Protein Bars Review and Shopping Guide
Protein Bars - Shoppers Beware of The Protein Bar!
Or actually, I should say 'beware of the protein bar labels', they're not always what they report!
First, protein bars are the best alternative to protein powder and meal replacements. Take them anywhere you go, and you can eat a protein bar anywhere - no mess, no fuss. You can find all types of protein bars, pure protein bars, diet bars, energy bars, just about a type for any need, and all 'designed' for that need, be it weight gain, or weight loss. Really? Or is that what the labels tells you? Read on, you'll find some interesting and shocking facts and findings on protein bars.
Protein Bar Findings - Protein Bars False Labeling
A study done in 2001 by Consumerlabs studied the contents of 30 nutrition bars. These included protein bars, energy bars, diet bars, and meal replacement bars. "So what?" You ask. Well...
Over 60% of the bars failed to meet their labeling claims, which means over 18 out of the 30 bars tested made false claims on its labeling! Take a quick look:
Only 1 out of the 12 protein bars passed
1 out of the 8 meal replacement bars passed
4 of the 10 diet bars passed
All 5 bars that didn't specify any use, passed
4 of the 5 energy bars passed
Protein Bars' Reasons For Failure
The nutrition bars were tested to determine their total carbohydrates, calories, protein, fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Pass or fail depended on whether the labeling reflected the actual protein bar contents. Sure enough, 18 failed... Want to know why? Keep reading.
Protein bar carbohydrates and sugars:
The biggest killer was the amount of carbs being reported in the protein bars - most of it wasn't stated in the labeling. 15 of the nutrition bars exceeded their claimed amounts of carbs! One self-claimed low carb bar (2g of carbs) actually contained 22 grams. How can this be? Well, glycerin according to the FDA is a carbohydrate, but these manufacturers were not counting glycerin as a carbohydrate. On average, the nutrition bars exceeded their sugar claims by 8 grams - a whole 2 teaspoon fulls!
Glycerin is used as a sweetener and to add moist texture. The problem with protein bars is that you need to add a lot of sugars and other stuff to make it taste good. So the better a protein bar tastes, the less healthy it is. Sad reality, I know. >:(
Here are some quick findings for other ingredients in the protein bars:
7 nutrition bars contain 2 to 3 times the labeled amount of sodium
2 protein bars exceeded labeled amounts of fat
4 had higher than labeled saturated fat
All the products contained acceptable levels of cholesterol - most less than 5mg
Although the amount of calories were all listed correctly, the sources of the calories were not labeled correctly - they were 'hiding' the calories coming from carbs
Our Protein Bars Review and Shoppers Guide
At around $30 bucks(retail) for a box of 12 protein bars, they can be a little pricey, working out to a little over $2 bucks for each bar. So despite some of the false labels, the prices aren't exactly cheap. So we went out shopping for some protein bars ourselves, and have prepared a report comparing the cost/benefit of several of the most popular brands of protein bars.
Similar to our protein powders comparison report, we cast aside factors such as quality, ingredients, etc... and focus on getting the biggest bang for your buck. Then you can decided based on our price/benefits comparison what works for you. Be it a lower priced bar at a lower quality, or vice versa. However, when you shop for protein bars, please always read the labels. Some will have in fine print that it contains glycerin and that it's not counted in the carbs content. So always read labels. We know of an excellent online supplements merchant, that has great prices. I always shop there myself, and I recommend you check them out as well.