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Setting The Bar On Protein Bars

By Expert Author: Peter Roseberg

When you lead a very busy life and don't have the time to even sit down for a few minutes to eat a proper meal, protein bars are your best bet to fill the nutritional void left behind by a hectic lifestyle and calorie restriction. Even if you weren't so busy but trying to lose weight, protein bars are still your best alternative to a Snickers chocolate bar as far as keeping those hunger pangs at bay.


But with so many protein bars out in the market, how do you choose the best one for you and one that won't in any way hinder your weight loss progress with misleading labels? The problem with protein bars is that some will say they have less sugar but have tons of trans fat or low carbs but have high fat content. A protein bar that tastes pretty good is nice but careful because it could contain more sugar than you should consume.


You can eat all the protein bars you want but what's important is that you are able to choose wisely as far as what will be good for you and what will complement your diet regimen. Since not all of them are created equal, some will help you achieve your muscle-building goals fast and some will only slow you down if you choose wrongly.
As such, you will need to understand the key factors in looking for the best protein bars so that you not only get the desired results, you also get products that are worth your time and money:


Total Calorie Count
When you're aiming to lose weight, a 400-calorie protein bar isn't what you need to reach for. You'd be better off complementing a 400-calorie bar with at least 6 ounces of fish, 2 cups of steamed veggies and half a cup of rice. A 400-calorie bar, however, is best if you are looking to gain lean muscle mass because you need all the calories you can get at this time.


Total Carbohydrate Content
Again, if you're looking to lose weight, you will need to make sure you don't go over 30 grams of carbs per bar and if you're looking to gain muscle, you need to get more since you need a high carb intake especially after your workout. However, you also need to make sure you choose bars with the lowest fat content as possible so as not to offset any weight loss.


Check the Labels
Avoid protein bars that have a high amount of high-fructose corn syrup. While all bars will have this ingredient, you need to choose one with the lowest amount as this will slow down any progress you have made as far as building muscle mass is concerned.


Dietary Fat Content
Unless you're consuming protein bars as a post-workout meal, finding bars with a moderate amount of fat in them is ideal since this will slow down the release of carbs into the bloodstream and make you feel full longer as it will also slow digestion.


And last but certainly not the least, you should also choose bars with a healthy carb to protein ratio. If you are trying to lose weight, the ideal ratio would be 2:1 but sometimes 1:1 would be good as well. If you are trying to build muscle mass, the ideal ratio would be 1:2. Be sure to know more about whey protein isolate and other protein supplements to maximize their benefits for your training.

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