When nutrition goes wrong

Protein bars are a very hit and miss area of sports nutrition. Whilst there are some great ones out there (I like Phd Diet Whey bars – find out why here) there are also some absolute stinkers.

This bar came to my attention recently and I just thought I’d share it to demonstrate my point.

PowerBar’s Protin Plus Raspberry Yoghurt bar with L-Carnitine – for “muscle shaping”. What are the top three ingredients in this miracle muscle making bar?

– Glucose syrup (so, sugar)

– White chocolate (it’s 20% chocolate)

– Whole milk powder.

And the nutritional stats? 12.5g of sugar, 4g of fat, 135 calories and just 6g of protein.

The fact that Powerbar even have the cheek to market this as a muscle shaping bar is laughable when it’s essentially a chocolate bar with a little hit of protein in it. L-Carnitine is an amino acid that’s supposed to aid the breakdown of fat – what’s the point when you’re simultaneously spiking your insulin levels with over 12g of sugar?

Compare this to the aforementioned Phd Diet Whey bar – 181 calories, 25g of protein and just 1g of sugar AND it has L-Carnitine.

Whilst protein bars are never a substitute for clean whole foods and a varied diet they can be a useful supplement if you’re lacking in protein or looking for healthier treats. Just make sure you get the right one with good quality macronutrients to make it worth your while. I like this method from Metabolic Effect;

TOTAL CARB minus FIBRE minus PROTEIN should leave a number less than 10.Β Β 

What do you think about protein bars – worthwhile or just a con? Do you have a favourite or know of any particularly bad offenders?