Myth: ALL PROTEIN BARS ARE GOOD FOR YOU
Here is a myth buster for you: Not all protein bars are good for you!
What to look for:
Have you ever flipped over a protein bar only to find that it was pretty much a candy bar disguised in a “healthy” looking wrapper? It can be disappointing when you see a label to a protein bar promising 10+ grams of protein and health benefits, only to find out that it really didn’t help your efforts to keep your waistline trim.
With the amount of extra calories and sugar being packed in our protein bars we have to understand that we can’t just grab anything. We have to be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing; watch out for those “healthy” protein bars that are actually no better than the candy bars one shelf over.
There are some protein bars out there that are great and I want to help you determine what to look for and what to stay away from. We need to read the labels of our protein bars just like we read the labels of the other foods we eat. As a rule of thumb if the ingredient list is getting long and there are a lot of words you can’t pronounce it may be best to skip it. Make sure the bar you choose is low in sugar and be aware of some possible code words for “sugar” which appear on labels.
If the label says “no added sugars”, it should not contain any of the following:
- Agave Nectar
- Barley Malt Syrup
- Beet Sugar
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Brown Sugar
- Cane Crystals (cane juice crystals)
- Cane Sugar
- Coconut Sugar, or Coconut Palm Sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
- Dehydrated Cane Juice
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- High-Fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt Syrup
- Maple syrup
- Palm sugar
- Rice Syrup
- Raw sugar
- Sorghum or sorghum syrup
- Turbinado Sugar
How often you have your protein bars can affect your results. Protein bars are considered a supplement. The definition of a supplement as we see it is: something that completes or enhances something else when added to it. This means that we can’t live off supplements! We can’t live off bars, shakes, and anything else in this category. If you are finding bars are being consumed up to 2 times a day, you need to rethink your plan. Our bodies are meant to thrive off essential nutrient dense foods and natural essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. We can only “supplement” so much. It’s great to add in protein bars but do it sparingly.
Let me be honest, I am a lover of protein bars! I’ve learned that the right type of bars at the right time makes the difference. Protein bars have saved me during the times when I just wasn’t able to get a meal, or when there weren’t many healthy meal options available. I personally love protein bars when I am traveling on a plane or in a car, on a vacation, hiking, or in any other S.O.S emergency and need food A.S.A.P (like a work day that ran 2 hours longer than planned). These are the right times to have a bar.
Now the question is, will it be a meal replacement or will it be an element of a meal? If you are going to use a bar as a meal replacement and plan on keeping your 4.4.12 I recommend reading labels to see if it will hold you over that time line. Don’t settle for anything less than 20g of protein. We know protein helps us to feel more full and satisfied between meals so crank it up as much as you can.
Don’t forget to make sure there are also plenty of healthy carbs and fiber. Now I am not talking about tons of dried fruit that is full of quick absorbing sugar that will be harsh on your blood sugar and insulin. Just remember the more fiber there is, the fuller you will feel. There are some high fiber options on the market like the Quest Bar. Healthy fats are always fine as well and they come from nuts and nut butters. Just remember fats add up quickly so be aware of what your overall intake will be at the end of the day.
If the protein bar doesn’t have enough of these components to hold you over the 4.4.12, consider pairing different items with your bar to make it more sustainable. For example, when I am out hiking and being active a bar won’t be enough, so I bring an extra serving of nuts, maybe some fresh fruit and some other protein options like Unicity Complete, or turkey jerky. Put all of those things together and I am set and good to go! If you remember to drink Balance on top of that, even better!
The Bottom Line:
We can’t avoid every ingredient out there and there isn’t a “perfect bar.” So find a protein bar that works for you and will continue to help you reach your goals and get into the best health of your life!
This article was written by Unicity Coach Morgan Smith.