Protein bars have become a popular go-to snack for those looking to increase their protein intake or satisfy their hunger between meals. However, not all protein bars are created equal, and some can be packed with unhealthy ingredients that can do more harm than good. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common protein bar ingredients to avoid, and why they can be detrimental to your health and fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle through protein bars, understanding what to look out for on a protein bar’s nutrition label can help you make more informed choices and support your overall wellbeing.
Sugar alcohol is a common sweetener found in many protein bars, but it can have negative effects on the digestive system. It can cause bloating, gas, and other gastrointestinal issues, especially when consumed in large amounts. Sugar alcohol is also a lower-calorie alternative to sugar, but it can still spike blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. It’s generally best recommended to limit your consumption of sugar alcohol in protein bars and opt for more natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit instead.
Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil
Fractionated palm kernel oil is a highly processed oil commonly found in many processed foods, including protein bars. It’s high in saturated fat, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other health problems. Additionally, the production of palm kernel oil has been associated with deforestation, habitat destruction, and other environmental concerns. The general recommendation made by health experts is to avoid fractionated palm kernel oil in protein bars. You can opt for healthier fat sources like nuts or seeds instead, or simply find bars that don’t include this ingredient, organic protein bars are usually good for this.
Inulin is a type of soluble fiber commonly found in many processed foods, such as protein bars. While it can have some health benefits, including improving digestion and blood sugar control. It can also cause digestive side effects like gas and bloating, especially when consumed in large amounts. Additionally, some people may be allergic or sensitive to inulin, which can cause more severe symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea. For these reasons, it’s recommended when selecting a type of protein bar that you limit or avoid inulin in protein bars and opt for more easily digestible fiber sources like fruits or vegetables instead.
Added sugar is a common ingredient found in many processed foods, including protein bars. It’s been linked to a variety of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Consuming too much added sugar can also cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can lead to feelings of fatigue and cravings for more sugary foods. So, it is recommended to limit or avoid these types of bars, and instead opt for low-sugar protein bars.
HFCS – High-fructose corn syrup
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a highly processed sweetener commonly found in many processed foods, including protein bars. It’s been linked to numerous health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Consuming high amounts of HFCS can also lead to insulin resistance, which can cause blood sugar imbalances and contribute to chronic health issues. For these reasons, it’s generally recommended to avoid HFCS in protein bars and opt for bars with natural sweeteners or low-sugar options instead.
Agave syrup is a sweetener commonly found in many processed foods, including protein bars. While it’s marketed as a healthier alternative to sugar, it’s actually high in fructose and has been linked to numerous health problems, including insulin resistance, obesity, and liver damage. Consuming too much agave syrup can also cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can lead to feelings of fatigue and cravings for more sugary foods. For these reasons, you should opt for bars with natural sweeteners or low-sugar options instead.
Soy Protein Isolate
Soy protein isolate is a highly processed protein source commonly found in many protein bars. While it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids, it’s also heavily processed and can be difficult for some people to digest. Additionally, soy contains phytoestrogens, which can disrupt hormone balance in some individuals. Soy protein isolate may also be genetically modified, which has been a cause for concern among some consumers. So, try to eat protein bars with alternative protein sources, such as whey, pea, or brown rice protein.
Artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose and aspartame, are commonly found in many processed foods, including protein bars. While they’re low in calories and provide a sweet taste, they’ve been linked to a variety of health problems, including digestive issues, headaches, and even some types of cancer. Additionally, consuming artificial sweeteners can lead to a preference for overly sweet foods, which can make it harder to stick to a healthy diet. Make sure you are trying to limit your consumption of artificial sweeteners as much as humanly possible. Instead look for natural sweeteners and low-sugar bars.