Protein is an integral part of a person’s health; not just for workouts but for one’s overall body. The jury is still out on the best type of protein but from a personal standpoint, I try to stick to lean proteins, like fish and chicken. The frequent consumption of beef and red meats tend to lead to potential health concerns that I won’t get into here, so let’s not jump on the vegetarian band-wagon, shall we?
My point is that if you exercise consistently, you may seek out additional protein to supplement your diet. Some folks will consume whey protein in a daily shake. Since I’m a fan of consuming a shake as my first meal in the morning, I’m fine with this and there are certainly enough varieties of whey protein on the market to have something for everyone (provided you do your research and consume what’s right for you).
Protein bars can be an easy and effective way of getting your added protein punch, but it’s important to be wary of the bars you buy. If you’re anything like me, the amount of protein contained in the bar will be the first thing your eyes go to. But if you’re not careful, you may catch yourself getting more than what you bargained for. A good example was on a recent trip to a bulk retail location where I wanted to purchase a bulk package of protein bars. For mornings when I don’t have time to make lunches AND prepare a breakfast smoothie, a protein bar can be an easy go-to.
As I was walking down the aisle and trying to decide which brand to purchase, I was watching the front of the box for the protein count. I was pleasantly surprised and excited when i saw a box that boasted over 30 grams of protein per bar! I quickly grabbed a box and dumped it in my cart, satisfied that I had gotten what I was looking for. It wasn’t until we were lingering in a different section that I had the opportunity to pick up the box and start looking at the ingredients.
I should start by pointing out that these bars were chocolate-covered. Alright, chocolate isn’t some all-encompassing devil that needs to be avoided at all costs, but it’s an unnecessary source of sugar and fat. And for Type-1 Diabetics, chocolate is a bit of a nightmare, because it takes a long time for the body to process, so you with won’t notice the blood sugar spike right away, or it will take forever for chocolate to help correct a low. So it’s important to point out that a chocolate covered protein bar is basically a high-protein candy bar, with many of the same pitfalls as simply eating a candy bar.
According to an article posted by HealthLine.com, “Some protein bars are so high in calories and added sugar that they might as well be in the candy aisle.” The article goes on to explain some of the content of various protein bars, including the addition of sweetness to enhance the flavour of the bar. Some of these sweeteners can add an extra amount of oomph to the overall calorie and carb count, making it an unhappy start to your day. If this is the case, you may be better to lean on some other protein-rich foods, such as cheese, hard-boiled eggs, nuts or lean meats.
Protein bars are a subjective purchase, depending on what your overall goal is. They won’t necessarily replace a meal, but they can do in a pinch. I favour Quest bars. They come in at about 200 calories, which is great for helping me get to lunch, and have 21 grams of carbohydrates but 14 grams of that is fibre, leaving me with only 7 grams to bolus for. At 21 grams of protein, it sits at the higher end of things and provides a small hit of calcium and only 8 grams of fat.
The important thing is to read your nutrition labels carefully and choose based on your health, fitness goals and overall bodily requirements. Remember that not all bars are created equal and nothing is more important than your health, so read carefully. And once you find a protein bar that suits your requirements, enjoy! Some of them have some interesting flavours that can add a bit of satisfaction to your day. And your workouts. Food for thought… (pun intended) ☯️