Here’s what to look for:
Protein Content > Overall calories > Carb content/sugars > Fat content > Ingredients
We’re going to assume you already know the importance of protein in your diet and how it helps you change your body composition once you have everything else dialled in, if not, we have a new post coming in the next couple of days. Simply put as a rough guide we suggest you’ll want to look for a bar that has about 20g+ of protein, anything with 10g is probably going to be on the lower end of the quality scale and best avoided.
This one is goal dependent, but protein bars range anywhere from 100cals to 500cals. To give you some realistic idea what that means in practice is, for a small female dieting to lose some weight that 500cals maybe almost a third of her daily calories in one small bar. On the other hand a small lean guy who struggles to get calories in might easily get away with/or want a quick 500cal hit.
If you’re goal is fat loss then the chances are you’ve probably had to reduce your carbohydrate intake to some degree and if we were to give you advice on this we’d try to have you save your daily carbohydrates for vegetables, fruits or at least whole food sources rather than sugar or sugar alcohols. Be wary of this one, especially with the lower protein or higher calorie bars as a lot of these bars actually have the same amount of sugar as regular bars.
Though some are essential, as with above if you’re goal is trying to save calories, fats are more energy dense than either protein and carbs and rack up the calories a little quicker, so keep an eye out for that. As with carbs, getting your fats from assorted sources is preferable such as oily fish, oils, butter etc.
Check the ingredients
Ideally, and as a general rule you want as few ingredients as possible, and with as little processing as is possible from something with a long enough shelf-life.
We picked up all of the above bars locally here in a health food shop to illustrate some of our points above. Based on all of the above the Quest bars tend to come out on top due to decent levels of protein, low enough calories, carbohydrates and fats. When we compare this with the ‘lean bar’, we find out is has the same amount of calories but only 13g of protein with 16g of sugars.
We still like to look at protein bars (even the good ones) as supplements, meaning they should only be added to a diet if you can’t reach your needs through whole food options.
As usual if anyone has any questions on protein bars just drop us a line, or a post on Facebook.