These days if you walk into a grocery store you will find over 50 different protein bars. So how do you pick the best one? Some protein bars out there would like you to believe that they are healthy, but they have so much sugar in them you might as well be eating a candy bar! And, like many processed foods on the shelf, a lot of bars use hydrogenated oils to keep longer. We now know that hydrogenated oils equal Transfats. Our body doesn’t know what to do with Transfats. This is one of the biggest culprits of heart disease and high Triglyceride levels which are your storage form of fat. Some labels might say 0 Transfats, but if it has hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list, that means it does have small amounts of Transfats that aren’t labeled and if you eat a bar every day, that adds up.
Here are 5 characteristics that make a better-for-you bar:
1) Protein needs to be at least ½ if not more than the carbohydrates. For example, if the carbohydrates are 24, the bar would need 12 grams of protein if not more to make it balanced.
2) The bar needs to be sweetened with stevia or sugar alcohols
3) The bar needs to have no more than 7 grams of sugar
4) The bar needs to have fiber to help with satiation
5) The bar needs to taste good!
It is really hard to find a bar that meets all of these requirements. But I have found one! My favorite bar by far is The Quest Bar. You can find them online at www.questproteinbar.com or at your local GNC store, as well as other, specialty nutrition stores. Quest bars have at least 20 different flavors and I have yet to taste a bad one. They have 20 grams of protein to 24gms of carbs (more than ½) and they have 0 sugar because they are sweetened with Stevia! Plus, they have 17 grams of fiber! That is unheard of in a bar. Though I don’t recommend relying on protein bars every for a snack, if you are in need of a good tasting and good-for-you bar, I suggest to go out and get a Quest Bar. It really is the best bar out there.
If you can’t get your hands on a Quest, some others that are comparable: Think Thin bars, Power Crunch Bars (Barely any protein but great when you need a cookie), The Kind Bar Madagascar Vanilla Crunch, Detour Bar, Pure Protein Bar, and Nature Valley Protein Bar. Some of these do have small amounts of hydrogenated oils in them so eat those sparingly.
I personally use a bar as a treat if I am craving sweets or as a must if I can’t get healthy food. I try not to eat bars all that often. But when I am having a really bad craving for chocolate or a cookie, these bars, especially Quest Bars, come in handy for sure!