The truth about Protein Bars: are they sabotaging us?
You guys, this WEATHER- has me feeling some - type - of - way!
Yesterday I walked the Hudson River Greenway and EVERYONE was out gallivanting in the sun. Okay maybe not gallivanting- it is NYC- but you know what I mean. With even more nice weather on the horizon, that means more plans. More plans means more time spent on the go. Which can mean more snacks to hold us over to our next meal. 4 years ago my go to snack used to be a protein bar…. Until I figured out that my protein bars were full of crap, jacking up my blood sugar, and making me feel like sh*t.
Before you’re like “f*ck this girl, I like my bars.” HEAR ME OUT:
I want to like protein bars so badly. They’re pretty and portable, and with the right ingredients and nutrition they could make a good snack... But I strike out when I look for a bar that is easily digestible, has a short recognizable ingredient list, no additives, and meets my quota of protein, fat, carbs. OH- AND won’t spike my blood sugar. Not to mention, a bar that doesn’t contain sugar alcohols, whey protein, dry fruit, gums and stabilizers? High maintenance? Kind of. But we have to be if we want to feel this good!!
We want our snacks to work for us, not against us.
And that means eating clean, simple, REAL foods.
When I was eating bars a couple times a week I was dealing with so many skin issues. It was incredibly frustrating. I was training to be a yoga teacher, drinking TONS of water, eating well, sleeping, and seemingly healthy. So WHY did I have this mystery rash on my cheeks? I went to 3 different dermatologists asking what the hell was going on. They prescribed me cortisone ointment (which made it WORSE in the end) or gave me surface level answers - “maybe it’s rosacea” (it wasn’t). Through my own research I was able to understand what in my diet was contributing to my skin woes. I mean, how could my skin GLOW when my body was busy detoxifying from the excess sugar AND attempting to digest things like Xanthan Gum?
So what about bars that are made from whole ingredients- like LARABAR?
We’ll use the Apple Pie flavor as an example:
The ingredients: Dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon.
Nutrition facts: Total fat: 9g, Total Carb: 25g, Fiber:4g, Total Sugars: 18g, Protein: 4g
I like that Larabar has very few ingredients and is made out of whole foods. But 18g of sugar for a snack? 18g is equal to 4.5 teaspoons of sugar… THAT’S A LOT of sugar. Yes, the sugar is from natural sources and has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar- but it’s STILL sugar. When you ingest sugar it tells your body to stop burning fat for fuel. So unless you are working out immediately after eating it, to use the sugar as fuel, I would steer clear from having a bar like this daily.
A note on FOOD POLITICS
We think that bars are a healthy snack because there are big companies that are paying for them to be marketed as such! Think about it have you ever seen marketing for asparagus, or arugula? NO, because these foods don’t come from big companies- they come from farms, and our local communities!
I advocate balance, and intuitive eating. It’s totally okay to have a treat or a bar every once in while. I just want us to be armed with the knowledge so we don’t sabotage our blood sugar and digestive system.
DITCH THE BAR for these alternatives
Throw a ziploc of gg crackers with a disposable knife into a reusable bag with an avocado and make little avocado toasts- Lots of belly filling fiber and satiating fat, with no sugar and very few ingredients!!
Nut butter individual packets
Hard boiled egg
Rotisserie chicken lettuce cups
What are your favorite snacks? What has been your experience with protein bars? Let me know in the comments