Being a fitness and nutrition expert, I see all the scams that many other people fall for. Just like I probably fall for buying useless extended warranties, sometimes you just believe in the hype when you don’t know any better. In this case, the scam that bothers me to no end are protein bars. If you’ve read any articles here previously you’ll know I’m a fan of protein powder though, so what gives? Well it’s sort of a game of smoke and mirrors.
Is there protein in there? Yes.
Is it an easy way to get protein? Yes.
Is it just protein? No.
That my friends is the important question. Ever wonder why they can be so tasty AND healthy at the same time? Well they can’t. The same reason that chocolate bars aren’t healthy. If someone figured out how to make something healthy taste like a caramilk, well, they probably would’ve done that by now. The reason they taste so good is they contain sugar or sugar like substances, stuff we’re supposed to be cutting back on. Right? Of course. Here’s an example of a popular protein bar on the market.
INGREDIENTS: PROMAX® PROTEIN BLEND (SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CALCIUM CASEINATE), GLUCOSE, FRUCTOSE, YOGURT FLAVOURED COATING (SUGAR, PALM KERNEL OIL, SKIM MILK, SKIM YOGURT POWDER, (CULTURED WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CULTURED SKIM MILK, YOGURT CULTURE), SOY LECITHIN, SALT, FLAVOUR), WATER, COCOA, COOKIE PIECES (RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, TAPIOCA STARCH, PALM OIL, COCOA, CORNSTARCH, SALT, UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE, FLAVOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN), MALTODEXTRIN, SOY LECITHIN, CANOLA OIL, GUAR GUM, FLAVOUR.
CONTAINS: SOY, MILK.
Take a look at not only the nutritional information, but the ingredient list. Two things pop out at me, first of all there’s 31g of sugar in each bar. This definitely looks more like a candy bar than something considered a “health”food. Second of all, soy protein is the first ingredient on the list; besides the potential for soy to be toxic and raise estrogen levels, studies have shown that whey is superior to soy in promoting muscle protein synthesis. So why would you buy a product that has a potentially unhealthy protein source which is also an inferior product? Most people buy the one that tastes the best. This is the worst way to pick a snack, the unhealthy foods will win every time. It’s not that healthy food doesn’t taste good, it’s just that junk food has attacked the snack food market for years; when you’re in need of food, junk food will always find you. An easy solution is to try and make your own snacks and avoid bars.
With that being said, there are bars that exist which are fairly healthy but they’re more difficult to find. The easiest thing is to stick with light healthy foods. If you need protein, look for: cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, protein shakes or hard boiled eggs. For healthy fats, nuts are usually my HP to favorite but avocado is also a great choice. Protein and healthy fats are always a great start and they can be paired with fruit and veggies if you’re looking for a little more. Never buy an inferior food just for convenience, that’s lazy. Do yourself a favor and always pack extra snacks, snacks are often where diets Errol lose effectiveness. So be smart and pack a snack, you never want to feel like you HAVE to buy that candy protein bar.
Remember, it’s about getting better!