A protein bar can help you reach your daily protein requirement without the heavy feeling that may accompany a high-protein meal. Leaving you feeling satisfied but not stuffed, protein bars are great for anyone looking to support lean body mass. Best of all, protein bars can accommodate people on a low, moderate or high-protein diet.
For a moderate protein diet, select a protein bar with approximately 16 to 25 grams of protein per serving. You can also choose a protein bar with less than 15 grams for low protein diet or a bar with more than 25 grams for a high protein diet. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to consume .5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight depending on your activity level and goals.
Based on Total Carbohydrate Grams
The carbohydrate content of a protein bar can be just as important as its protein content. While people on a low-carbohydrate diet require a protein bar with less carbohydrates, elite athletes and marathoners require a high-carbohydrate protein bar to fuel energy sources and help replace hundreds of burnt-up calories.
Dieters simply looking to get in shape can choose a protein bar with a carbohydrate content of less than 20 grams per serving.
Active people who require energy to fuel their daily activities can opt instead for a protein bar with a moderate 21 to 30 grams of carbohydrates.
Based on Net Impact Carbs
When it comes to maintaining blood sugar levels already within a normal range, not all carbs are created equal. There are “effective carbs” that significantly impact blood sugar levels as well as other types of carbs that have a lesser effect. The “net impact carb” content plays an important role in finding the protein bar with the lowest impact. The formula is both easy and efficient.
First, determine the total amount of carbohydrate grams in a protein bar. Next, subtract the carbs that have a lesser effect on blood sugar: fiber and sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, maltitol and glycerol. The total sugar alcohol content will be listed in the nutrition facts box. The result is the net impact carb content.
If you are concerned with your carbohydrate intake, choose a protein bar with more carbohydrates from sugar alcohols than one with a greater percentage of carbs from sugar like honey and glucose.
Based on Calories
Regardless of your fitness goals, calorie count is important when choosing the best protein bar.
Protein bars with more than 300 total calories make great meal replacements for the fitness enthusiast on the go. Bars with less calories can be ideal as a snack and for some people may be used in place of a small meal.
You can also enjoy a protein bar as a pre-workout snack, as long as the calorie count is low and carbohydrates are also provided. A protein bar with 100 to 200 calories can help fuel an intense workout when eaten approximately one hour before training.