Protein bars are often the most abused nutritional supplement there is on the market today. Most people use them as a candy bar and think they are being healthy. Meanwhile, they are still eating fast food for lunch while guzzling a goddamn liter-o-cola (Super Troopers reference) all while hopped up on mocha frappy whatever drinks that are loaded to the brim with empty calories. Let me tell you something…that protein bar you’re having as your 3rd midday snack isn’t doing you any good if the only lifting you do is done with a fork.
Now that I got that out of the way. Protein bars are an amazing addition to a good nutrition plan. But they are so misused that they actually get a bad rap. It’s really annoying. The thing is, back in the day when I was a young buck (I’m not that old btw!) protein bars tasted like cow squeeze. So no one really wanted to treat them like a candy bar. That’s the furthest thing from what they tasted like. They were just rectangles of some substance that never really broke down no matter how many times you chewed it. They were awful. That’s not really the case anymore. There are so many different kinds of protein bars out now that taste amazing that it kind of makes sense why some people can misinterpret them as a healthy candy bar in their warped sense of nutrition.
What Are Protein Bars For?
So if they’re not supposed to be candy bars, then what are protein bars really good for? Well…why don’t we start with the name. Protein. The biggest benefit to adding protein bars to your nutrition plan is the incredible amount of protein that they are packed with. But what is protein? Well, I found this on the Harvard website (yes, I frequently peruse Harvard’s site for info):
“Protein is found throughout the body—in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and virtually every other body part or tissue. It makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions and the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood. At least 10,000 different proteins make you what you are and keep you that way.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day (or 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight).”
We all know that we get our calories from proteins, fats, and carbs. Protein is one of the essential macronutrients that contribute energy (or calories) to the body. Protein is vital for your body to function. Animal protein is one of the best, most pure sources of protein available in the diet. The thing is, it’s not that easy to get 60 grams of protein a day from animal sources. Having a protein bar that provides 20 grams of protein is an excellent supplement, especially when consumed a little bit after a workout when the body is craving protein. If you can find a protein bar that has about 20 grams of protein and is low in carbs, you are on the right track.
But protein is not the only healthy aspect of a good protein bar. Many protein bars also provide other essential nutrients that allow for the body to perform at its optimal level. I get a lot of my fiber from protein bars. According to the NYTimes, fiber adds bulk to your diet which makes you feel full faster. This is why it is often used in weight control. Aside from that it also plays a key role in digestion. People with low fiber diets have a hard time pooping. Having fiber helps to prevent constipation.
There are some things to be aware of when it comes to protein bars. You want to make sure they are not too high in sugar. I know I said that a lot of them taste great nowadays, and that’s a beautiful thing, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of nutrition. You don’t want to be eating a candy bar (even if you’re one of those whackos that treat protein bars like candy). You want your protein bar to be relatively low in sugar.
Protein Bar Taste – Biggest Factor For Me
Listen, I’m not going to lie…the biggest factor for me when it comes to protein bars is taste. While I don’t treat them like a Snickers, I don’t want to have to choke them down like Brussels sprouts (still can’t get those down). I need my protein bar to be something I look forward to. So not only do I want it to have all the nutrition I need, I also need it to taste great. I know, call me a diva, but I have to have it all. That’s why I came up with my list of my favorite protein bars that provide the best of both worlds. I know what it’s like to go into that aisle and see a shit ton of options staring you in the face. Believe me, I’ve tried most of them. And the vast majority taste like dookie. So here is my list of my go-to protein bars along with a review on each.
ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bars
The protein bars from ANSI are legit! I originally thought that the name was a little too over the top and was going way overboard, so I must admit, I was skeptical going in. Looking at the nutrition facts, they have 20 grams of protein, 19 grams of fiber, only 4 grams of sugar, and are soy free, gluten free, non-GMO, and “100% Clean.” That’s what caught my eye. That’s a ton to live up to. Especially with an exotic name like “Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar.” I was extremely surprised when I took my first bite. You can actually watch my reaction video on my ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar review here.
Quest Protein Bars
There are so many flavors of Quest Protein Bars that it’s impossible to keep up! My personal favorite is the apple pie flavor. It is delicious! The cool thing about Quest protein bars is that there are chunks of whatever flavor bar in every bite. So if you’re eating a Cookies n Cream flavored protein bar, there are little chunks of what look like Oreo cookie in the actual bar. Now the negative is that it is surrounded by what many people expect out of a protein bar. But what I found was that a lot of the flavors (especially the fruity ones) go a long way to mask that “proteiny” flavor and texture. Take a look at my Quest Protein Bar review here.
More to come as I find more I like….