Protein bars are flying off the shelves of every grocery store. They’ve become a staple in pantries everywhere. Whether they’re used for an on-the-go breakfast, a pre-workout snack, or just a way to meet your nutritional goals and fill your stomach, it seems like everybody is using them for one reason or another.
But their popularity raises some questions. Are they really even good for you, or are they just a not-so-healthy fad that will fade away by next year?
Well, the answer isn’t straightforward. The truth is that many protein bars are nutritious and can definitely help you meet your health goals, but some bars out there can end up doing more harm than good.
So let’s take a look at protein bars, why they’re important, what you have to gain, and what to look out for when you’re making your protein choice for your family.
The Importance of Protein
Protein is an absolutely crucial part of your diet. In fact, protein is in every cell in your entire body. Your body uses proteins to build cell structures, so you need protein for your body to repair cells and build new ones.
Here are some of the crucial ways that protein plays a role in your diet and in your overall health.
Macronutrients, or macros, are the three nutrients that your body needs the most. Protein is one of them, along with carbohydrates and fats.
Macros are the foundation of our entire diet. The calories you take in every day are all made up of macros, and the amount of macros you need should be based on a percentage of your daily caloric intake.
You should get between 10% and 35% of your daily calories from protein. This means about 56 grams for a relatively sedentary man and 46 grams for a relatively sedentary woman. So, the average 10-20g of protein in a protein bar can really go a long way!
If you live an active lifestyle, you’re going to need even more protein to keep up with the natural muscle cell breakdown that happens when you’re running around all day, whether that’s energy spent keeping up with the kids or getting your reps in.
That brings us to your muscles. Protein is incredibly crucial for maintaining the health of your muscles. Like we said before, muscle cells break down when they get used, and they need to get built back up every day with protein.
Especially if you are an active exerciser and gym-goer, you’re going to need a lot of protein to keep up with the hard work you’re putting your muscles through!
Protein is especially important for your kids who are going through puberty. The average preteen needs about 34 grams of protein to help their bodies grow like they’re meant to.
That can be a tough goal to meet, especially if your child has a small appetite or is a picky eater. Thankfully, protein bars are a nice, approachable way to get your kids the protein they need in a delicious way!
The Benefits of Protein Bars
Along with being a crucial part of every person’s diet, getting enough protein in your diet can bring some other health benefits, too. Adding a bar as a protein source and getting that extra surge of fuel can help add some pretty great benefits to your day to day.
Weight Management Tool
Lots of people lean on protein bars to help them lose and/or manage their weight (of course paired with a healthy diet and exercise regimen).
High protein diets can result in more weight loss than standard protein diets. This is thought to be because protein is much more filling than other nutrients, which helps you to not eat so many calories every day. This could also be because, by growing your muscles, you increase your resting metabolism.
Sometimes, a protein bar is just so incredibly convenient for the busy life you lead. A protein bar can be a great meal replacement, especially at breakfast when you’re rushing out the door (both for you and the kids).
Throw one in your bag to use as a quick and easy snack later on in the day, or they can even be a great addition to your kids’ lunchboxes!
This is one of the biggest reasons protein bars have grown to be so popular in recent years — they just make healthy, fulfilling snacking easy!
If you’re getting a high-quality protein bar, the nutritional benefits don’t just stop with protein. Oftentimes, you’re getting some micronutrients that are incredibly important to health.
Lots of protein bars can help you meet your calcium, iron, and potassium needs for the day — these are just a few other important nutrients when it comes to muscle and bone health. On top of that, some protein bars have added prebiotic fiber to help you with digestion. Protein bars can also include ingredients like egg whites, peanut butter or peanuts, or almonds for an extra boost of natural protein, vitamins, and minerals.
These bonus nutrients aren’t something that companies are shy to advertise either — take a minute to read the label if you want to be selective of what (if any) nutritional benefits you’re getting on top of your protein.
Protein isn’t just important for keeping your muscles healthy, it’s important for growing them. If you’re trying to build muscle, you’re going to need a higher amount of protein.
A normal diet should be about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, but an active person needs between 0.55 and 0.77 grams per pound of bodyweight per day.
Whether you prefer whey protein, soy protein, or a vegan protein bar, a little extra protein can go a long way.
For all the parents trying to get fit again or for the student athletes trying to bulk up to stay competitive, a protein bar right before or right after a workout can be the extra boost of fuel your body needs to keep building muscle, or to help keep your body going through all the exercise you’re doing.
Are All Protein Bars Good For You?
Despite all of the great things that can come from protein bars, some bars end up adding a bunch of stuff that make that particular bar do more harm than good.
What To Watch Out For
Love your birthday cake-flavored protein bar? Maybe take a second glance at the ingredients list.
- Always look at the grams of sugar on your protein bars. In an effort to achieve great taste without a lot of effort, lots of companies load their bars full of added sugars, which can be really bad for you. Added sugars or sugary ingredients like caramel or white chocolate can cause you to gain weight, and those bars often have a much higher calorie count than other, less sugary bars.
- The best protein bars include natural ingredients instead of artificial sweeteners. Dark chocolate chips, blueberries, or monk fruit extract can provide sweetness without essentially turning your protein bar into a cookie.
- You also need to look out for processed ingredients. So many bars are full of simple carbohydrates that are characteristic in junk food. Overly processed bars end up really negating the positive effects of protein bars. To avoid this, check to make sure your bars are made with real ingredients you actually recognize.
The Bar To Buy
With all of that in mind, we’re proud to say that at Orgain, we check all of the good boxes above.
We have a collection of protein bars that are both healthy and tasty sources of protein that you and your family will love.
Our bars are certified USDA organic so you know our ingredients are clean. We make our products with whole grains, brown rice protein, and pea protein for healthy macros.
You can also expect to find additional nutrients like calcium, iron, and potassium.
And the best part is, we achieve a great tasting bar, without all of the unhealthy added sugar. Our bars are low in sugar so you can count on them to provide 10g of protein without becoming dessert.
Not all protein bars are created equal. Some bars out there can be ineffective and even harmful when it comes to meeting your nutrition goals.
But Orgain is committed to making quality, great-tasting products that help you meet your protein needs and then some, all without the added junk like sugar or artificial flavors that you’ll find in a lot of other bars.
We’re sure you’ll love all of the forms of clean protein that comes from Orgain!
Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only and is not intended as individual or specific medical advice, nor is it intended to replace advice by your qualified healthcare provider. We strongly encourage consulting with a qualified healthcare provider about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health.