Protein bars have become hugely popular for their convenience and treat-without-the-cheat reputation. But are protein bars actually healthy or just hype?
To find out whether your favourite protein bars are delivering on their promises, do these three things:
Check the sugar
If you’re looking for a healthier snack option, it’s really important to evaluate the sugar content of your protein bar. Many protein bars that claim to be healthy actually include huge amounts of sugar. No matter what protein you’re getting from the bars, too much sugar will cause your blood sugar to spike and can make you feel worse in the long run.
These vegan protein bars contain just 0.2g of sugar in every serving, so you can be sure that you’re making the right choice for your body.
Look for the protein content
If you’re having protein bars to increase your daily protein intake, it’s really important to check how much protein your favourite brands actually contain. The protein content can vary widely in protein bars so make sure the one you choose is hitting your protein goals.
If you’re vegan, double check that the bar you’re buying doesn’t contain whey protein or other animal-derived protein too.
Speaking of protein, Free Soul protein bars contain 15g of plant-based protein in every bar so you can be sure that you’re getting a big protein hit every time you snack.
Real or fake ingredients?
Besides the sugar and the protein content, you also want to check out what other ingredients you’re putting in your body. Are your protein bars packed with artificial flavours, sweeteners and colouring or are they made with real ingredients?
Free Soul protein bars are made with real cacao powder so you know the chocolatey hit you’re getting is from good-quality ingredients not lab-made flavourings. That also means you get the benefits of antioxidants too.
Protein bars: healthy or hype?
If you’re not sure whether protein bars are healthy or hype, you need to look at the ingredients list. Not all protein bars deliver on their promises and some contain hidden nasties like high sugar and artificial flavourings.
While you can’t beat a balanced meal made from whole foods, protein bars are a brilliant on-the-go snack for when you want a quick energy boost that helps you hit your daily protein goals. Instead of grabbing a regular chocolate bar, doughnut or bag of sweets, opt for a protein bar instead.
For a better snack choice when you’re feeling like something sweet, look for protein bars that are low in sugar and high in protein. Make sure the healthiness lives up to the hype. To find out more, read this next.
How do protein bars work?
Protein bars function as a convenient source of nutrition. They primarily work due to their high protein content.
Consuming protein stimulates protein synthesis in the body, helping to repair and build muscle tissue, especially when consumed after a workout.
Protein also promotes satiety, meaning it helps you feel full, which can aid in weight management by curbing overeating or excessive snacking. For those with busy lifestyles, a protein bar can serve as a quick meal replacement, providing essential nutrients on the go.
However, not all protein bars are created equal. The health benefits largely depend on the other ingredients in the bar. Ideally, a protein bar should contain a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), be low in added sugars, and made from whole, minimally processed ingredients.
What are protein bars made from?
Most protein bars typically contain a blend of proteins (often derived from whey), carbohydrates, fats, along with various added vitamins, minerals, and sometimes sugar or other sweeteners for taste.
But, our Free Soul protein bar is a little different. Opting instead for plant based proteins, containing everything you need to get a healthy, protein-rich boost.
With 15g of protein, and just 0.2g of sugar, our bar was designed to give you a boost without all of the traditional nastiness you’ll find in other brands.
What to look for in a protein bar
When choosing a protein bar, it's crucial to consider a few key factors. First, aim for a high protein content, preferably from plant-based sources like peas or nuts, which can offer a full range of amino acids.
Secondly, opt for bars low in added sugars, even those that come from 'natural' sources, to avoid unnecessary calories.
Additionally, consider the fibre content, which can help you feel fuller longer. Also, check the ingredient list to ensure it includes whole, unprocessed ingredients.
Lastly, if following a specific diet, make sure the bar fits your dietary requirements, such as being vegan, gluten-free, or low carb.
Protein bars vs protein blends
Both protein bars and protein blends can be key players in your wellness game, but they do have their differences.
Protein bars are like the quick and easy teammates. They're ready-to-eat, packed with protein, and perfect for on-the-go. Ideal when you're running late or need a post-workout pick-me-up.
Protein blends, on the other hand, are like your versatile star players. They're a mix of different types of protein. You can add them to your smoothies, shakes, or even recipes, and they offer a sustained release of protein over time.
Our store carries both, by the way! You might want to check out our vegan protein blend.