High Protein Bars and Shakes= Fast/ Safe Weight Loss

Hi Protein Bars/Shakes Improve Weight Loss. They are a simple and effective weight loss tools for overweight or obese to lose and maintain their weight loss. These products have shown advantages no matter the type of diet.  Food diaries, pedometers, smaller dinner plates, are examples of other weight loss tools that are not as effective as shakes and bars for portion control leading to long term weight loss and maintenance. Preventing slowdowns and plateaus is one of the key features Weight Loss Plateaus. 

Here are the many advantages that high protein, low carb bars and shakes offer weight loss

Side Effects of High Protein Bars and Shakes

What are the side effects of protein bars? There aren’t any really. It’s just a chocolate bar with added whey or casein (or both) protein powder. There’s also a lot of fiber in some of them. Each bar will contain an average of  20g of protein,  so even if there were issues around high protein diets, this would not be important. A few people have problems with the sugar alcohols in some of the bars and shakes because of the sugar alcohols which can cause cramps, gas and nausea. The newer ones, like most Quest Bars and shakes, use erythritol which has much fewer side effects.  Some people complain of a “chalky ” taste after the bar, others of an after-taste. My suggestion is to simply find a different bar. With more than 1500 different bars, it should not be a problem.

Comparison of Weight Loss: Shakes and Bars vs. Conventional  Calorie Counting Diets

Hi Protein Bars/Shakes Improve Weight in participants who replaced two out of three meals with  lost more weight than the comparison group choosing a self-selected, iso-caloric eating plan using conventional foods. At 3 months, the group consuming meal replacement options and bars lost 7.8% of their initial body weight, whereas the group eating conventional foods lost 1.5% of their initial body weight. The authors reported:
Our pilot study is the first to demonstrate that subjects consuming low glycemic load, high-protein shakes and snacks coupled with targeted nutraceutical supplementation may show a greater reduction in BMI and fat mass as well as lipid biomarkers and CMS risk than subjects on a more traditional calorie-restricted diet and aerobic exercise plans with or without high-protein, low glycemic load shake formulations.”

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) nutrition recommends these  meal replacement products once or twice a day to replace usual meals because they preduce significant weight loss. 

Review of Protein Bars and Shakes: There are many reviews of protein shakes and bars: https://healthtrends.com/protein-bar/

Guidelines to Find the Best Protein Bar/Shake for Weight Loss and Maintenance

There are hundreds of different protein bars and shakes available. How do you find the best bar and which bars should you avoid?   There are low and high-calorie bars, high  protein, low carb, high carb, low protein, bars with high fiber and numerous other variables.   We need strict rules to find the best ones. These “rules” are meant for individuals whose goal is weight loss and weight maintenance:

  1. Calories:  Calories should average about 170 calories. Higher calorie bars may serve to replace a meal, but watch the total calories. Bars with more than 300 calories often are not the best choice for most people
  2. Protein: Protein bars should have at least 10 grams of protein or more, the more the better. The best bars had 20-25 grams of protein. The Kind Bar at 3 grams to 8 grams of protein is
    not desirable for weight loss. Look for at least 10 grams of protein for every 100 calories.
  3.  Sugar:  Many bars can really be candy bars in disguise. The Cliff Bar and Balance Bars have 21 and 17 grams of sugar.  Ideal sugar per bar should be at most 2-3 grams of sugar.
  4.  Fiber: Generally as high as possible.
  5.  Fat: Look for fat less than 12 grams, the higher the fat the more the calories.

Best Protein Bars for Snacks and Meal Replacements: Milk, Nuts, No-Nut Issues:

Most of these bars have milk and/or whey protein. Some have egg products. Careful many of them have nuts. Protein shakes and bars for vegetarians: Vegetarian High Protein Shakes and Bars are given on another post. For those allergic to nuts there are many alternative high protein-low carb bars and shakes. In fact, there is a recently published guide to no nut protein snacks. 

Best Protein Bars

Watch the Calories: Some Bars are NOT Low Calories

Like all packaged foods, make sure to read the label. Many meal replacement bars are 400+ calories (that’s equivalent to eating one egg, two egg whites, three slices of light toast, strawberries, and a veggie sausage patty)! If you’re eating a bar for a snack, it should be closer to 200 calories or less, for meal replacements look for bars or shakes that are up to 300 calories. Most of the bars pictured above are 170-190 calories. These can be used as a snack and a meal replacement.

Beware of Certain Ingredients in High Protein Bars and Shakes

This is the big one! The first five ingredients (of any label) make up the bulk of the nutrients. If you see these listed as some of the top ingredients, I would recommend skipping that bar altogether.

  • Soy Protein Isolate & Soy Lecithin: “Seriously processed soy junk…” says Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, author of “The Little Book of Thin”
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup & Sucralose: “High-fructose corn syrup is generally a clue that the bar company doesn’t care about high-quality ingredients,” says Slayton
  • Sugar alcohols, which show up on labels as erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysate
  • Inulin: “When consumed in large amounts, it can actually do the opposite of promote healthy digestion—it can give you an upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, bloating, or constipation,” says McKel Hill, MS, RD, creator of Nutrition Stripped
  • Soluble Corn Fiber: May result in gastrointestinal effects

Macronutrients Are Key

Macronutrients are those nutritional components of your diet that are needed in relatively large amounts. You need protein, carbohydrates, fat, and macrominerals. It’s a great idea in general to start getting into the habit of reading nutritional labels so you understand what gaps are being filled in your daily macronutrient intake, especially in regards to protein. The average person can only absorb 25-30 grams of protein in one sitting; the rest will go to waste.

Things to look for in protein bars:

  • Serving size (bars are often two servings)
  • Relatively low carbs (under 20g)
  • Fiber (soluble is best – 5g)
  • Protein, not soy (no more than 30g, 10-15 grams is the minimal )
  • Fat (less than 10g)

High Protein Bars or Shakes for Weight Loss- Which  are Best?

The best choice is very individual. Some people like to drink their calories, while others like to eat them. Bars are very portable, but often have higher calories than the equivalent shake.

Bars and shakes with high protein and very little carbs promote weight loss and prevent slowdowns and plateaus. The success of the Keto Diet in preventing slowdowns may be to the high protein and lack of carbs.

However, shakes are not as portable as bars. Some need to be mixed almost all need to be consumed cold. The real issue is the degree of fullness.  Many dieters feel fuller when they eat rather than drink their calories, even if the protein content is the same.