What happens if you eat too many protein bars?

In this article, we will address the query “What happens if you eat too many protein bars?” Additionally, we will present relevant information like the potential consequences of eating too many protein bars, as well as some tips on how to incorporate protein bars in a healthy diet.

What happens if you eat too many protein bars?

If you eat too many protein bars you can gain weight, because they are high-energy dense foods. Moreover, similarly to abusing any other food, eating too many protein bars can provoke negative effects on your health (1-5). 

What are the potential consequences of excessive protein bar consumption?

There is no single formula to make protein bars, but most of them use High-Fructose Syrup for sweetening the product. High-Fructose Syrup is a very cheap sweetener, but it can increase the risks of diabetes and insulin resistance (1,2). 

Moreover, there is evidence supporting that High-Fructose Syrup can alter the liver metabolism and increase the risk of having non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (1,2).

If you eat too many protein bars you also reduce your fruits and vegetable intake. A low consumption of vegetable and fiber could lead to the following issues (3):

  • Deficiency of fiber, which could increase your risks of constipation
  • Deficiency in vitamin C and minerals like selenium, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants; all these are important to maintain a strong immune system, as well as a good metabolism

What is the impact of high protein intake on your health?

The actual evidence is not conclusive on the impact of a high load of protein in your health; some studies have shown that high-performance athletes can consume up to 3 g/kg for a year without consequences (4).

However, kidneys and liver are the main “filters” of your body, they are responsible for eliminating and metabolizing everything you eat. Right now, there is controversy about the role of protein in kidney and liver health (5,6,7).

But there are studies that demonstrate that a high protein diet can cause metabolic changes in the long-term, for example (6,7):

  • Your kidneys increase the filtration rate, which, in the long-term, could cause damages to the cells of the organ.
  • The metabolism of proteins can alter the pH of the liver; pH regulation is essential to maintain the optimal functions of the liver, so slight changes in pH can cause irregularities in the liver functions.
  • The amino acid’s metabolism creates ammonia which is toxic in your blood; if your body accumulates too much ammonia, it can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and kidney disease.

What is the role of protein bars in a healthy diet?

Protein bars were intended for athletes with high demands of protein. Because protein bars are high-energy dense foods, they are commonly used after a workout as a recovery food, or as a pre-workout, because the small portion consumed is not likely to cause abdominal inflammation (8,9).

How to incorporate protein bars into a healthy diet?

The best way to incorporate protein bars into a healthy diet is to use it only for workout recovery or pre-workout, you should seek professional advice from a sports nutritionist. He or she will adjust all your requirements.

Moreover, remember to include all food groups in your meal-plan, do not forget to eat lean meats, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and cereals. All food groups are important to ensure a complete and optimal nutrition.

What are other protein-rich foods as an alternative to protein bars?

It is not mandatory to eat protein bars for gaining muscle mass or recovery after a workout, you can enjoy a lot of foods to meet your protein requirements, as well as a post-exercise recovery (4).

All lean meats are excellent sources of protein, most meats can provide you with around 20 g of protein per 100 g of meat. Eggs contain fewer proteins than meats, but they also provide you with high-quality protein (4). 

For a post-exercise recovery, a glass of skim-milk or yogurt will provide you all the nutrients you need to ensure a good muscle synthesis (4).


In this article, we addressed the query “What happens if you eat too many protein bars?” Additionally, we presented relevant information like the potential consequences of eating too many protein bars, as well as some tips on how to incorporate protein bars in a healthy diet.


  1. Sigala DM, Hieronimus B, Medici V, Lee V, Nunez MV, Bremer AA, et al. The dose-response effects of consuming high fructose corn syrup-sweetened beverages on hepatic lipid content and insulin sensitivity in young adults. Nutrients, 2022;14(8):1648.
  2. Papadopoulos G, Legaki A-I, Georgila K, Vorkas P, Giannousi E, Stamatakis G, et al. Integrated omics analysis for characterization of the contribution of high fructose corn syrup to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in obesity. Metabolism, 2023;144:155552.
  3. Cena H, Calder PC. Defining a healthy diet: Evidence for the role of contemporary dietary patterns in health and disease. Nutrients, 2020;12(2):334.
  4. 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.
  5. Cuenca-Sánchez M, Navas-Carrillo D, Orenes-Piñero E. Controversies surrounding high-protein diet intake: satiating effect and kidney and bone health. Adv Nutr, 2015;6(3):260–6.
  6. Díaz-Rúa R, Keijer J, Palou A, van Schothorst EM, Oliver P. Long-term intake of a high-protein diet increases liver triacylglycerol deposition pathways and hepatic signs of injury in rats. J Nutr Biochem, 2017;46:39–48.
  7. De Chiara F, Ureta Checcllo C, Ramón Azcón J. High protein diet and metabolic plasticity in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Myths and truths. Nutrients, 2019;11(12):2985.
  8. Abdel-Salam FF, Ibrahim RM, Ali MI. Formulation and evaluation of high energy-protein bars as a nutritional supplement for sports athletics. American Journal of Food Science and Technology, 2022;10(1):53-65.
  9. 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.

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