Protein Bars: What Is There To Know?

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Louise Hay

Author and references


Protein bars are useful food supplements to cover the protein needs of the athlete if it is impossible to do it with food.

Protein bars contain energetic macronutrients (with at least 20g of protein), mineral salts and B vitamins; most of the time they are not "pure protein" food supplements and the quantity of carbohydrates + lipids assimilates them more to ungainers than the classic whey, casein or egg powders.

Practical and Nutritional Aspects

Protein bars are a practical alternative to the need to eat after training; in particular, protein bars can be consumed effectively to counter muscle catabolism, to "start" the restoration of energy reserves at the end of the training session and to distribute the peptide share throughout the day.
The protein requirement of the adult increases significantly with sport. From 0,75g / kg of physiological body weight useful to the sedentary, the athlete commonly reaches needs> 1,5g / kg; in this case, to reach these levels WITHOUT excessively increasing the portion of saturated fats and cholesterol (present in many foods rich in high biological value proteins), supplementing becomes a necessity. On the other hand, it is not always possible to transport jars, measuring cups and flasks for mixing powders and it is easier to consume protein bars; these, compared to other powder supplements, have greater flexibility and practicality as they are: pocket-sized, storable and single-portion.

For further information: Energy Bars: What is there to Know?

Protein of the Bars

In protein bars, the peptide fraction is made up of polymers of high biological value; the different proteins are ALL rich in branched chain amino acids (substrate of oxidation in muscular effort) and other essential amino acids, while showing different digestibility and absorption characteristics.
The peptides most used in the composition of protein bars are: whey proteins (rapidly absorbed) and casein proteins (slow absorbed), the combination of which guarantees a rapid but lasting perfusion of amino acids into the blood.
NB. Although protein bars provide at least 20g of protein per serving, the most quantitatively present nutrients are carbohydrates!

For further information: Diet Bars: Characteristics


As anticipated, often protein bars are NOT pure protein supplements but mixed and as such must be taken; they have a medium-high caloric content (for the carbohydrate and lipid fraction) which considerably affects the method of intake compared to pure powders; the differences are:

  • Protein bars are more useful than "pure powders" in post-workout integration aimed at muscle recovery and anabolic stimulus optimization, but unlike powdered gainers, they are more comfortable to use.
  • Protein bars, being very caloric, are less suitable than "pure powders" in distributing the daily protein quota ... especially in overweight subjects or in bodybuilders in the phase of muscle definition.


Protein bars are often subject to food abuse; it may happen that, especially in aesthetic culture and fitness, nutritional misinformation induces users to consume more protein than they really need, consequently altering the overall nutritional balance; in this regard, we remind you that a protein excess in the diet (sometimes difficult to estimate) can be the subject of kidney fatigue and hepatic fatigue.
Furthermore, to favor the protein percentage without exceeding calories, it is necessary to reduce the weights of carbohydrates and / or fats (the latter more difficult to affect); Well, for those who perform aerobic activity, negatively intervening on the carbohydrate portion determines:

  • A DROP in performance due to a shortage of energy reserves
  • With intense and close workouts, a muscular CATABOLISM for protracted neoglucogenesis

Another controversial aspect concerns the quality of some ingredients included in the formulation of many commercial protein bars; examining the list of ingredients, it is not uncommon to notice the presence of vegetable fats (which although not hydrogenated are generally of poor quality, mostly derived from tropical oils) and simple sugars such as glucose or fructose syrup. These ingredients are necessary to give taste and flavor to the product, making it in fact similar to a traditional snack, both in terms of flavor and composition.

NB. Protein bars are NOT meal replacements and can ONLY be used as food supplements; in some cases, the abuse of protein bars can induce: diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, increase in FAT mass and metabolic alterations.

Homemade protein bars

The official recipe of Healthyroyale

Having fun in the kitchen, as well as in the gym, preparing a nutritionally balanced and tasty protein bar, without exceeding with simple fats and sugars, and - why not - saving some money. Alice, the personalcooker of Healthyroyale, explains in detail how to prepare these fabulous homemade protein bars.

Alternatively, you can try your hand at preparing these fabulous banana protein bars.

Audio Video Protein Bars: What Is There To Know?
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