Are protein bars part of your daily diet?? Do you grab one as you're running out the door? Protein bar instead of eating breakfast or as a midday snack? Or maybe after a workout for a boost of protein??
No doubt about it, they are convenient. No mess. Easy to throw into your gym bag, or purse, or pocket. But are they really healthy? Do they really have any nutritional value or healthy ingredients? Did you know that some of the protein bars out there have as many as 400 calories and a whopping amount of sugar?
To be honest, I am not a fan of protein bars. I am an advocate for eating fresh, real foods. I am not a big fan of anything that has been made in a factory. But for those times when you need to grab and go, a protein bar can be ok as long as you know what kind to choose. You need to know what to look for when you read the label...And you ALWAYS need to read the label!
Here are some ingredients to watch out for and I suggest tossing the bars that have these listed:
Soy protein isolate. This is a very cheap form of protein and usually always gentically modified (GMO). Soy isolate has been linked to allergies and thyroid problems. It is made with de-fatted soybean flakes that have been washed in either alcohol or water to remove sugars and dietary fiber. This strips the soybean of its nutrients. Like most processed foods, it has become so manipulated that it is unhealthy.
Hydrogenated oils. Any time you see the word hydrogenated or even partially hydrogenated, put it back on the shelf. These are trans fats. There are NO healthy trans fats. They raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol. They increase your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Fructose or high fructose corn syrup. Dr. Joseph Mercola calls fructose “far more deadly” than sugar.
Artificial sweeteners. These are often added in order to reduce calories. If you see Aspartame, Sucralose, or Splenda, put it back on the shelf. Artificial sweetners are never healthy.
Chemicals, preservatives and synthetic vitamins. If you can't pronounce it and/or if you don't know what it is, it's not something you probably want in your body. A lot of bars also use synthetic vitamins to give the bars a "boost" and I don't recommend them either.
So are there any bars that I might suggest?? Well again, if you simply can't grab an apple and some raw almonds or anything that is actually fresh and not processed, then these are a couple of the bars that I feel have the highest quality:
KIND - http://www.kindsnacks.com/store/types/strong-kind/honey-mustard-24-bars.... (Be mindful that some of the bars are low protein (2 grams) but others have 10 grams.
Rise Bar (almond honey has 20 grams of protein) - http://risebar.com
Another option, if you have the time, is to make your own bars. If you would like some recipes, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to send you some!
I hope this helps to clear up the confusion a bit. The last thing you need when you are trying to lose weight or even add a boost of protein to your diet, is to choose something that is loaded with sugar and chemicals. The bottom line is always to read your labels and make sure you know what you're getting. Remember, words like "natural" or "healthy" mean nothing when they are used to disguise what is really going on...
That's it for now. Until next time -
Take good care of you - "For The Health Of It!"