What is a 'Good' Protein Bar?

Protein bars are an excellent way to supplement a meal and they are great for post-workout energy and to restore glycogen stores in your muscles.  Due to confusing marketing and advertising, some bars appear ‘healthier’ when really they are horrible.  Ideally I recommend a bar that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and sugars, and is a good source of fiber.  A close 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein is a good example.  Follow this break down of the most common bars.  Keep in mind each flavor can slightly change the nutrition facts, but products are similar by brand.

Clif Builders Protein Bar:

270 calories      30g carb    20g sugar         4g fiber       20g protein

Luna Bar:

170 calories      29g carb    11g sugar         3g fiber         9g protein

Pure Protein:

190 calories      17g carb    2g sugar  6g sugar alcohol  1g fiber 20g protein

*This product exclaims: This product contain sugar alcohols, which may cause gastrointestinal discomfort.  Excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.  In other words, slowly introduce these bars into your regular diet, instead of having 5 a day on the first day.

Pure Protein also offers oatmeal squares, shakes in a can, and protein shots.  I recommend the shakes or the bars, as the oatmeal squares are not quite up to par on the carb/protein ratio.  The protein shots have up to 50g of protein per shot, however the body cannot utilize this much protein in one sitting, so it would not be effective to drink these.

South Beach

This brand is tricky in that some of their products are excellent, but as the brand name has increased, more low quality products are offered.  With the success of the brand name, consumers buy the low quality products without reading the food labels and thus do not experience the same results.

South Beach Cereal/Snack Bars:

140 calories      15g carb           6g sugar       3g fiber 10g protein

South Beach Meal Bars:

180 calories      25g carb           5g sugar       4g fiber 12g protein

*Disclaimer on the product website noted that “Due to changes in product formula and/or government regulations, always refer to the nutrition facts panel on the product package for the most accurate information.”  This statement is common in that the brand is constantly changing to ‘cheapen’ their products yet still offer them at the same price.

Many other products are available, but be sure to read the labels to determine which bar is the best.  Feel free to leave a comment if you believe you have found a good protein bar brand.

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Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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