If you actually look at the nutrition facts on the average protein bar, you’re going to be shocked.
A protein bar is supposed to be a healthy snack option. Quick protein on the run to keep us going right?
The problem is that most of the protein bars on the market today are closer to a candy bar than a health food.
When someone asks me “are protein bars healthy for you?”, I usually tell them that it depends.
Supplements are not so black and white where a definitive answer could be given for question like that.
The real answer is that some protein bars are healthy for you while many more are not.
It can be confusing to figure out which bars to buy and which bars to avoid with all the options available so, I’m going to help you out by giving you 4 reasons that protein bars fail the health test.
Once you see why most protein bars are not really healthy, you will understand how to pick out a healthy one!
Failure # 1- Too much sugar
The average protein bar has way too much sugar in it.
I am not going to get into brand names, but you can go on Amazon right now and look at the most popular protein bars sold.
Many of them have over 20 grams of sugar in them. Some have over 30 grams.
There is one major bar that I guarantee is sold at your local grocery store which has 29 grams of sugar in it.
Just to compare—a Milky Way candy bar has 35 grams of sugar. Only 6 grams more than this particular bar.
I’m not going to get into the debate on whether sugar is the demon it’s made out to be (it likely is) however, it’s something you want to avoid in large amounts if you are on a diet.
Taking in large amounts of sugar is going to increase your hunger and your caloric intake.
Eating something that makes you hungrier while increasing your caloric intake is a sure way to gain unwanted body fat.
Failure # 2- Too many carbohydrates
Like the sugar content, most protein bars have a ton of carbohydrates.
Using another unnamed popular, but different protein bar than the one above as an example, I found that it has 42 grams of carbohydrates.
This is where it gets comical. A regular sized Milky Way candy bar has one gram of carbs LESS than with 41 grams.
The problem isn’t necessarily the amount of carbohydrates themselves.
The problem is that most people are eating protein bars as a snack, not a meal.
Even though it’s their fault for not reading the label properly, they typically don’t realize that they are taking in so many carbohydrates at a time.
Like sugar, carbohydrates increase your hunger and can lead to fat gain.
The typical protein bar contains far too many carbohydrates for the average person to take in without an issue.
Unless you are an endurance athlete or work out a lot, that many carbohydrates can negatively affect your diet and curtail your results.
Failure # 3- Full Of preservatives
The average protein bar is full of preservatives.
Protein bars are designed to sit on the shelf for a long time, so companies make sure that they won’t spoil.
Food preservatives are something I’ve steered clear of for a long time after having issues with them.
Back when I realized I was having problems, I was horrified to find that they were in almost every single food I was eating.
Unless you are a fanatical nutrition label reader, you really won’t understand how many preservatives these companies are putting into the food they sell.
Food preservatives have been found to increase cancer risk, cause hyperactivity in children, reduce heart health and cause anxiety among other issues.
Something full of artificial preservatives cannot be called a health food and is something you don’t want in your bars.
Failure # 4- Artificially sweetened
For many of the protein bars on the market that are low-carb, most of them are laced with an artificial sweetener called sucralose.
In my opinion and experience, sucralose is pure garbage.
It caused a ton of issues for me when I was younger and is one of the last things on this earth that I would ever consume.
Sucralose is made by attaching white sugar molecules to chlorine molecules. You know, the same chlorine you put into your pool? Yes, that one.
I was just as shocked myself when I first heard how it was made.
While there has been some research done on sucralose questioning it’s safety, the FDA has still deemed it safe for now.
It’s your life and you can eat what you want, but you would be wise to avoid this stuff and other sweeteners like it.
It’s in almost every single commercial protein bar and powder on the market, although a lot of companies seem to be reducing their usage of it.
Where’s the protein?
For all that health risk and damage you take on by eating most of these bars, where’s all the protein?
Some of the most popular bars out there barely contain any protein.
Ten grams? Twelve grams? It’s not worth the money or risk to buy them when the reason you are buying them is for the protein!
Sure, it’s more protein than a candy bar, but it’s barely anything.
At the end of the day, most of the protein bars out there are glorified candy bars.
Are they all bad?
No, they’re not.
There are companies out there that make great protein bars that are healthy and worth the money.
The majority of this post might make it sound like I’m against protein bars, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.
I eat a ton of protein bars however, I make sure that they are free of the 4 failures I discussed above.
It’s upsetting that a lot of the bars on the market are being sold to people who think they are getting something healthy.
At the end of the day, they are just making those same people fatter and unhealthier.
If you eat a ton of protein bars like I do, check them out before you buy them to make sure that they do not fail this Supplement Reviews Lab test.
P.S. Have you ever had any bad experiences with protein bars or been deceived by one that wasn’t really healthy? I’d love to hear your experience, comments and questions below!