Protein plays a crucial role in terms of overall health and maintenance of the human body. Protein can come in handy when it boils down to building and repairing organs in the body. More importantly, it is useful for losing fat, building muscles and getting your body to look and perform the way you want it to.
Example of a Protein Supplements – protein bars thinkThin High Protein Bars, Brownie Crunc
So, let’s take a brief look on how protein can be useful to the human body in terms of losing weight and body building.
Protein keeps you filled and well satisfied
One great importance of protein is that it can be helpful at the beginning of your weight loss journey. This is because it is quite filling. It does this by slowing down the way food digest and it keeps you from going back for more food for some time. With the help of protein you can control your food cravings and keeps you full and well satisfied. If you want to lose fat, then it is advisable that you take a considerable amount of protein daily.
It encourages fat burning
Do you know that it has been scientifically proven that without help from either carbohydrate and protein your body cannot efficiently burn and use fat as energy. When you lose weight, your body in turn loses both muscle and fat. During this stage it is important that you take in adequate protein to fuel fat burning for maintaining lean muscle.
It has been proven that protein has the largest Thermic effect. What this simply means in plain English is that during digestion process, your body actually requires energy (calories) to break the food into tiny and absorbable components for easy digestion. This is what is referred to as the Thermic Effect of Food.
Different foods require more calories to be burned during the digestion process. Research has shown that good old protein require more calories to be burned during digestion which in turn means that eating more proteins on a daily basis will cause more calories being burned which can cause weight loss.
For burning fat, your body requires a caloric deficit. What is meant by this is that when there is a caloric deficit your body will be forced into the position to burn on your own stored body fat as an alternative source of energy.
The bad news is that your body might just as easily decide to burn your muscle tissue or worst, a combination of both muscle and fat. You don’t want this happening.
The good news is, eating a sufficient amount of protein daily can be the key factor in getting your body to maintain its muscle and get rid of fat instead.
How Protein Can Help You Lose Weight Naturally
Taking in protein in considerable high proportions can boost metabolism, reduce appetite and act on several weight regulating hormones. Our weight is controlled by the area of the brain called the hypothalamus. Your brain processes multiple information that determines things like when and how much to eat. And some of the vital signals to the brain are hormones adapt to your feeding. Protein takes the front row by reducing the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin while at the same increasing the appetite-reducing hormones GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin.
What is the purpose of protein?
Protein has various functions to the human body and can be gotten from different sources. There is an undeniable fact all proteins are made up of amino acids and the human body can generate up to 20 different amino acids. Those that can’t be produced by our body are termed ‘essential amino acids’ and must therefore be gotten from food. The trademark of a high-quality protein source is the ability to supply a sufficient amount of amino acids needed by the human body.
How Does Protein Help With Building Muscle?
Losing fat simply requires a caloric deficit, but building muscle is on a whole other level. It has two dietary requirements: The first requirement is a caloric surplus and the second is to eat a sufficient amount of protein daily.
The simple truth is that you cannot build muscle without protein. Yes, it is that important when it comes to muscle building except maybe there is a paradigm shift in the way the world works. It is the foundation of muscle building.
How Much Protein Should I Eat Per Day?
Now you know what protein does and why a sufficient daily intake of protein is very important to your well-being especially when you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle. The question that must be on your mind is what amount of protein should I take per day?
It actually depends on the body weight and activities of the individual: it is recommended that an adult who weighs 160 pounds needs about 58 grams of protein per day. While for someone that has a regular fitness routine, 70 to 100 grams will do just fine because exercise usually demands more protein consumption. So the bottom line here is that, we should consider our weight and the activities we engage when taking in protein on a daily basis.
Why do athletes consume additional protein?
Athletes needed the added strength to do whatever they are specialized in doing and this means being able maintain a stable muscle growth. They need protein in other to this.
Are there consequences to consuming too much protein?
There is a saying, “too much of everything is bad” and this is the case with protein. Protein contains a fair amount of nitrogen and this can’t be stored. Excess nitrogen can lead to dehydration because it must be excreted through the kidney. Also, when we take in more calories than we put out, the body will just store the extra as fat.
It is usually recommended that we take in proteins when on a diet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we should exclude carbohydrates from the menu. Carbs can come pretty handy, especially for those that exercise regularly.
The fact is that without enough calories in your diet, your plan to add more muscle or lose weight is doomed to fail. You simply need to take in more calories than you burn in order to grow at a steady pace. Calories gotten from protein is essential to your growth.
A well-known way of adding calories to your diet is by using high protein bars. This is because bars are dense in calories and a great source of protein.
When you are in a hurry, one option that may be in the table are protein bars. Or just might be hooked to one particular protein bar and want to add it to your diet. Whatever maybe your reason for selecting protein bar, you should understand that not all protein bars are made equal. Some might help you reach your muscle building and weigh loss goals fast, while others might just be a stumbling block.
To help you make the right decision, we have outlined the factors that you should consider before choosing a protein bar, and they are:
Total calorie count
The very first factor to look out for is the total calorie count of the protein bar. This is because there are a lot of variables to consider especially when you have a goal to either add muscle or loss fat.
It will be a waste of time taking 400 calories protein bar when you are aiming to loss fat. This exactly isn’t going to make your fat loss goal any easy. While on the flip side, if you are on the path of building a lean muscle mass and you find it hard to take in enough calories each day, then 400 calories might just work out perfectly for you.
Total number of carbohydrates
Secondly, make sure you take a good look at the carbohydrate content of the protein bar. This is also dependent on several variables.
For a person who is looking to lose fat, taking in over 30 grams of carbs per bar isn’t particularly helping your case. This can even be too much depending on your overall diet plan.
You can take in more carbohydrates if you are using the bar after a workout. This is because the goal at this time is to have a high carbohydrate intake. Bars with low fats should be the thing of choice if you want to take the protein bar as your post-workout meal.
Many protein bars come packed with sugar alcohols, which in large quantities can lead to gastrointestinal problems for many people. Bars with large amounts of artificial sweeteners and sugar can start looking more like candy.
The list of ingredients
You’ve checked out the calorie and carbohydrate counts, the next thing to look out for is the ingredient listings. You want to watch out for high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Most protein bars will have some HFCS listed in them. A better choice will be those that are lower in the list compared to those listed as the second or third ingredient, if it is listed as the first, please put it back from where it came from. High amounts of HFCS should be avoided.
Most importantly, the less ingredient you find in a protein bar the better. Stay clear from protein bars that contain a lot of ingredients, some of which cannot be even pronounced correctly.
Dietary fat content
As mentioned above, unless you are using the protein bar as a post-workout meal, it is perfectly fine to select a bar that contains some fat since this will help slow down the release of the carbohydrates into the blood stream and make it more balanced.
Finding a protein bar with a healthy amount of dietary fat will be a great addition to your diet plan. Be mindful of the level of saturated and trans fat, keeping these as low as possible.
Protein to carbs ratio
It is called a protein bar because it supposed to have a high amount of protein. You really need to check out the carbohydrates to protein ratio of the protein bar. This is paramount because you want to ensure that bar is high in protein as compared to the carbs.
A 2:1 ratio of protein to carbs will be ideal in fat loss scenarios, but a 1:1 ratio can also perform too. If you are interested in building muscle or to use as a post-workout meal, then you’d want to consider a 1:2 ratio.
WHY GO FOR A HIGH PROTEIN BAR?
Protein bars are well sophisticated to serve various needs and purposes. Below are some things that a protein bar can help out with.
a. Perfect for building muscle
A protein bar that is high in protein and carbs and low in fat are perfect for muscle growth before and after workouts.
b. Used as meal replacement
Protein bars are just perfect for meal replacement. That is when you don’t have the time to cook a balanced meal, just grab a protein bar as they can be filling and give you the correct nutrients to take you through the day.
c. Useful for specific health benefits
Many bars just don’t end at protein and fiber, they also include specific nutrients and supplements. Some contain vitamins and minerals, while others carry enough supplements for workout purposes. You can even find the likes of probiotics for boosting health.
Nutritional supplements should not take the space of whole foods in your diet, but there are situations where a bar can be a great alternative to food and sometimes even be a better choice.
d. Addition to your protein intake
If you are running low on your protein intake for the day, protein bars are just the right thing to top up your intake. Opt in for a bar if you are one of those struggling to add to your protein intake each day. This is ideal for people who train a lot or do sports or are just looking on body building.
e. When having a busy life or always on the go
If you are the kind of person that has a busy lifestyle, for example you are always on the move, dashing between meetings at your workplace or just finding it hard to sit down to have a full meal, supplements can be quiet helpful. Make sure to keep a protein bar nearby so you can always have a protein-dense snack and not result to junk food when hunger eventually strikes.
BRIEF HISTORY OF PROTEIN BARS
In the years that protein bars also popularly known as energy bars have been around, they have gone through many changes. They first started out as space food for astronauts, then transcended into fuel for athletes and now we have them being used by ordinary individuals as a healthy food-on-the-go, with the ability to replace full meals.
During the early years of exploring space, finding food that had flavor and was fresh at the same for astronauts was not an easy task.
So energy bars as a solution to this problem was born in the 1960s and they were originally called “Space Food Sticks”. They were described by the manufacturer as “Non-frozen balanced energy (snacks) in rod form containing nutritionally balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein.”Pillsbury (manufacturer) in the mid-1970s decided to drop the “Space” from the name so they could bring it to the public market. Unfortunately, this plan did not work out.
Power Bars as energy bars were the first that was commercially released for athletes in 1986. This ignited the introduction of different kinds of energy bars. They were pitched to athletes as a great source of high protein and they could also be used as a good meal replacements for dieters
The manufacturers of energy bars changed the way they were promoting the products because Americans were increasing their snacking. Today, we have manufacturers marketing energy bars to everyone as alternatives to meals or as a healthful food for in between meals.
For the past several years there has been a paradigm shift in the difference between protein bars and energy bars. Energy bars are mainly designed as quick fix of energy and contain a high amount of carbohydrates, while protein bars on the other hand are not constrained to the functions of energy bars, they lay more emphasis on protein. Still, there are many people who classify them under one umbrella because of their similarities.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PROTEIN BARS
Protein bars can serve as alternatives to full meals or unhealthy snacks and they have a ton of uses but the problem is many people are confused about what protein bars really are and the difference between it and other similar products. So in this part of the article, we will provide you with useful facts about protein bars so you know what they are and what they do.
1. Protein bars are not candy bars
Protein bars may taste sweet, enclosed in colored packages and usually can be found on the candy aisle in the supermarket, this doesn’t make them the same as candy. In fact, they are a direct opposite of candy.
Candy bars on the one hand contain nothing other than sugar and fat, while protein bars on the other hand contain a small amount of sugar and fat and also carry a fair amount of healthy minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber and ultimately protein. They might look similar, but this doesn’t make them the same, nutritionally.
2. Protein bars are not energy bars
Another big misconception about protein bars, is that they are often times referred to as energy bars. They are definitely not the same thing. Energy bars mostly contain carbohydrates in the form of sugar and are designed to fix you with energy quickly and the aftermath is you being tired and hungry.
Protein bars are not originally designed to function in the same way as energy bars, they often times contain a relatively low amounts of carbs and the concentration is mainly on protein. So don’t be deceived by the similarities of their packages.
3. There are two types of protein bars
A lot of folks don’t know this, but there are two types of protein bars- those meant specifically to be taken as healthy snacks and those designed for consumption after exercise. They may be similar, but the tie breaker is that the snack types are usually lower in calories and exercise bars often tend to contain more carbs and calories overall.
4. Not all protein bars are good
Like everything in life that has its good and bad sides, sadly, protein bars are no exception. You should understand that protein bars come in different qualities. Some are of high quality and some will make you regret buying them. Some even have little difference from a candy bar. So make sure you go for the top quality ones.
We highly recommend one of the best protein bars – Muscle Pharm Combat Crunch Supplement – protein bars are an excellent meal replacement alternative with a 20g protein blend of fast-digesting Whey Protein isolate, and slower-digesting Milk protein isolate.
5. You can make your own protein bars
As much as it is just easier and convenient to just go into the store and buy what you need. The truth is, getting the right product might be expensive and some people might even end up not liking the taste. It might even take you quite some time to find the protein bar that you really like.
You can actually save money by just creating your own protein bars, with the taste that you actually like from your home. Most require no baking and often end up being cheaper than the ones bought in stores.
6. Best protein bars can help you lose weight
Being unable to stick to their diet is one of the major challenges people face when trying to lose weight. This is because when the hunger and cravings start, they usually end up eating unhealthy snacks that impede their weight loss goals.
Protein bars help you battle this problem, because they are filling, nutritious and contain enough calories to take you through the day. They will most definitely help you lose weight faster and easier. (Take a look: how to lose weight fast for men)
WHEN TO EAT PROTEIN BARS
Protein bars are beneficial to those with busy lifestyles, though they should be consumed at the right time and in the proper way. We’ve sufficiently established the amount of protein that the body needs on a daily basis above. Now the proper times when protein bars should be consumed are as follows:
In the Morning
Most protein bars contain additional carbs, fiber and essential fatty acids and can come off as a great idea when consumed during breakfast. Consuming protein bars in the morning can help jump start bodily functions and aid in digestion to reduce fat for the day.
The Post-Workout Routine
Usually the first 60 minutes after a workout, your body will be in a hyperbolic state. The consumption of a protein bar during this period will effectively aid in muscle growth while supporting your workout-shocked body.
Throughout the Day
Try to fit in a protein bar into your work schedule for the day, especially at mid-day. Its keeps your system running effectively, it supports digestion and it allows for muscular growth. You should also be careful on the amount of protein you consume in a day. Too much of it might actually cause more harm than good.