Are Protein Bars Good for You?

Make homemade protein bars
Protein bars. JJ Poole /

Question: My exercise friends said I need to get more protein so I should eat protein bars. When I go shopping I see so many different kinds of protein bars. Some look more like candy bars and others look like they might be good for me. I'm not sure why I need them, though, so can you answer a few questions about protein bars?

Answer: I think the main reason to buy protein bars is just for convenience' sake.

Whether you buy prepackaged protein bars or make homemade protein bars, they're easy to pack in a backpack, purse or gym bag. So why eat them? Mostly because eating a protein bar is an easy way to get some extra grams of protein into your diet. 

Do I need the extra protein?

Maybe, but as long as you eat a balanced diet, you probably get enough protein from the foods you eat. Even if your diet isn't so healthful, it's still probable that your protein intake is sufficient. Calorie Count will help you determine how many calories and how much protein you need every day.

What does protein do?

You need some protein every day so your body can maintain muscles, organs, and other structures and fluids in your body. If you engage in heavy physical activities, you'll need a little more protein than if you're less active.

What type of protein is used in protein bars?

Most protein bars use soy proteins or whey (which is a  milk protein), plus they often have a little extra protein from nuts and seeds.

Occasionally you'll find protein bars made with rice protein.

Are they good for weight management?

Yes, eating protein bars can help you lose or gain weight. A protein bar between meals can help control your appetite, just don't overdo it - one should be enough. Look for bars that are lower in sugar and calories.


Protein bars can also help If you're trying to gain weight. Add one or two bars to your regular diet, but make sure you don't cut calories from other meals.

Are there any bad protein bars?

I don't think there are any bad protein bars, but make sure you read the labels before you buy one - you may be surprised at the number of calories you're taking in because many brands are high in added sugar.

Some protein bars are sweetened with sugar alcohols, which have fewer calories than sugar but are not calorie-free. You should also avoid protein bars made with partially hydrogenated oils that contain trans-fats.


United States Department of Agriculture, "All About the Proteins Food Group." Accessed February 17, 2016.

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