Do You Know What’s in Your Protein Bar?

Let’s be honest here, most of us eat protein bars not only because they are convenient, but because we hope that they will help us lose weight. These bars were designed with endurance athletes in mind. Because they are portable and high in carbs, they are the perfect food for endurance events lasting more than 2 hours. They keep athletes from “hitting the wall” by providing nutrients that the body needs while exercising. Additionally, they are easy to snack on while training. The reality is that most people do not need extra carbohydrates while they exercise. In fact, the reason why we exercise is to burn off extra carbohydrates so that they won’t be stored as fat.

Let’s be honest here, most of us eat protein bars not only because they are convenient, but because we hope that they will help us lose weight. These bars were designed with endurance athletes in mind. Because they are portable and high in carbs, they are the perfect food for endurance events lasting more than 2 hours. They keep athletes from “hitting the wall” by providing nutrients that the body needs while exercising. Additionally, they are easy to snack on while training. The reality is that most people do not need extra carbohydrates while they exercise. In fact, the reason why we exercise is to burn off extra carbohydrates so that they won’t be stored as fat. 

It is very important to be clear what your fitness goals are when choosing a protein bar.


  • Do you want to lose weight/body fat?
  • Is it to replace a meal?
  • Is it a snack?
  • Is it for weight gain?
  • Do you need extra energy for long (2 hours plus) intense training?

Most of the bars today are loaded with excess sugar and saturated fat. They also lack fiber and other important phytochemicals that keep your body healthy. You would never think that the companies that make these bars and preach about low sugar-low fat diets would actually add those ingredients to their bars. But guess what? They do! Always read the label before you buy any nutritional product.

 

Here is what you should look for:

 

Fat
Check to see how much fat is in the bar and what type of fat it is. Many bars contain the “bad” fats and trans fats that can lead to heart disease. Look for good fats like canola oil.

Calories

If you are looking for a snack, the bar should contain 150 calories and under. To replace a meal, the bar could have 300 calories. Remember the bar’s purpose is to supply your body with the same nutrients that a meal would supply.

Protein

What type of protein does the bar contain? Whey is the best source. Look for at least 15 grams to help you reach your goal of at least 50 grams of protein per day.

Carbohydrates

Always look for complex carbohydrates like brown rice and other natural sources like fruit or fruit juices.

Sugar 

Look for the lowest number that you can find. If a bar contains, let’s say, 36 grams of carbohydrates and has 30 grams of sugar, you can be pretty sure that almost all of the carbs come form sugar. Most people eat protein bars to improve their diet, not to add more sugar to it.

Remember that sugar alcohols may be listed elsewhere on the label, so be sure to check for them. Try to keep sugar grams to no more than 5% of the bars total calories.

Fiber

Some fiber is better than no fiber. See if you can find a bar that has at least some fiber to help to get you to your goal of 30 grams per day.

Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols do not have to be listed as a carb on the label, so your bar could have a lot more carbs than you think. Even bars that claim to have no carbs may contain high amounts of carbs. Bar companies get away with this by calling them “sugar alcohols”; but this is just a way to disguise carbohydrates.

Always read the labels and look for the cleanest bar that you can find.  After all we all need a “quick meal” available once in a while.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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