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Most Protein Bars are Crap (but in a pinch, grab these)

I’ll be honest, I’m not a bar person.

That’s because they don’t really satisfy me and if I’m grabbing a bar to take hunger or cravings, from experiences past, they don’t serve their purpose for me. But, recently I found myself looking at all these options. I believe it was a day I was wanting a lil something sweet, chocolatey, and not gonna give me all the sugars, carbs and refined junk in traditional baked goods (yes even most ‘healthy’ ones with processed gluten free or whole food flours can influence blood sugar, energy, mood and focus, and make you susceptible to dental cavities! Occasionally, it’s fine, but lately I’ve been choosing more often to pass on foods that may do this).

So, back to the bars - I rarely just grabs a bar because of its flavor without also checking out its macros and nutrition label. I look for something with at least a good amount of protein which let’s be honest so many bars meet this nowadays because well ‘protein is king’ and food marketers use this to their advantage even though the consumer doesn’t realize there’s other things to factor in too. Like carbs for example. No they’re not ‘bad’ but if you look on the back of most products that are labeled ‘sugar free’ ‘low carb’ or for example, ‘only 2 grams net carbs’ these gimmicks to get you the consumer to purchase them thinking they are ideal.

What you don’t realize is that if you actually flipped over to the food label and read the carb counts you’d realize the total carbs in these same labels products contain a total of 20-30 grams of carbs! You low carb paleo, keto dieter’s who think you’re eating under 100 or under 50 grams carbs daily beware! ::gasp:: you’re being misled if you don’t check the details. Now don’t freak out just yet, allow me to explain...

You get to net carbs is subtracting the amount of total fiber + what’s called ‘sugar alcohols’ from the total carbs in a product. Voila, “net carbs”! What’s left are what experts consider carbs that are capable of impacting our blood sugar and insulin and thereby negatively affecting our mood, hunger, cravings, energy and yes ultimately our fat loss and metabolism and overall health and wellbeing.

Here’s the thing I have a problem with though, well two things.

First, to get fiber and the sweet taste the ingredients that go into these products are processed in ways to make them shelf stable, non perishable, appetizing... ultimately more refined. And FYI the more refined something is the greater chances it will increase blood sugar, affect insulin and leave you hungry, w cravings, unstable energy, etc and in the end still wanting something else to eat.

The other problem I have is that these fibers and sugar alcohols though derived from whole, real food sources, are are indigestible you humans. Because they are indigestible, there are many individuals who end up with digestive complaints. Either constipation bloating, gas and flatulence, or having to run to the bathroom because these ingredients go right through them. Neither scenario is truly ‘healthy’.

I for one, have to be extra cautious with sugar alcohols. Too much at once or even a smidgen here and there too often leave me bloated and looking like I have a food baby inside me! Not a good feeling nor appealing look.

All of this turns me away from protein and nutrition bars and really anything that is high nutrient but packaged. Any processing of even healthy nutritious foods has the potential to alter it’s health benefits. I.E ground whole grains, nuts, starches versus whole.

Instead, most times I’d rather choose whole, real foods. Quality protein, produce - veggies & fruits, whole starches, healthy fats, etc. With all the variety of flavors of whole real foods, plus playing with flavor through spices, seasoning and cooking methods it’s hard to go wrong. I also save money eating this way. And with a bit of forethought and mindfulness it’s simple and convenient to do anywhere you are/go.

Nonetheless, I have indeed found two bars recently I actually approve of for taste, for their nutrient profiles, and for how they affect me.

I highly recommend both of these in a pinch. Their macros are decent - good protein and fat moderate carbs. ingredient lists are pretty good. Calories aren't crazy. and they taste great. The @think #keto bar is light and airy with bits of crunch, and just the right flavor and sweet touch. (I personally, would rather choose rich and creamy over super sweet and sugary. Think cheesecake or cream over hard candies and sorbet).

The @IQbar is so super sweet that it causes cravings, requires me to chew which slows me down how fast I eat, and the nutrient profile is good as well.

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