Protein Bars – Good, Bad Or Ugly?

Protein bars have been around for some time now, but there are more and more entering the market. Go into any WHSmith or supermarket and there’s literally dozens to choose from. So are they really ‘healthy’? The answer is it depends. They’re both good and bad. So below we’ve broken it down for you and provided some advice on what to look out for.

So let’s start with the good.

  • They’re a great convenient ‘snack’ if the alternative is a McDonalds Drive Thru!
  • Protein helps repair and grow muscle tissue, keeps you fuller for longer and stabilises blood sugar levels
  • Many protein bars are low in carbs. High carb bars will spike your insulin levels and leave you feeling hungry faster than protein, so choose the low carb options
  • Some protein bars have a great mix of added nutrients – so can be perfect as a top up

OK – now the bad.

  • Some have such high calorie and sugar content, you might as well eat a Snickers bar! Some have as much as 30 grams of sugar and 400 calories!
  • Like anything, eat too many of them and you’ll gain weight/fat. Just because they’re deemed as healthy, it doesn’t mean you can eat three a day!
  • Some bars have an insane amount of ingredients. The more ingredients, the less ‘good for you’ they are. The rule of thumb is that the first 5 ingredients make up the bulk of any product – so read the label and pay attention

Our advice…

  • DO NOT use protein bars as a meal replacement. There is no substitute for a balanced diet
  • If you do need a protein fix, a protein shake will always be a cleaner option
  • Eat the bars in moderation!
  • And finally, this is what to look for in your protein bar:
    • Minimum of 5 grams of protein per bar
    • Low in sugar – preferably less than 8 grams per bar
    • Low carb – less than 20 grams
    • NO sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners
    • Low calorie – between 150-300 if possible

We’d love to know – what do you think about protein bars? Do you eat them and what’s your favourite brand?

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