On the nutritional market today there are bars for everything. There are weight loss bars, low carbohydrate bars, meal replacement bars, mega-calorie bars for mass gain, energy bars, and protein bars, to name just a few. Each bar has a specific purpose and because of that they have a unique formula of nutrients and vitamins to support their function. This formula is usually what sets the bars apart from each other.
Types of Nutrition Bars?
- Weight loss bars usually have fewer calories than the others and have nutrients and vitamins to support metabolic function. They may have stimulants to boost metabolism, but generally not in high doses.
- Low carbohydrate bars are designed for those people on low carb diets or people with blood sugar control issues. These are usually fairly high in protein, with a fair amount of fat, but are also often loaded with sugar alcohols or some other sugar substitute to maintain their flavor.
- Meal replacement bars are designed to replace a complete meal, and therefore have a nutrient formula similar to what that manufacturer believes should be the nutrient breakdown of a meal. It will have an adequate supply of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These are usually mid range in the calorie arena, around 250 to 300 calories.
- The mass bars are usually loaded with lots of calories and have the most variety in nutrient content. Some are nothing more than glorified candy bars, with an extra ingredient thrown in to entice the buyer. Others have a quality nutrient content, with lots of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
- Energy bars are designed to boost the buyers energy after consumption. These may have stimulants, such as caffeine, or other supportive nutrients, such as ginseng and white tea. They may pack an initial punch with just sugar, or they may go for sustained energy through an array of carbohydrates.
- And, finally, the protein bar is a supplement bar for adding extra protein to the diet. These are great for a quick protein fix between meals, on the road, or right after a workout.
About Energy Bars
Energy bars, and some of the other bars, may take the edge off when a meal is missed or if energy levels are simply dropping in between meals. They may have a good supply of macronutrients, but mostly carbohydrates. They may provide a boost before a workout, especially if it has been a little while since the last meal, but they do not provide the necessary building blocks to repair the muscles after the workout. That is where protein bars come in.
About Protein Bars
Protein bars do not provide a quick burst, or even sustained, energy, but they do supply the protein needed by the body to maintain and build muscle. The protein in a protein bar is generally easily digested and can quickly be absorbed by the body and put to use where it is needed. A protein bar with some quality complex carbohydrates and some healthy fats may be the ticket to energy and protein. Usually some fats are added to the bar to make it softer and easier to chew and digest. Carbohydrates are often added for flavor purposes. A protein bar with nothing but protein might be like chewing on leather hard tack. Check out the best protein bars.
When looking at supplement bars, it is important to decide if you just need a quick energy fix or if you need something with substance and the protein necessary to repair the muscles. An energy bar before a workout might give the energy boost needed to really tear down the muscles. A protein bar during or immediately after the workout will provide the amino acids needed to rebuild the muscles and make them stronger. A protein bar with good complex carbohydrates and healthy fats might be a good solution to provide the energy and protein needed for that intense workout. Many bars claim to be both an energy and protein bar.