When it's time for a snack, what foods do you reach for? When you’re on the move or very busy, you might prefersomething portable, convenient, and nutritious. If you’re heath conscious, fast food and vending machine items just won't cut it, but protein bars will! Today, there is a mind-boggling range of protein bars with a wide range of ingredients to choose from.
While we do a cursory check on the main ingredients, very few of us delve deeper and try to find out what else goes into the protein bars we buy. Just because something has the prefix “health" doesn't mean that all the ingredients are healthy for you.
Make Sure Your Protein Bar Is Truly Healthy
But with so many varieties to choose from, how do you know which ones are best?You might be thinking that you are eating a healthy protein bar. But not all the ingredients in protein bars are ideal for health-conscious eaters. The best way to be sure that you are buying a healthy protein bar is to review the ingredients mentioned on the label.
Depending on your nutrition requirements, there are certain ingredients the bar should include or exclude. But the problem is that not all the listed ingredients will be recognizable to you. Instead of taking chances, gather some information about the common food additives; it will help you make the right decision for your health.
Ingredients to Avoid In Protein Bars
Here are some not-so-healthy ingredients that most protein bars have. It's best to stay away from products that mention these on their labels.
- Sugar Alcohols- Mannitols, sorbitol, Xylitol, and various other sugar alcohols are commonly used to sweeten protein bars. Some people are sensitive to these sugars. Consuming products that contain them can cause intestinal gas, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. If you do not have any adverse reactions to sugar alcohols, you can consume them without being concerned about their side-effects.
- Carrageenan- This is a seaweed derivativefound in many protein bars. It's used as an emulsifier, and many people that consume it find they suffer from intestinal irritation. If you suspect it will affect your health, check the protein bar label for this particular ingredient.
- Soy- It is a widely used ingredient in protein bars, but some people are allergic to soy. If the soy isn't organically-grown, it will also contain genetically modified organisms or GMOs, which can affect your health.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar- Most protein bars have these. All they do is add unrequired calories that can go straight to your waist. They can also promote inflammation, increase your cholesterol levels, and feed unhealthy bacteria and yeast.
- Whey and Casein- If you are lactose-intolerant or develop allergies when you consume dairy products, you need to avoid protein bars that contain whey and casein.
Most protein bars have many synthetic ingredients, chemical compounds, and preservatives added to improve their taste and make them last longer. When you read the label, if you don't have a clue about what the ingredients are and their names are unpronounceable, avoid those protein bars.
Choose Health- Buy the Right Protein Bars
Look for protein bars that come from real-food, organic sources. Opt for ones that have fruits or natural sugars such as agave syrup. Check whether they have seeds and nuts as these ingredients contain protein and are healthy. The next time you reach for a protein bar,
take the time to read its ingredients.
If you are enthusiastic enough, learn to make protein bars at home with the ingredients you like. You can easily find many tutorials and recipes online for healthy, homemade protein bars.