A: It’s not hard to get overwhelmed by the glossy ads, the huge, ripped bodies and the over the top claims that are used to push a protein bar. What you need to do, however, is to screen out all of that stuff and focus squarely on the mandatory ingredients list that is somewhere on the protein bar wrapper. Here’s what a product that’s worth purchasing will contain:
Protein: Duh! Ok, then, lets dig a little deeper. Does your protein bar contain a 50/50 blend of whey and casein? Recent studies have shown that, contrary to popular opinion, a combination of whey and casein provides the best anabolic environment. The casein component of a protein bar should use mi cellar casein as it’s source. Micellar casein goes through a filtration process which allows it to retain its health promoting micro fractions along with a high amount of glutamine.
As far as the whey goes, look for an indication that whey protein isolate (WPI) has been used in the protein bar. WPI contains more protein, gram for gram than it’s counterpart, whey protein concentrate (WPC). It also contains more immunoglobins as well as heavier concentrates of certain amino acids.
Maltodextrin: You could eat your protein bar if it had nothing but protein in it, but you’d probably end up regurgitating it within a few seconds. It would taste horrible, to put it mildly. That’s why such things as maltodextrin are added. It not only adds sweetness and flavor to the protein bar, but beings a glucose polymer, causes a rapid rise in blood sugar. This makes a protein bar with this ingredient very advantageous post workout.
Whole Carbohydrates: As a population, Americans are woefully lacking in fiber, so a protein bar that contains a substantial amount of fiber has got to be good. Remember there are products that will push a protein bar with very minimal amounts of protein or fiber so you really have to know what you’re buying.
On the negative side, avoid a protein bar that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. This is added to make the protein bar taste better but will do so at the expense of your heart health.
With the above considerations in mind, you’ll be well equipped to select a protein bar that will provide optimum anabolic benefits. Just don’t use it as the mainstay of your diet. Remember, whole foods are the cornerstone of a great physique. A protein bar should just be to supplement any additional need for protein.
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