5 Ways to Identify If Your Protein Bar Is Healthy

Protein bars are a great supplement to any person’s diet. They have many uses, such as weight loss, additional fibers and proteins and also, meal replacement solutions. They are a healthy addition to your daily nutritional value, considering you choose the right one. Sometimes, it’s necessary to scrutinize the labels as the protein bars often marketed to you are not always as healthy as they are made out to be. This article is going to give you some tips on how to avoid those other protein bars that are full of fillers and fat and give you some examples of healthy alternatives.

You will want to survey the nutritional facts in these protein bars before you buy. Flip the bar over and check out that panel, as well as the ingredients. Your first thought will typically be the caloric count of the bar and this is going to ultimately depend on your goals. If you’re focused on losing weight, you wouldn’t want to waste more than a few calories on a protein bar even if you’re using it for meal replacement. If you are trying to bulk up on protein and build muscle though it’s better to opt for those high caloric bars.

After taking calories into consideration, it’s time to think about your protein to carb ratio. It is a protien bar of course, that is why you’re purchasing it! The protein should always be higher than the carbs, and you’ll want to be sure you can tell where this protein is coming from, you want to check the ingredients to insure there is hydrolyzed whey, whey isolates and micellar casein should be in one of the first few things on the list of ingredients.

An obvious no-go in your protein bar is going to be too much sugar. Regardless of your goal, too much sugar is going to negatively impact your diet and health. Ironically, many protein bars do contain high amounts of sugar so watch that corn syrups and hidden additives that will be no better than a candy bar. Watch the sugar alcohol as well, many manufacturers have turned to those as it keeps the sweetness while avoiding tooth decay and impacting blood sugar but can cause indigestion when consumed.

Just like other foods in your diets, you will want to watch the fat content, especially the fat content. You’ll want to watch out for trans fat like palm oil. All the bars listen contain zero trans fat, and have small amounts of fat. Some fat is good, as it prevents the carbs from being absorbed into the bloodstream too quickly and overall create a healthier consumption.

Finally, take into consideration the ratio of carbs to protein. Depending on your goal, if you’re looking for fat loss you’ll want to stick to 2:1 protein to carbs, 1:1 is sufficient as well. If you’re using this as a post workout snack or trying to build muscles, you’re looking for a 1:2 ratio.

All in all, there are many choices and it is going to come down to the best tasting bar that fits your dietary needs the best. Remember the tips you’ve read and do some experimenting to find the healthiest choice for your life and most importantly, enjoy them.

Breaking Through the Sticking Points

Everyone has hit a sticking point or plateau at some point. This could be related to your goals of fat loss, weight gain, or strength of a certain lift. What separates those who succeed and those who fail is pushing through and breaking down the wall that is between you and the finish line. You can attempt to break through with a plan or simply keep doing what your doing, banging your head against the wall, and eventually get a crack it even though it will be painful.

Draft a Plan

When you train, you should be following a program. Whether it be for powerlifting, bodybuilding, crossfit, a running or obstacle event or overall health. This is the benefit of having the luxury of a personal trainer or coach, well a good one at least. A good trainer will discuss your goals and formulate a road map of how they plan to get you there. It is your job to navigate it when they are not present as your co-pilot. If you cannot afford a personal trainer currently, but feel you are motivated enough to make changes and have a solid background knowledge of fitness, you can pay someone a smaller fee to create a plan specific to your needs and goals. I do this for many clients and basically train them via email and text. The program is periodized to progress through the weeks and they just need to follow it each week until it is time to update it. This is the next best option to having the personal touch as it is specifically tailored to what you want to achieve. Next, you can search for a program online that has already been created for a large population. Many famous trainers and coaches have released 8 and 12 week programs. Although they are not specific to you, you will see results if the plan is based on progression.

Sample microcycle mesocycle bodybuilding and powerlifting plan

This same concept can be applied to your diet. Your best option is having someone that is educated and knowledgable in this area to sit down and determine a plan specific to you. This should include a calorie goal and well as targeted macronutrient numbers (Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein). I find plans that don’t address these areas do not work as well in the long run. For example if you begin a diet and your body is accustomed to consuming 3000 calories/day and you immediately drop it to 2000 you will see rapid weight loss. BUT you will hit a sticking point or wall much sooner and have to reduce calories even more as opposed to starting with just a 250-300 calorie deficit per day. There are diet plans out there already in cookie cutter format, but this area is even more important to have specific to YOU since each individual is so different.

If you are not tracking your macronutrients you are at an extreme disadvantage. This is just as important when gaining weight. When in the process of gaining weight you obviously want to gain more muscle than fat, who cares what that number on the scale says? Start where you are at and add a specific amount, 250 calories/day for example. Wait two weeks and see if you are getting the results you want. If you are seeing no gains, add 250 more. If you are seeing gains, hold off on adding more until you hit stalemate again and repeat the process.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” Ben Franklin. Apply this to your training and know what you are going to do not just before you goto the gym each day, but what you are going to do for the next 4, 8 or 12 weeks. Apply this to your diet by knowing how much you are going to be eating for the coming weeks. Apply this to what you are going to eat by preparing lunches and dinners for a majority of the coming days so you will not be thrown for a loop and be forced to eat out.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or feedback on Twitter or Instagram, @LukkoV or by my contact information below.

Stay Fit,

Luke Koval Fitness