The protein bar industry is one of the most confusing markets for consumers to get involved in. Though the main ingredient, protein, is found in nearly every brand of bar, several factors should determine how a specific user should view any given brand of protein bar.

Specifically, potential consumers need to look past the increasingly grandiose claims made by some industrial giants, instead using the readily available statistics on composition and materials used in the treat to form a legitimate and justified opinion on the product. The guide below places an increased emphasis on the facts most important to any protein bar’s effectiveness to the welfare of its users: calories, fat, saturated fat, fiber, and sugar. This guide aims to inform readers and make the difficult task of navigating the over-saturated protein bar industry and choosing a protein bar just a bit easier.

Despite the industry’s predisposition to confusing brands, slogans, and descriptions, protein bars have become a staple of the diets of many successful athletes. In specific, the facilitation of healthy muscle is often aided by the high-protein content of the bars in question. Additionally, many of them come packed with a delicious taste which motivates Americans to keep eating and keep building their dream body!

What is Protein?

Though this guide addresses the importance of protein as an outside source of nutrition found in protein bars, protein is actually found inside the body naturally. In the bone, skin, hair, and in nearly every tissue in the body, protein is a building block in many parts of the body. Protein is incredibly important to the body. It helps to fortify muscles, build new tissue, and repair broken and hurt parts of the body. There is a reason why millions of Americans per year strive to up the amount of protein in their own bodies.

In fact, medical professionals recommend that protein is eaten on the regular for most men and women. The Institute of Medicine recommends that a man of 200 pounds consumes 80 grams of protein. While it initially seems like a significant amount of protein to consume, the center on health research elaborates to say that protein is incredibly important to the welfare of even the smallest of men. For every twenty pounds of body weight, the institute recommends eight grams of protein consumed daily—and this is just a minimum!

As a result, millions of brands of protein bars oversaturate the market. As the entertainment industry continues to propagate the ‘ideal’ body size for men and women alike, tens of millions of Americans subsidize an industry which seeks to capitalize on the growing demand of protein. The industry can be confusing; the twists and turns of marketing campaigns, catchy slogans, and exuberant claims made by manufacturers leaves many potential consumers disenchanted and lost in the hustle of the emerging market of protein bars. However, this section will seek to tackle the problem by addressing the building block essential to both the linguistic and literal makeup of protein bars: protein.

The Good of Protein

The benefits of protein are nearly innumerable. Primarily, protein is used to help build the composition of some of the most incredibly important parts of the body. The hair, nails, and muscles all over the body are more effectively sculpted under a high protein diet.

A protein-based diet becomes even more important to the average health-nut when we realize that, unlike other kinds of nutrients used in the body, protein is not stored. As such, those who want to effectively use and benefit from protein need to constantly ingest the substance.

Additionally, the protein ingested as a result of increased protein bar usage can often be used to repair broken tissue. In fact, it can consistently aid in the production of new tissues in every major area of the body. When it comes to diseases that can harm the muscles and tissues, including muscular dystrophy, protein can often serve as a viable solution for sufferers all over the world.

Even more interestingly, Protein can help create and further the effects of enzymes within the body. In fact, it often turns out to be a catalyst to the production of key enzymes all over the body. By acting on key nerve endings in order to more effectively bolster their effects on enzyme production within the body, the effects of key enzymes can be furthered easily. Key enzymes leading health professionals look to boost deal with growth, rejuvenation, and hormonal regulation.

Especially for those who have issues relating to hormonal levels and chemical imbalances within the body, the effects of protein can be incredible. While scientists are still trying their best to understand, categorize, and explain the exact effects of protein on the human body and its many chemicals, preliminary studies correlate increased protein usage with a positive effect on chemical imbalances, specifically relating to hormones and enzymes that affect growth.

Protein is renowned by millions worldwide for its ability to facilitate muscle growth in users across many demographics. Because of its unique usage and predisposition within the body, the protein ingested via a variety of means can help to facilitate the healthy growth of bones, hair, and protein. No doubt, millions of Americans can benefit from the use of protein, so long as it is used right and with due precaution.

The Bad of Protein

As with many things in the wonderful world of supplements, too much protein can turn out to be incredibly harmful to its users. Some of the most significant detriments of protein have to do not necessarily with the substance itself, but instead with the way that it interacts with other chemicals in the body.

Scientists warn against the usage of a high-protein low-carb diet for those who seek to gain muscle. Instead, they say that the low-carb diets often result in users overemphasizing fatty foods when lowering their dependence on carbs. As a result, these kinds of diets often end up hurting users more than helping.

In many cases increased protein uses, coupled with decreased carb consumption, has been linked to benefits like decreased fat and increased muscles mass. However, unless users are able to combine this drastic change in diet with a change in their day-to-day exercise routine, it is unlikely that these benefits will come into fruition.

Instead, the result of a changing diet and a static workout routine is often drastic weight loss. When the protein exits the body, as it often does so rather quickly, users are often left with very little in the way of gains, but can instead lose a little more weight than they would hope so. Even more troubling is that the reduction of carb consumption often is linked to increased cardiovascular risk. The American Heart Association warns against high-protein, low-carb diets which are unaided by a muscle-building weight loss routine, saying that the diets can harm the heart significantly and put users at an increased risk for heart disease.

In nearly every supplement or mineral, the same saying applies: too much of a good thing is almost always a bad thing. Especially in the fast-paced world of weight loss and muscle production, it is important that users understand the need for moderation. In the area of protein and low-carb diets, the saying is even truer for potential users than ever. If a consumer is unable to accurately assess the risks associated with increased protein usage and decreased carb consumption, disastrous consequences could follow.

Users need to be aware that protein consumption should be directly matched with a change to work out and exercise in order to maximize effects. Because protein as a supplement is quick to exit the body, a weight loss routine which emphasizes exercise and carb consumption along with protein usage is best to avoid the harrowing effects on the heart that protein can have.

Striking a Balance with Protein

As stated in the above section, it is important that users of protein balance the effects of the substance with a fair diet and a good amount of exercise. However, striking the balance when it comes to protein is a complicated process which varies based on a variety of important factors. Though this section attempts to categorize and explain how users can make the most out of protein consumption, it does not claim to be an all-knowing guide on the possible effects of protein. Instead, users should consult with their personal physician in order to most effectively understand how they should, and should not, be using protein.

The basic recommended daily allowance of protein for women over 19 years old is around 46 grams. For men, the amount rises to 56 grams per day. According to Harvard Medical, these amounts should also fluctuate based off of weight, health, and exercise routine.

Because of these factors, Americans ought to evaluate their commitment to working out and exercising before beginning a protein-based diet. As Harvard elaborates, Americans who undergo increased protein usage without due reform to their workout routines and overall diets can expect very few of the positive effects often attributed to protein. Thus, in order to perform best under the effects of protein, potential consumers need to dig deeper into their own understanding of their bodies and the way protein works.

This discussion, one centering around the specific needs of your body, needs to occur with a medical professional who understands both what you want to do and the specific facts about your body which make or break any protein-based diet.

Namely, your doctor should be able to tell you the specific amount of protein which would be conducive to the needs you outline. Readers need to seek the guidance of their medical professional because they can more effectively categorize and explain the effects that a high-protein diet may have on the reader’s physical performance and long-term fitness goals.

Protein can be an incredibly beneficial substance for millions of Americans. The very existence of the billion dollar protein-based foods industry is an obvious nod to the effects of protein. Each year, hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide enjoy protein bars, hoping that they will help to boost the effects of protein-based agents native to their own bodies. With this in mind, consumers need to be aware of both the benefits and possible detriments of protein bars.

Moderation is always important, especially when it comes to something like a supplement. In 2017 and beyond, users need to understand that protein does very little when it isn’t combined with other factors for weight loss and muscle creation.

Criteria for Judgement

In order to separate the non-protein bars from the protein bars, this guide operates with a relatively simple definition. If a candy bar claims to have high levels of protein on its wrapper or in its sales pitch, it classifies as a prospective protein bar.

For example, Cliff Bar would not classify as a protein bar because its package does not boast enhanced levels of protein or target a specific protein-loving audience. However, the specialized Cliff Builders Bar does meet the standards of a protein bar because it specifically references the bar’s protein as a selling point.

Such a definition allows readers to accurately follow the progression of this guide. As we touch on specific protein bars, users need to be able to understand both the versatility of the protein bar industry, and the guidelines which determine the effectiveness of any given protein bar.

As we move forward in the length of this guide, readers should cast a wide net when searching for the ideal protein bar. Even if a bar is not listed within the context of this guide, potential consumers need to apply the knowledge they find within this article to a wide variety of different bars which advertise their ability to give users protein boosts and larger muscles.

That being said, the following section will detail the importance of some main components which make a protein bar either good or bad for any given purpose. Additionally, this part of the guide will begin to lay the groundwork for the very same methods which are used to categorize, rank, and understand the leading protein bars of 2017.

The Ingredients

Naturally, users who seek to mold their physique first turn their attention to the ingredients with which the concoction is made. For some titans of industry, the advertising emphasis placed on ingredients begins and ends at grandiose statements on high levels of protein and low levels of sugar.

The substances which can be found in protein bars are many. Varying in usefulness and in necessity to the product as a whole, users need to be aware of both the positive and the negative ingredients which are most commonly found in protein bars all over the world. In this mini-section, we will go over a variety of such ingredients.

Sugars

Most Americans who pride themselves on their knowledge of physical health already know the importance of minimizing contact with sugary substances. Specifically, leading medical professionals lament the effects of sugar on the heart, teeth, and stomach.

The American Heart Association details the amount of sugar which should be used in the daily diets of men and women alike, saying that more than 36 grams per day for males and 24 grams for females ought to be consumed. Beyond that, they elaborate, users can experience lethargic reactions, a slowing of the mental process, and even long-term effects on the heart, lungs, and other major bodily organs.

Heart disease is another major effect of sugar which demands a section to itself. The leading cause of death for Americans in 2o15, heart disease is a silent killer in the United States. No doubt, heart disease is a problem which Americans should avoid at all costs.

Numerous studies have linked increased sugar use to premature heart disease and heart-related problems. And in the world of protein bars, the problem is no doubt persistent.

Even some of the most respected protein bars in the business, such as the Health Warrior Protein Bar, contain nearly 14g of sugar per bar. As a general rule, health-aware users ought to avoid protein bars which have high amounts of protein.

For a basic rule of thumb, users should seek to purchase and consume only protein bars with a sugar content of less than 14g. Above this amount of sugar begins to hurt the welfare of the person using the bar. Though users surely aren’t going to be damned to a life of heart disease and stomach issues after a 15g sugar-binge with a protein bar, they do need to keep in mind the importance of minimizing sugar usage.

The very motivation of purchasing a protein bar is typically to bolster the health and well-being of its consumer. As such, sugar is one of the main detractors to the basic nature of the protein bar industry. Its pervasiveness in the bars of many market leaders means that consumers need to pay extra heed to the amount of sugar listed on the back of their favorite protein bar.

Types of Protein

Though the importance of protein in a protein bar is probably as obvious as the importance of wood to a wooden bat, many consumers continue to underestimate the variety of kinds of protein essential to even their favorite brands in the industry. Further, the specific items used to create the protein content boasted by the bar are just as important as the overall amount of protein within it.

However, too much of a good thing is nearly always negative. When it comes to protein, the side effects of overuse can be terrifying to say the least. In fact, overuse of protein can result in a degradation of the muscle-building process which users are trying to facilitate with the use of protein and protein bars.

For the most part, protein bars implement a lot of the same old substances: a mixture of protein from nuts and fruits. The best protein bars, however, are typically those that come up with innovative ways to give consumers the boost of protein they need.

In this section we will begin to outline some of these different kinds of protein. We will also set the groundwork for our reviews of a variety of proteins later in the guide, by contrasting the pros and cons of different brands of protein used in common protein bars. In doing so, we hope to give our readers an in-depth guide which can be used next time the question arises: which protein bar is best for me?

Nuts as a Source of Protein

Nuts are the stereotypical tasty protein food. In nearly every protein bar we surveyed, some form of nuts is featured as one of the main sources of protein. The industry isn’t wrong at all, either. Preliminary studies find that a 134g cup of nuts contains something like 27g protein it. This incredibly high protein content compels many leading companies to feature some kind of nut in their protein bars.

Peanuts and almonds are the most protein-packed of the nuts, but each one comes with its own caveats. Peanuts often come packed with more calories than some other kinds of nuts, but some value them for their flavor over the almond. In any case, both kinds of nuts are featured prominently in thousands of different brands of protein bars.

It’s not just about the protein, either—for many protein bar users annually, the taste of the bar is just as important as the protein content they offer. In fact, the reason for this may actually be justified. When it comes to protein usage, Americans often don’t like to choke down pound after pound of Whey Protein. As a result, the need for good-tasting protein has never been higher. Americans who feel as though they enjoy eating their protein will keep doing it. Keeping this in mind, the majorly tasty and protein-packed offerings of nuts have made their way to the forefront of a booming business of protein bars.

Nuts are a tasty source of protein that often gives users an easy way to get their daily fix of recommended protein without the gross taste of pure protein.

Seeds as a Source of Protein

Oddly enough, the biggest protein-packed food actually isn’t very big at all. Pumpkin and squash seeds offer 29.8g protein per 100g of seed. As a result, these popular seeds are becoming increasingly popular in the realm of protein bars.

The downfall to seeds is that their saltiness sometimes leaves them without a significant place in the major protein bars leading the industry. However, this doesn’t stop quite a few different brands of protein bars from using smaller amounts of squash and pumpkin seeds to boost the protein content of the bars without severely affecting the taste.

Trans Fats

For the majority of leading protein bars in the industry, the presence of harmful trans fats remains a nonissue. In fact, the vast majority of legitimate protein bars even include an advertisement of their lack of trans-fat on the packaging, proudly declaring that their bar is “trans fat free.”

Though its effects on the industry may be minimized by its rare usage in significant protein bars of 2017, it is still important that potential consumers begin to understand the effects that the substances effects on the body in the few places it occupies within the quickly growing industry of protein bars.

Much like sugars and low-carb diets, the negative effects of trans-fats on the body center around their effects on the heart. The American Heart Association warns that an overconsumption of these harmful acids can begin to degrade the well-being of the heart, putting consumers at an increased risk for heart disease.

The massive publicity of the harmful effects of trans-fats means that most protein bar consumers need not worry about dealing with the side effects of the variation of fat. Despite this, some brands saturate the industry with this dangerous kind of amino acid, ignoring the views of medical professionals in favor of producing a more addictive and delicious protein bar. As a result, readers need to be aware of the effects of trans-fats, and stay far away from protein bars which feature them.

Final Word on Ingredients

When it comes to any kind of brand or food, users need to weigh the positives and negatives of any particular ingredient. When these ingredients combine to make a tasty treat, consumers need to identify the kinds of substances they would like to put in their body. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is particularly meticulous in their mandates regarding what has to be published in foods.

For the most part, protein bar manufacturers have to publish the ingredients used in their product on the back of the wrapper. Users should examine the contents of their protein bar before taking a bite in order to maximize its positive effects. In the final part of this guide, we will detail what we believe to be some of the best protein bars in the industry for a variety of reasons and motivations. Moving forward, however, potential consumers need to survey their own motivations and goals in fitness, the ingredients of the protein bar, and the nature of the company they seek to purchase from, in order to reach their goals.

The Best in the Industry

Though the pros and cons of any specific protein bar often vary based on the needs and wants of the consumers, there is increasing need for a basic system of measurement in an increasingly oversaturated and sometimes confusing market of protein bars. Because of this need, we have compiled the following section detailing the pros and cons of some of the leading protein bars in the industry.

This guide is not meant to substitute nor replace the advice of a medical professional or the research of an interested and committed consumer. Instead, it is meant to be a basic reference point, an introductory survey into some of the main protein bars in the 2017 industry.

In light of the variation of needs and wants of consumers in this massive industry, this guide is divided into several sections. Because of comprehensive ranking system would serve to oversimplify the needs of a sophisticated market, a guide which attempts to rank the absolute best protein bars would fail in legitimately catering to the wants and desires of its own reader-base.

We seek, however, to accurately include an analysis for every bar in this guide which addresses some of the main concerns of consumers. In doing so, this guide hopes to establish a wealth of information on industry-leading protein bars, upon which consumers can draw in order to make the difficult decision: which protein bar is right for me?

Our Top Three

Protein bars aren’t exactly known for being an unhealthy snack. For many Americans, the protein allotted by these treats is only one compelling factor which pushes them to continue to buy them by the ten-pack. Despite the healthy nature of the industry, some protein bars are still healthier than others. As a result of low amounts of sugar, maximum amounts of protein, and a minimal dosage of the pesky trans-fats, the protein bar brands included on this list continue to draw a happy user-base of health-conscious consumers.

The Health Warrior Chia Bar

The health benefits of plants are one of the main things which make the Chia Bar so compelling to hundreds of thousands of consumers annually in the world of protein bars. In fact, the bar’s namesake, the chia, has been internationally recognized by major news sources for its restorative benefits to the mind and body.

While we are not able to scientifically confirm the benefits of the specific plants used in the Chia Bar, critics rave about its ability to serve as a legitimate and tasty source of protein. In fact, initial reviews start to corroborate many of the claims made on the company’s website. Saying that their “small” bar packs a “huge punch,” Health Warrior is definitely excited about giving their product to the public.

Healthy

The main draw of the Health Warrior Chia Bar is its healthy chemical composition. Unlike many of the protein bars on this list, the Health Warrior Chia Bar seems to only use vegetable-based protein in order to give users their daily boost of the substance. As a result, is has gained much notoriety within the international community for its healthy makeup and protein content.

Effective

Additionally, the Chia Bar could be one of the most effective in the industry. The Health Warrior site offers a multitude of testimonials from happy customers with a variety of physical backgrounds– from boxers to runners to swimmers, it seems like athletes are raving about the benefits of the Health Warrior Chia Bar brand.

The Combat Crunch Bar

Among the protein bar reviews of bodybuilders, few snacks are as renowned as The Combat Crunch Bar. In a review from Bodybuilding.com, this industry leader is given top marks by professionals and average consumers alike. In particular, consumers remark at the high quality of most of the flavors, its effective post-workout use, and its low harmful chemical content as leading reasons behind their continued patronage.

Much like the other bars on this list, the literal effects of the bar on the body when used regularly are tough to directly categorize. However, the reviews on the subject which are readily available paint a picture of a protein bar which is undoubtedly helpful to those who want to build and keep significant muscle through their workouts.

Healthy

Though it may not boast the all-vegetable content of the Health Warrior Bars above, the Combat Crunch Bar is still a heavy-hitter in the health department. It offers only 1g of sugar, no trans-fats, and only 210 calories. Additionally, this after-workout aid offers percentages of calcium, vitamin C, and Iron, all of which are necessary for the diet of an athletic user with muscle-building aspirations.

Mega-Protein Content

The protein contents of the Combat Crunch Bar are another main reason why so many bodybuilders get interested in the bar. Obviously, the wonderful reviews attributed to the protein bars are going to surround their effectiveness in helping to build muscle. But even more important to many of the reviews is the Combat Crunch Bar’s protein content. Using chemical protein and plant protein alike, it boasts some of the best contents in the business.

Some bodybuilders have even remarked that the bars have taken the place of protein shakes in their daily workout diet. This major change is a testament to the protein-related power and effectiveness of Combat Crunch Bar.

Great Taste

Most consumers aren’t all that concerned with the taste of their protein bars. However, the importance of having a protein bar with a taste that entices, not disgusts consumers is incredibly important. The Combat Crunch Bar is one of the industry leaders in this respect. Reviews from bodybuilding websites all over the internet talk at length about the great taste of the bars. Saying that they don’t have the ‘pasty taste’ so common in other protein bars, multiple sources clamor at the idea of the great-tasting protein bars.

However, the one caveat to reviews on the taste of Combat Bars is that the ‘Birthday Cake’ flavor doesn’t seem to do very well. Saying it tastes more like a lemon bar, one user condemns the birthday cake flavor in an otherwise tasty package.

For users who fancy a good-tasting protein bar with high contents of important vitamins in proteins, The Combat Protein Bar functions as a good option at an often cheap price—just avoid the Birthday Cake flavor!

Lenny and Larry’s ‘The Complete Cookie’

The ‘Complete Cookie’ is one of the more original takes on the traditional protein bar on our list. Adding an interesting twist on the old idea, Lenny and Larry have produced a cookie which is making waves within the increasingly complex industry of protein and protein bar production. As the name might suggest, it’s a cookie! In addition to its original format and deviation from the typical ‘bar’ shape, the cookie has a lot to offer.

Many consumers are looking for a new take on the old idea of a protein bar. Often disinterested in the paste-like mundane nature of many industry leaders, many consumers are growing increasingly interested in the prospect of a protein-filled and tasty cookie to enjoy after a strenuous workout.

The Complete Cookie looks like it may fit the bill. With high amounts of protein and a variation of delicious flavors, The Complete Cookie is quickly becoming a big deal within an industry it is helping to change.

Original and Tasty

The appearance of this protein bar should be enough for any onlooker to conclude that it is an original idea. However, for clarity, it should be said that The Complete Cookie is a circular cookie, presenting itself in stark contrast to the rectangular bars which have thus far dominated our list.

The importance of the shape of the bar extends far beyond its basic appearance. Many consumers complain of what they call ‘paste’ in their protein bars, saying that the makeup of the bar gives it an unwelcoming texture. The shape and texture of this cookie is, as you might have guessed, a cookie! As a result, critics are raving at the great taste and texture of the original protein bar.

Great Protein

In order to be included on any list dealing with protein bars, it is necessary that the product include a good amount of protein. One of the main reasons that The Complete Cookie makes our list, however, is that it manages.

In addition to containing good amounts of protein, the bar includes 10% Vitamin A, 6% Calcium, as well as a whopping 11% Iron. As a result, it presents a delicious alternative to the sometimes bland protein bars offered by some of its competitors.

A Sugary Issue

A major detractor to the delicious benefits of The Complete Cookie is its incredibly high sugar content. With 15g per cookie, it tops our list in terms of sugar content. However, some view the presence of sugar as a positive, as sugar can help the taste and motivate the person eating the cookie to keep buying and using the protein it provides.

Our Final Thoughts On Protein Bars

The world of protein bars is an increasingly saturated and confusing industry. Especially when it comes to the thousands of brands in the market, there is an increasing need that consumers become educated on both the facts surrounding the bars, as well as the protein bar brands which sit atop the pile in 2017.

As always, potential consumers need to weigh the statistics and views in this guide against their needs and the views of medical professionals in order to most accurately decide the answer to the most important question to any hopeful user of the benefits of protein bars: Which is best for me?

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