Protein is an essential macronutrient. It plays a role in bodybuilding and muscle repair, among other functions. But it's not just how much protein you eat that matters; it's also the type of protein that's important. If you're eating more than enough calories but not enough protein-rich foods, you're not getting enough of this nutrient.
Why Is Protein Important In a Balanced Diet?
Protein is a key component of your diet because it keeps you feeling full, helps build and repair tissues like muscles, bones, and skin, and maintains essential organ functions like digestion. Meat, seafood, eggs, legumes (beans), and soy products such as tofu are good sources of protein.
Protein is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of life, which help with growth and development during childhood. They are also crucial for adults because they play an integral role in muscle growth following exercise or injury. When you exercise regularly or suffer an injury that causes muscle damage or inflammation (such as from falling off your bike), dietary protein may help reduce the time it takes to rebuild lost muscle mass.
What is a Protein Bar?
Protein bars are a popular snack for adults. While they are marketed as a healthy snack, not all protein bars are created equal. Some are full of sugar and artificial ingredients, and others may have more protein than you need.
What Makes a Protein Bar 'Healthy'?
Healthy protein bars are essential in your diet but also challenging to find. The good news is that there are plenty of options (and we're not talking about straight-up candy bars here).
But the bad news is that many protein bars don't live up to their claims or use sketchy ingredients. So how do you know which ones are good for you? Here's what to look for when choosing a healthy protein bar:
What are the Nutritional Criteria to Look Out For in a Protein Bar?
Protein bars have become incredibly popular over the last few years. They are convenient, portable, and easy to eat on the go. They are so popular that many people don't even think twice about eating them. However, it's essential to ensure you're eating a healthy protein bar and not just any old thing on the shelf.
One of the most common questions fitness enthusiasts often asks is, "What are the nutritional criteria to look out for in a healthy protein bar?" So, let's dive right in.
1) 8 grams protein minimum
The first thing you will want to look at is how much protein your bar has per serving, and then compare that with other brands of bars on the market. For example, if your bar only has 5 grams of protein per serving, but someone else's bar has 10 grams per serving, then you should probably go for theirs instead.
2) 13 grams sugar maximum
Sugar is the enemy when it comes to weight loss and overall health. Too much of it can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Choose bars with less than 13 grams of sugar per serving, and you'll be on the right track toward maintaining a healthy weight.
3) 3 grams fiber minimum
Fiber helps keep you full longer, so look for bars with at least 3 grams per serving. Some bars have up to 10 grams of fiber!
4) High-quality protein sources
Protein bars are a great way to get a quick, portable meal or snack on the go. But just because they're convenient doesn't mean they can't be good for you. Healthy protein bars should have at least 10 grams of protein per serving and contain quality sources like whey and casein.
5) Natural sweeteners
Sugar is usually added to protein bars for sweetness. Still, it's essential to look for bars with natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar instead of artificial ones like sucralose or aspartame.
6) Whole-food ingredients
Many protein bars contain isolated fiber, fiber supplements, and synthetic vitamins to fill out their nutrition profile. However, this can make them less filling than they appear on paper, so look for bars that contain whole foods like nuts, seeds, and oats instead of processed ingredients like maltodextrin or dextrose.
7) Healthy fats
A good-quality protein bar will contain healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds. These provide essential fatty acids that support brain function and your overall health. They also help keep you full longer because they take longer to digest than carbohydrates.
8) Low to no synthetic or isolated fiber
Some bars contain isolated fibers such as polydextrose or maltitol syrup. These fibers don't provide any nutritional value except for added sweetness and texture; they also have a high glycemic index (GI), which means they cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly when digested. Avoid such fiber content.
9) No sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols are used as sweeteners in low-carb products because they have fewer calories than regular sugar (about half as many). However, they can cause gastrointestinal issues if consumed in large quantities.
The Best Healthy Protein Bars
1) Best Overall: Yoga Bar Protein Bars
The best characteristic of these bars is that the protein is derived from natural sources like whole grains like millets, oats, quinoa, brown rice, nuts, seeds, etc. This way, you can enjoy your favorite flavors while getting all the health benefits of plant-based proteins.
2) Best Tasting: Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Bars Protein Bars
Combat Crunch is the perfect way to get your daily dose of protein between meals or as a pre or post-workout snack. They are high protein, low active carb, fiber-rich bars. In addition, these tasty treats are made by baking that yields a fantastic taste and a soft texture. They're like eating a soft-batch cookie!
3) Best for Muscle Gain: HYP Sugar-Free Protein Bars
The main ingredient in these healthy protein bars is whey protein isolate that contains all essential amino acids for muscle building and repair. This product also contains brown rice syrup, which is a natural sweetener.
4) Best Vegan: All Good Taste Protein Bars
All Good Taste Protein Bar is one of the best vegan protein bars. With 15g protein, zero added sugar, and a good amount of fiber per bar, it helps support lean muscle, muscle recovery, and growth. It has two popular flavors Vanilla Coffee Almond & Chocolate Cranberry Almond.
5) Best for Weight Loss: Muscleblaze Protein Bars
Muscleblaze protein bars are the way to go if you're looking to lose weight. They're packed with protein, so you won't feel hungry for hours after eating them. They also contain fiber, which helps keep you full and satisfied.
6) Best Whole Ingredients: The Whole Truth Protein Bars
The Whole Truth Protein Bars are a delicious way to pick up some extra protein and fiber. They're also gluten-free and vegan. The Whole Truth bars are made with wholesome ingredients such as brown rice syrup and oat fiber.
7) Best Paleo Protein Bar: Rise Whey Protein Bar
If you're looking for a protein bar that fits into the Paleo diet, you might have difficulty finding one. Made with just five ingredients, this bar has no added sugars, soy, or dairy products, making it perfect for anyone who wants to avoid those things while still getting their daily dose of protein.
8) Best Keto-friendly Protein Bar: Proathlix Protein bars
Proathlix Protein bars are one of the best options for a keto-friendly protein bar. One of the main reasons Proathlix Protein bars are so good for you is that they don't contain any artificial sweeteners or fillers, which means no added sugars!
9) Best for Fiber: Rine Protein Bars
Rine Protein Bars are the best for fiber. They have a granola bar-like texture, with a somewhat crisp surface and smooth interior.
10) Best Indulgence: Abbzorb Xtreme Protein Bar
Abbzorb Xtreme Protein Bar is the right choice for anyone looking for a protein bar that's both delicious and nutritious. It is also gluten-free and contains no trans fats or hydrogenated oils that could potentially lead to heart disease or other health problems later on down the road. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone with dietary restrictions or who needs to watch their weight while still getting enough nutrients into their daily diet.
11) Most Natural: Monkey Bar
Made of 100% natural ingredients, Monkey bar is one of the best protein bars on the market. It contains no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or flavors. It's also vegan and gluten-free.
12) Best Whey: Rite Bite Protein Bars
Rite Bite Max Protein bars have whey isolate as the primary source of protein. These are not just high in protein but also in taste and nutrition. So if you're looking for a perfect snack to keep hunger at bay during your busy day, these healthy protein bars are just what you need.