Mindfully Match Your Protein Bar to Your Health Goals

When hunger strikes, the grab-and-go protein bar is a typical solution for most individuals. The purpose of this convenience store staple is to help you target your specific dietary goals. Protein bars are intended as a nutritional supplement, not as a meal nor even as a mindless snack. Challenge the notion that any bar is a healthy bar; mindfully read its nutritional facts and ingredients and decide on your own what is a right bar for you.

The daily protein recommendation is approximately 0.36 grams times your body weight and the average protein bar contains between 10-30 grams of protein. A person who weighs 110 lbs should consume 39 grams of protein; for those with active lifestyles, the protein needs rise from 0.54 grams to 0.90 grams times your weight, respectively. These protein averages could be met by investing in protein bars. Be mindful how fats, carbohydrates, sugars, and fibers play a role in your dieting agenda too. Do the contents of a bar match your lifestyle goal or will it be used as a “one-off’ fix for hunger pangs?

Many reasons may cause you to reach for a protein bar, such as hunger to weight-loss incentives. For weight-loss, choose low-carb, high protein, and high fiber bars (fiber slows digestion to help you stay fuller longer). Protein bars coupled with a diet low in carbohydrates will allow the body to reach ketosis, which will allow you to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. For muscle formation, choose bars with more protein and carbohydrates--and if you’d like energy for optimal exercise performance, KIND bars is an excellent choice.

Be mindful of artificial sweeteners called sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are not digestible and therefore count against a protein bar’s total carbohydrates, and many of them can cause abdominal discomfort. Some bars are made with so many sugar alcohols that they comprise more than 80% of the total carbohydrates.

The Bottom Line:

  1. For effective results, choose a specific bar for a specific goal.

  2. Use bars as a supplement, not as a meal replacement.

  3. Bars are most useful to be used in conjunction with exercise.

  4. If you will be eating protein bars specifically for muscle building or weight-loss, choose healthier options such as organic, or plant-based ones.

  5. Just because a product is labeled “organic,” doesn’t mean it’s right for you. The word “organic” may spark an automatic positive response, but always question it! Study the label and use quantitative facts as a nutritional shopping guide.

“Protein: 30 Healthy, High-Protein Foods.” Healthline, Healthline Media, www.healthline.com/health/protein#18. Medically Reviewed by Natalie Olsen, RD, LD, ACSM EP-C. July 10, 2017.