What Is Protein Bar?
Protein bars are a fast and convenient way to get more protein – which can increase protein synthesis, muscle mass and keep fat off.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that supports several structures in your body. You can find protein in numerous sources including eggs, meat, fish and nuts.
However, many people rely on protein supplements to get their recommended daily amount. The protein bar is just one option that has several dietary and lifestyle benefits.
There are many health and performance benefits associated with a high protein diet. Despite this, protein intake across America (and many other countries) is well down across most populations.
Due to the increased need for protein when exercising at a higher intensity, studies have estimated that an athlete requires twice as much protein per day as a sedentary person.
Protein bars are an increasingly popular way to increase your daily protein intake. They are mostly made using whey protein, though some use casein protein, or a combination of the two (known as milk protein).
Benefits of Protein Bars
When protein bars include high-quality protein – such as from soy or animal sources – they contribute essential amino acids to your diet to help you build and maintain muscle mass, synthesize immune and red blood cells, repair wounds or damaged tissues and manufacture both hormones and enzymes.
They can also supply energy in the form of carbohydrates or fats, as well as vitamins or minerals for supporting your overall health. Because they need no refrigeration or preparation, they make a convenient on-the-go snack or small meal replacement.
Depending on your fitness goals, they can offer a boost of protein for relatively few calories when you are trying to lose weight, or additional nutrients to augment your regular meal plan when you are adding to your body mass.
Also protein bars have the advantage of convenience. They are small and can be consumed quickly by active people or professionals. Meal replacement and snack varieties provide an easy option for dieters who lack the time or resources for extensive meal planning.
Additionally, protein bars don’t require measuring and mixing — as with protein powders — or refrigeration, as with manufactured protein shakes.
Protein bars can help increase lean mass. When we say lean mass, we’re talking muscle mass for the most part. Obviously by increasing muscle protein synthesis, a protein bar can help to build muscle mass.
A 2000 study on overweight police officers following a calorie deficit diet with increased protein intake found that the protein groups had increases in lean mass compared to the control group (dieting without increased protein)
A 2001 study found that for lean mass to increase, muscle protein synthesis needs to exceed muscle breakdown.
Raising protein through a protein bar would appear to solve this issue. A 2014 study by Van Loon stated that protein ingestion “directly elevates muscle protein synthesis” which can help lead to increased lean mass.
But it’s not just whey protein that can be effective at increasing lean mass, a study on casein protein (another common protein source for protein bars) found that taking it before bed time helped increase protein synthesis more than whey protein.
This means that a pre-bed protein bar might be a good idea.
Protein bars can increase strength and power. This is such a well established benefit that you’d think that the evidence would be overwhelming. On the contrary, the evidence is rather mixed.
Some studies have found that increasing protein can lead to increased strength and power, but the difference was not significant.
Another study found that increasing protein intake helped improve a 1 rep squat by 22% and a 1 rep bench press by 42%, but concluded that the differences were also not significant.
Protein bars can improve your recovery after an intense workout. Due to the high intensity of resistance exercise, your body can take a while to recover. Studies have shown that protein can play a key role in post-exercise recovery.
Protein bars can lead to a reduction in body fat. There are three different ways that protein can help lead to weight loss, and more specifically fat loss.
It can increase your metabolism slightly to create a calorie deficit. It can increase satiety which will prevent hunger. Protein may reduce ghrelin levels, which is known as the hunger hormone.
Studies such as a 2003 study have found that when reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing protein your body composition will improve
What are the side effects of protein bars?
There aren’t any really. It’s just a chocolate bar with added whey or casein (or both) protein powder. There’s also a lot of fiber in some of them. Each bar will only contain around 20g of protein as a maximum, so even if there were issues around high protein diets, this would hardly qualify!
Are protein bars healthy for you? Are they safe?
It depends. There are healthy protein bars, and then there are some that might as well be a Snickers — considering how much sugar they contain, Their wrappers make it easy to think that they’re healthier than a candy bar, but sometimes they’re not. In reality, they could have even MORE calories
Can I replace a meal with a protein bar?
You might substitute a protein bar for a meal, hoping it will help you trim calories and lose weight. Popular diet plans may actually direct you to substitute a protein bar or meal for whole foods at lunch or breakfast. Some choose a protein-bar meal after a muscle-building program at the gym, for convenience.
Are protein bars bad for weight loss?
Protein bars in lieu of a proper meal may aid in weight loss, but that may be due primarily to a decrease in calories rather than to the bar itself. Many protein bars are less than 300 calories, which is the number of calories typical of a snack, not a meal.
Are protein bars and energy bars the same?
Protein bars are not energy bars. Energy bars contain mostly carbohydrates – often in the form of sugar. They give you quick-fix energy but can leave you feeling tired and hungry soon after. Protein bars contain relatively low amounts of carbs – the nutritional emphasis being on protein.
Are protein bars healthy for breakfast?
Protein bars can be a quick, nutrient-dense breakfast, but they shouldn’t be your go-to morning meal. Applegate recommends eating real food, such as fruits and vegetables, most of the time and reserving a protein bar for an occasional breakfast meal.
Are protein bars keto?
Unless it directly says it on the label, protein bars are generally not keto diet approved.
Do protein bars cause acne?
It is that protein bars can cause acne since milk-derived protein has been linked to acne breakouts.
Do protein bars keep you awake?
Eating too much of anything before bed is liable to keep you awake, but of the three macronutrients, protein and fat digest more slowly than carbs, which could add to your trouble. Make a few tweaks to your night time eating routine for a sounder night’s sleep.
Do protein bars cause kidney stones?
Consumers of protein shakes and bars should be aware that these convenient edibles can increase your risk for kidney disease and/or kidney stone formation. They do not however guarantee you will have kidney stones.
Can too many protein bars make you fat?
A protein bar does not only consist of protein, but also carbs and fats. These quantities vary depending on what protein bar you have bought but all of these nutrients contain calories.
1g Protein – 4 calories
1g Carbohydrate – 4 calories
1g Fat – 9 calories
Now based on the fact that consuming more calories in a day than burning causes weight gain, you can probably begin to see how protein bars can cause weight gain.
If you are eating more calories in a day than you are burning, your body will either use them calories to build muscle (depending on exercise and training etc) or in most cases, store it as fat that can later be used as energy. (caloric deficit)
If eating the protein bar puts you into a caloric surplus then your body will store it rather than use it efficiently.
But don’t eat too many because you’ll end up taking in more calories than you need. Most protein bars contain anywhere from 150 to 250 calories each.
Simply Protein Bar
Several years ago, the Simply Bar brand from Wellness Foods carved out its niche as “the most protein with the least calories of any natural food bar.” Yet, even with this big claim to fame, the creator of Simply Protein Bars has been dedicated to continuous improvement.
The protein-power in Simply Protein Bars comes from soy protein crisps that are bound together into a rice crispy-like bar that is far more snack than treat.
The Facts on Simply Protein Bars
Most protein bars are dense and heavy. SimplyProtein® snacks are light and crunchy. High in protein and with 1-4 grams of sugar per bar, SimplyProtein® snacks are a delicious and wholesome choice.
- 15g of Protein, 4g of Sugar, 140 Calories
- High Protein and Fiber Content
- Suitable for Vegetarian and Gluten Free Diets
- 1.4oz per bar, 12 bars per pack
Price: $1.50 to $2.79 per 1.4-ounce bar.
Availability: Simply Protein Bars are sold throughout the U.S. and Canada. They are also easy to find online. You can purchase them direct, or order from here.
Certifications: Simply Protein Bars are Non-GMO Verified and Certified Kosher Dairy due to shared equipment. See our Understanding Kosher page for more information.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Simply Protein Bars are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes, ingredients, and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.