Understanding the best healthy protein bars means working out the ingredients that are in them. And that can feel like needing a food chemistry degree! They are notoriously full of junk ingredients, appealing to consumers who care about getting maximum protein, minimum carbs, without caring about the rest of the stuff in them.
Does it matter what’s in a protein bar?
With many ingredients far from ‘natural’, these types of bars can cause digestive distress and inflammation, that can actually work against your goal of building muscle or being healthy.
They often also taste awful, with a chalky texture and slightly metallic unpleasant aftertaste that comes from the milk powders used.
Eating a protein bar shouldn’t be just about the protein content. It’s about all of the ingredients that you’re putting into your body.
Here’s a list of common ingredients and why you might want to avoid them:
Erythritol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Lactitol, Isomalt, Maltitol, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysates (HSH).
These are tough to digest and commonly cause wind, bloating and diarrhoea. Check out the laxative effect warnings on the pack!
Sucralose/ Artificial Sweeteners/ Stevia/ Monk Fruit
Sweeteners are super sweet and the more we have the more we crave. All added sweeteners need to be processed into an ingredient form, including stevia which is an extracted and refined element of the leaf.
Artificial sweeteners are known to disrupt the body’s blood sugar control, cause a spike in insulin, which may lead to weight gain. Artificial sweeteners have strong links to heart disease and diabetes.
Inulin / Prebiotic Fibre
Inulin is usually extracted from chicory root to bind ingredients together, increase the fibre count and lower the carbs. Despite the prebiotic name associated with positive gut health, it can actually do the opposite with possible upset stomachs, diarrhoea, gas, bloating and constipation. Just like sugar alcohols, check if it states “may cause a laxative effect” on the packet.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
High-fructose corn syrup is a chemically made sweetener made from corn, with studies linking it to weight gain, increased abdominal fat and insulin resistance due to it’s high fructose content.
Typically made from corn or wheat, glucose syrup is more commonly used than HFCS in Australia. Glucose has less fructose than HFCS, however should still be viewed as an added sugar with no positive nutritional value that creates a spike in blood sugar, followed by a crash.
Soy Protein Isolate
Soy Isoflavones can be toxic because of how the soy is processed. The process of ‘isolating’ the soy protein can leave behind traces of the neurotoxins hexane and aluminium. Soy can also cause digestive problems due to the high concentrations of trypsin inhibitors that block the digestion of plant protein. Further to these negatives, is that around 90% of all soy is genetically modified.
Whilst agave syrup seems natural, it is actually one of the most refined sugars and has more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup (linked to obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease).
Soy lecithin is a processed food additive that helps things stick together and is only used in small amounts. However, as with soy protein it is highly processed and often genetically modified.
Brown Rice Syrup
Another added sugar, brown rice syrup is slightly better than glucose but at high levels has potentially toxic arsenic.
A common vegetable oil used is palm oil which has undergone a process to separate out the liquid from the solid part of the oil. The result is an additive with higher levels of saturated fats that can include damaging trans fatty acids. Of course, it is also linked to deforestation and destruction of animal habitats.
Can you have a protein bar without these ingredients?
A truly healthy protein bar avoids all of these ingredients and contains only the most natural, real food ingredients, possible. You will probably have to accept a different set of macros than your typical protein bar with higher cards from a natural source, like fruit. However current body science is telling us that this is beneficial.
Natural and healthy protein bars are available without all the added junk ingredients. It’s why we created Googys. To give you the protein bars your body deserves. They have simple and recognisable ingredients lists and they are free from the common allergens like gluten and dairy. Oh, and they taste better!
Who says it’s hard to find the best healthy protein bars that are free from the additives junk that plays with your potential health.
Buy from our online store to get the nutritious and delicious, all-natural egg white protein bars from Googys. We do this for you taste buds, and for your health.