Setting the Bar With the Best Low Carb Protein Bars for Diets
When it comes to supplements, there are so many out there to choose from, that it can really put us in a difficult situation. Low carb protein bars make no exception.
This is why, when trying to find the best low carb protein bar, it is important to set your goals straight. Whether you aim to lose weight, refuel your muscles after working out or avoid painful moments when hunger strikes and you start binging on unhealthy foods, these bars can prove to be important allies.
Lucky for you, I decided to detail some useful facts about how these supplements work, their benefits, the correct way to choose a healthy low carb protein bar, and whether there should be a difference between protein bars made for women and those that target men.
Important facts about protein bars
First of all, as per their name, they include proteins, which are the building blocks of our bodies. Protein is broken down by the digestive system into 20 different amino acids to reach the bloodstream and regulate the human body’s cells, tissues and organs.
We can incorporate protein in our diets from animal sources (meat, milk, eggs) which provide complete protein, meaning that it includes all the essential amino acids, and vegetable sources which usually lack certain amino acids.
How much protein is recommended?
Protein intake is usually calculated depending on age, lifestyle, diet, health, activity and daily needs of one’s body. With men and women having different protein requirements, specialists recommend protein use based on the following formula: 0.8g x X kg bodyweight = Xg protein per day.
Translated into figures, the average man needs around 56 grams per day while the average woman requires around 46 grams per day.
Protein bars should contain at least 10g of protein to keep you satiated for as long as possible and less than double the amount of carbohydrates to protein. Which brings us to our next question.
How low is low carb?
Apart from the protein content, more and more producers try to come up with the best protein-carb ratio to fit as many diets as possible.
Present dietary guidelines suggest that people consume 40 to 60 percent of the daily calories from carbohydrates. Therefore, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, a diet of 25% carbs equals to eating 500 calories from carbs, or around 125 grams. Amounts below these figures are considered as part of low carb diets. The ketogenic diet, for example, has the lowest carbohydrate intake, with around 20-30 grams of carbohydrate per day.
Depending on your nutritional goals, you can choose to limit your carb intake for optimum results. For example, if your aim is to lose weight, eating even a small amount of carbs boosts the body’s ability to burn fat during high-intensity exercise.
What’s the point in eating protein bars?
Usually, these products are used by professional athletes and workout enthusiasts to build muscle mass. Many active individuals choose to eat a protein bar instead of an energy bar because the first ones contain a higher amount of proteins but they do have fewer carbs. On the other hand, protein bars don’t contain as many vitamins and minerals as meal replacement bars. Nevertheless, these supplements can provide several important benefits:
- They are convenient and even healthy;
- These bars act as a workout support by supplying your organism with its necessary nutrients which increase stamina and help you complete intense workouts;
- Protein bars are said to increase muscle mass which further leads to boosted strength;
- They help your muscles recover quickly after a workout while also lowering your appetite and balancing your blood sugar level.
Protein bars vs. Meal replacement bars
Protein and meal replacement bars can both substitute one of your meals. The choice most of the times depends on your goal. For instance, if you want to lose weight, both options can be considered. However, the best choice for people who are looking to improve their fitness level, build lean muscle mass, and lower their carb intake is protein bars.
For starters, some of the best low carb protein bars for weight loss have a low amount of carbs and are calorie-restricted snacks. Regular meal replacement bars can have too much sugar and carbohydrates which will interfere with your fitness goals.
People choose protein bars to replace unhealthy snacks consumed between meals. They work this way due to the fact that these supplements lower cravings as well as the sensation of hunger. Protein bars are also useful as post-workout recovery methods. They speed up the recovery time of your muscle damage and promote muscle mass growth due to the protein content.
By comparison, meal replacements do exactly that: they replace an entire meal to help you reduce your overall calorie intake. What’s more important for you to know is that one product doesn’t exclude the other. For example, let’s say one day you’re too busy to cook or prepare a nutritious salad. You could consume a meal replacement at lunch and then have a protein bar instead of your usual afternoon snack.
Men’s protein bars vs. Women’s protein bars
When it comes to health supplements, including protein bars, there is a concern related to what works best for men and what should be recommended to women and also if there should be any differences in the way these products are made.
Some of these ideas are simply myths while others are up for debate. For instance, due to the fact that men are bigger in terms of height and weight, and implicitly, with a greater muscle mass, they have higher caloric needs than women.
An average, adult man needs around 2800-3000 calories per day compared to his woman counterpart who requires about 2000 calories a day. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), a man burns around 400 calories more than a woman does in one day.
On the other hand, while men require more calories, women have higher vitamin and mineral needs. Calcium, iron and folic acid are extremely important to women, especially due to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy hormonal changes.
In terms of protein, it should deliver around 15% of the daily calorie intake, regardless of gender. Thus, both active men and women should consume about 60 grams of protein a day, with an extra 20% for individuals that exercise regularly.
At the end of the day, it is not only gender that matters when choosing a product, but also age, overall health and lifestyle. The important things is to try and find a product that matches your needs. The best low carb protein bars contain natural and even organic ingredients, have a low amount of sugar and carbs, provide enough proteins and healthy fats to keep you pumped, and have a decent taste. Try to avoid those that contain ingredients like preservatives, additives, and fillers.
Why choose low carb protein bars?
- You will feel satiated for a longer period;
- You will fuel your body with protein which will increase your power and strength;
- Protein bars slow down your digestive process. Not only is this going to keep you fuller a longer time but it will also regulate your blood sugar levels;
- They are suitable for several different diets such as gluten-free ones, vegan diets, paleo, keto, etc. All you have to do to is make sure your protein bars match your lifestyle and goals. Let’s say you want to fight oxidative stress. In that case, you should choose certain protein bars that are rich in antioxidants and amino acids;
- Sometimes, eating well and working out is not enough to shed those pounds that have been bugging you for so long. In those situations, a healthy low-calorie protein bar can become a nice addition to your overall fitness regime.
All in all, whenever you’re feeling hungry or craving for something sweet, a low carb protein bar might be just the right solution. Furthermore, it is a convenient quick fix when you’re too busy to prepare a healthy snack or when you want to increase your protein intake in a simple and easy manner.
What to look for when purchasing a low carb protein bar
Not all low carb protein bars are the same in terms of nutritional value, taste, variety, and other factors. So, not all of them are healthy. Therefore, the question of how you choose the right product that suits your needs and preferences but also helps you accomplish your fitness objectives will always come up. Here’s what you need to pay attention to before making a purchasing decision.
The ingredients list and their quality
- The best low carb protein bar should be made from high-quality protein in the amount of minimum 10 grams per serving. Protein is crucial for fat burning so the more protein the bar contains, the better;
- It should also be low in sugar. A good protein bar mustn’t contain more than approximately 8 grams per serving;
- Weight-loss supplements should also include a low amount of carbohydrates. A decent protein bar is the one that offers a maximum of 20 grams of carbs and a minimum of 3 grams of fiber per portion;
- Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols have no place in a high-quality protein bar;
- Look for the ones that have fewer ingredients, among which there should be a moderate amount of healthy fats.
Other things to consider
Brand reputation – read as many online reviews as you can of several protein bar brands to see what other consumers have to say;
Purpose of use and how it matches your goals – it depends on what you want to achieve. Some low carb protein bars are good for those who want to increase body strength and build muscle mass while others work better for people who want to lose weight;
Taste and flavor – obviously, we all want our supplements to taste good and provide multiple flavors so make sure you pick a product that meets those requirements;
Value for your money – price is an important factor when purchasing any product, let alone a protein supplement. The cost varies depending on the brand, quality, ingredients, seller, and more. Although you want to save money, you shouldn’t sacrifice quality for a lower price.
Top 5 Best low carb protein bars on the market
Now, that you know the purposes and benefits of protein bars as well as how to pick the healthiest low carb protein bar you can afford, let’s see which options available on the market should be truly considered.
- All the flavor alternatives have a very good taste
- Low carb and enough protein to keep you fuller for a longer period of time
- They contain brain octane oil which is known to speed up the fat-burning process and boost energy levels
- Crumbly texture, difficult to consume on the go
The majority of ProSource clients think that this supplement is the best low carb protein bar for weight loss in terms of taste and flavor. It comes in two available flavors so you can choose from double chocolate cream and the classic chocolate peanut butter. One can indulge in these delicious treats after an intense workout due to the protein content or use them as healthy snacks to stop cravings.
- Very tasty, excellent consistency and crunchy yet creamy texture
- Clean product that is free of gelatin, fillers, soy, and sugar alcohol
- One serving provides no less than 15 grams of high-quality protein
- Relatively high content of fat, not appropriate for every diet
The list with the best low carb protein bars cannot miss Orgain, which is a reliable brand and all their supplements, including these bars, are made from natural non-GMO ingredients. Moreover, most ingredients are organic and help you manage your weight a lot easier. You can choose from the following flavors: classic peanut butter, peanut butter chocolate chunk, chocolate chip\ and S’mores.
- The ingredients are non-GMO so these bars are safe to consume
- These are calorie-restricted supplements which come in handy in any type of diet
- The bars have great texture and taste
- According to a few consumers, these bars can be overly sweet
When it comes to this brand, there’s something for everyone, no matter their personal preferences or diet. It’s impossible not to find something you like because Quest nutrition bars provide 22 available flavors, from chocolate brownie, peanut butter, and cookies & cream to coconut cashew, blueberry muffin, and apple pie. Each serving has an incredible blend of ingredients and offers 15 grams of fiber and 21 grams of protein. It is almost unbelievable how healthy these snacks are when you think of how rich their flavor is as well.
- Wide range of available and delicious flavors
- One bar measures 2.2 ounces and it contains a high amount of protein for its size
- No added sugar and keto-friendly
- Some customers reported stomach distress
With only 160 calories per serving and 10 grams of net carbs per bar, this keto friendly product is advertised as one of the tastiest out there. It can be consumed after workouts due to its high protein content which boosts recovery but also as a tasty snack anytime throughout the day.
- 6g of fiber and 15 grams of protein
- Gluten free, low sugar and low carbs to fit weight loss goals
- Very good taste and texture
- Some customers reported the bars are not filling enough
Although most protein bars are healthy and help you build muscle and lose weight, like any other food, they should be consumed in moderation. When this rule is followed, they will bring you plenty of benefits and become an excellent dietary option. So, make sure you pick a brand that provides good-quality ingredients, several available flavors, and actually tastes good.
In our opinion Quest Nutrition market the best low carb protein bars for weight loss because their ingredients are safe to consume, you can choose from multiple delicious flavors, and they provide only 4 net carbs. Not only do the bars taste good with only 1 g of sugar but the high content of protein also satisfies your cravings for sweets or unhealthy snacks and boost recovery after intense workouts. Unlike similar protein bars on the market, these bars also include 15g fiber per bar, a very important plus for most low carb dieters.