Protein bars are increasingly penetrating the fitness community as of today, with many people using them as mid-meal snacks or as meal replacements. Most protein bars are low in calories, a convenient source of nutrition and will make your stomach full longer hence satisfying your hunger. But are protein bars good for weight loss?
In this article, we are going to learn what protein bars are, how we can incorporate them in our daily eating plan, and answer the interesting question “are protein bars good for weight loss?”. For starters, let us learn what protein bars are.
What are protein bars?
Protein bars are snack foods that are high in protein to carbohydrates /fats, designed to provide a quick fix to protein and nutritional demands of the body most especially to people with a busy and active lifestyle. Protein bars are often used by individuals who want a convenient source of protein that doesn’t require preparation.
Athletes or exercise enthusiasts use protein bars because, in addition to getting nutrients, proteins build muscles used after exercise. Athletes mostly use whey protein plus other sources such as egg albumen protein, casein, and vegan protein bars which contain plant proteins like peas, rice, and soybeans.
Are protein bars good for weight loss?
The quick answer to this question is yes, eating protein bars will make you feel full longer, boost satiety, and help you shed the excess pounds thereby achieving your weight loss goals.
During digestion, protein is broken down into compounds called amino acids. These help the body to build and maintain muscles and organs. Proteins also help in the production of blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and even hair.
However, to be able to achieve weight loss, we have to maintain low caloric intake. This means creating a calorie deficit whereby calories consumed are lower than calories burnt. This, therefore, calls for healthy protein bars for weight loss.
Also, you can visit our article about the Atkins diet for weight loss. This emphasizes the consumption of more protein than carbs and fats for a healthy weight.
So what is a healthy protein bar?
A healthy protein bar is the one with a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This makes such a protein bar a nice choice for a mid-meal snack, meal replacement, or a post-workout recovery boost.
Unfortunately, not all protein bars are created equal. Most protein bars are loaded with calories, added sugar, additives, sodium, and highly processed ingredients. Furthermore, some contain little or no protein at all and if they do, the protein may be in the form hard to digest by the body which makes weight loss a hard road to take.
How then do we choose a healthy protein bar for weight loss?
When we are choosing protein bars for weight loss, either as a regular mid-meals snack or as a meal replacement, the key strategy is reading and understanding the ingredients labels on the packages of different protein bars.
The trick here when it comes to picking the best protein bar is to stick with those that are low in saturated fat and processed carbs and rich in nutrients
Below are some general guidelines you can follow.
Go for a protein bar that has at least 20 grams of protein for either between-meal, post or pre-workout snack, and 30 grams for a meal-replacement bar. The body can digest a maximum of 40 grams of protein in one sitting. More than that can lead to weight gain.
The best sources of protein in bars are dairy or plant sources. For example whey, soy, eggs, milk, rice, peas, and hemp. If you are allergic to any of the protein sources, make sure to choose the protein bar with a protein source you can safely eat.
For a protein bar to eat between-meals, look for the bar that has 220 to 250 calories. A meal replacement protein bar should have 300 to 400 calories.
Go for 10 to 15 grams of total fat and not more than 2 grams of saturated fat is perfect. Always avoid trans fats.
Fiber will make you feel full longer. Therefore, the more fiber in a bar, the more the chances of being satisfied until your next snack or meal. Aim at 3 to 5 grams of fiber in a protein bar.
The ideal amount is 5 grams or less. Be aware because some protein bars may pack as much as 30 grams.
Which protein bars are best for weight loss?
Depending on your individual needs and preferences, Protein bars on the market vary in calories, sugar, and fiber depending on individual needs and preferences. We have rounded up the best 5 options from which you can select a nutritious protein.
Our top picks include;
This delicious bar has up to 21g of protein for quick and sustained energy. It is gluten-free, comes with less than 3g of sugar and great taste. It is rich in flavor to satisfy your sweet tooth one bite at a time.
Pure Protein Bars are perfect for pre and post workouts. Eating a protein bar about an hour before a workout can provide energy and lean muscle support.
Having a protein bar after a workout will replenish energy and help the muscle recovery process as well as provide a nutritious balanced diet.
RXBAR is a chocolate sea salt protein bar perfect for any brownie lover. It comes with 100% chocolate, egg whites for protein, dates to bind, nuts for texture. It consists of 12g of protein, 5g fiber, and Gluten-free.
This is an all-time protein bar. You can have this protein bar for breakfast time, lunchtime, or as a pre or post-workout snack. It is therefore a perfect protein bar for any healthy lifestyle.
RXBARs are great for the office, on-the-go snacks, or as a wholesome treat. Eat one bar for a protein-packed pre or post-workout snack and get the energy you need.
This protein bar provides high-quality protein, a good source of fiber, and great taste snacks for any time of the day. They are the perfect fit for everyday athletes to help replenish muscles and recover with ease post-workout.
Each protein bar contains 20g protein and 4g fiber
They are available in 4 delicious flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies and Cream, Vanilla, Peanut Butter Cookie
They have no artificial colors or flavors, no trans-fat, and are gluten-free with each carton containing 15 bars.
Contains 12 – 1.76oz KIND Protein Bars
Made with rich dark chocolate and crunchy whole nuts, this bar’s also a good source of protein – what’s not to love?
Good source of protein – 12g per bar
Gluten-free, No Genetically Modified Ingredients, 0g Trans Fat, Kosher
Low glycemic index, low sodium, a good source of fiber
How many proteins should I eat a day?
According to Harvard Health, the recommended dietary allowance for protein is 0.8 g per kg of body weight. However, this does not take into consideration other factors such as active athletes, people with physically demanding jobs, and pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding.
For example, if you exercise regularly, you may need a little more, say 1.1 to 1.5 g of protein per kg of body weight. Weight lifters and those training for a marathon need about 1.2 to 1.7 g per kg.
Women at midlife normally lose muscle mass with aging. Adding protein to their diet may help this condition. Women between 40 to 50 years need to increase protein intake to about 1 to 1.2 g per kg of the body weight while those with sarcopenia need about 1.2 to 1.5g per kg per day.
We consider excessive protein to be about 2.5 g per kg of body weight daily.
Can I have a protein bar for breakfast?
Like we discussed at the beginning of our article, protein bars can be used as meal replacements. A meal replacement protein bar should have 300 to 400 calories and 30 grams of proteins per sitting.
Here is everything you need to know about weight loss breakfast
Other advantages of protein bars include;
Protein bars are a convenient source of nutrients for our bodies. They come with a good amount of carbs, fats, and protein.
Protein bars are a quick way to replace a meal, especially breakfast.
Adding protein to your diet helps to build the muscle of an active person or someone looking to gain muscle.
Protein will help you add extra pounds if weight gain is your goal. Some protein bars are calorie-dense, meaning that you just have to create a calorie surplus i.e. eat more than what the body burns.
Do protein bars make you gain weight?
There are many protein bars on the market today. This comes with the difficulty of determining the best and healthiest protein bar fit for your nutritional goals.
It should be noted that not all protein bars are created equal. Many are often filled with added sugar, calories, additives, sodium, and highly processed ingredients. These can easily lead to weight gain.
Secondly, keeping a healthy weight requires creating a calorie deficit, whereby you burn more calories than you eat. If you eat more healthy proteins than what the body can burn, the excess calories will be stored as fat hence weight gain.
Do protein bars have side effects?
Most protein bars are high in calories, added sugar and highly processed plant oils, like palm, canola which may cause overweight or obesity and other side effects to our health. Research shows that eating more protein than the recommended dietary allowance of the body is associated with an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and bone, liver, and kidney disorders
Protein bars are a quick way to fix our protein demands and can make you full longer hence promoting weight loss. However, these not only vary in nutritional content but also ingredients. Some are high in added sugars and calories. Therefore always read to understand the ingredient list on the packaging to make sure the protein bar meets your goals and needs.
Protein bars are not the only ways to add protein to our diets. Reach out for protein whole foods like raw nuts and seeds cheese, hard-boiled eggs, nut and seed butter, unsweetened yogurt, and dairy or high-protein non- dairy milk to support a healthy lifestyle.
Last but not least, with weight loss, maintaining a lower caloric intake is the key to attaining goals. Always aim at creating a deficit of calories consumed to calories burned. This can be done through various exercises for weight loss.
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