Protein Bars

Protein bars: benefit or harm

In the sports nutrition market, there are more and more different protein bars with flashy inscriptions in the spirit of "0 grams of added carbohydrates" and "30 grams of protein", and sites on the Internet contain many uniquely advertising reviews of the pros and benefitssimilar products.

But are these bars really a healthy choice for nutrition and can they be successfully used as a dietary supplement( for example, on a carbohydrate diet) or for muscle mass gaining? What does the phrase about the absence of added carbohydrates really mean?

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Are muesli bars useful?

First of all, it is necessary to clearly distinguish the usual chocolate bars such as Snickers and Mars, muesli bars, energy and sports bars. The first two categories relate exclusively to desserts, which, if consumed excessively, quickly cause a set of excess weight.

In fact, the same applies to muesli. Despite the presence of vitamins and "whole grains" the composition of such bars can not be considered useful at all - a typical product contains about 150-200 kcal, up to 30 grams of carbohydrates( mainly sugars), up to 10 grams of fat and not more than 3-5 g of protein.

Energy bars

The first energy bar was the American product Space Food Sticks , released on the wave of popularity of space programs in the late 1960s. Interestingly, in the early 1970s, NASA did use such high-calorie bars to power cosmonauts in space.

A typical bar contains 200-300 kcal, 3-9 g of fat, 7-15 g of protein and 20-40 g of carbohydrates. However, unlike energy drinks such as Red Bull, these bars do not contain caffeine or other stimulating substances - the main source of energy in their composition are extremely simple carbohydrates.

Protein bars

In fact, protein bars are a variation of ordinary chocolate bars, differing in high protein content and lower carbohydrate content. The technology of production and the brands used are often the same - for example, protein Snickers.

One of the first sports bars in history was the product of Weider, released almost 50 years ago. Interestingly, in 1971, in the advertising of the "Weider Formula No."7 "starred young Arnold Schwarzenegger, most recently moved to the US and still spoke poor English.

Sports bars PowerBar and Dymatize

The PowerBar, one of the most popular in the category, appeared in California in the 1980s. The main objective of the product was to support the energy of marathoners and cyclists. In 2000, the company was sold to Nestlé, and in 2014 the food giant resold this brand to Post Holdings.

Post Holdings, in turn, is known not only for its dry breakfasts and desserts( including Oreo O's cookies), but also for the brand of sports nutrition Dymatize. So close proximity of sports bars to the production of industrial sweets speaks for a lot.

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Composition of protein bars

It should be understood that the mention of the absence of sugar in the protein bar does not mean that you have a low-carbohydrate product. There are many simple carbohydrates that are not formally related to sugars, but which cause a similar response of the body during digestion.

In addition, sports bars often contain harmful palm or other technical oils - they are necessary to form a dense structure of the product and imitate the chocolate layer. Taste and crunchy texture is also achieved by adding a huge amount of controversial ingredients.

Protein source

As a protein source in protein bars, not only deeply digested whey protein isolate, but even hydrolyzed collagen is used. In simple terms, the place of this product is not in the department of healthy nutrition, but on the shelf of the chemical laboratory.

Any doubt about the health effects of powdered protein should be multiplied by a factor of ten for protein bars, as their production physically requires the use of a huge amount of texture stabilizers and additives to improve taste.


Sports bars only at first glance have a useful profile of proteins, fats and carbohydrates - a real list of ingredients that are included in the ingredients suggests the opposite. Despite the high protein content, this product can not be considered an example of a healthy diet.