Do Protein Bars Make You Fat?


Over the last decade, supermarket shelves have been flooded with protein bars and protein supplements. In this article I will explain everything there is to know about protein bars and can they make you gain weight.

Do protein bars make you fat?

In general, protein bars don’t make you fat. High-protein bars are widely used in several areas such as sports food supplements, space food, military food, and emergency food. Because of the high-fiber and high-protein, they promote satiety and improve glucose and insulin profiles.

Which means they are much better option comparing to regular chocolates bars available in market.

Are Protein Bars Good For Weight Loss?

As a whole, protein bars are good for weight loss. As snack alternatives, protein bars can reduce satiety, reduce glucose parameters, and positively impact overall food intake, compared to conventional snack bars, which don’t meet the requirements of a balanced diet.

Weight loss doesn’t always mean burning calories. In fact, the most effective way to create a calorie deficit is by reducing the food intake, rather than trying to burn it off.

And that’s when protein bars come in handy. They are nutritious, energy-dense, and are packed with proteins and fiber that help you get by until your actual meal. It’s a perfect pick-me-up solution for middays cravings when you want to eat something.

And if your typical snack was something like a Mars bar or Oreo cookie, then without any doubt, protein bars are a much better choice.

Do Protein Bars Give You Energy?

Protein bars do give you energy because they’re high energy-dense snacks. Apart from protein (which temporarily satisfies hunger and stimulates muscle protein synthesis), the main ingredients that provide energy can include honey, glucose syrup, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds.

This will also depend on where you getting your protein bars from. Because different companies offer different products. Some of them offer more robust, organic, and bioavailable ingredients than others (source).

Which is what you want.

That’s why it is imperative to take time to educate yourself and spend some time looking up what you are actually buying because the supplement industry isn’t regulated as you would think it is. More on that later.

To read more about the process of making functional high-protein organic bars check out here.

How Do You Know If A Protein Bar Is Healthy?

In general, you know if the protein bar is healthy after reading the nutrition information on the product labels. However, unregulated supplement industry and marketing methods can lead consumers to perceive protein bars as healthier just because of the “protein” title.

These days every one can:

  • Register supplement company
  • Create deceiving marketing message
  • Make claims that aren’t fact checked
  • “Forget” to list all the ingredients
  • Present simple, widely available ingredients as somehow superior to others

Plus, consumer reports found that:

  • Some supplement contains heavy metals, pesticides, or prescription drugs
  • Rules conveying to manufacturing companies don’t apply to companies that produce vitamins, herbs, and other raw ingredients
  • Some countries have repeatedly been caught exporting contaminated products

And people who usually fall to buy it are the beginners who don’t really know any better, they don’t have time to research and believe that just because it says on the bar “good source of protein” it must mean it’s good (source).

The problem is that manufactures can literally put any information on the labels.

As a consumer, how do you know if a protein bar is OK to take? Start by looking for a GMP sticker, which stands for “Good Manufacturing Practices” or you can check ConsumeLab to see if the product has been approved and tested.

Can I Eat 2 Protein Bars A Day?

As a general rule, you can eat 2 protein bars a day. Having a protein bar as a snack in between meals is a great way to suppress appetite, control hunger, and reduce overall calorie intake. Substituting a regular carbohydrate bar with a 2 protein bar can help with a calorie deficit.

Having a protein bar during the day can really combat those cravings and mid-afternoon hunger pangs. Because it is chewy, rich in protein and fiber it will not only lower hunger but also supply a good source of protein.

Also, remember that there is no rule of thumb on how many protein bars should you eat. It will all depend form the situation.

For instance, when you’re on the airplane doing 8-hour flight, or you’re on the all day conference summit you may have more than 2 protein bars.

In general

  • If you have access to regular food, choose food
  • If you don’t have an access to regular food, choose protein bars instead of chocolate bars of cookies (unless those cookies have protein too)

Do Low-carb Protein Bars Make You Fat?

Generally, low-carb protein bars don’t make you fat. Low-carb protein bars containing whey protein and plant fiber have a lower glycemic index and higher satiety than regular carbohydrate bars. Therefore, substituting common snacks with low-carb bars can help with maintaining glucose homeostasis.

Low-carb protein bars are just one of the ways that companies trying to differentiate themselves among hundreds of their competitors.

Bear in mind that when you buy a low-carb protein bar, you still should look at the labels and see if the low-carb is the actual low carb.

However, if you’re eating 2-3 protein bars per day, I wouldn’t lose my sleep even if they have some carbs on them.

Are Low-carb Protein Bars Good For Weight Loss?

On average, low-carb protein bars are good for weight loss because they have a lower amount of carbohydrates and are usually filled with more proteins and soluble fibers. High-protein and high-fiber snacks help with suppressing the appetite and can lower total daily energy intake.

Conclusion

  • Protein bars are an excellent alternative for a quick snack that is not gonna fill you up without necessarily creating the hormonal storm from the amount of sugar.
  • The extra amount of protein and fiber increases the satiety levels so it may be just what you need during the long days at work.
  • Always check out the labels and read carefully what you’re buying because titles can be deceptive.

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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