I love this quote by Martin Berkhan about protein bars not belonging in a healthy lifestyle. After years of relying on protein bars for meal replacements or post workout snacks, I have completely eliminated them from my diet.
I decided to take his idea one step further with a comparison of 3 popular brands of protein bars against eating half a Snickers, followed by a protein shake.
(I used ON 100% Whey protein powder mixed in water for the comparison since that’s the brand I use at home)
As you can see, the Snickers/Protein Powder combination not only competes with the bars, but actually appears to come out on top (Im not saying to go eat a Snickers, I just think its laughable that this comparison can even be made). The protein bars have considerably more calories, higher fat totals from processed vegetable oils, as well as almost double the sugar content. I just don’t see how anything besides a piece of fruit can have that much sugar and be considered a health food, and even fruit I would have most people limit in their diets. On top of that, most protein bars have ingredients lists that are longer than this blog post! If the ingredients in the foods you are eating look more suited for a Chemistry lab, than your mouth, you probably shouldn’t be eating that food.
It annoys me that most of the popularity of protein bars stems from the idea that we need to eat 6+ times a day or our bodies will start to go into starvation mode. This is completely false and only forces you to lower your food quality in order to constantly eat all the time. Instead of forcing yourself to eat borderline foods all the time, plan out 2 or 3 good meals everyday and don’t bother eating in between. If you get desperate and need food, throw a scoop of protein powder in a shaker with some water, grab some fruit and nuts, and you have a meal you can take anywhere. In most cases though, your just better off eating more at your meals, and fasting in between.
If that wasn’t enough, most protein bars are expensive! The average price of a protein bar typically falls between $1 and $3 per bar, where the average scoop of protein powder usually costs around $0.50 per serving! A similar amount of protein from real food sources like chicken or eggs would also be well under a $1 per serving.
Stop wasting your money on expensive and nutritionally deficient protein bars and get back to eating real foods. You might just save your waistline and your wallet.