Protein Bars and Weight Loss

Protein Bars and Weight Loss
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Let us start this post with a thought and a question to spark your mind to this topic; are protein bars good for weight loss?

Due to being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in July; a whole new way of eating was in order, and protein bars came to my mind as something that would be good to add to my diet.

Mostly it was trying to fill the snack time issues, which was a problem in the beginning phases of the diet change.

It was necessary to have something on hand that was good to eat that would not affect my blood sugar.

After getting some personal coaching on how to read the nutrition labels from my Certified Nutrition Specialist and my CDE Nurse, then it made me realize how to determine which ones are a good fit for me.

Most of the medical community agree that it is important to reduce the number of calories and especially calories from high sugar content foods and drinks.

How Much Protein Should Be Your Diet?

The amount of protein that your body requires depends on a lot of variables, such as how active you are.

Using the model for people who are sedentary; you want to get .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (.36 grams per pound).

  • A 200-pound man would need 72 grams of protein per day
  • A 150-pound woman would need 54 grams of protein per day

That should put some perspective on the subject when looking at the nutrition information label and deciding if the product is a good fit.

Typically, the average protein bar contains between 10 to 30 grams of protein per bar, so it is within the proper ranges to consider adding them to your diet.

Protein content and fiber will bind up the sugar content and prevent it from spiking your blood sugar levels.

But when looking at the weight loss side of the issue; consideration must be given to the total calories as well.

The most important thing is to keep everything balanced out.   

Protein Bars and Your Diet

Eating salads for lunch every day with just a little dressing about 1 oz.

This leaves some room on your calorie count, to add a protein bar for a mid-meal snack and help you get to the next meal.

I use the salads available to me through my local Grocery Store.

Taylor Farms brand is very good, and they have a pretty good variety of salads to choose from so you do not get tired of the same thing.

Protein bars selections are getting better in the stores and they are getting sold out regularly. Because of my new focus on these; it has become more obvious.

Had a discussion this week with an old bodybuilder and the subject of protein bars came up.

We discussed him not liking the taste of the protein bars, but when he was on a strict diet, they would be like a treat to him.

Found that interesting because my taste buds have changed in these last few months and the same thing was happening to me.

Please leave a comment if you have a similar experience with protein bars and the way they taste.

Why Use Protein Bars?

Protein Bars are getting better and better in both the taste and the nutrition content.

Just this week we purchased several new flavors from different manufacturers to see how they taste and how they make you feel after eating them.

Robert Irvine's Fit Crunch Bar

One of the best finds is Robert Irvine’s Fit Crunch protein bars. They really surprised me with how good they are!

Even ran to give one to my wife to try because it impressed me so much. She gave me a surprised look and had the same opinion as me.

The nutritional information: (-3 Net Carbs for diabetics)

  • Total Size = 50g
  • Calories = 190
  • Carb = 14g
  • Fiber = 1g
  • Sugars = 3g
  • Sugar Alcohol = 8g
  • Protein = 16g

We also bought some of the Atkins bars that I used to buy four to five years ago when I went on that diet. Back then I did not like the way these bars tasted.

Either they made some improvements, or my taste buds have really changed more then I realized. These protein bars are very good now too!

It is good to have some buying options, but another thing that was noticed is the nutrition information on these are good too!

  • Total Size = 46g
  • Calories = 120
  • Carb = 23g
  • Fiber = 9g
  • Sugars = 1g
  • Sugar Alcohol = 12g
  • Protein = 3g

The Best Protein Bars and Shakes

There are some many good options out there that it is difficult to pick just one brand and say they are the best at least not with a straight face. The critical thing to do is to find the right product that is going to give you the results that you want. If you are wanting to lose weight and thinking of replacing a meal with a protein bar or a meal replacement shake, that changes the way you need to evaluate the product. Sometimes we want to reduce the calories from a meal, or maybe we may be in a big hurry and do not want to take the time to eat.

In either of the scenarios, the protein bar needs to be a little bigger and be denser than amid-meal snack bar can be.

This week ran across a new protein bar for me that fits these requirements, it is the Premier Protein Bar.

The nutrition information is:

  • Calories = 290
  • Carb = 25g
  • Fiber = 3g
  • Sugars = 8g
  • Protein = 30g

As you can see this protein bar is 25% larger than the other two mentioned in the post. And you can tell when you eat it, I was able to go for several hours without being hungry.

Premier also carries ashake that is very cheap but the information on the nutrition label looks pretty good and it is fortified with a lot of vitamins.

Make Healthy Protein Bar Selection

To make a healthy protein bar selection, knowing what you are trying to accomplish in your diet is the key. The right choice is going to depend on what you are looking for, reading the labels take time and it is better to do that before you need to eat them. Best to use the approach of planning what you are going to eat the day before and then eat what you planned on. Once this becomes a habit, it is much more comfortable, but the practice must be done if you are not already doing it. Please leave any comments or ideas on this subject in the section below.

18 thoughts on “Protein Bars and Weight Loss

  1. I’ve been into fitness and started having some protein bars after my workout as add-on to my post-workout supplement for my muscles’ recovery and development. Thanks for introducing here some of the other brands and I’ll surely give them a try to add some other different tastes to the variety of what I’m presently taking.

    Grateful if you can as well introduce some bars more on carbs so i can as well consider taking these before or during my workout to quickly fuel some energy to get me going for a more intense and effective workout.

    Thanks for sharing this article!

    Have a great day!

    -julius

    1. Thank you for your comments Julius, that should be good to give you the energy to be able to get the full benefits from the time you’re spending at the gym.

  2. Thanks Chad for this article. I found it interesting to read. I’ve been seriously trying to do something about my weight, I’m not over weight, but I’m trying to keep it under control as I seem liable to go over. Some times, I want to snack but the options available to me are not healthy. I’ve never tried protein bars before. The information here is a Life saver. I’ll be checking them out and I hope I like them. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Chad,

    I saw that you have the Nature’s Valley Bars at the bottom of your post – these I have tried and like I never really read the label but use them as an afternoon snack because I want the protein and fiber.  Being of the older generation I do know that I do not get enough protein in my diet so I use these more to supplement my diet with the protein and fiber and started when my husband was alive and diagnosed with diabetes.  They help me from snacking on the wrong things and think they do help with keeping my energy levels up.

    Thanks for the review and now I am going to try some of the ones which you have recommended here that Akins looks to be one that I would really enjoy.

    Susan

    1. Thank you for your comment Susan, the best source of protein is in your regular diet, from eggs, poultry, lean meats, and legumes. Really the reason for the focus on protein bars is trying to have something on hand that is not going to doing any harm in the same way a candy bar does. Plus when eating a lot of salads sometimes your need a little extra protein.

  4. I absolutely love protein bars, especially the Pure Protein salted caramel bars! I just really started using protein bars this year because my job required me to do a lot of heavy lifting and to be on my feed all day and I noticed that when I ate protein bars (because I didn’t want anything else from work) that my muscles weren’t nearly as sore. Keeping this in mind, I started regularly consuming protein bars and made especially sure I didn’t get a bar that had a lot of added sugars, since sugar makes you crash.

  5. I like protein bars once in a while. If the protein amount one should consume per day is only about 54 g. for me, I can only eat the ones with very low protein content.

    I too like to eat salad, I eat a lot of salad, in fact my wife grows BIO salad here at home. Still it is nice to eat a treat once in a while.

    I’ll try the Atkins cookies n’ creme bars, they look delicious and are very low with protein and calories. 

  6. I love protein bars. I never used to eat them before but with type 2 diabetes now, it’s important to watch what I eat. 

    I must keep my blood sugar down and eliminating the bad foods I was eating and replacing them with such snacks as protein bars is a necessity for me.

    It’s good to know that I need about 72 grams of protein.I don’t know if I’ve ever tried the Atkins bars.

    I have had many different protein bars but the Pure Protein is my favorite.I now get them in bulk at BJ’s.I’m interested in knowing what is your favorite protein bar?

    1. Thanks for your comment Rob, before this week my favorite bar for a mid-meal snack was the Pure Protein Bar too! But the Robert Irvine Fit Crunch is very good! It is still small enough for a mid-meal snack. 

      If I need a larger bar because of being extra hungry or doing more physical activity; the Cliff Protein Builder bar is very good, but that one has a lot of sugar, have to be careful about the time of day on that one.   

  7. I know what you mean about things tasting more delicious when you are “depriving” yourself of them.  It’s kind of like when you’re super hungry, almost everything tastes like the most delicious meal you’ve ever had.  I have to say I’ve never been fond of protein bars, but maybe I’m hungry right now but these bars look delicious.  I saw one had only 1 gram of sugar?  It looks so delicious, but it did say something about 12% sugar alcohol.   What is that?  Can you explain sugar alcohol?

    Thanks for renewing my interest in these healthy snacks.

    1. Thanks for your comment Babsie, the sugar alcohol is coming from a sugar substitute that the body breaks down to a sugar alcohol in the blood stream instead of breaking it down to glucose. So, for diabetics and normal folks, it does not spike their blood sugar levels. 

  8. Hi Chad.  I know this post was about protein bars, but I think that Taylor Farm Fiesta salad that you show a picture of looks great!!!   I am not sure that I have tried that particular brand.    

    Ideally, I would love to get my protein from a meat source, like the chicken, that you showed in the picture.  I have tended to use protein bars and shakes as an after workout recovery.   The protein bars are convenient if you can’t get a nice warm meal but want to consume some protein when your body most needs it.   

    Thinking about the old bodybuilder’s comment and yours about the taste-  I wonder if the protein bars are a bit of an acquired taste?  To me, protein bars and shakes tend to have a chalky taste to them.   The protein bars that I have tried tended to be a bit dry also.    Yet, when I was really hungry, they were better than nothing.  

    The cookies and cream bar you mentioned looks moist in the picture.  Have you tried it?  

    Thanks for this post as I have been needing to pay a bit more attention to my protein consumption.   

    1. Thanks for your comment Sondra, all of the protein bars that I review taste pretty good! I am just being honest if they do not meet my taste requirements then I do not waste time complaining about them. Just do not buy it any more.

      With that said the cookies and cream from Atkins taste real good and is not chalky to me, but it is not moist, it is crunchy. 

  9. My husband and I are trying to change our eating habits and to be healthier and lose weight.  I’ve always eaten protein bars, and I’m trying to find the best ones that my husband will like too.  I think he will like some of the ones you recommend, so thank you!  Do you have any suggestions for someone who is a chocoholic?  

    1. Thanks for your comment Janelle, the Robert Irvine Fit Bars really taste good! Also the Atkins cookies and cream was real chocolate tasting too. One that is not on this post is the Pure Protein Bar in the peanut caramel flavor. 

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