Nowadays, you can find protein bars nearly everywhere. They’re often touted as a great source of nutrients that can lead to muscle growth, help you lose weight, and healthily satisfy your sweet tooth. But the truth is, the overwhelmingly positive reputation of many protein bars is based more on clever marketing and wide availability than in reality. In fact, many of the best tasting protein bars are closer to candy bars than healthy diet supplements. They are often loaded with sugar or unhealthy sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, increasing your risk of obesity and diabetes if consumed in excess.
So how do you tell good protein bars or supplements from bad ones? Why do we need protein in the first place, and how much do we actually need?
Let’s dive into all that and more in ATAQ’s Guide to Protein Bars.
Why Do We Need Protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient that our body needs not just to survive, but to thrive. In addition to the key role it plays in our daily bodily functions, it provides incredible athletic benefits that will help you get the most out of your workout.
In addition to creating and maintaining healthy cells, protein repairs damaged tissue, helps oxygen move through the body, aids digestion, regulates hormones and provides you with energy.
Without protein, your body would lack a crucial component for healthy muscles, bones, skin and blood and your health can actually suffer.
For athletes specifically, high protein diets have many different benefits for performance, such as:
- Faster recovery after strain or injury
- Stronger muscle building and retention
- Regulation of healthy weight and hunger levels
How Much Protein Do We Need?
The amount of protein you need in your diet depends on several factors:
- The amount of exercise you get
- Your weight
- The source of protein you consume
According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), the suggested amount of protein is 1.76 grams per pound of body weight. However, many scientists and trainers, particularly in the athletic field, believe this amount is too low to properly support athletic training.
1.76 grams of protein per pound translates to roughly 10 percent of the average adult’s daily calorie intake, but many scientists recommend upping that amount to 15 to 25 percent to complement peak athletic performance. This helps build and retain stronger muscles while also assisting in sustained weight loss.
If you are trying to decide what amount to shoot for in our recommended 15 to 25 percent range, it is very important to keep your specific exercise, weight, and athletic goals in mind.
If your goal is to significantly bulk up, with a substantial increase in muscle mass and overall strength, you should aim for a diet in which protein makes up 25 percent of your daily caloric intake (or even slightly above that). This will help you build and retain muscle without limiting your performance or injuring yourself.
If you want to cut weight or slim down without sacrificing muscle or risking strain (or even injury), aim for a diet in which protein makes up 15 percent of your daily caloric intake. This will help you burn fat without muscle loss.
What Are The Most Common Ingredients in Protein Bars?
In most popular protein bars, there are several common healthy and unhealthy ingredients to be found.
To be a savvy customer and an advocate for your health, it’s important to know the difference.
Healthy ingredients in a protein bar include:
- Pea Protein
- Rolled Oats
- Nut Butter or Healthy Nuts
- Natural Fibers
Processed or high-sugar ingredients are sometimes obvious to spot, but they can often be disguised with deceptive or confusing names. These ingredients are often responsible for the incredibly high sugar content and caloric values of popular protein bars.
Some popular culprits include:
- Soy Crisps: a lesser form of protein
- Sugar Alcohols: Xylitol, Sorbitol, Isomalt
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
As you can see, hidden sugars are often the main reason protein bars can actually be harmful to your health. As a result, it is usually a good rule of thumb to look for protein bars that have under 15 grams of sugar and less than 400 calories.
Does ATAQ Make Health and Protein Supplements?
ATAQ has a variety of energy-boosting and protein supplying supplements that give you the healthy, plant-based nutrients and protein you need and the great taste you want without any of the unhealthy additives you don’t want. Derived from a unique mix of pumpkin seed, rice, pea, flaxseed and chia, our plant-based protein powders pack 25 grams of non-GMO protein per serving and match the amino acid profile of whey as closely as possible.
With delicious flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and matcha that are perfect for your protein shake, our powders can help stimulate muscle growth and aid recovery without the digestive issues that whey-protein powders can cause for people who are lactose intolerant or have sensitive digestion systems.
Plus, if you’re looking for a great way to boost your protein intake with healthy, sustainable energy, we have a solution for that too. Backed by the science of biochemistry, ATAQ’s plant-based Raw Energy bars are perfect for before or after a workout and can fuel you throughout the day. Infused with Actigin Extract, a Ginseng extract proven to boost the body’s energy production through ATP (which fuels cells) and aid energy storage in the muscles through Glycogen.
With simple plant-based ingredients, our bars help the body clear toxins (which stimulates recovery) and come in delicious flavors like:
- Banana Nut
- Blueberry Coconut
- Chocolate Walnut
- Mango Almond
- Variety Pack (all the above!)