For years I thought protein bars were brilliant- tasty, portable and a surefire way to get loads of protein. In reality however, most of them are over-processed, full of chemical stabilizers and added sugars, and lacking in any good sources of protein. If you want to eat “clean,” as they say, protein bars are not gonna cut it. Here are the problems I have with most bars:
– Loaded with added sugar and/or corn syrup
– Bars with a chocolate or other flavored coating contain either trans fat or palm kernel oil, which is a very cheap, unhealthy saturated fat. These ingredients are necessary for the coating to have its shelf life, but are horrible for us.
– Lack fiber
– Contain isolated soy, which is the most processed form and the worst form. *See below for details.
– Contain way too many ingredients, including artificial flavorings. These bars are far from real food.
– Supplemented with poor quality vitamin sources that aren’t easily absorbed
*Soy protein isolate: a processed soy derivative made using an acid wash in aluminum tanks (gross). Over 90% of soy is genetically modified and usually has lots of pesticides. If you’re going to eat soy, make sure it’s the whole soybean form, such as organic edamame, tofu, tempeh and miso. These forms of soy can be very healthy.
So is the convenience of these protein bars really worth it? I have to say, emphatically, no.
Some Bars to Avoid
Zone Bars, Luna Bars (I know, shocking and sad), Balance Bars, Kashi Bars, Odwalla Bars, Clif Bars, Advantage Bars, Genisoy Bars, and more.
The only bars that are good for you are the ones with the fewest ingredients. Find bars made with nuts and seeds that are sweetened naturally with fruit, even if the ingredient list shows a higher quantity of sugar. If the sugar is from dates, for instance, then the body will be able to process it better than added sugar and you’ll be getting a serving of real fruit. Get into trail mixes made with raw nuts, seeds, dark chocolate chips or dried tart cherries.
Clean up your diet to eat real foods, foods that were around a hundred years ago. You’ll look and feel great.