Protein Bar or Candy Bar?

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In today’s grab-and-go society, protein bars have become increasingly popular as a quick and convenient dietary option. But what makes one protein bar better than another? More importantly, what are or aren’t you getting from your current bar that may change how you view protein bars forever?

The cold hard truth — Most protein bars are merely candy bars in disguise. Marketed with misleading nutritional claims, these bars are made from low-quality ingredients and, frankly, taste like a mouthful of chalk. Instead of being driven by health and quality, the entire protein bar industry has become focused on marketing gimmicks to make you think the product is healthy, when in actuality it’s often not.

Just think about it — many of the most popular protein bars on the market today have decadent names like s’mores, chocolate brownie, or cookies and cream. While there’s nothing wrong with using these names, the issue lies with how these bars are synthetically altered in order to achieve alluring marketing claims like “low fat,” “low net carbs” or “sugar free.”

Now let’s pause here for a moment. If the “real versions” of these items are not naturally low in fat, carbs or sugar, why do we assume they should be just because it’s called a protein bar? More importantly, what types of artificial ingredients and chemicals are used to make a chocolate brownie or cookies and cream flavored bar low in sugar and “net carbs”?

The answer can be found by simply reading the ingredient label on the back. Chances are you will find a long list of unfamiliar words that are closer to a foreign language than real, recognizable food. But does it truly have to be this way? Why should you have to sacrifice quality nutrition for convenience? Why can’t you have both?

The truth is, you can have both. You just need to know what to look for. The best protein bars should be made fresh from real food and premium proteins, and should taste like something you would want to eat on a regular basis. So here are six things to consider when looking for a bar:

  1. Is this simply a candy bar in disguise with misleading nutritional claims?
  2. What types of ingredients are being used to make it low in sugar or “net carbs”?
  3. Are there added preservatives or artificial flavors and sweeteners in the bar?
  4. Does this bar require refrigeration like real food or can it sit on a shelf for years?
  5. Was this bar crafted by chefs in a kitchen or engineered by food scientists in a lab?
  6. How does this bar affect your energy, mood and level of satisfaction/satiety?

 

By Scott Dean, owner of The Best Bar Ever. For more information, email scott@bestbarever.com.