Author of The Bone Strength Plan and a professional, evidenced-based nutritionist in London. Jo has carried out over 1500 hours of one-to-one consultations with more than 600 clients, as well as the additional hours of workshops, research, and media work with the BBC, Channel 4, The Islam channel and more.
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Jo Travers, author of The Bone Strength Plan is a professional, evidenced-based nutritionist in London. She has carried out over 1500 hours of one-to-one consultations with more than 600 clients, as well as the additional hours of workshops, research, and media work with the BBC, Channel 4, The Islam Channel, and more.
But that’s not all; protein transports important nutrients such as vitamins and electrolytes to our cells. Unlike fat or carbohydrates, our bodies do not store protein so we must ensure there's a constant supply of proteins in our diet.
If you find yourself lacking protein, try supplementing your regular diet with a protein bar. Unlike protein powders, they don’t require any preparation, making them a much more convenient option. Easily transportable, having protein bars with you can be useful when on the go; especially when travelling, camping or hiking.
Since protein bars come pre-portioned, those on calorie controlled diets may find them helpful when tracking their daily nutrient intake. Further, protein bars are a solid foodstuff that come in a variety of textures and flavours that make them much more satiating than drinking a protein shake.
For example, if an adult weighs 70 kg they will need around 56 g of protein or 84 g if they are particularly active. You should look for protein bars with 10g of protein or more if you are looking for a supplement to easily reach your daily protein target.
For alternative sources of protein, try our Best Whey Protein!
More protein doesn't necessarily mean more benefits either. Any more than around 1-1.2g per kilo of bodyweight won't be used by the body anyway. So this doesn't just mean wasting your money, but it can also put unnecessary pressure on the kidneys as they are forced to process and excrete the excess.
Milk and whey are the most common ingredients found in protein bars. Whey protein is a dairy-based protein source created as a by-product of cheese production and suitable for vegetarians. For vegans or those who wish to avoid dairy or other animal derivatives in their diet, plant-based proteins such as oats, soy and pea protein are all great alternative options!
Many protein bars contain nuts, particularly almonds and peanuts which have a naturally high protein content and taste delicious. You may also come across other protein rich ingredients such as egg whites or soy crispies, which are used to up the overall protein content and provide a crunchy texture.
Whey protein is quickly absorbed, so if you don't need a vegan protein bar, this is a great option after a workout when your body is geared up for repairing and making new muscle cells and needs protein quickly. Whey protein is also a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the amino acids necessary for making new proteins.
We have already covered the importance of protein, but it is equally important to enrich our diets with high quality carbohydrates and fats. Monounsaturated fats found in nuts and seeds are great for lowering cholesterol. Try to look for bars with a low percentage of unhealthy saturated fats (ideally less than 3 grams per serving) and avoid bars that contain trans-fats entirely.
When it comes to protein bars, carbohydrates typically come in the form of dried fruits and grains. We use carbohydrates for energy production and the carbohydrate that comes from whole-grains is usually bundled with plenty of fibre to keep us feeling full and aid with our digestive health.
For the accessories to aid your health journey, try our Best Protein Shakers!
Getting a couple of different food groups into a snack provides a balance of nutrients which not only gives your body the range of macro and micronutrients it needs to function but will also keep hunger at bay for longer than just protein or carbs. Whole grains like oats and dried fruit are also good for gut health as the fibres feed friendly bacteria in the intestine.
Sugar can appear on the ingredients list under various different names so keep an eye out for dextrose, sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, coconut sugar, agave nectar and maple syrup just to name a few. To keep sugar consumption down, seek protein bars with 15 g of sugar or less.
Manufacturers often use sugar as an inexpensive way to bulk out products and make them taste good. However, excessive refined sugar consumption is linked to various health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Even too much naturally-occurring sugar, often deemed healthier, can cause these same issues.
Sugar stimulates the release of insulin which is a hormone that gets sugar out of the blood and into the cells where it can get converted into a useable form of energy. But too much sugar can lead to large amounts of insulin being produced and when this happens, instead of sugar getting converted into energy in the cells, it gets stored in adipose tissue - in other words, turned into fat.
Protein provides only 4 calories per gram, so in a protein bar with 10 g of protein, only 40 calories of the bar’s total calorific amount will come from the protein itself. The rest of the calories come from the carbohydrates and fats found in the bar’s ingredients.
The calorie count is a great overall indicator of the nutrition a protein bar will provide. Most good quality protein bars will have between 200 and 300 calories, though there are some slightly lower or higher depending on portion size and ingredients.
Most of your energy intake throughout the day should come from your meals, which are generally more balanced. Protein bars should be used as a top-up, a post-workout protein source, or a snack rather than a meal replacement. Higher calorie protein bars can lead to an excess of calories over the day which can lead to unwanted weight gain.
Whether you are looking for gluten-free, nut-free or vegan, you are sure to find a bar to meet your needs. There are even protein bars that cater to raw food and ketogenic diets. Some will advertise dietary suitability on their packaging, while others do not. We recommend always checking the ingredients list before you buy.
We are living in the age of convenience and it's ok to make the most of it! With so many options available it's easy to find healthy protein bars that meet your needs. Whatever your dietary requirements, the healthiest ones will have ingredients that you recognise as food ingredients. In general, it's good to keep in mind that the longer the ingredients list, the more processed the bar likely is.
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Vegan Protein Bar, Cookies & Cream ｜Pack of 12
A Pre-workout Bar That Doesn't Compromise on Flavour
High Protein Nut Free Bars, Chocolate Coconut ｜Pack of 12
Oat-Based Protein Bar to Boost Heart Health, Excellent for Camping and Hiking
Keto Snacks Weight Loss｜Pack of 12
A Low-Sugar, Low-Carb Bar for Those on a Ketogenic Diet
Vegan Carb Crusher｜Pack of 12
Fortified With Your Daily Allowance of 20 Essential Minerals and Vitamins
Smart Bar, Dark Choc Raspberry ｜Pack of 12
A Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Protein Bar With Added Collagen for Youthful Skin
Protein Flapjack Bars, Cookies & Cream｜Pack of 12
A Slow-Release, Meal Replacement Energy Bar Made With Gluten-Free Oats
Natural Protein Bar, Choc Peanut Butter｜Pack of 16
An Ethical, 100% Plant-Based Protein Bar Free Form Preservatives, Synthetic Sweeteners and Flavourings
Carb Killa High Protein and Low Carb Bar, Birthday Cake ｜Pack of 12
Protein-Packed, Birthday Cake Flavoured Bar With a Low Sugar Content
Organic Vegan Protein Bar ｜Pack of 12
The Low-Calorie, Organic Vegan Bar With a Range of Flavours
The Protein Kitchen
100% Natural Protein Bars｜Pack of 12
A No-Nonsense Egg White Protein Bar With Only 6 Ingredients and Natural Flavourings
This bar by Misfits is perfect if you want to stay healthy while still satisfying your sweet tooth. Each bar contains less than 3 grams of sugar so there's no need to worry about overloading on their sweet dessert themed flavours!
They come in a range of nine different flavours, but if it's your first time buying these bars, we recommend starting out with a multipack to see which is your favourite! They are also free from gluten and animal products, so will be suitable for most dietary requirements.
"Protein bars are convenient, easy to carry with you, and have a long shelf-life, but any food with protein in can work. If you don't need to have it on the go, meat, fish, eggs, yogurt and beans are also all rich in protein."
Protein bars are a great alternative to dense and time consuming meals as long as you follow nutritional advice. Depending on the protein bar you choose, they can be a great source of micronutrients as well as the obvious benefit of boosting your protein and carb intake. Just be wary of eating too many!
On average, women need approximately 45g of protein per day, and men need 55g. This can vary depending on the person's body. Your exact daily requirement would be calculated as 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight. As a good rule of thumb, you should avoid eating more than one protein bar per day.
Written and researched by Wren Mann
No. 1: Misfits｜Vegan Protein Bar, Cookies & Cream ｜Pack of 12
No. 2: GetBuzzing｜High Protein Nut Free Bars, Chocolate Coconut ｜Pack of 12
No. 3: Keto Keto｜Keto Snacks Weight Loss｜Pack of 12
No. 4: Myprotein ｜Vegan Carb Crusher｜Pack of 12
No. 5: PhD ｜Smart Bar, Dark Choc Raspberry ｜Pack of 12
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