You might want to reconsider picking up your favourite protein bar before reading this.
A recent study revealed that the worst offending protein bar could contain a similar level of fat to that in a hamburger!
Nutramino’s coconut-flavoured protein bar contains 9.9g of saturated fat, just 0.1g less than the McDonald’s favourite, according to a report published in the Daily Star UK. The lemon cheesecake flavoured PowerBar’s protein plus contained almost 20 gms of sugar, for instance.
Protein bars are filled with preservatives, artificial colours and sweeteners, thickeners and even oils and fats, which can contribute to high cholesterol, despite the muscle benefits a person may gain, explains Dr Daniel Denton from the London Doctors Clinic.
Here’s how you can make sure that your protein does more good that harm to your health:
Stick to bars with lesser calorie count and not more than 10 grams of sugar
Stick to protein bars that are 220 calories or lesser, with less than 20 grams of carbs, at least 3 grams of fibre, 3 gram or lesser of saturated fats and not more than 8 to 10 grams of sugar per bar to avoid gaining weight.
Your protein bar should have at least 15 or more grams of protein
Ideally, look for a protein bar that has a 1:1 ratio or not more than 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein. If you’re in the process of building muscle at least a 20 gm protein hit makes sense. Go for a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein if you’re a long distance endurance athlete.
The more natural ingredients the better
Stay away from bars that use soy as their main source of protein and look for ingredients like whey protein, calcium caseinate, isoleucine and other amino acids. Look for bars that use the least artificial sugars such as corn syrup, dextrose or other artificial sweeteners and rather derive their sweetness through the natural ingredients in them. The fats should also preferably come from natural sources, such nuts like almonds, in the bar.
A spokesperson for NHS’ online service, Push Doctor, stated that these bars can provide the level of protein needed for building and repairing muscles, they often lack a lot of the essential amino acids that are the true building blocks of muscle building.
According to nutritionists, daily intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight—which amounts to 56 grams per day for the average man or 46 grams for the average woman.