Protein Bar FAQ
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What are Protein Bars?
Protein bars offer a wonderfully convenient way of adding more protein to your diet throughout the day without having to resort to whole food sources or protein shakes.
Typically available in a range of delicious flavours from many leading supplement brands around the world, protein bars make it easy for you to consume extra protein far more inconspicuously than if you were to crack open a Tupperware box full of chicken breast.
Protein bars come in all shapes and sizes and are manufactured using a number of different proteins sources, some of which we are going to explore below.
Production of Protein Bars
For the most part, protein bars are manufactured in much the same way as a standard candy bar, granola bar, or similar product.
Ingredients such as oatmeal, artificial sweeteners, gums and binding agents, and flavourings are combined with proteins such as whey or soy before being formed and moulded into the bars we are all familiar with.
What Types of Protein Bars are There?
This question is like asking what types of candy bars there are; however, the main ingredients in most protein bars will include things like:
- Whey Protein Isolate;
- Whey Protein Concentrate;
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate;
- Casein Caseinate;
- Calcium Caseinate;
- Milk Protein Isolate;
- Egg Albumen;
- Soy Protein Isolate; and
- Hemp, Rice, Pea, and Other Types of Protein
The last few items on the above list are typically marketed to vegetarians and vegans.
Beyond the actual types of proteins that are used you will find protein bars using more natural ingredients such as the plant-based sweetener stevia, while other arguably less “healthy” protein bars may more closely resemble a candy bar through the use of sugar and even chocolate chips… not that we’re complaining!
Whichever type of protein bar you intend to use, you are likely to enjoy a range of delicious flavours covering everything from peanut butter to chocolate, and a range of fruity flavours depending on the brand you opt for.
How do Protein Bars Work and What are the Benefits?
Protein bars work in the same way as any other food-based protein source or protein powder.
Protein is an essential building block for most of the tissues throughout the human body, and as you are probably aware it plays a crucial role in the growth and repair of tissues. This makes it an essential nutrient for any aspiring athlete or a bodybuilder.
As for the specific benefits of protein bars over other sources of protein, the two most obvious advantages are that of taste and convenience.
Providing you opt for a reputable brand you will be able to enjoy a high quality source of protein that tastes great and can be eaten within a matter of seconds no matter where you happen to be.
If you work in a busy office environment it can often be awkward or otherwise impractical to eat a full meal or mix up a protein shake, so keeping a few protein bars handy can be the difference between consistent protein intake and missed meal throughout the day
Assessing the Quality of Protein Bars vs. Other Sources of Protein
As with any health or sports supplement on the market you can expect to find a fairly broad spectrum in terms of quality.
Assuming you are using a decent protein bar you can expect the same quality of ingredients that you would find in any decent whey protein powder or similar product.
It is always best to rely predominantly on whole food sources of protein wherever possible but protein bars are generally a great option.
Who Can Benefit from Using Protein Bars and How?
If you are committed to adding extra protein to your diet on a consistent basis that either don’t have the time or the will to prepare endless meals or be “that guy/girl” who is constantly drinking protein shakes then you may certainly stand to benefit from investing in a pack of protein bars.
Protein bars really are best described as either a tasty protein-rich snack or a means to an end in terms of being a convenient protein source.
With this in mind, any of you who are very busy or don’t feel motivated to prepare lots of food would do well to consider using protein bars.
Are Protein Bars Better or Worse Than Protein Powder?
This is a difficult question to answer but consider that when you have a protein shake you are consuming a considerable amount of water along with the protein powder. This helps to contribute to hydration and facilitates the absorption of protein through your kidneys.
That isn’t to say that protein bars are necessarily worse or better than protein powders, and sometimes we don’t want to be consuming massive amounts of water if we have things to do.
The types of protein used in protein bars are essentially identical to those that you will find in protein powders.
Are Protein Bars Worth the Money?
Protein bars are certainly a luxury and are by no means essential for your success as an athlete or bodybuilder.
Having said this, if you are on the lookout for an easy way of adding extra protein and calories to your diet than protein bars are most definitely worth the money for you.
This really comes down to your personal needs and preferences, so take this into consideration before purchasing any dietary or sports supplement.
Do Protein Bars Have any Side Effects?
The same precautions that applied to protein powders also applied to protein bars, so if you suffer from lactose intolerance or dairy allergies of any kind then you will definitely want to there are on the side of caution when first using products like this.
It is also worth taking into consideration that the majority of protein bars are sweetened with sugar alcohols such as xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol.
These sugar alcohols, when taken in large quantities, can cause diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, so if you do suspect that you are sensitive to these ingredients then be sure to opt for a protein bar which uses stevia.
As with any dietary supplement, we recommend that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consult their doctor or physician prior to use. This also applies to people under the age of 18 and individuals who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions or who are taking any kind of prescription medication.
Note: We recommend speaking to a doctor before taking any supplements.
How Many Should I eat?
As we mentioned above, protein bars should be used sparingly on top of an existing sound nutritional plan.
Feel free to use protein bars as frequently as you like but remember that whole food sources of protein will almost always be superior in the long term.
Please note: This FAQ has not been written or reviewed by a doctor or medical professional and is therefore not to be used to prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease or illness. Nor should it be used as medical reference.