5 things to look for in a protein bar

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Image source: Races Weights and Protein Shakes
A look at the delicious world of protein bars…

The popularity of protein bars has rocketed in recent years due to the improvements in taste technology and the fact they are an ultra-convenient way to get elevate your protein intake.

Not all protein bars are made equally, some may taste phenomenal but have a shocking nutritional profile so by understanding these 5 important factors you’ll be able to make the best decision possible.

Here goes.

Calorie count

As with any food you consume, make sure you check the calorie count and assess whether or not this fits in with your current training goal. For example, if bulking is your goal you want a massive Kcal busting flapjack like the Vyomax Protein Flapjack Bar. This offers a big helping hand in the form of 500 calories. So if your intake needs to be high, this is a great option.

If your goal is weight loss, a product like a Quest Protein Bar would be more appropriate as it only contains 164 calories, which won’t eat into your calculated daily kcal allowance too much. From these two examples you can see how picking up the wrong flapjack could hamper your training goals.

Carbohydrate and sugar content

Carbohydrates are an important fuel source but ideally you don’t want a large chunk of the carbohydrates to be sugars. Some sugar is okay, especially immediately post workout, but excess sugar is more likely to be stored as fat tissue if not utilised. A fantastic standard to keep an eye out for is that of the Matrix Nutrition High Protein Flapjacks, packing in over 35g of quality carbohydrates and close to only 1g sugar.

Some protein bar and flapjack choices

Ingredient list

It’s always important to closely scrutinise the ingredients list, one of the big things to look out for is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The higher up the list of ingredients HFCS the more you should avoid that particular protein bar.

Protein content

You’ll be surprised by this point, but some protein bars don’t have much more protein than your average Snickers. Just a quick glance at the nutritional table and if your protein bar contains over 20% protein you’re good to go. For example if you have a 75g bar you should be seeing over 15g of protein.

Fat Content

Some fat is fine as this can slow down the release of carbohydrates, thus hindering insulin spiking. But you obviously don’t want excessive amounts of this macronutrient. For a 75g bar you don’t want to be going over 10g of fat and you also want to keep saturated fat low too.

The takeaway point

With these 5 tips you should be able to get the right protein bar for you goals. There are a lot on the market, and they all do different things, so read the ingredient list, the macros and make the right choice.

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