Eating a protein bar is an effective way to boost your daily protein intake.
Such bars are often chosen as part of a workout routine, as they help fuel the body and promote muscle recovery and growth after exercise.
There are lots of choices, but are the Gatorade version good for you? You’re about to find out.
Each Gatorade bar contains 20 grams of protein, which is a respectable amount for refueling or getting ready for a workout. Considering the average sedentary woman should be getting at least 46 grams of protein per day and the average sedentary man should be consuming at least 56 grams of protein per day, a Gatorade bar offer a valuable contribution to daily intake.
Protein bars can be ideal way to refuel, especially for busy people who are on the go all the time. This might be someone who works a lot, a busy mom, or an athlete; it is equally beneficial for all.
Overall, the protein content in a Gatorade bar is a good way help you reaching your daily intake goal, but there are some considerations before concluding it’s a healthy choice.
The fat issue:
According to the Gatorade website, many of the Gatorade protein bars contain saturated fat. In fact, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Whey bar contains 9 grams of saturated fat.
A diet high in saturated fat raises your risk of heart problems, including a heart attack. Medical experts at the American Heart Association recommend limiting your saturated fat intake to just 5% to 6% of your daily total calories. If you are on a 2,000 calorie meal plan, that’s just 13 grams of saturated fat per day.
In other words, in consuming just one Gatorade protein bar you have already eaten more than half your daily recommended intake of protein, which restricts what you’re able to eat for the rest of the day. If you are consuming fewer than 2,000 calories per day, obviously the protein proportion delivered by one Gatorade protein bar is significantly higher.
Let’s talk about the sweet stuff.
Research shows that a diet high in sugar can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health issues. Gatorade protein bars are fairly high in sugar, with the with the Chocolate Chip Fuel bar weighing in at 19 grams of sugar and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Whey Protein bar containing 20 grams.
In some cases, this is as much sugar as a candy bar, though granted there are additional nutrients that a candy bar doesn’t have. Provided you balance your Gatorade protein bar with the other foods you eat during the day, it can still be a decently healthy choice.
Next – the “bad boy” of weight loss …
Despite their bad rap, your body needs carbohydrates for fuel. If you completely eliminate them from your meal plan, you’ll lack the energy to get through the day, let alone completing a workout.
Gatorade bars provide carbohydrates and offer you the energy you need to exercise or the energy you need to get through a busy day. Ideally, a protein bar should not exceed 30 grams of carbohydrates.
The Chocolate Chip Whey protein bar has 42 grams of carbohydrates and the Chocolate Caramel Whey Protein bar contains 43 grams of carbohydrates. However, if you’re using the bar as a post-workout snack, you can probably afford to consume this quantity.
If you’re aiming to lose weight, this quantity of carbohydrates might not be good for you, but if you are refueling during a busy day or you just completed an intense workout, you can probably get by with more than the recommended 30 grams of carbs.
Now let’s talk about those all-important calories.
Calories aren’t the bad guy unless you are taking in more than you’re consuming. With an average calorie count of about 200 or more, Gatorade bars cannot be considered low-calorie bars: some of the varieties contain as many calories as candy bars.
If however, you’re using a Gatorade bar as a meal replacement or you just finished a hard workout, that amount of calories may fit into your diet without the worry of weight gain. They are also easier to take if you have not propered a protein shake.
The simple thing to remember about calories – whatever diet or meal plan you are following – is to not consume more than your body uses or you’ll start to put on weight.
Benefits of the Bars
While some of the Gatorade protein bars may have a high saturated fat content, they are a relatively healthy choice for athletes and busy individuals who tend to skip meals on a regular basis.
A Gatorade protein bar is a convenient choice that is easy to toss into your bag. They’ll offer you sustained energy and are portable and easy to eat wherever you are.
Gatorade Bars vs. Real Food
While Gatorade bars are better than skipping a meal, most health experts highly encourage people to eat real food as often as possible and leave protein bars as a last resort, especially those that are high in sugar, carbs and saturated fat.
Having a piece of fruit or a whole grain bagel with peanut butter for a snack is nearly as easy to prepare as a protein bar, and in addition to protein and carbs, also offers you a wealth of other important nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, iron and healthy fats.
If you plan to use your Gatorade protein bar as a meal replacement, consider pairing it with fruit or some raw veggies like carrot stick, celery batons, or pepper slice, to help you get enough fiber as well as vital vitamins and minerals that might be missing from the bar itself.
Gatorade protein bars can be good for you, provided you are including them in a well-balanced meal plan. It’s important to keep track of your saturated fat and sugar intake so that the bars don’t cause you to overeat these food groups.
While Gatorade protein bars are decently good for you, they’ll never replace whole food sources of protein, such as lean meats, fish, beans, eggs, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy foods. They can however, be a healthy addition to your meal plan when eaten in moderate numbers.
Keep in mind that too much protein can be detrimental to your health, so it is best to discuss an appropriate intake of protein bars if you intend them to be a regular fixture in your diet/meal plan.