Are Protein Bars Worth It?


The price of protein bars can range anywhere from 2 to even 12 dollars a pop. And it all depends on the weight and the ingredients that are being used. In this article, I will explain everything there is to know about protein value.

Are protein bars worth it?

In general, protein bars are worth it because they can serve as a high-quality snack during times when regular food is not available. The average chocolate bar costs around four times less than a high-protein nutrition bar, however it has no nutritional value.

Especially for people who want to have washboard abs, trying to reduce excess fat, or are looking for better snack ideas that can give them more energy during the day.

Are Protein Bars Worth The Money?

Generally, protein bars are worth the money because you pay for the convenience of having access to a high-quality snack that promotes satiety, improves glucose and insulin profiles, and is ready to eat in the most inconvenient times of the day.

Let’s make it clear.

  • When you have time to prep a snack in advance then go for it

At the end of the day, protein bars are just a snacks.

  • They are less bioavailable than regular foods
  • They’re less tasty than regular food

They’re not better than your normal food.

But when you need to eat, and all you get access to is a slice of pizza from seven-eleven, then at least it is good to have a choice between pizza or 20–30 grams of whey protein in a deliciously chewy bar.

Of course, It’s not for everyone and for some families the price is out of reach.

Related article: Can You Eat Expired Protein Bars?

Why Do Protein Bars Cost So Much?

On average, protein bars cost so much because the processing is complicated. Mixing of ingredients is based on empirical bench tests and pilot plant testing, which can lead to sticking or clogging problems until the right formula is found, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

In other words, there are many tests done behind the curtain (source).

I’m not a manufacturing expert, but from going through the dozen of scientific journals I can see that it is hard to find the right:

  • Ingredients
  • Ratio
  • Texture
  • Taste

Without affecting any sensory characteristics during storage. That’s why the average protein bar costs 2–4 dollars, which is four times more than a regular chocolate bar.

To manufacture chocolate bars is much cheaper than protein bars because:

  • All the science has been done decades ago
  • No need to find the right ingredients and the right combinations of products
  • Whey protein and raw materials are more expensive than cocoa powder

Plus.

Protein bars are quite a novel product in the market. And to create a 50-gram bar with 30 grams of compressed whey protein in a way that will last on the shelf for 12 months without going bad takes take and money.

Related article: Can I Eat A Protein Bar For Breakfast?

Are Protein Bars Cheaper Than Powder?

On average, protein bars aren’t cheaper than powder. High-quality protein bars that have more than 20 grams of protein per bar will cost around $24-$40 per box. Some energy bars with extra protein may cost less, however, they may also contain fewer nutrients.

Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Protein Bars?

As a general rule, it is cheaper to make your own protein bars. Average 1000 grams protein powder costs up to $30 and it has around 35 servings of 20–30 grams of protein. This means from $30 protein powder you can make 35 protein bars, which is four times less expensive than buying.

But that’s on the high end. Meaning if you buy bigger container (4500 grams) that cost around $85 you will save even more.

From a 4.5 kg of protein you have approximately 150 servings of protein.

That is 150 protein bars for $85.

Which is $0.5 per protein bar.

But before you roll up your sleeves and run into the Walmart, you need to remember that:

  • It will take more time
  • You need to find the right ratio
  • You need to find the right ingredients to mix with
  • It may not taste best in the first few attempts

In other words, you may waste some protein before you get it right.

But don’t let that discourage you.

On youtube you can find plenty of recipes how to make a homemade protein bars.

NOTE: Once you already master the art of making homemade protein bars you can freeze them to extend shelf life.

Is A Protein Bar Better Than A Chocolate Bar?

In general, for body composition, a protein bar is better than a chocolate bar. The chocolate bar is usually full of processed sugar, without any dietary protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals. This makes sugar easier to break down and triggers the pancreas to release more insulin.

In other words, it is better to eat less processed sugar.

A good quality protein bar has whey protein and plant fiber. Which dramatically can help:

  • people who are health-conscious
  • maintain glucose homeostasis
  • maintain workout performance
  • increase muscle protein synthesis
  • lower muscle soreness

That is a lot from a snack. And is nothing close to what a regular chocolate bar has to offer. In fact, it’s quite the opposite (source).

Typical response after eating chocolate bar will:

  • increase blood glucose levels
  • increase hunger and appetite
  • has no impact on the muscle protein synthesis

NOTE: There are many studies that confirm that cocoa powder and dark 70% chocolate has multiple benefits (source).

I agree.

But the regular chocolate bar found in Walgreens or CVS doesn’t offer any of those benefits.

Is Protein Bar Processed Food?

Generally, a protein bar is processed food. They are made in factories by complex machinery. The ingredients are being closely and precisely selected to be mixed and formulated into the paste that is rolled out on the production line, where other different toppings and ingredients are added.

Conclusion

  • It is worth investing in an occasional snack in the form of protein bars, especially when you don’t have access to healthy foods and you want to look saucy and have specific body composition goals.
  • Protein bars are in general more expensive to manufacture than regular chocolate bars because of more complex processing techniques
  • It is much cheaper to do homemade protein bars, however, you need to be OK with the fact that it can take some trial and error.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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