Are energy, protein or nutritional bars good for you? It depends. Not all of these bars are created equal. There are many different brands and types of bars. Some bars:
- Focus on energy
- Act as a meal replacer
- Provide additional protein
- Offer different dietary supplements
Most bars – energy, protein, low-carb, cereal, meal replacement, diet and snack – are broken down into three categories:
- Low to moderate in protein
- High in protein and carbohydrates
- High in carbohydrates
What you want to do is read labels. Some bars are nothing more than sugar, caffeine and saturated fat. Other bars are more nutritious and contain a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
The best thing to be eating consistently is a low-fat, high-fiber diet filled with grains and whole foods with your meals – five small ones – spread throughout your day. If you can’t be on this kind of a diet, there are many bars that are probably good for you to fill in the gaps. If your choice is between a refined or processed snack, then one of these healthier bars are probably a good choice for you too.
- Read the ingredients. If the bar’s ingredients look refined or processed, high in sugar and high in fat, avoid them
- Always look for bars that are preferably organic, have whole grains, are low in saturated fat and do not contain isolated soy protein, palm kernel or cottonseed oil, or ingredients you have never heard of before
- Look for bars low in calories and rich in nutrients
- Bars should be eaten not in lieu of a balanced diet, but as part of a balanced diet. Do not have more than 2-3 bars per day
- Avoid the hype and cool names