Red Flag #: Carrageenan
Carrageenan is a thickening agent derived from seaweed. The research is unclear with mainstream food scientists with supported by the big food companies claiming it as OK and then international experts not having their pockets padded by the food companies stating we need to proceed with extreme caution with this food additive.
In examing the research, most studies performed on carrageenan used animals, others had small sample sizes, and no one has examined its effect on the microbiome environment or bacteria in the colon.
So, here are a few facts about carrageenan:
Q: Are Protein Bars Healthy
A: You already probably know the answer to this one! There is never a better substitute than a real plate of home cooked, clean, nutritious food but protein bars are convenient, and if you choose the right one, they can still have health benefits. You need to very carefully check the list of ingredients to make sure that you protein bar is not full of added sugar, additives, trans-fats, sweeteners or other nasties that you couldnt possibly pronounce. If you dont know what it is and its not a real, clean food source, then chances are its not going to be that good for you.
Which Bars Would I Recommend To My Own Family
I know there are 15 bars on this list but there are only about I would recommend to my own family. The ones I would recommend are the ones that are the most natural and least processed. Also the ones without palm kernal oil and all the saturated fat.
The ones I would recommend to my family include Uncut Bars, Authentic Bars, Epic Bars, Naked Bars and the RX Bars. Those are the best of the bunch.
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Picky Bars Real Food Energy Bars
Picky Bars uses a base of dates for all its bars, then adding natural ingredients to achieve a four-to-one ratio of carbs to protein. All flavors clock in right around 200 calories and are free of soy, dairy, gluten, and GMOs. Despite its foundational ingredient, they come in a variety of fun and delicious flavors like this chocolate chip variety.
Red Flag #: Sucralose
This artificial sweetener, commercially known as Splenda is not as sweet as we once thought. Sucralose is the chemical combination of sucrose and chlorine. Yes, that is correct, it is sucrose mixed with chlorine.
Sucralose is made by replacing 3 components of the sugar molecule with chlorine. So, each sucralose molecule consists of 3 atoms of chlorine.
Researchers have come to the conclusion that sucralose has the ability to greatly decrease the beneficial bacteria in our gut thereby changing the composition of our microbiome and enzymes. The long term repercussions of this may include but are not limited to poor blood sugar and body weight control, inflammatory bowel disease, changes in mood and metabolism.
Interested in learning more interesting facts about artificial sweeteners? Check out our post 9 Artificial Sweetener Side Effects: Facts You Need to Know.
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Steer Clear Of A Hidden Culprit: Sugar
I quickly realized that the majority of protein bars share one thing in common: extra sugar. Loads of it. This shocked me, considering protein bars are frequently touted as a health-friendly snack or post-workout bite. But high added sugar levels, and weird unnecessary ingredients, are hiding everywhereeven in the ones claiming to be good for you. Considering the American Heart Association suggests only 25g of added sugar for women per day, you can see how a single protein bar can use up that allotment fast.
For context, here are a few popular brands I tried, and the sugar counts in each:
- Bobos, Peanut Butter Filled13g
- ThinkThin, Chunky Peanut Butter21g
- PerfectBar, Blueberry Cashew18g
- PRO BAR, Chocolate SuperGreens16g
- Luna Protein, Chocolate Salted Caramel15g
- Clif Builders Protein, Crunchy Peanut Butter22g
- Clif Bar, Oatmeal Raisin20g
- Quest Bar, Blueberry Muffin2g
- HealthWarrior, Honey Almond10g
Keep in mind, if theres chocolate, cacao or fruit involved, the sugar count will be higher, and sometimes thats okay. For example, the cherry Larabar I love? 23g of sugar, but most of it comes from the dates and unsweetened cherries, which are natural sources. Also, notice how even within the same brandClif bars, for instancesugar counts can vary wildly.
In most cases, the longer the ingredient list is, the better chance that this product is not that good for you. Protein bars are not candy bars and their purpose is to fortify our nutrition with protein.
The 5 Best Healthy Protein Bars To Buy
Looking for a protein fix? We tried more than 100 bars to find out which deliver on taste and nutrition.
With so many options out on the market, it’s overwhelming trying to find a healthy protein bar that actually tastes good and isn’t basically a candy bar. We sampled more than 100 bars to find our favorites to share with you and came up with some helpful tips on how to find the healthiest protein bar at the store. Plus, if you don’t need the protein boost, we share some snack bars we love.
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Questbar Protein Bar Cookies & Cream Flavor
Don’t believe everything you read. QuestBar describes this bar as being made “with real cookie crumbles and delicious white chocolate cream,” but according to the ingredients, the only place that cream could be lurking is in “natural flavors.” Not to mention, the bar may be almost sugar-free, but it’s made with a laundry list of additives and chemicals, including artificial sweetener sucralose, and the only whole food is almonds.
Optimum Nutrition Protein Wafers
Targeted at bodybuilders and athletes, this protein bar strives to provide a lot of protein but stay lean when it comes to carbs. It delivers a solid 15 grams of protein and only five grams of sugar.
To keep the sugar content down, its flavored with sucralose instead. Your call on whether thats an issue.
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What’s In A Pure Protein Bar
Pure Protein bars get their protein from several different sources:
- dairy protein, which includes milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and casein
- soy protein isolate
- collagen, listed as hydrolyzed collagen or hydrolyzed gelatin
While there is a small amount of sugar used in these bars , the majority of this comes from the carbs naturally occurring in the various dairy products and the chocolate coating used in many of the bars. Other carbs are from sugar alcohols .
The bars generally contain only a few grams of fat that comes from the nut products used in some bars , and various oils, including palm kernel, canola, and peanut.
In addition to the calorie-containing ingredients, these bars are also fortified with vitamins and minerals, like calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and zinc, to name a few.
Garden Of Life Sport Organic Plant
Are you a highly competitive athlete and looking for a protein bar that has it all? The Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Performance Protein Bar fills you up, packs as much or more protein in it than any other bar on our list, tastes great, contains organic ingredients, and is NSF Certified for Sport meaning it is tested and proven to be free of all banned substances.
While this bar is Certified Organic, Non-GMO Verified, Gluten/Dairy/Soy free, Certified Vegan, and both Informed Choice.org and NSF Certified for sport, it is not perfect. It has a bit more sugar than other bars on our list and a few ingredients like Erythritol which we are not in love with , but you will struggle to find a better tasting or more clean protein bar out there with this much protein in it.
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Q: Can Protein Bars Replace Meals
A: While it is possible to use a protein bar as a meal replacement thats not their primary purpose. Yes, they are convenient, and yes, there are plenty of protein bar brands out there that go a long way to provide a more balanced and nutritionally dense formula but overall a regular meal is going to win hands down. If you are caught on the hop though, for sure taking a protein bar is far more advisable than missing a meal entirely and as additional protein dense snacks to top up your daily quota they are fantastic. The same can also be said for protein shakes which again, are designed to be complementary rather than a replacement for one of your existing three a day meals.
Most protein bars manufactured today come fortified with a good selection of your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals, but there is never a substitute for real food! While some of the more advanced bars on the market do contain whole food ingredients, they still tend to be classified overall as a dietary supplement as opposed to a food source.
Can I Eat Protein Bars Every Day
You can eat a protein bar every day as long as you are not using the bar as your main protein source. Its also important to balance what you are eating with good-for-you fruits and vegetables, too.
Additionally, youll want to be extra careful about eating commercially processed bars too often. Remember to take the time to make your own, and youll know exactly what you are putting in your body and what you are not, like overly processed sugar.
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Zing Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond
The Ingredients: Just from reading the name of this bar, we were excited to unpack the nutrients it provides. Dark chocolate is rich in nutrients such as magnesium, copper, potassium, iron and the flavanols epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidin. These nutrients have been linked to decreased blood pressure, decreased inflammation and lower risk of heart disease. Cherries provide the antioxidants known as anthocyanin and quercetin, and have been associated with and improved cognitive function. Like the flavor above, this bar is also made with plant-based protein from rice protein and contains a mix of nuts .
The Flavor: This decadent bar combines sweet and nutty flavors with creamy, smooth dark chocolate.
The Nutrition Facts: The Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Zing Bar packs in 11g of protein, 10g of fiber, 5g monounsaturated fats and contributes to 15% of the recommended Daily Value for iron.
$24.99 for a box of 12,
What Protein Snack Ingredients Should I Avoid
While there is still much debate on the specific ingredients that are best or worst when choosing a protein powder or bar, there are a few ingredients that are widely considered as ones to avoid.
One thing your protein powder or bar does NOT need is added sugar. Most people who are using protein powders or bars are looking for a healthy snack. Choosing a powder or bar that contains added sugar immediately defeats the purpose.
There is conflicting research on both the potential health benefits and risks associated with artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, saccharine, and aspartame. Choosing protein powders and bars that utilize naturally derived sweeteners would always be the better option.
Like added sugar, trans fats often listed in the ingredients as a hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil are to be avoided. They raise your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol and should not be included in any health product.
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Our Favorite Protein Bars For Diabetesrxbar Chocolate Sea Salt Protein Bar
RX Bars are a smart choice for people with diabetes because the simple ingredients including dates, egg whites, almonds and cashews are ADA-compliant. These bars are flavored with chocolate, cocoa and sea salt and have a texture similar to a Fig Newton bar. Chocolate Sea Salt RX bars contain 13 grams of natural sugar . Chocolate Sea Salt RX bars arent ideal for ketogenic diets, but the carb-to-protein ratio makes them a smart choice for people with diabetes, especially after a workout.
Will Protein Bars Make You Gain Weight
Many protein bars are calorie dense, meaning they provide a significant number of calories in just one serving, making it easy to add calories without having to eat a lot of extra food. These can easily be consumed between meals to add extra calories to your diet and promote weight gain.
Is it OK to eat a protein bar everyday? If you are an active person or someone who doesnt have much time to meal or snack prep, a protein bar could carry you throughout your day. However, Parker says never to eat more than one a day.
Can I eat a protein bar for breakfast? The Bottom Line. Protein bars can be a quick, nutrient-dense breakfast, but they shouldnt be your go-to morning meal. Applegate recommends eating real food, such as fruits and vegetables, most of the time and reserving a protein bar for an occasional breakfast meal.
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How To Make A Healthy Protein Bar
Ive got a few recipes on the blog for protein bars and bites that will give you a boost of nutrition and energy. To make a bar nourishing, stick with natural ingredients, as you see in the recipes below.
My Easy 7 Layer Paleo Bars are a great recipe to make at home. One bar has 5.9 grams of protein and 329 calories. This bar will give you energy without a lot of sugar because they are sweetened with pure maple syrup!
Another one of my favorite recipes is No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls. With few calories and super nutrient-dense ingredients like dates and chia seeds, these energy balls are winners when it comes to a quick pick-me-up snack.
Speaking of bites, you gotta love dark chocolate! Give these a try: Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites and Dark Chocolate Coconut Covered Bites. Cherries and dates give you fiber, and the almonds are your protein supply for the cherry energy bites. For the coconut bites, use unsweetened coconut and just a little honey for a sweet snack that will get you through to dinner without eating a lot of processed ingredients.
Flaxseed Apricot Bars have tons of goodness in them. Calcium, protein, and potassium are just a few nutrients youll find packed into this bar.
Ive got a protein-rich granola bar recipe, too, with 5 grams of protein per bar. Each portion has 29mg of calcium, along with 339mg of potassium. Give them or any one of these other yummy recipes a try!
Where Can I Buy Them
You can buy Pure Protein bars from third party retailers or directly from their website. One of the benefits of ordering from here is the free shipping youll get for an order exceeding $85. Alternatively, you can head over to the companys store in other online retailers.
If you want to buy a single bar to see if you enjoy the taste, head over to Walgreens, CVS, Costco, or Target.
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Advice On Quest Bar Consumption
You should never rely on a supplement or protein bar as a key part of your diet. Whenever you have the chance, always eat actual food as your body will recognize it and it will be more natural. Natural foods are also best for your body.
Quest Bars are a tasty way to get a great deal of protein while on the go. You can also turn them into other low-calorie treats by microwaving, baking, or broiling them. That being said, there are also healthier options for nutritious and portable snacks.
While you can occasionally replace a meal with a Quest Bar or other protein bar, you should not do so too often. Whole food made using fresh ingredients will always be healthier than a processed bar. They are, however, a great way to avoid temptation and stay healthy.
Are Protein Bars And Powders Healthy
“Convenience-wise, when you need it, you can get somewhat of a balanced meal from a protein bar or shake, as long as its got an adequate balance of protein, carbs, and fats,” says Williams. are not superior sources of protein. They can be used to supplement the protein you are getting from food, but should not be your primary source of protein. The bulk of our diet, including protein, should come from whole food sources.
While protein powders and bars can be included in a healthy diet, it is important to remember that both fall into the category of processed foods. Protein powders are ultra-processed, and while some protein bars and snacks are minimally processed, most are highly processed.
What protein powders and bars do well, as Williams notes, is provide convenient protein. Additionally, protein supplements can be helpful to individuals who have trouble gaining or maintaining a healthy weight, or for vegans and strict vegetarians who struggle to get adequate protein from whole food sources.
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Is Premier Protein Good For Weight Loss Or Weight Gain
Premier Protein is not the best meal replacement option. Regardless, it is a good addition to your post-workout meal. It is not formulated for weight loss or a frequent substitute for daily meals. If you use Premier Protein to feel full quicker and follow a low-calorie diet, it can be possible to use it for weight loss.
However, you can achieve weight loss with other protein shakes formulated for that purpose. However, it is an excellent addition to your regular meals to feel full quicker. Depending on your diet and intake of Premier Protein, you can drink it for weight gain.