Protein bars are dietary supplements, now among the most used by athletes and not. Most of the times they are eaten to cover the protein requirements when it’s not possible to do it with food. There are hundreds of brands, each of which with nutritional characteristics, size and taste very different from each other.
Concerning nutritional properties, protein bars can be considered a complete food. In fact, besides of their high protein content, they have energy macronutrients (fats and carbohydrates), mineral salts and B vitamins. Therefore they are a practical alternative to the need to eat before and after training, to contrast the counteract the catabolism of muscles. As a result of their engagement starts the energy reserve’s restoration and stabilization of the protein components.
Their high protein content is very valuable for athletes; they need a medium-high protein intake to rebuild muscle after stress due to training or competitions. And also it is not always possible to take with us shakers, scoops and protein powder, so it is more comfortable to eat protein bars. They are in fact pocket and single-portion. Furthermore, their protein fraction is composed of high-value organic polymers and especially essential aminoacids, needed by the body from the diet.
Nevertheless, nutrients quantitatively most present are usually sugars, unless you buy protein bars with a very high percentage protein (40-50%), which I recommend.
Protein bars have a medium-high caloric intake. Therefore their methods of recruitment are different than those of the powders. The most important differences are:
- protein bars are more useful than powders concerning postworkout nutrition, especially in muscle recovery and in optimizing the anabolic stimulus;
- considering their caloric intake, protein bars are less helpful to the distribution of the daily amount of protein in overweight subjects.
These supplements are often subject to abuse food. For example, a lot of fitness lovers tend to take them excessively thinking of increasing their muscle mass by just increasing your protein intake. This implies an alteration of the overall energy balance instead and also a protein excess in the diet can cause kidney and liver fatigue.
In conclusion, my advice is to consume protein bars as dietary supplements and not as substitute meal, but with moderation.