Cooking and Entertaining

Pros and Cons of Protein Bars and Protein Shakes

Back then, protein bars and protein shakes are considered as a favorite supplement for bulky and muscular guys who almost turned the gym into their second home. However, more men and women who may not be muscular but want to stay in shape consume them regularly. Plus, they are healthy and filling to consume if you don’t have time to prepare a full meal. So your husband is rushing off to work? Hand him a protein bar.

But as with many processed foods, you may still wonder if protein bars and protein shakes are really worth the hype. Is the “healthy” label to them truthful? Let’s compare the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Protein Bars
Three protein bars

Protein bars are a type of nutrition bars that contain a high proportion of proteins than carbohydrates and fats. They come in a variety of flavors – chocolate, dark chocolate, almond, oatmeal, peanut butter, and more. The great thing about them is they are ready on the spot, making them one of the best on-the-go snacks, and you don’t need to refrigerate or heat them. But protein bars vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so the contents of every protein bar aren’t something you may expect.

Pros:

1. Protein intake

Protein is one of the most important ingredients in nutrition bars as it’s one of the macronutrients every person needs to stay in shape. It is recommended for a person who wants to improve his body-fat-to-muscle ratio consume around 25to 35 grams of protein at every meal, so physical exercise and working out in the gym are essential. Fortunately, with the right protein bar, you can help provide the muscle-building nutrient that your body needs.

2. Convenience

Imagine spending a whole afternoon in the weekend cooking lots of protein-packed meals and dividing them to separate containers for each day of the week. Not all people have the time for that. And when you need to eat these meals, you have to eat from a container which you need to clean up later. This is where protein bars win. These are convenient food bars that do not need any preparation, easy to carry around, and easy to eat. With our busy lifestyles, these protein bars can help us ensure that we are consuming protein intake every day.

3. Nutrient intake

Generally, protein bars tend to offer a better balance of macronutrients than protein shakes. Plus, when you consume a protein bar, it works incredibly well with carbs, fiber, and fat, keeping your energy up. It also increases the production of amino acids to help your muscles. This is the reason why protein bars are a perfect snack before and after a difficult workout.

4. Satiety

Studies have shown that chewing solid food is more satisfying for the stomach than getting calories in liquid form, so even if you drink carbohydrate-rich beverages, you may still get some food to be satiated. Protein bars are satiating because they tend to have more fiber.

Cons:

1. Sugar and caloric intake

Consuming more sugar than you intended is one of the risks you run into with consuming any processed, packaged food. Protein bars can also be a major offender, with its sugar and calorie content resembling something closer to a candy bar than a healthy snack. If you see sugar, sucrose, or high fructose corn syrup on top of the ingredients, look for another bar. As for calories, some types contain even more than a regular candy bar. These two things are not one of the things you want for a healthy weight.

2. Fillers and additives

A good protein bar must only contain ingredients that you can recognize. The more natural, the better. However, many protein bars also contain a lot of hard-to-pronounce food additives. Some may include food coloring, artificial sugars, and partially hydrogenated oils. Avoid these protein bars and look for low-sugar alternatives with whole ingredients. You may also try protein bars that are usually healthier and cleaner.

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are considered as a dietary supplement. It provides amino acids – the building blocks of proteins – in the form of powder. This powder is mixed with water and added with other ingredients for better taste and added nutrients. To get the best results from drinking shakes, you have to use them as a part of a healthy eating and exercise plan, not as a single means to an end.

Pros:

1. Effective in maintaining weight

Protein shakes are proven to be effective in helping people to lose weight. A study demonstrated that obese subjects who drank high-protein meal replacements as part of a low-calorie diet had lost more weight in a year than those who followed diets without replacements. Protein shakes usually contain fewer calories than full meals. Plus, protein is the most satiating nutrient, which means it can keep you feeling fuller for longer compared to carbs and fats.

2. Convenience

In most cases, drinking a protein shake is a fast, easy, and convenient way to consume a full and balanced meal. If you don’t have the time to prepare a full meal, a protein shake will do. It can also be a great alternative to a meal if you’re trying to lose weight. A protein shape helps you gulp down nutrients in no time.

3. Easy protein delivery

For aiding muscle repair and recovery, it’s essential to consume enough protein in your diet. Consuming 0.14 to 0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight after a workout is also recommended to ensure that the body receives the necessary building blocks available for repairing muscle tissue. The amino acids can be easily transported to the bloodstream when consumed in liquid form – this is where protein shakes become more superior than protein bars.

4. Easy to make

Protein bars are easy to make. Just pop some powder in the blender with water, and you’ve got a shake.

Cons:

1. Sugar and caloric intake

Just like protein bars, protein shakes tend to be loaded with sugar and may cause you to consume excess calories in a day. Usually, adults get enough protein through the foods they eat, so unless a person needs additional protein because of athletic training, disease, or advanced age – adding protein shakes to a healthy, well-balanced diet may only lead to increased calorie intake, causing weight gain.

2. Has limitations

Although protein shakes can help in losing weight, they are fairly limited in what they can do for your body. Even if you drink shakes, you won’t lose enough weight if you don’t reduce your calorie intake and make efforts to develop your muscles. The best way to drink shakes is to include them as part of a weight-loss or strength-training plan.

3. Hunger pangs

Since protein shakes tend to have less balanced macronutrients and less fiber, it can leave you less satiated. You are likely to feel full after consuming one, but you may find yourself hungry again shortly thereafter.

4. May cause excess protein intake

Before taking a protein supplement, you must first discuss it with a nutritionist or a health care provider. If you already consume enough protein through food, adding protein shakes as a steady part of your diet may have harmful effects on the body. When proteins break down, the kidneys and liver must work harder to excrete waste products, which may cause or worsen diseases in those organs.

5. Costly

Protein shakes vary widely in price. Powders cost less than ready-to-drink shakes, but don’t forget the expenses of additives like milk, fruit, and flavorings. If these prove too much for your wallet, you’ll be better off buying protein-rich foods such as meat or chicken to supplement your diet instead of protein shakes.

Conclusion

Protein bars and protein shakes both have advantages and disadvantages, but their significant purpose is to provide the body with essential protein and other nutrients, especially if you don’t get enough with food. Yes, they are considered healthy foods, but take a look at the ingredients list. Avoid those whose ingredients don’t differ much with a regular candy bar.

Each of them is appropriate for different scenarios. If you’re looking for a quick snack to stash with you, then go for a protein bar. If you need something that can increase the speed of protein delivery for your body, you might prefer a protein shake.

However, only opt for additional protein if you need one. If your body is receiving enough because you have a well-balanced diet, then you probably don’t need these protein supplements.

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