Are protein bars healthy?

Are protein bars healthy? The quick answer is, no.

I had a client ask me about protein bars. You know, the ones that resemble the flavor profile of cookie dough and chocolate cake with 26+ grams of protein per serving. We’ve all been guilty of eating them.

The deal with protein bars

First, protein bars or any kind of bars are to be used for on-the-go, once-in-a-while-I-forgot-to-grocery-shop-and-I-am-starving kind of situation. Even protein bars advertised as “healthy” should be consumed rarely. Protein bars are not meal replacements.

They contain isolated ingredients, which means the digestion and breakdown of nutrients into the simplest form has already been done (your gut is now officially unemployed). The phrase “use it or lose it” totally exists.

More protein is not healthier

With twenty-something grams in 1 protein bar, it can overwhelm your kidneys. More protein does not equal healthier. 

Added sugar

Moreover, some protein bars have a ton of added sugar. And, they can be equivalent to the amount of sugar a candy bar has.

Artificial sweetener

On the contrary, you may notice some protein bars are low in added sugar, but more than likely, these low sugar protein bars contain artificial sweetener. Look for ingredients like saccharin, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose, and gently place the bar back on the shelf.

Highly processed

Most protein bars contain highly processed ingredients. TIP: If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, ditch it.

Protein bars are not real food. They are man-made. Let’s stick with real food for real results.

BOTTOM LINE: Protein bars should be used sparingly as they are not healthy food choices and contain ingredients that could potentially harm the body.

Still not convinced? Fine, read on.  

If I had to choose a bar, there are a few that I would recommend.

My top picks are: Rx Bars or Lara Bars.

Rx Bars have fewer ingredients, less protein than other comparable bars, and no added sugar (or artificial sweetener). Rx bars recently came out with Rx Kids. They are smaller in size, which means less calories. You don’t need to be a kid to eat these.

Lastly, Lara Bars are my favorite. They’re made with 6-8 ingredients, all which I can pronounce. These are my go-to for any kind of snack. I wouldn’t categorize these bars as protein bars because the protein is so low and similar to what you would eat if you just ate the real foods.

What are your thoughts on protein bars? Share with me below!

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