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