How many protein bars should you eat a day?
Using protein supplements is a common practice among people who do regular exercise and athletes (1). However, you might be experiencing some doubts about how much you can take of your supplement, for example, a protein bar.
If so, stay with us! This brief guideline will address the query “How many protein bars should you eat a day?”. Additionally, it presents some key points you should check in your protein bars before buying. You can find other related information like how much protein you probably need and why it is important to eat protein in your diet.
How many protein bars should you eat a day?
There is no clear answer on how many protein bars you should eat a day, this will depend on your needs of energy and protein (2). Overall, you can consume 1 protein bar to fulfill your protein requirements or 2 if you require a higher load of protein.
What do you have to check before buying a protein bar?
One of the first things to check before buying a protein bar is the type of protein used in it. Whey protein concentrate or protein isolate is the best option. Other proteins like pea protein or soy protein isolate may be lacking Methionine or Cysteine (essential amino acids) (3,4,5).
Probably, you should avoid products with partially hydrogenated fats (added for improving texture) or high fructose corn syrup (sweetener). Partially hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrup could be adding extra calories with no health benefits (4,5).
Look for products with natural fats and sweeteners like coconut oil and cane sugar.
What are the benefits of eating protein bars?
The main benefit of eating protein bars is the consumption of high quality proteins. Most of the protein bars are made with whey protein isolate, which are known to be complete proteins (4,5).
Complete proteins are those with all essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are needed by your body to create tissues like muscle, but also for creating immune cells which will defend you against diseases (2).
Often, protein bars are added with vitamins and minerals, especially b vitamins, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and selenium (3,4).
B vitamins are crucial for the correct digestion, absorption, and utilization of macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids (6).
The minerals like magnesium and selenium are potent antioxidants that boost your immune system, also their antioxidant properties can help to recover after workout. Calcium is an essential mineral for your bone health. On the other hand, zinc is important for growth and muscle development (7,8).
How much protein do you need a day?
If you are a normal person (you do exercise occasionally), your diet should provide 0.8 to 1.0 g of protein a day. If you are an athlete, your protein requires can be as high as 2.2 g/kg, depending on your discipline and training phase (2).
Strength and power training phases require higher loads of protein than endurance training phases, because your muscles get more stressed when training strength or power (9).
When you do exercise, your muscles get stressed and your body must repair the muscle fibers; and your body will need proteins for repairing all your muscles. On the other hand, strength and power training induce more muscle stress, hence, your body will need an extra protein to repair all damages of the workout (1,2).
If you want to know your exact protein requirements, you should look for nutrition specialist advice. He or she will define your needs, depending on your activities and goals.
The British Dietitians Association in the UK has a directory of several sports nutritionists with online and in person attention, you can check for professional advice here!
What is the importance of protein in the diet?
Proteins are important in your diet because they contain the building blocks for your immune cells; they can create tissues like your organs, muscle, and even your hair; proteins are also needed to create enzymes, which are responsible for metabolic pathways, digestion, and absorption of nutrients from your food (1,2).
So, proteins have roles in your growth and development, your immune system, and overall, in almost all the processes your body does on a daily basis (1,2).
In athletes, protein is crucial for improving resistance, strength, power, and endurance. Athletes need proteins to recover energy and repair all the muscles after training. Their performance will depend on the recovery and their physical capacities, so protein is an essential nutrient in their diets (1,2).
This brief guideline addressed the query “How many protein bars should you eat a day?”. Additionally, it presented some key points you should check in your protein bars before buying. You can find other related information like how much protein you probably require and why it is important to eat protein in your diet.
- Baltazar-Martins G, Brito de Souza D, Aguilar-Navarro M, Muñoz-Guerra J, Plata MDM, Del Coso J. Prevalence and patterns of dietary supplement use in elite Spanish athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2019;16(1):30.
- Huecker M, Sarav M, Pearlman M, Laster J. Protein supplementation in sport: Source, timing, and intended benefits. Curr Nutr Rep, 2019;8(4):382–96.
- Gorissen SHM, Crombag JJR, Senden JMG, Waterval WAH, Bierau J, Verdijk LB, et al. Protein content and amino acid composition of commercially available plant-based protein isolates. Amino Acids [Internet]. 2018;50(12):1685–95. Disponible en: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-018-2640-5
- Małecki J, Tomasevic I, Djekic I, Sołowiej BG. The effect of protein source on the physicochemical, nutritional properties and microstructure of high-protein bars intended for physically active people. Foods, 2020;9(10):1467.
- Jovanov P, Sakač M, Jurdana M, Pražnikar ZJ, Kenig S, Hadnađev M, et al. High-protein bar as a meal replacement in elite sports nutrition: A pilot study. Foods, 2021;10(11):2628.
- Titcomb TJ, Tanumihardjo SA. Global concerns with B vitamin statuses: Biofortification, fortification, hidden hunger, interactions, and toxicity. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf, 2019;18(6):1968–84.
- Gumpper K, Ma J. Zinc Signaling in Skeletal Muscle. In: Zinc Signaling. Singapore: Springer Singapore; 2019. p. 123–37.
- Stein AJ. Global impacts of human mineral malnutrition. Plant Soil, 2010;335(1–2):133–54.
- Roberts J, Zinchenko A, Suckling C, Smith L, Johnstone J, Henselmans M. The short-term effect of high versus moderate protein intake on recovery after strength training in resistance-trained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2017;14(1).