Most exercisers know it’s a good idea to drink a protein shake or have a protein bar after working out to help their muscles recover. Protein is an essential nutrient to help our muscles recover faster and see the results of our hard work hitting the weights faster. What most of my clients don’t realize is the brand of protein shake or bar matters SIGNIFICANTLY! As an avid endurance exerciser myself, I pay a lot of attention to nutritional labels and am conscious about what I put into my mouth. That’s why I was shocked when I picked up my childhood favorite energy bar, a Powerbar Cookies & Cream, and found out that it contains 28 grams of sugar!
Wait a second? Powerbars aren’t good for you? Now, I did not say that. For some athletes, Power Bars may be an excellent choice, but for many looking to LOSE WEIGHT, Power Bars are not the way to go. Neither are Balance Bars, or Cliff Bars, or Luna Bars. Now I know I just destroyed some people’s absolute favorite energy and protein bars, so I apologize. But consider than many of these popular brands of bars all contain as much (or in some cases more!) sugar than a Snickers bar.
So what to look for in the ideal bar? For an exerciser looking to LOSE WEIGHT, it is important to CUT BACK on sugars (in all forms). If 125 grams in an acceptable amount of daily sugars for the average personal following a 2,000 calorie generalized diet, that number should be slashed in half for persons seeking weight loss. That means around 65 grams of sugar is the daily max for exercisers wanting to lose weight. Excess sugar results in less fat burning because of the way your body processes sugar as a false positive source of energy. In one bar, you could consume up to HALF of your daily limit. I don’t know about you, but for me that is reason for concern!
So the next time you go to pick out a protein bar or powder, check the SUGAR content FIRST. If it is over 10 grams, put it back on the shelf. But… I like the way the sugary ones taste…. I can already hear you saying it. Then go eat a cookie! A cookie has less calories, sugar, and processed junk than a candy bar. If you are going to have sugar, then HAVE sugar! Don’t let it sneak into your diet via bars that are supposedly “healthy”. Choose from bars high in protein but low in sugar. Some I enjoy include: Pure Protein, Quest Bars, and Think Thin bars. Click on any of the hyperlinks to visit the websites for more info about these bars. Some of these bars can be bought at the grocery store, others at a specialty sports nutrition store.
The next time you pick out supposedly “nutritional” products, read the label first. Look for 10 – 20 grams of protein and less than 10 grams of sugar to get started. Select products that will help you get where you are going faster and your body will thank you!