When buying protein bars don’t be fooled by some labels which say that they offer you 100% daily nutrition. Some are great for quick energy, but some of these products are just sweet snacks that threaten your weight loss goals. The same goes for energy drinks which can be loaded with sugar and sodium.
Here are the pros and cons to know when buying meal replacement bars and energy drinks.
- Pre/after workout energy boost
You need to charge your batteries with energy to optimize strength and endurance during your workout. For post-workout replenishment, your body needs fluids, protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes. Because many protein bars are high in carbs and overloaded with sugars, a protein shake can be a better alternative. A shake is digested faster so you get all vitamins and nutrients that your body needs after a strenuous workout quickly and you can make them without sugar.
- Great protein sources
Our bodies are totally dependent on protein fuel to build and maintain our muscles. You need at least 3 daily servings of protein and you can get them generously from energy bars – some small bars can have 30 g of protein like PowerBar ProteinPlus®.
- Easy snacks for on-the-go eating
Protein bars are portable, convenient snacks – they don’t need to be refrigerated and you just tuck them into a pocket or gym bag for a quick refueling. Eat them with some real food such as a yogurt or a piece of fruit.
- What impact they have on digestion
Many protein bars can lead to indigestion because of their lack of fiber, low water content or high concentration of filler ingredients (one is glycerin, a thickening agent for processed food). For this reason, you should drink plenty of fluids along with the bar to help you digest them. If you have any digestive sensitivities, you should stay away from protein bars that have gluten, dairy or sugar alcohols (glycerol, lactitol and sorbitol).
Try organic, vegan and gluten-free bars from The Simply Bar®.
- They don’t have enough minerals and vitamins
A protein bar is a SNACK, not a MEAL replacement! Dieters make the common mistake of replacing meals with these bars in their diet. Vitamin B6, which is present in the majority of protein bars helps your body to absorb more energy from the carbs you eat, but it’s not enough. And most bars don’t have enough calcium and iron which are crucial to a woman’s diet. A lack of iron can make you feel tired and weak when working out.
ThinkThin® Brownie Crunch has iron 10% of DRV g, 0 g of sugar, and 20g of protein, plus it is gluten free.
- Before you bite into a protein bar, first check the all ingredients
Numerous brands are loaded with sugar, fat and an endless list of artificial ingredients. Some are worse than candy bars. Watch out for chewy protein bars bundled with dried fruits and honey oats – they taste excellent but they are pretty high in calories and sugar. As a rule of thumb, protein should be at least half of the amount of the bar’s carbohydrates. Choose bars under 5 g sugar and 10 g of fat.
Quest Bar™ Chocolate Peanut Butter has 160calories, 20g of protein, total carbs 25g, 5g fat, 1 g sugar and contains whey protein.
- Keep you hydrated and replace electrolytes lost through sweat
Getting enough fluid is vital for all women, especially when we work out. Sports drinks have electrolytes and vitamins that prevent dehydration and restore important minerals lost through perspiration. They are also loaded with carbohydrates which maximize your performance and provide fuel to your workout.
- Dental damage
Colorful sports drinks taste great, but the artificial coloring and flavoring used in the drinks can cause dental problems. These drinks are also acidic, full of sugar and sodium which means that they can erode tooth enamel easily.
- Weight gain and Bloating
The high sodium content of some sports drinks can be surprising. Too much sodium in your diet makes you retain water and get bloated. Another culprit in these drinks is sugar. Avoid Gatorade G2 Perform 02 – Rain Berry – It contains 80 calories, 21g of sugar and 160 milligrams of sodium. Try Gatorade G Series Fit 02 Perform instead, it is has 10 calories, only 2g of sugar and 110 milligrams of sodium.
For the best no calorie no sodium refresher, try Glaceau Vitaminwater Zero – it provides 100% DV of Vitamin C, and about 40 percent of some essential B vitamins.