Are Pure Protein Bars Healthy What A Nutritionist Wants You To Know
Additional reporting by Kelsey Hampton, MS, RDN, LD, CSSD
Protein bars are a popular food item for meal replacements and post-workout snacks. While choosing food in its whole or less processed state is typically more ideal, the convenience a protein bar offers is hard to beat. Some of the most popular protein bars on the market are Pure Protein bars.
Marketed as a high protein, low carb option, it’s no wonder why this is the go-to bar for many people looking for a quick and easy protein boost. But is it truly a good option? Read on to learn more about what ingredients are in Pure Protein bars, their nutrition information, and whether they’re really as healthy as they seem.
Is It Bad To Eat A Protein Bar Everyday
Protein bars are a popular and convenient way to add more protein to your diet: They’re a great source of vitamins and nutrients and can easily be eaten on the go. But are they actually good for your health?
Most protein bars contain dried fruit, dates, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and other sources of protein like yogurt powder and egg whites. They also tend to be around 150 to 200 calories each and contain 10 to 20 grams of protein. Protein bars can be a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin B, fiber, and iron. They can also help you gain muscle mass and can even promote weight loss. In addition, protein bars can be a good meal replacement or post-workout snack. Sounds good, right? Maybe not.
Since the nutritional composition of protein bars varies across different flavors and brands, it’s a good idea to check the list of ingredients before you make any purchases: some protein bars are so high in calories and added sugar or even high-fructose corn syrup that they might as well be in the candy aisle. This can potentially increase your risk of diabetes, fatty liver disease, and obesity when consumed in excess! Additionally, while the fat in some protein bars often comes from whole nuts and seeds, others use highly processed plant oils, like palm, canola, peanut, or soybean oil.
Whey Protein: Kidney And Liver Function
Even during short-term use, whey protein consumption was found to negatively affect kidney function. In a 2011 study, those who consumed whey protein during the experiment experienced increased plasma urea, urinary volume, and urinary calcium excretion while the pH of urinary citrate decreased. Essentially, this indicates an increased taxing of the kidneys, which marks the first step in kidney disease.In regards to liver function, those who live generally sedentary lives are most affected. Researchers found that when not exercising, the proteins from the whey supplement ended up going to the liver for processinginstead of being used for muscle synthesis. Over time, sedentary participants showed signs of early liver injury. While whey protein is heavily used by athletes, many non-athletes consume it as well. Whey protein can be found in meal replacement shakes and other diet-related food products that promise weight loss or increased muscle mass through food alone. This becomes an issue because consumers are led to believe that whey is akin to a superfood, when in reality it could damage their liver over time.
Nature Valley Coconut Almond Protein Chewy Bars
It may look like your favorite of high protein snacks, GORP in a bar, but what you’re really eating when you chomp down on this Nature Valley bar is more fillers than whole foods. It looks like roasted peanuts and coconut, but more of the protein and fat you see in the nutritionals is from soy protein isolate and palm oil than whole foods.
Raspberry Chocolate Protein Bars
Serves: 8Nutrition: 234 calories, 10.4 g fat, 2.1 g sat fat, 25.7 g carbs, 3.8 g fiber, 14.4 g sugar, 11.8 g protein
Sweet, chewy and brimming with energy, these homemade protein bars are your delicious solution to that pesky 3 p.m. slump. Choose your favorite protein powderwe’re fans of pea proteinand use these bars to swap out your daily sugar-laden granola bar. With just a touch of added honey and zero unnatural sweeteners, these bars get a natural sweet-tart pop of flavor from fresh berries.
Get the recipe from Yummy Healthy Easy.
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Best Overall: Rxbar Chocolate Sea Salt
If you want to feel like you’re eating a decadent salted brownie while meeting all your protein needs, you’ve met your match with an RXBAR. Dubbed a favorite by many of the experts we spoke to, Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian, particularly likes the simplicity of ingredients: “RXBAR does a nice job of making bars out of recognizable ingredients. They are very straightforward on their packaging and tell you that each bar contains dates, nuts, egg whites, and flavors. My personal favorite is the Chocolate Sea Salt, and I find that the 12 grams of protein really keeps me full.”
Are Protein Bars Good For You: The Bottom Line
So, are protein bars healthy? If you find a good one, they can be. But theyre also costly, and not at all necessary. Two things are far better than reaching for these grab-and-go bars: making your own, or getting enough protein from whole foods.
Making your own protein bars is a powerful way to control what youre putting into your body. There are plenty of recipes all over the internet, but youll want to ensure they meet the healthy criteria above.
Better yet, snack on protein-rich whole foods, like a handful of nuts, nut butter with veggie sticks, a hard-boiled egg, an avocado, or try some of Dr. Gundrys awesome baked artichoke hearts!
A diet rich in whole food proteins willbe enough to meet your daily protein goals.
Disclosure: The GundryMD team creates these articles as a way to provide you with the latest information on health and nutrition. Unfortunately, we cannot make specific product recommendations for our website visitors, such as ProPlant Complete Shake or Primal Plants Please consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best products for you.
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The Benefits Of Protein Bars
There are a number of benefits to protein bars. Namely, theyre super convenient. You can squirrel some away in your cupboard, backpack, or car trunk so you have them ready whenever you need that extra boost. Theyre ready on the spot, and make for some of the best hiking snacks no need to refrigerate, heat, fuss or fidget. In addition, here are a few more benefits of protein bars:
Macronutrient Balance: Protein bars vary from manufacturer, but in general, they tend to offer a better balance of macronutrients than shakes. Again, it depends on the shake your using or what youre adding to it. But if youre using a protein powder for your shake, youll get a dose of protein, but fewer fat and carbs on average than you will from a protein bar. For instance, the Exo Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Bar provides a combo of 10 g protein, 15 g fat, and 27 g of carbohydrate.
Satiety: Studies have indicated that chewing solid food is more satiating than getting your calories in liquid form. Thats one of the reasons carbohydrate rich beverages are so risky they provide a load of calories, but theyre not very satiating. So, feeling unsatisfied, you reach for more. One of the reasons bars are also satiating, is that they tend to have more fiber. Bars with 3 grams of fiber or more per serving will help you to feel more full. Exo protein bars range from 4 – 16 grams of fiber.
How To Choose A Whey Protein Bar
If youre looking for the best whey protein bars, you cant go wrong with buying one at a nutrition store or even an online sports nutrition store. You can find everything from flavored whey drinks to whole food whey protein bars to sports whey protein bars and thats the key to choosing the best whey. Of course, choosing a whey protein bar doesnt have to be difficult here are some tips on how to choose a whey protein bar:
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Protein Powder Vs Protein Bar: Price And Availability
Neither protein powder, nor protein bars are expensive and are available both online and offline. Protein bars are probably more expensive than similar-sized chocolate bars but also a 100-times healthier so they are worth the premium.
Many protein powder manufacturers now offer unique protein powder mix based on your DNA. NGX Nutrition has such a service, while others, such as Bio-Synergy, offer DNA and epigenetics test on which a free workout and meal planner is based to achieve one of the four ‘dynamic health objectives’ you might have. Bulk Labs also does a ‘Diet & Nutrition’ DNA test that offers 29 diet and nutrition insights based on your DNA. Needless to say, these DNA tests and DNA-based protein mixes are more expensive than your average bag of protein powder.
Best For Weight Loss: Primal Kitchen Almond Spice
If you want to lose weight, you’ll want to keep your blood sugar balanced to remove thos dreaded spikes in blood sugar that can leave you hungry. “This bar has 8 grams of protein and minimal sugar, which helps keep blood sugar balanced by preventing a blood sugar spike ,” says King. “This flavor, specially, contains cinnamon. Cinnamon has been shown to improve fasting blood sugar levels, making it a great addition for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin sensitivity, and those with PCOS experiencing blood sugar irregularities.”
No Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars
Serves: 8Nutrition: 120 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 11 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 9 g protein
Whipping up a batch of these no-bake bars is as easy and fast as it gets, and totally worth it. Flavor boosting cinnamon will stabilize your blood sugar and ward off insulin spikes, meaning they’ll keep you feeling full longer. Pack one or two of these sweet bars for an afternoon snack and you won’t look twice at the break-room vending machine.
Get the recipe from The Healthy Maven.
Why Not Make Your Own
Sometimes, if you want something done right youre better off doing it yourself. Making your own protein bars at home might be the best option if you have a little spare time during the week so that you can create a batch that matches your dietary requirements and optimal nutritional value. Luckily, any Happy Way protein powder can be used to make any protein-filled recipe you like!
Give our raw oat and choc slice protein bar a go-to snack on after a hefty workout to help grow, maintain and repair body and muscle tissues. It is recommended to consume post-workout foods like a protein bar within 45 minutes after you finish your session to decrease the impact of muscle soreness.
The perfect bite size snack and popular food choice for fitness enthusiasts are protein balls. These can be an awesome substitute and are super easy to make! Try our cacao mint cookie dough protein balls recipe for the cutest post-workout snack packed with a punch of essential nutrients.
Not only are protein bars good for weight loss, but they are also great for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Protein filled recipes are a healthy choice for the long term, even after youve reached your weight loss goals, protein can help maintain your strength, muscle and body composition.
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Original Refrigerated Protein Bars By Perfect Bar
This bar is rich on taste, because it’s made with honey and nut butters, but you need to refrigerate it. It stays good for one week out of the fridge. What it lacks in convenience, it makes up for in taste. It’s creamy, crunchy, and reminiscent of cookie dough. Which makes sense, given how high it is in sugar and fat. Nutritional info varies bar to bar, so you’ll want to check the online label for each flavor. Protein: 17 grams Sugar: 18 grams Fiber: four grams Fat: 18 grams Carbs: 26 grams Calories: 330.
Two Recipes Endless Options
Have you ever noticed that most of the recipes out there for homemade protein bars are so specific? I am a fan of baking recipes being specific, since baking is chemistry. But these are no-bake.
Those other recipes either rely on one specific type of protein powder, call for a million different funky ingredients Ive never heard of, or they are one flavor and one flavor only. So frustrating!
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Look For Ingredients With Whole Foods
Surprise, surprise: the best protein bars are made up of whole foods and straightforward ingredients, such as dried fruit, egg whites, nuts, oats and coconut. Any bar where you can understand whats actually in it gets a big high five from most nutritionists as an optimal choice.
As a big fan of Larabars, I knew these made the cut since all of their bars prioritize 3-9 simple ingredients, i.e., my beloved cherry flavor which includes unsweetened cherries, dates and almonds. Rxbars, whose No B.S. claim on the front packaging pretty much says it all, are also great options and popular with most of my active friends, family members and colleagues.
Everyone can picture what an almond looks like, but youd probably have a tough time distinguishing whey protein isolate from any other ambiguous powder.
I always look for bars with whole foods like nuts, fruits, seeds and veggies. says nutritionist Elissa Goodman. For example, everyone can picture what an almond looks like, but youd probably have a tough time distinguishing whey protein isolate from any other ambiguous powder. Ideally, the ingredients are organic, non-GMO, dairy and gluten-free. Look for vegan protein sources and cacao instead of cacao powder or chocolate. My personal favorites are YES bars, Tosi protein bars and my own homemade recipes.
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Top Tips For Homemade Protein Bars
Use a good food processor this has to be our #1 tip. A high-speed food processor is so important for not only pulverizing your dates but combining all of your ingredients into a smooth consistency.
Consistency is key all said and done, youre looking to get a cookie dough-like consistency out of your batter. This is why this recipe calls for drippy peanut butter and honey. They will help your ingredients stick!
- too dry: add more water
- too wet: add more oat flour
Any size pan works dont have a 9×13-inch pan? No worries! Since these are no-bake protein bars, you can use any size pan. Use a square pan or even 2 loaf pans. You can cut your bars smaller, longer, thicker, etc. The world is your oyster.
The Scary Truth About Protein Barsand 4 Ways To Choose A Healthy One
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Walk into any grocery store lately, and a vast selection of protein bars beckons as a quick, efficient and nutritious way to fuel your body. But no protein bar is created equal they vary in cost, purpose, flavor and most of all, ingredients. Its enough to make your head spin, and enough to make me wonder: which ones are actually good for you? After trying several different brands, and speaking to a few nutritionists, heres what you need to know to choose a protein bar without sabotaging your health.