The best protein bars on the marketTips from Runner’s High nutritionist, Kiah Ehrke
Which protein bars are best? What should you look for on the food label? How many grams of sugar is too much sugar? As a dietitian, I probably get the most questions about which protein bars are best. Follow these two rules:
1. The ingredient list. Make sure you can pronounce all the ingredients. Opt for bars with fewer ingredients and ingredients that come from whole foods (think nuts, fruit, natural sweeteners).
2. Sugars. Usually if there is only 0-1 grams of sugar and the bar tastes sweet, they likely contain artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose) and sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol) contain zero/minimal calories but taste very sweet and can lead you to crave sweeter foods. In addition, they can cause gastrointestinal issues (gas, bloating, laxative effects) because our body doesn’t know how to digest those molecules. Instead, look for natural sources of sugar (dates, honey, fruit).
My personal go-to protein bars:
RX bar. Made from simple ingredients like dates, egg whites, nuts and fruits - THAT'S IT! Good for pre- or post-workout.
Perfect Bar. (I'm a big fan of these!) They are made with natural sweetener (honey), whole food powder including fruits and vegetables (hello extra nutrients!) and healthy fats. Best for post-workout. (Expert tip: you can find these in the refrigerated/dairy section of stores like Whole Foods and Mariano's.)
KIND nut bar. These are made with nuts and honey as the sweetener. Look for KIND bars that have <5 grams of sugar. These bars aren't as high in protein as the other bars mentioned, but still a reputable choice. Good for pre- or post-workout.