Everybody knows life can get busy! That’s why so many of us are relying on fast foods, snacks, and power drinks to get through the day. But, the truth is any or all of that can quickly do away with all your fitness and weight management goals.
But, what about protein bars? Are they good for you? Can you use protein bars to stay on top of your fitness and weight goals? The fact is, it’s vital to know right away that all these supplement bars just aren’t created equal. Some are great for staying fit, and some are not healthy at all.
Some Protein Bars Are Junk Food
Depending on the brand there is a wide range of nutritional values ranging from just more junk food to quite healthy. In fact, some of the bars have so much sugar, that you just as well eat ice cream.
Check Out Our Post for the Best Protein Bars
So, before you reach for a a protein bar for more energy or to supplement a meal, it’s important to make sure it will benefit your goals and is actually good for you. You don’t want to supplement your diet with something that will derail your fitness and weight goals along with your health.
How To Tell The Difference?
Read on to discover the secrets to choosing the best protein bars that are healthy and will enhance your fitness goals.
Consider The Calories
Even if you aren’t into counting calories it’s good to know how many calories are involved before reaching for it. I can assure you that if you are trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy weight, a protein bar with 400 calories is bad news.
The key behind any fat loss diet is calories consumed vs calories used for energy, so taking in 400 calories from a supplement bar is from a bad source. With that scenario, the best option is to read the labels and chose something on the lower end of the calorie count. Ideally you want something that’s around 70 calories.
But what if you’re not on a weight loss diet, and instead are working on a lean muscle campaign? Well, if you’re building lean muscle you need more calories for the increased energy exertion and nutrition for muscle tissue. A 400 calorie protein bar can then be a good choice to help achieve your goals.
When you start investigating nutrition labels, you’ll find that carbohydrate counts are just as big a variable as calories. When it comes to losing fat, sticking with a choice that includes fewer than 30g of carbs is a must.
However, when eating a protein bar immediately after exercise or a workout, the carbs aren’t all bad. They will provide an energy boost, as well as help with muscle repair and recovery.
You really need to check on the ingredients themselves when making the best choices.
The key thing to remember is this: The less ingredients the better. You’ll find that the fewer the ingredients, the more natural ingredients, which is a good thing. If you can’t pronounce or identify a long list of ingredients, the best thing is to put it back and check on another.
Healthy ingredients make for a healthy you, and something made with a long list of chemicals is unhealthy. Whey, calcium casemate, p-protein, and brown rice are high in amino acids and healthy. On the other hand, soy is lower in the amino acids you need for muscle building and repair.
It’s going to be hard to find one without sugar, and some is ok. What you don’t want are supplements with sugar as one of the first ingredients listed. Neither do you want one with a lot of sugar in it. The ones with high sugar content serve to undo and go against everything a better choice can do for your health.
Carbohydrate To Protein Ratio
A good way to look at the value of supplement bars is to take into account the protein to carb ratio, and they’re all different.
If you think about it, you were looking for a bar for the protein content in the first place, right? That’s why making sure you are going to get more protein than both chemicals and carbohydrates.
If the goal is losing fat, look for something with either 2:1 or 1:1 protein to carb ratio. However, if you’re weightlifting for more muscle mass, a ratio of 1:2 is ok.
When to Eat a Protein Bar?
First of all, you don’t want to eat too many each day or try to live on them. Eating them at the wrong time won’t be nearly as beneficial to your fitness or weight loss goals, either.
The best times are mid morning, mid afternoon, or immediately after a workout or exercise session. Even though I’m not against using them for a meal replacement from time to time, you can overdo that scenario. They don’t have all the nutrition you need, and are supposed to be consumed as supplements not meals. So, using them incorrectly is not only unhealthy, but severely decreases the benefits of an otherwise huge benefit to your own goals.
No matter what kind of supplement you’re taking, whether it be a bar or shake, always read the label and know what you are getting.
Knowing how to use protein bars to reach your fitness or weight goals can be hugely important to your overall success. So, chose wisely to stay fit and healthy.