Selecting a good protein bar is a tricky one. With the wide array of proteins flooding the market and all of them claiming to be all-natural and healthy, the truth is actually a little far away from what we are made to believe. Check the list of ingredients in the label and the fine print and it’ll tell you how genuine the claims are.
For those looking for a quick yet healthy on-the-go snack or a dash of energy after a strenuous workout, know how to choose the right protein bar that does its job well.
1. High In Quality Protein
Duh! Every protein bar will consist of this ingredient. Then why do we mention this point at all? If you haven’t already noticed, the emphasis is on high-quality protein. Because a protein with a low quality of protein defeats the purpose of consuming it in the first place. Hence, look for ones that comprise ingredients that are high in this activity like milk protein concentrates and whey protein isolate. These proteins are separated from cow’s milk while processing and then spray-dried into a powder. For vegans, foods like nuts, soy, peas, and plant seeds can serve as alternatives.
2. Say No Added Sugar
The primary reason why sugar is added to protein bars is because it enhances the taste. It can also suppress the flavours of some ingredients that are not great in their taste. What’s more, sugar acts as a colourant, adding to the visual appeal of the protein bar. It also positively influences the fermentation, texture, and flavour of the product.
However, this is one ingredient that should be used as negligibly as possible in your protein bar. Because it isn’t new to you that sugar is high in calories, which can lead to a host of health concerns. It can raise your triglyceride level, raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and cause oral health problems, just to name a few. Even better, go for ones that use natural ingredients like honey and jaggery to contribute to the sweetness of the bar as a healthy alternative to sugar.
3. Restricted Carbs
Carbohydrates are an essential part of your daily diet. And, contrary to popular perception, cutting off carbs entirely from your diet can do you more harm than good. But, at the same time, this does not mean you go overboard with carbs as that can have an adverse effect on your health as well. The carbs that you eat are broken down into glucose and are a source of energy. However, glucose from too many carbs gets stored in the liver, which increases your waistline.
To top that, eating more carbs can increase your cravings and make you binge eat, increasing your weight even further. Therefore, the low carb content should reflect in the carb content in your protein bar. Opt for a protein bar with a high carb content only if you want to put on weight. The ideal carb content of a protein bar is no more than 20 grams on average.
4. Healthy Fats
Yeah, you read that right. For the unacquainted ones, fats can be healthy too. Bad fats are saturated and trans fats as they not only have no nutritional value, but they also raise cholesterol levels in your artery. On the other hand, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are referred to as “good fats” as they contribute to clean energy, insulate your organs, and encourage natural cellular growth. It is a next-to-impossible task to find a protein bar that’s devoid of saturated fat because some proteins contain this. But make sure that you invest in a protein bar that has zero trans fats. Also, look for one that contains healthy fats like omega 3 and omega 6.
5. Total Calories
Check for the total calories that your protein bar contains. The required calorie intake depends on several factors like age, gender, and physical activity. On average, an adult woman needs 1,600 to 2,500 calories per day. However, it is quite a challenge to find a protein bar that is low in calorie content because the higher the protein is, the more will be calorie content as well. Ideally, your bar shouldn’t have any more than 140 to 200 calories per serving.
6. High On Fibre
A BFF of your digestive system, fibre helps in easing your bowel movement and gives it the required consistency. It also ensures a healthy sugar absorption rate into the bloodstream. It also enables you to feel full after meals and also maintain regularity. Often, protein-rich foods are also high in fibre, contributing dual benefits to your body. However, what you need to know is that fibre is a type of carb and, therefore, the higher the fibre in your protein bar, the higher will be its carb content. Look for protein bars that have at least 4 gms of fibre.
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