What is a protein/snack bar?
Protein bars are a type of energy bar that contains a higher ratio of protein to carbohydrate. The bars are ideal for fitness enthusiasts looking for optimum muscle repair and growth. Some protein bars are designed to act as a meal replacement for consumers wishing to lose weight. It’s important, however, to note that permanent long-term weight loss is often a result of a combination of diet and exercise. Although protein bars are widely known to aid in weight loss, it is recommended that you consult your doctor or nutritionist before adopting a weight loss program.
Protein bars are convenient for those with a busy lifestyle. Many individuals often stop by the fast-food drive-thru for a quick meal or snack which, over time, can add undesirable inches on the waistline. Protein bars travel well so they make a more nutritious substitute to fast food meals. By choosing a protein bar over a hamburger, consumers are able to enjoy the benefits of protein without the harmful effects of cholesterol and saturated fats. Besides being high in protein, they are low in sodium and usually fortified with minerals and vitamins for optimum health.
Although protein bars are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, they hardly take the place of nutritious vegetables and fruits. Not only do they provide the same vitamins and minerals, but they also nourish the body with an abundance of photochemical, bioflavonoids, and fiber. Another disadvantage of protein bars is the taste. Not all protein bars taste good and the ones that do may be loaded with sugar, defeating the purpose of losing weight.
When choosing a protein bar, it helps to review the nutrition label as not all protein bars are created equal. According to the website Diet Surf, some bars contain stimulants such as caffeine or herbal supplements which can affect your lifestyle. If you find that caffeine gives you jitters, choose a bar without ingredients you know will inhibit your sleep pattern. Some protein bars are also high in saturated fats and include palm or hydrogenated oils. Ideally, they should have no more than 2 or 3 g of these fats. Another consideration is that high protein diets over an extended period of time may prove harmful to your health. According to MayoClinic.com, high protein diets may result in nutritional deficiencies, an increased risk of heart disease, and a worsening of liver and kidney activities.
Protein bars in lieu of a proper meal may aid in weight loss, but that may be due primarily to a decrease in calories rather than to the bar itself. Many protein bars are less than 300 calories, which is the number of calories typical of a snack, not a meal. If given the choice between a higher calorie, but more nutritionally dense, salad and a protein bar, the salad might offer greater benefits. If your options are between the drive-thru and the protein bar, however, the bar may prove just as satisfying with fewer calories. If a boost of protein is needed in your diet, consider options naturally high in protein such as fish, soy products, or nuts.