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You might think they’re a healthy, convenient snack, but are protein bars actually sabotaging your fitness goals?
No longer just something eaten by bodybuilders and strong men, protein bars are on the shelves everywhere and enjoyed by athletes and casual gym-goers alike.
And there is good reason for it.
Not only have protein bar products seriously upped their game in terms of taste, but they’re also a great way to help you hit your protein goals, which a review in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism showed is crucial for hitting your fitness goals.
However, there are some things you need to watch out for to make sure that protein bars are helping and not hindering your fitness journey.
Things to think about before grabbing a protein bar
How many calories are in it?
If your goal is to lose weight, we all know that you need to be in a calorie deficit.
While protein bars might market themselves as a healthier alternative to other snacks, they can be surprisingly high in calories.
We knew something that tastes that delicious must have a catch…
Keep an eye on the calories in your chosen protein bar and what this will mean for your overall calorie intake that day.
What are the macros?
Another thing you need to consider is what the macros are in your protein bar.
The sad truth is that despite being called a ‘protein’ bar, they can sometimes have a pretty low protein count – which kind of defeats the point, right?
Try and find a protein bar with 15g of protein in it at the very least and watch out for how this compares to the carb content.
If this is a lot higher than the amount of protein in it, it’s only going to lead to a spike in your blood sugar, which can result in more cravings later in the day. Similarly, keep an eye on the fat content as if this is too high then this can also have an impact on your goals.
You don’t want to find yourself with very few calories and macros left at the end of the day because you went for a protein bar after lunch.
Do you need a protein supplement in your diet or are you getting enough protein from whole foods?
If possible, it is always recommended that you should get your protein from whole foods.
If you’re getting enough protein from your usual meals, then taking a protein bar as a supplement might not be necessary.
Inputting your usual food intake into an app such as MyFitnessPal is a great way to check this and work out if a protein supplement product could be beneficial for you.
Could you make your own?
Protein bars can be quite expensive, and at least this way you know exactly what is going in it.
If you really enjoy them, then protein bars can be a good way to give your body what it needs. However, don’t feel you have to stock up on them to be deemed worthy of the #fitspo title.