Protein bars are literally muscle-building food that fit right in your pocket. Not only do they help immensely in terms of meeting your daily caloric intake, they also supply your body with good nutrients and make for a convenient food source.
However, some fitness experts concede that there are also certain cons to protein bars. Weighing these advantages and disadvantages should help the average consumer if these are really right up his alley or not.
To begin with, here are the pros:
1. Great protein source-protein bars are an instant and convenient source of protein. Expect to consume around 15-20 grams of protein per bar with around 175 calories each.
A study published in the Nutrition Journal in 2004 reveals that both soy and whey-based bars can help enhance lean muscle development.
2. Alternative to chocolates and sweets-most protein bars are mixed with natural fruit bits such as raisins and berries. They contain adequate amounts of fructose that control your desire for unhealthy sweets.
3. Vitamins and minerals-these bars also have other nutrients such as an assortment of vitamins which will give a person's snacking the healthy boost that it needs. Some will even have 100% of the recommended daily value for certain nutrients such as vitamins B6, B12, C and E. Other nutrients present include the minerals iron, calcium, copper, chromium, phosphorus and magnesium.
3. Convenience-these bars can be eaten whenever and wherever a person wants because of their individual bite-size pieces. The convenience factor comes especially handy if the consumer has a frenetic, fast-paced lifestyle.
4. Weight loss-since protein is digested slowly, protein bars allow a person to feel full for longer periods of time. They also provide energy which can last up to several hours before the hunger pangs start to kick in.
On the flip side, here are the cons:
1. Excessive nutrients-yes, they supply your body with much-needed vitamins and minerals. However, some fitness experts argue consuming more than one bar daily may eventually lead to an excessive intake of nutrients. This applies to those who regularly take a multivitamin supplement and enriched food sources.
In addition, they make contribute to a high caloric intake ultimately resulting in some weight gain.
2. Cost-most of these protein bars do not come cheap. A good number of these products retail at roughly $2.00 or $3.00 so to buy them in bulk might cause a strain on your wallet.
Alternatively, home-made protein bars may be right up your alley. Typical ingredients would include steel cut oats, protein powder, peanut butter and some milk. This may be the better option for practical fitness freaks.
3. Processing-protein bars are highly processed food sources. Always make sure to double check nutritional labels for certain ingredients you are particular with. Stay away from bars that have hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated fats. These are trans fats which are not good at all for your cardiovascular health. Be also wary of those bars which contain high fructose corn syrup which can lead to weight gain.
To sum everything up, Alan Shugarman, a registered dietician from California, says protein bars should be thought of as a healthy alternative to eating a triple chocolate cake for desert. Ultimately, it is also a matter of choice and taste, as we are all different in these regards.
Whatever your choice is, never stray from a fit lifestyle that revolves around regular exercise, sound nutrition habits, proper supplementation and enough sleep and rest.
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