How many protein bars a day to lose weight? When can I eat them and can I have more than one?
For those pursuing a weight loss goal, these are a few of the commonly asked questions when it comes to the widely popular food supplement, protein bars. Generally, you can eat protein bars as a healthy snack throughout the day to reduce hunger and boost your daily protein consumption.
While three protein bars a day might give you a good quantity of protein, carbs, and fats, taking them as a meal replacement can be detrimental. This is because they may lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So, while eating them as a snack is acceptable, doing so consistently as a substitute for meals is not.
Additionally, if you don’t know the contents of the protein bars you’re consuming, some of them may be higher in calories and cause unneeded weight gain. This does not imply that you should avoid eating protein bars entirely.
If you know what to look for on the ingredient panel and choose protein bars that suit your total caloric objectives, they can be a good option to help you lose weight.
What Is Protein?
Protein is involved in almost all body processes and functions. It is a crucial dietary ingredient for a healthy lifestyle and plays a significant role in workout recovery.
Amino acids, the constituents of protein, are created by the combination of the elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. In order to build body tissues, make enzymes and cellular transporters, keep fluid balance, and perform other functions, protein and amino acids are predominantly used.
How Protein Can Aid In Natural Weight Loss
The most crucial nutrient for weight loss and a more fit body is protein.
High protein intake increases metabolism, decreases hunger, and alters numerous hormones that control weight1,2.
Protein has a number of processes where it can aid in weight loss and belly fat reduction.
1. Protein causes weight loss even with less restrictive calorie intake.
Protein takes more energy to digest while carbohydrates, on the other hand, digest more quickly. This results in the body working harder to digest a high-protein diet, and having more potential to burn calories and body fat.
Because of this, it is not surprising to find that high-protein diets promote weight loss even when no conscious calorie, portion, fat, or carbohydrate restriction is made3,4.
Additionally, eating more protein is linked to gain less belly fat, the unhealthy fat that accumulates around the organs and leads to disease5.
Surprisingly, consuming more protein can also aid in preventing weight gain. In one study, a small increase in protein intake (from 15% to 18%) significantly decreased the amount of weight that was gained back following weight reduction6.
2. Protein Reduces Nighttime Cravings and Cravings for Snacking
The deadliest enemy of a dieter is cravings. It is among the main causes of people’s tendency to fail at their diets.
It’s interesting to note that protein can have a significant impact on cravings as well as the desire to nibble at night.
A study found that 25% of the recommended daily intake of protein decreased cravings by 60% and decreased the desire for late-night eating by 50%7.
3. Protein Suppresses Appetite and Encourages Calorie Restriction
In contrast to lower protein diets, high protein diets also offer an advantage to your hunger. Since protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates do, it creates fullness and suppresses appetite, which makes it much simpler to reduce calories.
There is a study stating that high-protein diets may directly promote a satiety response, allowing for decreased food intake8. This may cause a natural decrease in calorie consumption.
In one other study, respondents automatically reduced their daily calorie consumption by 441 calories when protein made up 30% of the calories they consumed9.
4. Protein Digestion, Metabolization and Increase Calorie Burn
It has been demonstrated that consuming a lot of protein speeds up metabolism and raises daily calorie expenditure by roughly 80 to 10010,11.
Some calories are used to digest and metabolize the food you eat after you eat it. Thermic effect of food (TEF) is a common phrase for this.
The thermic effect of food is the amount of energy required to digest and process the food you eat.
A high protein diet has the tendency to increase metabolism due to the strong thermic effect. Though there is yet to be an agreeable exact amount from sources, protein has a significantly stronger thermic effect (20–30%) compared to carbohydrates (5–10%) and fat (0–3%)12.
Basically, it takes significantly more energy to burn protein calories while the body is digesting and metabolizing the protein.
Unwittingly, high protein diets can make you burn more calories all the time, even while sleeping13.
Good Sources Of Protein
To ensure you eat sufficient high-quality protein is to incorporate different types in your diet. Some foods that include dietary protein are:
- Lamb, cattle, pork, veal, and other lean meats.
- Chicken, turkey, duck, emu, goose, and bush birds are examples of poultry.
- Fish and seafood, including clams, mussels, oysters, crab, and lobster
- Dairy items, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt (particularly Greek yogurt) (especially cottage cheese)
- Almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are some examples of nuts and seeds (including nut pastes).
- Beans and legumes of many kinds, including tofu, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils.
- A protein bar is a different way to get protein.
What Are Protein Bars?
For those who need to boost their nutrition by adding more protein, protein bars are a great food supplement.
Protein bars are a practical way to achieve ideal sports nutrition because an athlete generally needs between 1 and 2 grams of protein per kilo of weight per day.
They are convenient to carry and require no special preservation, making them perfect for endurance sports like cycling, jogging, or even long walks where you need to pack food to refuel.
Types Of Protein Bars
- Whey Protein Bars: Normally has the highest protein content. This is a very popular choice among athletes and gym-goers.
- Vegan Protein Bars: These snacks are excellent for vegetarians and people who avoid dairy, as the name suggests. They contain vegetable protein and are a helpful supplement for vegans who have trouble meeting their quotas for the day.
- Homemade Protein Bars: This is an alternative if you want to prepare your own protein bars and personalized food and have the time to do so. You can find a ton of recipes on the internet that will help you make the ideal protein bar.
Reasons For Eating Protein Bars
If you decide to consume a protein bar every day to augment your total protein intake, be sure to test out various bars at first to determine which one your body reacts to the best.
- Convenience: Protein bars are easy to carry with you. When they are pressed for time or find it more convenient, some folks will eat a protein bar.
- Swap: You will consume protein bars in place of chocolate bars.
- Budget-Friendly: Although protein bars may seem pricey, they might be less expensive than larger meals. For instance, the cost of one Quests Protein Bar is $1.75. This has 6 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 21 grams of protein. It is nutritionally equivalent to 3 oz. of chicken, 3 cups of vegetables, 1/4 cup of rice, and one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. The latter, though, will set you back more than $1.75. Therefore, getting all of their macros in one package seems like a highly appealing deal for anyone looking to save money.
- Protein Intake Goals: If you have trouble getting your recommended daily dose of protein, try eating several protein bars each day. A protein bar typically has 20 to 25g of protein. People who eat a vegetarian diet struggle more frequently to get enough protein in their diets.
- Calorie Addition: Adding calories is another typical reason people eat three protein bars each day. Sometimes it can be difficult for a bodybuilder in a bulking phase to come up with new strategies to include extra calories. Between 170 and 400 kcal can be found in a protein bar. Compared to eating a substantial meal, they are frequently simple to consume and won’t leave you feeling full. Therefore, eating protein bars between meals or in addition to regular meals can help a person attain the desired calorie excess.
Consuming Protein Bars
To snack in a protein bar between meals when you do not have time to create something more works especially if you are busy. Though, you shouldn’t use this meal supplement in place of any main foods.
If your diet has been 90% natural, you can finish that 10% of processed foods with a bar, but be careful; they should be consumed in moderation.
They are perfect if you want to minimize your calorie intake because proteins are more filling than carbohydrates and fats, allowing you to eat less and aiding in weight management.
Post-workout is the ideal time to consume your protein bar. It will provide protein to your muscles following your exercise and aid in muscular growth and recovery.
It is typically advised that a protein bar is an excellent way to receive a “protein top up” if you are going more than 4 hours between meals. After weight training, it not only helps you build muscle but also eases discomfort and speeds up recovery.
What Should You Look For In Protein Bar Ingredients?
When choosing protein bars, be cautious of some protein bars that may contain a combination of unhealthy ingredients and those that omit any information about it from the box while reading ingredient labels.
Generally speaking, most protein bars include between 150 and 400 calories and 10 and 20 grams of protein per serving. However, others have closer to 30 grams.
- Sources of High-quality Protein: Protein bars that include whole food ingredients like nuts or grass-fed meat and those that derive their protein from premium isolates and concentrate such as grass-fed whey protein.
- Whole-food Ingredients: The best protein bars exclusively utilize whole-food or natural ingredients; artificial ingredients are not permitted. They may be used to flavor or sweeten.
- Low to No Isolated or Synthetic Fiber: Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols like maltitol, erythritol, and xylitol, as well as high concentrations of synthetic fibers like soluble corn fiber or chicory root, are ingredients that need to be watched out for.
- Natural/Organic Sweeteners: Check the contents and choose products with natural sweeteners such as cane sugar or fruit, if there is added sugar. A whole fruit is not regarded as an added sugar. Use more natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup compared to unhealthy ones like high fructose corn syrup.
- Avoiding Sugar Alcohols: Recently, sugar alcohols have gained appeal as a low-calorie sweetening option for protein bars. However, dietitians advise against drinking high amounts of this substance.
- Good Fats: Your body needs fats to absorb specific nutrients.These fats also keep you fuller longer. Instead of protein bars that use vegetable oils as fillers and binders, a healthier option are protein bars that contain beneficial fats from nuts and seeds.
Recap On How Many Protein Bars A Day To Lose Weight
Protein bars provide fantastic benefits and are a great way to get in some extra protein. Eating the appropriate amount of high quality protein increases energy levels and decreases fat stores when combined with proper weight management.
Make sure you’re focused on all areas with a good diet, frequent exercise, and enough sleep during your weight reduction journey. While convenient and beneficial, do not treat protein bars as a meal replacement. Instead, if you need to add more protein, incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are rich in protein in your diet as these are crucial providers of nutrients and are a great help to maintain body weight.
Choose the right protein bar and be sure to examine the nutritional information if you plan to consume more than one protein bar per day. A protein bar with the nutritional value of a candy bar is a trick you wouldn’t want to fall for.
1 Pesta DH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2014 Nov 19;11(1):53. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-11-53. PMID: 25489333; PMCID: PMC4258944.
2 Leidy HJ, Clifton PM, Astrup A, Wycherley TP, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Woods SC, Mattes RD. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;101(6):1320S-1329S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038. Epub 2015 Apr 29. PMID: 25926512.
3 Due A, Toubro S, Skov AR, Astrup A. Effect of normal-fat diets, either medium or high in protein, on body weight in overweight subjects: a randomized 1-year trial. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Oct;28(10):1283-90. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802767. PMID: 15303109.
4 Halton TL, Hu FB. The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):373-85. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2004.10719381. PMID: 15466943.
5 Halkjaer J, Tjønneland A, Thomsen BL, Overvad K, Sørensen TI. Intake of macronutrients as predictors of 5-y changes in waist circumference. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Oct;84(4):789-97. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/84.4.789. PMID: 17023705.
6 Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Nijs I, van Ooijen M, Kovacs EM. High protein intake sustains weight maintenance after body weight loss in humans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Jan;28(1):57-64. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802461. PMID: 14710168.
7 Leidy HJ, Tang M, Armstrong CL, Martin CB, Campbell WW. The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr;19(4):818-24. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.203. Epub 2010 Sep 16. PMID: 20847729; PMCID: PMC4564867.
8 Pesta DH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2014 Nov 19;11(1):53. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-11-53. PMID: 25489333; PMCID: PMC4258944.
9 Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, Callahan HS, Meeuws KE, Burden VR, Purnell JQ. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):41-8. doi: 10.1093/ajcn.82.1.41. PMID: 16002798.
10 Johnston CS, Day CS, Swan PD. Postprandial thermogenesis is increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy, young women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Feb;21(1):55-61. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2002.10719194. PMID: 11838888.
11 Veldhorst MA, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Westerterp KR. Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep;90(3):519-26. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27834. Epub 2009 Jul 29. PMID: 19640952.
13 Bray GA, Redman LM, de Jonge L, Covington J, Rood J, Brock C, Mancuso S, Martin CK, Smith SR. Effect of protein overfeeding on energy expenditure measured in a metabolic chamber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar;101(3):496-505. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.091769. Epub 2015 Jan 14. PMID: 25733634.
14 Harty PS, Zabriskie HA, Erickson JL, Molling PE, Kerksick CM, Jagim AR. Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Aug 8;15(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12970-018-0247-6. PMID: 30089501; PMCID: PMC6083567.