Friday, July 2, 2010

the facts about protein bars

many of my friends and family members have a go-to nutrition bar to rely on when they are on the go and do not have the time to eat a real meal. for me, i tend to always keep a luna bar in my purse. even when i am caught up in my studying at home and i'm unable to really cook, i turn to luna bars.
with protein bars serving as a huge staple in the lives of many vegetarians, i started to wonder- just how healthy are nutrition bars? and which ones are the healthiest choices?

[the facts]
high in protein and vitamins, protein bars are a great way satisfy your health needs and fill up while you are on the go.  
protein bars are also a great snack for vegetarians, since they can provide you with the protein that you are unable to get in your diet.
however, many protein bars are unable to support their claims- they are not as healthy as their advertisements would lead you to believe. in fact, only 1 out of 12 protein bars actually meet the requirements to be considered a protein bar. many bars are packed with as much sugar and saturated fats as a candy bar. if you are shopping blind, without reading the labels, you may end up with just another chocolate bar instead of the nutritious and healthy bar you were wanting. 

[know what you're looking for in your bars]
so what should you look for when shopping for your protein bar?
the first thing you need to do to is determine that you are looking at protein bars. there are three bar types- each created to meet a particular need. however, if you are not careful, you can easily pick up a meal replacement bar instead of a protein bar.
a protein bar is created to provide you with additional protein for your dietary needs, and to provide you with extra vitamins. you will typically find 15-35 grams of protein in every protein bar.
an energy bar is usually high in fiber or protein to provide you with an extra energy boost. these bars often have fewer than 10 grams of protein and are low in carbohydrates.
a meal-replacement bar is meant to replace a meal, and so will often have a high calorie content of around 200-500 calories. these bars are high in protein (15-20 grams) and have 30 grams of carbs and 5 to 10 grams of fat.

[choosing your protein bar]
the best protein bars will be made with soy, milk and whey products. these mixtures of ingredients enable the bars to provide you with three different types of protein. whey protein (a popular type of protein among body builders) reduces your appetite and improves glucose regulation. milk protein will reduce body fat and improve lean muscle mass. and protein from soy will reduce your risk for heart disease.
when looking for your protein bar, be sure to check the content of saturated fat. a good bar will have fewer than 5 grams of saturated fat. 
also be sure to check the calorie content. you will see many bars with 500 calories, which needs to be avoided. there are protein bars that have fewer than 200 calories and can still provide you with 15 grams of protein. you do not need to sacrifice calories in order to obtain all of the protein you need for your diet. 

[best protein bars]
permalean protein bars provide 21 grams of protein for under 190 calories. if you have a difficult time fitting any protein in your diet, these bars are the best choice for you.
clif bars are a popular type of protein bars among the health nuts. they often have 11 grams of protein and 230 calories. 
luna bars are the women's only type of protein bars, with an average of 9 grams of protein, 180 calories and nutrients that cater specifically to women.

No comments:

Post a Comment