There is no doubt that nutrition bars, also known as energy bars or protein bars, are popular – especially for athletes. They have ingredients that actually flatten your belly and they satisfy your hunger when there’s no available food around. Plus, most of them taste really good.
However, nutrition bars are not created equal. There are some that are all hype and there are also others that are truly nutritious. Knowing how to pick the right product can help you match your body’s needs with your activities.
Ingredients Your Nutrition Bar Should Have:
The following ingredients are good for your body, which is why they should be found in your nutrition bar:
- Protein – Most of the energy bars today come with formulas that are best for athletes. They have protein to help build the muscle, making this the star ingredient in several brands. High protein snacks can increase your metabolism, but give you satiety when you shouldn’t eat a lot. Your nutrition bar should at least have six grams of protein and more preferably uses whey as this helps in sculpting the body.
- Carbohydrates – Just the thought of eating foods that are high in carbs could turn you off. However, you shouldn’t avoid a nutrition bar that contains carbohydrates because this essential ingredient helps you gain that quick energy you need. Plus, it replenishes the stored sugar (called glycogen) that you lost after exercising or a tough workout. Carbs also aid in repairing and rebuilding your muscles. A good nutrition bar should have 35 grams of carbs at the most and there should not be more than 19 grams of sugar in it.
- Fat – You need fat, too, in your nutrition bar. Fat can help boost the product’s flavor and you wouldn’t starve because of it. You should only look for a nutrition bar that has unsaturated fats, which come from seeds, peanut butter, or nuts. Eight grams of fat is enough to satisfy your hunger and you don’t have to worry about clogged arteries because the fat is healthy and unsaturated.
- Fiber – You need at least 15 grams of fiber every day and your nutrition bar can give you just that. The body is not able to digest fiber, so you will easily feel full. Additionally, longer life span is now attributed to consuming high amounts of fiber and this key ingredient also decreases the risk of breast cancer. Your bar should have up to five grams of fiber, whether it is soluble or insoluble.
- Vitamins and Minerals – It’s not a nutrition bar unless it has essential vitamins and minerals. Read the label on the wrapper and make sure it has several listed, including potassium, vitamins A, C, and D, iron, and folic acid. Calcium should also be present, since this is crucial for your hone’s health as well as the proper function of your muscle.
What to Watch Out For
There are some good nutrition bars and there are some that are just there to confuse you. Beware of bars that contain stealth ingredients, including saturated fat, sugar alcohols or just plain sugar, and hydrogenated oils. You should also check the calorie content of the bar and make sure it does not have more than the calories found in a brick of chocolate. Nutrition bars should have up to 200 calories with the ingredients mentioned above.