The point of protein bars
While it’s easy to grab a protein bar off the shelf whenever you’re hungry, there are certain instances in which they may be particularly beneficial.
Convenient source of nutrients
Protein bars can be a simple, ready-to-eat, nutritious snack. They come in a variety of flavors and typically last a while, making them a convenient item to keep on hand.
If you’re looking for something to have as a midday snack, a well-rounded bar containing a reasonable amount of protein and high quality ingredients may be practical option for your lifestyle.
The protein and carb contents of protein bars may likewise make them a good choice for a pre- or post-workout snack that can provide a boost of energy for exercise or aid muscle repair afterward.
What’s more, some protein bars are a good source of dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health and may help prevent overeating between meals.
Finally, many protein bars are a good source of important vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and B vitamins, helping you meet your daily needs for these micronutrients.
Many people look to protein bars to help support their weight loss journey.
Some research indicates that high protein diets support healthy weight loss to a greater extent than diets containing a standard amount of protein. This is likely due to the filling effects of protein, which can curb your appetite and help prevent overeating.
Note that if you choose to utilize protein bars for this purpose, healthy weight loss also requires an overall balanced diet and regular exercise.
To gain weight, you must consume more calories than you burn in a day. If this is your goal, protein bars may be a helpful addition to your diet.
Many protein bars are calorie dense, meaning they provide a significant number of calories in just one serving, making it easy to add calories without having to eat a lot of extra food.
For example, some protein bars may contain upwards of 350 calories per bar. These can easily be consumed between meals to add extra calories to your diet and promote weight gain.
Still, even when your intent is to gain weight, opt for protein bars that provide wholesome ingredients rather than those packed with added sugar and additives.
Protein bars are often seen as a quick way to replace a meal, especially breakfast.
While a protein bar doesn’t compare to a breakfast made with a variety of healthy whole foods, some may work well in a pinch.
If you’re looking for a quick breakfast on occasion, protein bars on the higher calorie end that don’t contain added sugar or hydrogenated oils may be a good option.
If you’re a very active person with a lot of muscle mass, or someone looking to gain muscle, adding more protein to your diet may aid your efforts.
In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that endurance athletes and strength-trained athletes consume 0.54–0.77 grams of protein per pound (1.2–1.7 grams per kg) of body weight.
Research suggests that supplementing with protein may increase muscle mass and performance when your overall physical activity level and diet are adequate.
Protein bars can be a convenient way to add carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals to your diet. Also, they may curb appetite, fuel a workout, or support muscle repair after exercise. Still, they can’t replace the quality and nutrient composition of whole foods.
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