Donnerstag, 29. Mai 2014

Protein bars: Yay or nay?

Hey there!
Have you heard that Quest bar has been sued for mislabeling the nutrient values on their bars? The bars actually contain a larger amount of calories and lesser amounts of dietary fibre, meaning they understated their calories by 20% and the dietary fibers by more than 750%.

Well now I ask myself 'are protein bars good or not, when I want to lose weight or get shredded?'
It's not so easy to choose a protein bar when you are in a shop because there are just far too many of them and it's difficult to figure out which one is the best one or if you should even bother eating one at all...
To make your decision a bit easier ask yourself if it's for additional protein, a little snack on the go , a post-workout meal or simply because you are greedy and don't want to eat a snickers?

Here some Pros and Cons of energy bars:


  • They help meet your caloric needs
  • ''            ''           your nutritional needs, especially if you want to get more calcium, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B12, folic acid,protein or fiber.
  • They are handy and pre-packaged
  • They don't require refrigeration , meaning they have a long shelf 'life'
  • Energy bars or Protein bars can easily lead you to an excessive intake of nutrients , especially when you are eating more than one bar a day. Instead of eating too much of those bars, try and get yourself a multivitamin supplement or any other enriched food or beverage. 
  • Another problem with over-supplementation can vary from intestinal discomforts to even liver disease. 
  • Too much calories. Normally protein bars or energy bars are just too high in calories which will directly lead you to a higher caloric intake, which in addition can lead to weight gaining. Not so cool hum?
  • Even though a protein bar costs from 2-4€ only, they can still become a major expense on your grocery bill. If a bar only costs 2€ and you eat one every day that makes already 14€ in one week and 56€ in one month.  That's a lot of money...
  • You can get abdominal discomforts because some energy bars, especially the low-sugar or low-carb varieties, contain sugar alcohol which can cause bloating , gas and diarrhea.
  • You get no real data, meaning there is only a little research to support the actual need for those bars. They are no magical food, magical food only exists in my fairy world (hehe), and they should definitely not be used as a constant replacement for whole meals in your diet. 
  • Protein bars are full of processed foods, whereas your diet should mostly contain unprocessed foods, which are healthier. 
  • Some bars also contain additional herbal ingredients and no research (on the bar) tells you whether they are effective or not.Plus, they can result in dangerous allergic and drug interactions. Not very cool when you are sitting in a bus, nibbling on your bars and transforming into a balloon...Sound a bit funny but that's not funny at all!
You see, there are more cons than pros on protein bars... But still, I don't want you to throw all your bars away , nor do I want you to never touch a bar again...

If you want meal replacement bars, make sure that they contain:

- 200-300 calories
- 2.5 to 5 grams of fiber
- Less than 2.5 grams saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat
- Less than 20 grams of sugar 
about 30% of you RDA for vitamins and minerals 
- About 40% carbs (meaning 20-30grams)
- 30% protein (15-22 grams)
- 30% fat (7-10 %)

For an afternoon snack they should have :

- 150-200 calories
- 1.5 grams of fiber
- Less than 15 grams of sugar
- Less than 2 grams saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat
- +/- 30% of your RDA for vitamins and minerals
- 40-60% carbs (15-30grams)
- 20-30% protein (7-15 grams)
- 20-30% fat (3-7 grams or less)

If they are for workout fuel:

- Look for a meal replacement bar, meaning at least 30grams of carbs, 10 grams(or even more) of protein and 5-10 gram of fat. 

If you are like me, a 'nay-sayer' to bars, here are some alternatives:

  • Fresh fruits: apples, oranges, pears, plums, grapes, bananas
  • Yogurt 
  • Whole grain crackers, with peanutbutter (nomnomnom)
  • Granola bars
  • Homemade trail mix

I hope that you are now a bit more aware of how many bars you should eat a day and to what you have to pay attention when buying them. 

I wish you a nice rest of the week and see you tomorrow!BYE!

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