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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Are protein bars just glorified chocolate bars?

So working in a health club i sell protein bars - PHD ones, Grenade Carb killer ones, Barebells etc . They are in effect choc bars right? The sugars confuse me - What are sugars which polyols - having googled the meaning this is still sugar right? So all they are are glorified choc bars? They taste of choc bars and so i am guessing that they are just well marketed! Ok for post or pre work out but that is about it! Your views and thoughts etc would be greatly appreciated! Pass me a Dairy milk any day.. Cath

A.

Our expert says...

Hi,

Thanks for getting in touch.

This is a good question. The short answer is - it's a bit of a tough one to describe! Protein bars aren't really chocolate bars, because the nutritional content is quite different due to the ingredients used. Chocolate bars tend to be mostly chocolate so are high in sugar and fat, but low in protein. Whereas protein bars tend to have a bit of chocolate in the coating, but the inside is a mix of other ingredients to make them higher in protein and lower in carbs/sugar.

For example, if we compare a 60g Carb Killa Peanut Nutter bar with 60g of Dairy Milk with Oreo Peanut the nutritional breakdown is quite different. The Carb Killa bar has 21g of protein and just 2g sugar, whereas the Dairy Milk has just 3.6g protein and 29g sugar. For this reason, the protein bar would have a much smaller effect on blood sugar levels and therefore would be a better choice than a regular chocolate bar in terms of maintaining energy and blood sugar levels.

The main difference is that the protein bar uses sweeteners instead of sugar, and adds whey protein - whereas chocolate bars are generally full of sugar, vegetable fats and just a little milk powder.

Polyols are not sugars in the typical sense, they are low-digestible carbohydrates. They are much lower in calories than sugar and don't have the same effect on blood sugar levels. They are essentially sugar free sweeteners and are used in a variety of products such as chewing gum, yogurts and sugar free drinks.

So in summary these protein bars are very different nutritionally to regular chocolate bars. They are much lower in sugar and much higher in protein. This would make them a better choice when losing weight as there wouldn't be the same spike and then drop in blood sugar that often occurs after eating sugary foods like chocolate bars. It's this drop in blood sugar that often causes people to over eat because they need an energy hit.

I hope this helps and please let me know if you need anything further.

Best wishes

Emma

Nutracheck Nutritionist

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