They taste great, they are marketed to be a meal replacement, and they “say” that if added to your diet you can lose weight!!
Sounds great but is it true? The answer becomes vague once you start to dig deeper….
Let’s keep things simple here people: If you BURN more calories than you ingest you will become leaner. However the way in which you do it will determine whether you are losing FAT or weight. The former is very important in that losing weight is counterproductive. First losing weight alone isn’t a true indicator of good health because with weight you are losing fat, but mostly water and muscle. Most people have been decived by the media into thinking that losing weight is the number one goal to looking good, but the true is that what most people are looking for is proper BODY COMPOSITION. Proper body composition is the reduction of fat cells within the body which equates to loss of FAT which will also result in loss of weight to some degree. Now you may be thinking, “isn’t that losing weight?” Yes, but the type of weight is extremely different in that you have retained muscle and water while stripping away the fat that is layered on top of your muscle. Once your muscle starts to show this will give you the “toned” look that you are reading this blog hoping to find the answer to achieve!
This brings me to my point of protein meal replacement bars, especially brands that give unsuspecting people false advertisements that keep them running in circles when trying to drop fat. Keeping calories in mind understand that knowing your personal allotment of calories is the quickest way to drop fat ALONG WITH knowing the proper split of macronutrients you need to achieve a certain body composition. If leaning out (known as losing weight) is your goal, then an uneven macronutrient ratio could BE THE DIFFERENCE between just getting skinny and looking GREAT when you hit the beach.
Abnormal amounts of fat, carbohydrates, and sugar are the top causes for fat gain because after a certain amount that is completely specific to your body, these macronutrients will be shuttled to fat because it is not being used. For you IIFYM people out here this explains why although a calorie is a calorie, the TYPE of calorie consumed makes all the difference.
The reason these protein replacement bars get you in trouble is that if you don’t pay attention to the macronutrient ratio that you are consuming you can be led by false pretenses that you are eating healthy when in fact you might be taking in way more calories than you thought you might be taking in. Take some time to look at the nutritional facts of some of your top generic protein bars.
Lets take a look at a popular meal replacement bar
Now lets look at a regular sized rice krispy treat
Now check this out
Its all on the same aisle!!
Now I’m not saying that you can’t add in meal replacement bars into your diet and lose fat- but you have to be mindful of knowing what you are putting in your body. As you can see you could actually fair out better eating the rice krispy treat!! Also, don’t fall into the trap of “net carbs”. if a calorie is a calorie, then a CARB IS A CARB. If you count your calories then you must add in those carbs regardless of what the packaging says.
Bottom Line- READ the nutrition label and know that everything is not what it seems in regards to food when marketing is involved. Your best bet is to stick with real unprocessed foods and rich protein sources such as eggs and lean meat if you are looking for protein. If you have a sweet tooth then do your self a favor and understand the relationship of calories and macronutrients in regards to body composition. In one cases, you might fair off better with a butter finger than a cliff bar.