Protein Bar 101 with JT
All Protein Bars are not created equal. PIcking a Protein Bar...
First and foremost, a protein bar should be..well, PROTEIN. This does not include "plant based proteins" such as SOY (horrible stuff), "pea protein" "rice protein" or ANY OTHER “protein” that is a plant based protein..
So rule number 1 before even looking at anything else is WHEY PROTEIN (concentrate or isolate..no big difference between the two worth explaining here, just how many times/how it’s filtered and a very nominal caloric difference). After you have determined that what you're holding isn't a carb bar labeled as a protein bar (good example would be CLIFF Builder protein bars) and is actually going to provide PROTEIN then your check list should look something like this:
1- Whey Protein (+/-20G is typically good)
2- Low Sugar (<10-12G -This includes 50% of sugar alcohol...it's about 50% sugar/50% alcohol, but let's save that explanation for another discussion)
3- Low Saturated fat (+/- 7ish G -listed just below "total fat”. The Fat listed should mostly be from plant based sources, nuts/oils or “good fats")
4- REMEMBER: The "total carbohydrate count" doesn't matter as much, just the sugar; the rest of the "carbs" are going to be split into complex (slow digesting) or fiber (which shouldn't even be considered a carb, because your body doesn't break it down into glucose/glycogen…its like veggies).
Make sense? If I lost you there, then remember it like this - Low sugar/Low Sat Fat/High Protein (right type) = good
After the above criterion are met, then you really start getting picky about the rest, based on personal preference as to additives, types of artificial sweeteners, nut allergies, taste, texture etc. Picking bars really isn't all that hard, just break it down into the simple rules above and don't compromise too much beyond them. Also don’t try to be too strict and find zero sugar zero saturated fat bars, because you be left eating air… and there's NO protein in that.
OK, quick Recap:
1- High protein
2- NO SOY or plant based protein as the main ingredient (If you see soy lectin, is different. It’s a plant protein that binds to certain sugars to cause agglutination aka: plant glue)
3- Low Sugar +/- 10Gish (counting 50% of what’s listed as a sugar alcohol)
4- Low Saturated fat
QUEST is a good example of a label to look at as a model. So is Muscletech MISSION Clean protein bars and Oh Yeah ONE bars. Once you learn to look at what's important and dismiss what's not, you'll find your options are MUCH broader than you thought. You’ll also feel a lot less stressed out about trying to pick a protein bar while your friend stands by and watches you sweat, texting me and having a full-blown panic attack mumbling “JT will kill me if I get the wrong one”.