Protein bars can be very useful, convenient, filling, and healthy, but only if you choose ones with low sugar. Nobody needs more sugar in their diet, and most of us need to eat a lot less. If you care about your health, your weight, and your teeth, make sure you eat protein bars with no added sugar, and less sugar in general.
I used to eat a lot of snacks, and most of them contained sugar. Every time I felt hungry, I headed to the vending machine and grabbed a candy bar. This filled me up for a few minutes, and gave me a boost of energy, but soon after I was hungry and tired again.
Guess what? Then I headed back to the vending machine for more candy!
Needless to say, this lead to a lot of weight gain, and my dentist wasn’t happy with me either.
In an effort to get my sugary snacking under control, I started eating protein bars instead. Most of the time, this worked really well. My hunger pangs were less frequent, and my energy levels were more stable. Best of all, I started to lose some weight too.
But, occasionally, and despite eating protein bars instead of candy bars, I still had sporadic, big sugar cravings soon after eating a protein bar. I couldn’t understand why. After all, protein bars are healthier than candy bars, right?
One day, after this happened yet again, I read the ingredients label on my protein bar wrapper, and was surprised to find sugar listed. No wonder I felt like I’d eaten a candy bar – I had! In fact, my bar contained nearly 20 grams of sugar – and that’s a lot!
Sugar is added to a lot of foods, and you’ll find it in some very surprising foods – even so-called healthy foods. In fact, it’s added to almost all processed foods, although you may have to look very hard to spot it. Food manufacturers use lots of different names for sugar, making spotting it very hard. Here is a list of the 61 different names for sugar so you can identify added sugars more easily.
Sugar can really upset your energy levels, make you feel hungry, and even make you unwell. There is a very strong link between dietary sugar and many diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, which is a very serious and increasingly common brain disease. Most people eat too much sugar, and it’s a leading cause of weight gain.
Sugar is also full of empty calories. Empty calories provide you with energy, but no vitamins or minerals. In fact, digesting sugar uses vitamins and minerals, so sugar robs them of your body when it should be providing them. That’s why it’s possible to overeat, but still, be undernourished. Ironic, but true!
Anyway, now I look for protein bars without added sugar, and even wrote about how to find the best protein bars in my article The best protein bar for you. In it, I discuss what to look for in a good protein bar, what to avoid, and provide you with some examples of good quality products to try. If you REALLY want to make sure you know what is in your protein bars, you can always make your own. Here are some homemade protein bar recipes to try.