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Separating Fact From Fiction with Sports Supplement Protein Bars

fact from fiction with sports supplement barsTrying to sort out the fact from fiction with sports supplement bars can be quite overwhelming, especially considering the huge number of options on the market. Manufacturers often make promises about muscle toning, cardio benefits, and endurance boosts, but it’s still difficult to pick the right product for your body’s needs. The next time you’re standing before the racks of bars trying to make a decision, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

Fact: Sports supplement protein bars serve different needs

In general, bars fall into two different categories.

1. High Carbohydrate: These bars focus on carbs as a premium source of fuel for endurance workouts where you need an energy boost as nutrients are depleted. They’re typically low in protein and fat, following the theory of the fewer, the better when it comes to pre-workout sustenance.

2. Balanced Bars: The 40-30-30 principle guides enthusiasts who prefer these bars, as they’re balanced between carbohydrates, protein and fat. Proponents believe that consuming more equal proportions of nutrients will lead to increased fat-burning during a sweat session.

Fiction: All protein bars are the same

Sometimes distinguishing fact from fiction with sports supplement bars means looking at specific nutrients, such as protein. To be labeled as such, a bar must contain at least 15 grams of protein per serving. However, the source of protein is key. Beyond a “proprietary blend,” look for bars that include such ingredients as whey isolates and micellar casein. These indicate a higher quality protein that’s less of a filler.

Fact: Bars are best when consumed before a fitness event

For the most part, supplement bars will give you more bang for your workout buck when you eat them before an event. The nutrition they provide ensures proper levels of glycogen, stored in the liver and muscles; in turn, glycogen has the effect of maintaining blood sugar for the subsequent workout session. However, some bars can also be eaten after working out to enable quicker muscle recovery.

Fiction: Bars are great for both athletes and dieters

Each of these groups has different needs. The first is looking for a way to increase performance, boost energy and enable quick recovery after a workout; the second typically wants a flavorful, satisfying snack to ease hunger pangs until the next meal. As such, dieters may want to steer clear of supplement bars, which tend to be high in protein and carbs – and, therefore, high in calories.

Fact: You should opt for a beverage post-workout

While it really depends on your personal preferences, often the best sustenance option after a grueling workout is a beverage. Many contain the ingredients you need to speed recovery and replenish essential nutrients, but keep in mind that these often contain the same contents as a quite common product: low-fat chocolate milk.

Fiction: Supplement bars can completely replace regular food

For the most part, sports supplement bars are processed foods that are engineered to deliver certain results. They should never be considered as an acceptable substitute for whole foods, or even snacks like bananas and apples.

Shopping doesn’t have to be difficult when you’re able to separate the fact from fiction with sports supplement bars. It’s all about weighing the differences, considering your preferences and making sure the rest of your diet is well-rounded.