When you think about eating a protein bar as part of a muscle building nutrition plan, what crosses your mind? Aaagghh or Mmmmm? If it’s the former, you’re probably making the wrong choice or eating a stale bar. If it’s the latter, you either grabbed a Milky Way by accident or you grabbed one of those protein bars that tries to be healthy BUT is nothing more than a Milky Way in disguise!
Well, that’s where I come in. As your virtual trainer and nutrition coach I want to be able to help you quickly and confidently decide what protein bars you should be relying on and which ones should remain lying…on the shelf!
F.A.S.T. Selection Guide to Protein Bars
So I put together my “F.A.S.T” Selection Guide to help you when making your protein bar buying decisions. F.A.S.T. stands for Fats, Amount, Type and Sugars. I’ll tell you how each one applies right now, and you’re going to want to pay close attention…because missing just one of these can leave you F.A.T. instead!
Here’s where the protein bar can quickly become the candy bar. Basically flavor comes from one of two sources…sugars or fats. In an effort to jump on the “anti-carb” bandwagon, many bar manufacturers have figured, “well…as long as we keep the carbs down we can do whatever else we want to boost up the taste.”
Sadly, the first thing they reach for is more fat. Sometimes to the tune of 17 or more grams per bar! That folks, is not a health bar but more like a stealth bar if you ask me!
What I’m referring to here is the amount or serving size of the bar. Unlike most of the liquid supplements and juices that flood the market today and play games with the amount of servings per bottle, most of the protein bar serving sizes are realistic. But don’t always assume that one serving size is one packaged bar.
I have seen a handful of sneaky attempts to pass off one bar as being 1.5 to 2 servings! Huh?!? Do they expect you to cut the bar in half? Just make sure to quickly check that 1 serving size does in fact equal 1 bar to avoid being fooled by this all too common trick to keep the numbers from looking as bad as they really are!
Very simply…what type of bar is this claiming to be? Don’t just go by the name. I have seen one very popular bar call itself a “body building bar” and “packed with protein” however on closer inspection there isn’t even 14 grams of protein in it. Not what I’d call a protein bar.
Others will claim to be energy bars, yet have nothing in them but oats and flavoring. Does this mean that your morning oatmeal can start calling itself Turbo Oatmeal?!? Just be careful about the names of the bars and instead rely on the content to decide what TRULY is the supposed function of the bar you’re about to eat.
Finally the secret ingredient! No…nothing secret about sugar, just the fact that some protein bar manufacturers will have you believe that their bars are low sugar (but will pack them with 30 grams of the white stuff!). That’s about 70% of what’s in a can of soda!
Trust me guys…that’s a LOT OF SUGAR! Remember, taste is going to come from either fats or sugars. Try and stick with a bar that gets it’s taste from a combination of the two with 12 or fewer grams of sugar and 9 or less grams of fat. This perfect blend will not only taste great still, but also treat your muscles (and belly) with the results you looked to them for in the first place!
So there you have it guys. Don’t attempt to buy your protein bars without first learning “F.A.S.T” and quickly how to spot a winner from a loser. The ironic thing is in this game….the winners will help you lose (fat) and win (the attention of more people as they admire the new muscles you’re growing!)
Want to know what the best brands of protein bars are for building muscle? Simply head to /best-workout-program-for-men and see exactly what celebrity fitness trainer Jeff Cavaliere recommends to his top professional athletes. It’s available as part of his AthLEAN-X Training System. The only 90 day training system that can deliver you the body of a professional athlete…without actually having to be one.
Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.