When you need to grab a quick and portable source of protein, whether for a meal or a snack, a protein bar can be a great choice. However, not all protein bars are as healthy as they are advertised. In fact, if you are grabbing a protein bar instead of a donut for breakfast because you’re trying to lose weight, you might be inadvertently sabotaging your efforts, even if they are completely vegan! Some ingredients that are commonly used in the vegan protein bars you find in the grocery store are detrimental to your energy levels, digestive system, and weight-loss efforts. The key to finding a healthy protein-bar option is to know what ingredients to look out for and avoid. In this blog, we will go over some of the worst ingredients you might find.
Soy Protein Isolate (SPI)
This ingredients list goes beyond just the issues that are inherent to soy, which we outlined in a previous blog. Soy protein isolate (SPI) is a highly processed ingredient made of genetically-modified soy. The process through which the soy protein is isolated leaves behind traces of hexane and aluminum, which are common neurotoxins. On top of that, SPI contain concentrations of trypsin inhibitors, which cause issues digesting plant protein. If your protein bar has SPI on the ingredient list, you’re better off tossing it in the trash.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup is one of the worst ingredients you can find in anything you eat. This chemical sweetener is made by converting glucose to fructose by adding enzymes to regular corn syrup. What is left over is a low-quality ingredient that has been linked to insulin resistance, abdominal fat, and weight gain. On top of that, fructose has been shown to have virtually no ability to suppress appetite because it does not signal to the brain that you are full.
In an effort to cut calories while keeping their products sweet, many protein-bar manufacturers include sucralose, also known as Splenda. This artificial sweetener can cause insulin spikes, which lead to cravings for carbs. Not only that, but artificial sweeteners in general have been linked to diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, avoid all artificial sweeteners when possible.
Other ingredients commonly used by protein bars to enhance sweetness are sugar alcohols. You may see them on the label as xylitol, erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, isomalt, or maltitol. They choose these because they are fewer calories than sugar and don’t affect blood sugar as much. The issue with these is that they are difficult to digest, so they can cause issues such as bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Avoid tummy troubles by skipping any protein bars you find with any of these sugar alcohols on the label.
Our vegan protein cookies without soy are a healthy, on-the-go way to get the nutrients you need for a snack or a meal. They contain no artificial sweeteners and only natural ingredients. Shop Badass Power Cookie for our selection of tasty protein-cookie flavors: Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Spice, or Berry. Tap into the badass inside of you with these tasty vegan protein cookies.