Protein bars are many people’s go-to snack. Fitness enthusiasts use them to build muscles and dieters eat them as meal replacements. But what if they are actually causing you to get fat, rather than a lean body? It’s important to consider several components when choosing a protein bar that won’t cause you to gain weight.
When people first start working out, they are advised to eat a lot of protein. We all know that protein is essential to muscle recovery after workouts. When you workout, you are actually creating tiny tears in your muscles. This is what makes you feel sore. Protein is the nutrient that helps repair the tears and make more muscle. So even if you do not want to become a bulky body builder, protein is still important to consume. Some nutritionists will advise to consume 46-56 grams a day, depending on your body weight.
But some researchers argue that Americans eat too much protein. If you eat too much protein, the excess protein your body doesn’t need will be stored as fat in the body.
Like most processed food, protein bars can have sneakily added sugar. Research has shown that some bars have more sugar than a donut does. And do not be fooled by artificial sweeteners, which can also be unhealthy. Natural sugars are better for you because they are found in food like fruit, which means that the sugar is also coming with nutrients like fiber and vitamin C. Sugar is not always a bad thing, but consuming too much of it will lead to fat gain.
If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll want to eat less calories than what you burn. In order to do this, sometimes people will replace their meals with protein bars. The problem with protein bars is that sometimes they offer more calories than necessary. Some protein bars contain more than 400 calories.
Another reason to avoid using protein bars as a meal replacement is that they do not always fill people up. If you are still ravenous after eating one, you might eat more high-calorie bars to satisfy your stomach. But this could lead to over-eating. If you are constantly eating protein bars with 400 or more calories, it will be very easy to gain fat rather than lose it. A lot of protein bars are made with natural ingredients, but some are still heavily processed. And processed food will never be as beneficial for you as food from Mother Earth, like fresh veggies or a handful of nuts.
Choosing the Right Protein Bar
Just like anything in life, balance is key. Whether you are working out or not, it is important to eat a balance of healthy foods. If you are interested in adding protein bars to your diet, be sure to check the labels of each type of bar while grocery shopping. The primary ingredients should be a protein source, or fruits and veggies. The bar should have at least 10 grams of protein to help make up for any that your diet may be lacking. Check for ones with little to no added sugar. Anything with more than 15 grams of sugar is too much. And watch the calories if you are trying to lose weight. Protein bars can be an excellent addition to your weight-loss diet, you just have to be careful to choose the best one for you.