How Can I Choose The Best Protein Bar To Eat?

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question-icon-newI’m interested in the best type of protein bar to help me build muscle and lose fat. I have been using Power Bars but I’m not sure if they have enough protein in them. How do they compare to other popular protein bars on the market? It seems like a lot of bars are pretty high in price and I’m on a strict budget. Which protein bars do you recommend I should buy?

answer-icon-newThere are numerous protein bars out on the market today and you need to be very careful when choosing the right one to help you build lean muscle and decrease body fat levels. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for so make sure to invest your money into a solid product that provides optimum nutrients. There is no reason to waste money on inferior products when just a few more dollars will buy something that’s really worth the extra price.

Years ago, the only protein bars that existed tasted like cardboard. But today it’s a different story. Nutritional companies are all releasing their own brands and many of these bars taste like decadent desserts! But how do you sort through the ones that are garbage from the ones that are really healthy? There are many factors to consider. The first thing to look for is the type of protein. All protein is not created equal. Many bars have soy protein, which is shown to not be nearly as effective as whey, milk or egg proteins. The first thing you should look for is a blend of whey protein. All quality bars have this in common. The second thing to look for is the total amount of protein. The bar you choose should have at least 20 grams of protein to be considered a protein bar. Any bar within the range of 20-40 grams of protein is optimal.

The third factor you should look for is total amount of carbs and fat contained in the bar. Many bars contain almost as much fat and sugar as a candy bar. This is not good. You want protein to be the dominant macronutrient or least in balance with the carbs and fat. The amount of sugar should also be low. It’s very important for you to read the labels carefully when buying a protein bar. Don’t just look at the front cover of the bar and buy it based on the fancy colors and cool name. Turn it around and read the list of ingredients and review the nutritional breakdown to make sure you’re getting a solid amount of protein, clean carbs, a low amount of sugar and healthy fats.

To build muscle and lose fat you need to eat adequate protein (1 gram per pound of body weight), a moderate amount of healthy fat (omega 3’s) and clean carbs. If you are opting for the convenience of a protein bar during the day to meet your nutritional needs, you need to be very disciplined when choosing the best foods and supplements to supply your muscles with optimal fuel. Many protein bars contain way too much sugar and polyunsaturated fats which interferes with building lean muscle tissue and burning fat. As we touched upon earlier, there are a lot of protein bars on the market that are basically glorified candy bars with a little added protein, so make sure to do your own research before spending money.

The fourth thing you should look for is price. Many people rely on bars almost daily to help them achieve their body composition goals, so the bars you choose to buy need to be affordable. The most you should ever pay for a protein bar is around $3 and that is for a high quality product. If you buy them by the box, you should be able to save 5-10% on the total price per bar. Also, look for coupons and special discounts for different vitamin stores online and around your local area.

The fifth thing is to look closely at the list of ingredients. The closer the bar is to being 100% natural, the better it is going to be for you. This is important because your body knows how to process natural ingredients. So if you buy a bar loaded with cheap sugars and fillers, your body will most likely have a rush of insulin to lower blood sugar levels and this is terrible for losing body fat. The healthiest bars on the market typically have a short list of high quality ingredients.

The last thing is taste. A protein bar isn’t worth eating or wasting your money on if it tastes like dirt or cardboard. Along with taste is the overall texture of the bar. Some protein bars have an odd texture when you eat them and they leave a terrible aftertaste which ruins the experience and leaves you wanting to wash your mouth out.

The overall size of the bar is also important because you want to feel full after eating it or you will end up snacking on other things soon after munching one down. I’m amazed at how tiny some of the different protein bars are when I walk around the health store. You would literally need to eat 2-3 of them in order to feel full. A good rule of thumb is to look for bars that are around 90-100 grams. This is a good size for a protein bar and should fill you up. For calories, you probably don’t want to go over 600 calories per bar. Looks for bars that are in the range of 400-500 calories. This is about the same amount of calories in a portion controlled healthy whole food meal.

The best protein bar that I recommend is called “Zero Impact” by VPX. These bars have some of the healthiest ingredients around with a bunch of protein packed in them and they also provide a good amount of healthy fats. Zero Impact bars are also huge (100 grams) and they taste amazing! They come in flavors like Pumpkin Supreme, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Dutch Chocolate (with coconut). They cost about $2.50 to $3.00 per bar and provide a ton of high quality muscle building ingredients to help you reach your goals!

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