Protein bars used to be a snack for those mega-muscular guys in the weight room, but with more and more products on the market targeting women, they are fast becoming a purse staple. They’re convenient, tasty, and boast high amounts of protein – what’s not to love, right?
But here’s the problem with protein bars…
The majority of products on the market are often made with poor quality protein powders like soy, which not only spells disaster for your sex hormones and thyroid function, but are very poorly absorbed in the gut. This causes gas, bloating and other digestive issues, and if something doesn’t digest well, it’s not going to produce a great result.
Secondly, you need to consider the calories. Most of these bars may only be the size of a snack, but flip over the label and you’ll see they contain upwards of 400 calories and 30g sugar per bar – that’s a meal! Even if the label screams “paleo” “raw” “organic” or “natural”, for that amount of sugar, you might as well eat a Snickers.
“But what about the low sugar, low calorie bars? They fit my macros!”
Well, that may be the case, but for optimal body composition, food QUALITY matters too. If these bars don’t contain sugar, what are they replacing that sugar with? Usually artificial sweeteners and alcohol sugars that trick the brain into thinking you’re consuming something sweet and delicious. Not only do these synthetic sweeteners cause digestive distress, but they can also signal an immune response leading to inflammation. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners are proven neurotoxins, which is a poison that affects your nervous system.
So, are protein bars healthy? Depends. Consider the calories and where they fit in your diet, and consider the ingredients. Are there better choices out there? Absolutely.
In my opinion, if you’re looking to get lean, build muscle and perform better, ditch the protein bars and opt for REAL food instead.