Categories: DietsNutrition

Protein Bars: Get the Most Out of Yours

Share

For individuals trying to make healthy lifestyle adjustments, can adding protein bars into their diet help achieve health goals?

Protein Bar

Protein bars provide a quick energy boost between meals that can help curb appetite and avoid filling up on high-fat, sodium-packed snacks for individuals trying to lose weight. They can also increase calorie intake for individuals like athletes trying to increase muscle mass. Protein bars can vary in terms of factors like additives, calories, fat, sugars, and other ingredients. Labels need to be read carefully; otherwise, the bar can be more of a candy bar than a healthy, nutritious mini-meal or snack. It’s important to have a sense of how much protein is really needed each day, and the amount varies depending on individual factors.

How Much Protein Is Needed

Protein is vital to many body functions, but the body can’t produce this macronutrient, and it has to come from food. Dietary protein is broken down during digestion, and compounds known as amino acids are formed:

  • These are the building blocks the body uses to build and maintain muscles and organs.
  • It is vital to the production of blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and hair. (Marta Lonnie, et al., 2018)
  • As protein is necessary for building muscle, athletes or individuals with physically demanding jobs are recommended to eat more.
  • The same is true of women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. (Trina V. Stephens, et al., 2015)
  • Bodybuilders eat even more protein than the average person to support muscle growth.

Protein Calculator

Sources

The richest sources of dietary protein include:

  • Meats
  • Poultry
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Milk and other dairy products

Plant sources include:

  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains

These are foods that are easy to include in a balanced diet, so eating a variety in ample quantities daily will equal the recommended amount of protein. Recommendations are to stick with those low in saturated fat and processed carbs and rich in nutrients. However, eating too much protein can cause kidney problems. Therefore, individuals who are predisposed to kidney disease are recommended to be careful over-protein intake. (Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, Holly M. Kramer, Denis Fouque. 2020)

What To Look For

Incorporating protein bars into a diet, either as a between-meal snack, as a grab-and-go option when there is no time for a full meal, or as a part of a weight-loss or weight-gain strategy, individuals need to read and understand the ingredients on the different types of bars to choosing the healthiest options. Some general guidelines to consider:

Protein Content

  • For a between-meal or pre-post-workout snack, look for a bar with at least 20 grams of protein.
  • Meal replacement bars should have at least 30 grams of protein.
  • A less is more approach to these guidelines is recommended, as the body can digest only between 20 and 40 grams of protein in one sitting. (Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Alan Albert Aragon. 2018)

Protein Type

  • The protein usually comes from dairy or plant sources.
  • The most common include eggs, milk, rice, whey, soy, peas, and hemp.
  • Individuals with allergies or sensitivities need to choose a bar that is comprised of a type of protein that is safe to eat.

Calories

  • For a bar to eat between meals, recommendations are those with around 220 to 250 calories.
  • A protein bar that substitutes for a full meal can have 300 to 400 calories.

Fat

  • Ten to 15 grams of total fat and no more than two grams of saturated fat is ideal.
  • Steer clear of unhealthy trans fats found in partially hydrogenated oils.

Fiber

  • Fiber is filling, so the more fiber, the more likely it is to keep hunger satisfied until the next snack or meal.
  • It is recommended to choose those that contain more than three to five grams of fiber.

Sugar

  • Some protein bars have just as much sugar content as candy bars.
  • Some have as much as 30 grams of added sugar.
  • The ideal amount is around five grams or less.
  • Artificial sweeteners like erythritol, sorbitol, and maltitol are not better options as they can cause bloating and gas.

It is recommended to work with a nutritionist to figure out the most effective type so that they can be incorporated into an individual’s diet to achieve and maintain health goals.


Nutrition Fundamentals


References

Lonnie, M., Hooker, E., Brunstrom, J. M., Corfe, B. M., Green, M. A., Watson, A. W., Williams, E. A., Stevenson, E. J., Penson, S., & Johnstone, A. M. (2018). Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults. Nutrients, 10(3), 360. doi.org/10.3390/nu10030360

Stephens, T. V., Payne, M., Ball, R. O., Pencharz, P. B., & Elango, R. (2015). Protein requirements of healthy pregnant women during early and late gestation are higher than current recommendations. The Journal of nutrition, 145(1), 73–78. doi.org/10.3945/jn.114.198622

Arentson-Lantz, E., Clairmont, S., Paddon-Jones, D., Tremblay, A., & Elango, R. (2015). Protein: A nutrient in focus. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme, 40(8), 755–761. doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2014-0530

Kalantar-Zadeh, K., Kramer, H. M., & Fouque, D. (2020). High-protein diet is bad for kidney health: unleashing the taboo. Nephrology, dialysis, transplantation : official publication of the European Dialysis and Transplant Association – European Renal Association, 35(1), 1–4. doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfz216

Schoenfeld, B. J., & Aragon, A. A. (2018). How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15, 10. doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1

Post Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Protein Bars: Get the Most Out of Yours" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

Blessings

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card

Recent Posts

Correcting Your Sitting Posture for a Pain-Free Back

For individuals who sit at work for long hours, can years of practicing unhealthy posture… Read More

May 29, 2024

Trafficking Recognition in Chiropractic Clinics: A Clinical Approach (Part 1)

How do healthcare professionals provide a clinical approach to recognizing trafficking to individuals seeking a… Read More

May 29, 2024

Unlocking the Secrets of Tonic Water: Health Benefits and More

Can incorporating tonic water benefit individuals who want to drink more water? Tonic Water Tonic… Read More

May 28, 2024

Mastering the Pilates Neutral Spine: Benefits and Technique

For individuals wanting to try Pilates for back pain and exercise, can learning how to… Read More

May 24, 2024

Maintaining Endurance: The Secret to Sustained Activity

Can increasing endurance help individuals who want to improve their physical abilities or extend the… Read More

May 23, 2024

The Role of Nucleus Pulposus in Spinal Shock Absorption

Can understanding the nucleus pulposus help in body positioning and prevention for individuals wanting to… Read More

May 22, 2024