach your muscle building and fat loss goals, an equal number will detour you down the other pathway.
Here are some things you should be looking for in a protein bar, that will help make the best decision possible.
(1) Look at the total calorie count.
If you’re on a fat loss diet, downing a 400 calorie protein bar isn’t exactly going to make fat loss easy.
If you only have a total of 1200 calories that day to take in, that’s a third wasted on this snack!
You’d be far better off filling those 400 calories with 6 ounces of fish, half a cup of rice, and 2 cups of steamed vegetables.
On the flip side, if your goal is to build lean muscle mass and you’re struggling each day to get enough calories in, a 400 calorie protein bar may seem like a heaven-sent.
It’s important that you always look at the calorie level of the protein bar you’re choosing because they can be highly variable, all the way from a mere 70 calories in the Promax bar to massive 484 calories in the VPX Zero Impact Bar.
It is easy to see from this illustration that mistaking one for the other could very rapidly cancel out any fat loss progress for the day or provide very little benefit for muscle building.
Good alternative bars for those who are seeking fat loss include Bio Nutritional Power Crunch or Choklat Crunch Bars,Apex Protein Cookies, or EAS Myoplex Life Bars. These have fewer calories but still contain a good dose of protein..
(2) Look for the total number of Carbohydrates
For someone who is looking to lose fat, you probably don’t want to go much over about 30 grams of carbs per bar, and this could even be too high depending on your overall diet protocol.
If you’re using the bar immediately after a workout, then you can afford more carbohydrates since the main objective at this time is to have a high carbohydrate intake.
When this is the case though and the protein bar is your post-workout meal, then you’ll also want to try and choose a bar that’s as low in fat as possible, since fat should be avoided during this time period.
(3) Watch for the presence of sugar alcohols
When you’re choosing a protein bar that is low in total carbohydrate count, then the next thing you need to be sure you look for is the presence of sugar alcohols. While many people will have no problem tolerating these, some can have major issues with sugar alcohols.
Some of the things that can occur include bloating, diarrhea, cramps, and bad gas. You will have to try them out for yourself to see if you react this way, but if you don’t these can be a very helpful fat loss aid.
(4) Keep the high frustose corn syrup low on the list of ingredients
After checking out the calorie and carb counts, then look down and glance through the ingredient listings. The big thing to watch for here is the form of carbohydrates contained in the protein bar. Ideally you want to avoid high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup.
Many bars will have some corn fructose syrup in them, but if it’s lower on the list this will be a better choice than a bar that has it listed as the second or third ingredient (if it’s the first ingredient, you should probably put this one back).
“IDEALLY YOU WANT TO AVOID HIGH AMOUNTS OF HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.”
(5)Look at the dietary fat content
Next, also be sure you check out the fat content to be sure on that too. Unless you are using the protein bar post-workout as mentioned above, it’s a good idea to find a bar that does contain some fat since this will slow down the release of the carbs into the blood stream and make it more balanced overall.
Just watch the level of saturated or trans fat, aiming to keep those as low as possible. If you can find a good bar with a healthy amount of dietary fat this will make for a far better addition to your diet plan and will definitely be a smarter choice than a granola bar that can contain trans fats.
(6) Look at the Protein to Carb Ratio
Make sure to check out the carbs to protein ratio of the protein bar. This is important because you want be sure the protein content is high enough when compared to the carbohydrates.
If there are far more carbs than protein, you aren’t really doing much better than the cereal bars found in the grocery store.
The best scenario for fat loss will be a 2:1 ratio of protein to carbs. Then if you’re looking to build muscle or use the bar after a workout, you’ll want to get closer to a 1:2 ratio.
Protein bars are quick and convenient, choose wisely and they can be a great thing to have on hand when you are on the go…