Most protein bars on the market actually contain less protein than carbs and sugar. They may as well be a Snickers. Let's discuss what to watch out for, your goal body with thank you.
Protein is essential for burning fat, gaining muscle, and maintaining your muscle. So naturally protein bars make great tools to ensure you're hitting your protein goal and feeling full in between meals. A healthy protein bar will earn its namesake and contain more protein than other nutrients. However, it's quite common to see easily accessible protein bars contain more sugar than protein. Yes...the average protein bar in the grocery aisle will contain a whopping 20g-25g of sugar. That's as much as a Snickers and more than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
The high carb content is due to the fact that these faux protein bars are usually loaded with sugar. Yes... sugar is a carb, it is addictive, and consuming too much sugar can be a disaster for your fitness progress. Excess sugar consumption can lead to excess fat storage and accidental overeating. The American Heart Association states that the average woman should consume no more than 25g of sugar in a day. Those 25 grams should consist primarily of the natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. So imagine my dismay to see one of these faux protein bars containing 20-25g of sugar a piece.
Steer clear of the grocery aisle...
There are plenty of protein bar manufacturers that have figured out how to create delicious formulas that contain very little sugar, high protein, moderate fat, and moderate carbs. The catch is, these bars typically aren't readily available in your grocery store or gas station like their egregious sugar-laced counterparts.
Faux protein bars are most commonly found in the grocery aisle. There, snack companies attempted to keep up with the high protein nutritional trend by adding a bit of protein to their already high sugar high carb snack bars. Some grocery stores do have a nutrition aisle where you may find more macro friendly bar options. Otherwise, your best bet is a health supplements store. However, your best bet to get a good price on bulk quantities is to grab them online.
Read the label...
Regardless of where you do your shopping, you can safely avoid any of these marketing traps by remembering to read the nutrition labels. Make sure the main macronutrient is protein and the bar has less than 4g of sugar. Solid protein bars will have over 20g of protein and less than 10g of fat per bar.
Remain vigilant, there are a surprising number of "health foods" on the market that when left unchecked can stall or reverse your fitness progress. Remember a protein bar should contain mostly protein, because anything less is just a candy bar.