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Home » Supplements

Protein Bars Vs. Protein Shakes

Submitted by on September 23, 2008 – 3:11 pmOne Comment


Image credit: Quinnee

In the never ending battle to increase your protein intake for the active male sometimes can be a challenge, picking and choosing the right food sources and combination’s can get confusing. The dietary supplement industry has made tremendous progress in the last few years providing consumers with better tasting & digested whey protein, less dense and better nutritionally protein bars. There has always been a nagging question about which is better a protein bar or a protein shake? There are pros & cons to both.

First, let’s have a look at whey protein shakes:

  • High Biological Value – This allows faster uptake of amino acids (building blocks of protein) into muscle cells.
  • Low lactose (milk sugar), calories, and fat
  • Comes in various forms most commonly whey concentrate & whey isolate but also in hydro isolate. (Concentrate/Isolate blends are most cost effective high quality choice for average lifter)
  • Easily mixed in water or milk (depending on brand & quality of whey protein)

Some benefits of protein bars:

  • Convenience
  • Added vitamins & minerals
  • Usually a blend of soy & whey (Pay close attention to ingredients)
  • Added Fiber
  • More calories –  More appropriate as a meal replacement

When comparing the nutritional values of whey protein shakes and protein bars, in general whey contains far better quality protein. Whey also offers fewer calories for the athlete looking for optimal nutrition.

Most protein bars use “non impact” carbohydrates or sugar alcohols (Malitol, Glycerin & Polydextrose). These carbs have a negligible impact on blood sugar levels but be aware that eating too many sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect on your body. Protein bar manufactures normally use a protein “blend” that includes soy, milk proteins and whey concentrates. These blends are usually of lower quality then whey protein shakes. For males, I recommend staying away from any bars that contain soy as it has estrogenic qualities.

Keep in mind that your diet should be about balance and variety. Using bars and shakes can be great, just don’t neglect whole food sources of protein. Supplements are called supplements for a reason.

Keep lifting and keep eating!

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