The 10 Best Nutrition Bars
Our Picks in Detail
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* Last update of prices was on 2019-01-18 09:46:01 via PA API. Prices or conditions may have changed in the meantime.
13 Best Nutrition Bar Alternatives
Nutrition Bar Buying Guide
Nutrition Bar Buying Guide
It seems like everything is getting more hectic these days. Technology has allowed us to do more in less time, and now we’re expected to do just that. Making time for a healthy meal can be hard when we’re juggling several other tasks throughout the day. Nutrition bars seem like a wholesome alternative.
They don’t require cooking. They’re prepackaged and don’t need to be refrigerated. They’re loaded with nutrients. Some of them are even designed to replace a meal. However, are they really good for you?
Some nutrition bars are just glorified candy bars. They’re made with highly processed ingredients and contain a lot of sugar. Those aren’t the most nutritious. Nutrition bars that are made with real ingredients and minimal sugar can deliver health benefits when you can’t get fresh food in your mouth.
How Much Protein Should A Nutrition Bar Have?
WebMD says that women should eat about 46 grams of protein a day and men should eat about 56 grams of protein a day. If you’re eating a nutrition bar to replace a meal, it should contain about 10 to 20 grams of protein, assuming that you eat three meals a day.
If you exercise intensely or want to focus on building muscle, you may need more protein. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding also need more protein than the average person.
How Many Carbs Should A Nutrition Bar Have?
Ideally, a nutrition bar should have as little sugar as possible. Trading out natural sugars for artificial sweeteners isn’t an ideal option, however.
According to a US News & World Report article, eating artificial sweeteners can increase your cravings for more sweet stuff. That might make it harder to go eat a spinach salad a few hours after consuming a nutrition bar laden with sucralose or aspartame.
Dr. Mark Hyman explains that artificial sweeteners can also trick your body into thinking that it’s eating real sugar. When you eat them, your insulin levels go up, your metabolism dies down and you’re more likely to develop belly fat.
Some bars with a low carbohydrate count contain sugar alcohols, such as maltitol, xylitol, sorbitol or erythritol. Sugar alcohols have fewer calories than regular sugar. They don’t cause your blood sugar to spike. They have some other health benefits, like feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
However, Authority Nutrition reports that sugar alcohols can cause digestive distress. Because the body cannot digest some sugar alcohols, the bacteria in the large intestines feed on them instead. These bacteria release byproducts of fermentation as they digest the alcohols. This can lead to gas and bloating. Maltitol and sorbitol seem to cause more digestive problems than the other sugar alcohols.
Therefore, stick to bars with a low carbohydrate and sugar count. However, check the ingredients for artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols if you want to avoid those.
What Ingredients Should You Look For In A Nutrition Bar?
Choosing a bar with limited ingredients helps you put better quality nutrients into your body. Each of our recommendations for protein bars contains the following total number of ingredients:
- Larabar: 2
- Rise Bar: 3
- RX Bar: 7
- Raw Revolution: 6-9, depending on the flavor
- Zing Bar: 9
- Caveman Nutrition Bar: 10
- CLIF Bar: 12
- NuGo: 15
- Stabilyze: 19
Even though the Stabilyze nutrition bar contains the most ingredients of the bars that we recommend, it still has fewer processed chemicals than some other nutrition bars. However, it contains more sugar alcohols than some of the other bars.
Some nutrition bars contain soy protein. Others contain protein from whey or nuts. If you are allergic to nuts, you’ll have to stick to one of the other options. Many bodybuilding websites claim that whey protein is preferable to soy protein. However, people who are sensitive to milk products might want to avoid whey protein.
Research shows that soy protein might be healthier than whey protein. Experts have found that both types of protein improve lean body mass in people who train with weights. However, soy protein has more antioxidant properties.
It helps if dietary fiber contributes to the carbohydrate count in a nutrition bar. Fiber can help you feel full, which can be an important factor if you’re replacing a meal with a nutrition bar.
Nutrition bars are handy if you don’t have time to fit in a full meal or need a snack on the go. However, most experts agree that eating real, fresh foods is preferable to consuming nutrition bars on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean that you can’t fit nutrition bars into your healthy eating routine. Just try to make sure that the nutrition bars that you eat contain high-quality ingredients, and don’t consider them a substitute for every meal.
More Research on Nutrition Bars
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