This is a common question I get asked a lot.
Overall this answer ‘depends.’ There is no one ‘brand’ that is necessarily better than others, because as most of you know I look at ‘overall diet pattern’ rather than ‘single ingredients.’ It also depends on your goals and taste. Some protein powders that taste really good, may not be the healthiest, and vice versa. But, if something is super healthy and tastes awful, then there is no pleasure in eating, and eventually you will stop consuming the product.
When choosing Bia Bars and Ascent protein powder, I wanted both taste and quality product. Overall, both products have pretty simple ingredients. One could argue about soybean oil, or milk protein solids as being ‘unhealthy’ but there is no solid scientific evidence that proves these ingredients as harmful. Bia bars do have sugar and molasses in them, but again, sugar helps products with taste. I firmly believe that ‘all food fits’ in a healthy lifestyle, and sugar can certainly be one of them! It’s not bad…it actually tastes really good! The key is ‘how much’ and ‘how’ we are eating these products.
Protein powders and bars can fit into our busy lifestyles. A main reason consumers buy these products is for convenience. You can certainly replace a meal with these bars or shakes, but keep in mind that this shouldn’t be a replacement for real food. Clients will get discouraged if they replace every meal with bars or shakes in an attempt to lose weight fast. Please use these products with care, and enjoy real, wholesome food; whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean meat, lowfat dairy or soy, fruits and vegetables.
Another tip to prevent weight gain- if you are using these products as ‘post-workout’ foods, incorporate the bars or shakes for meals. I discourage clients not to drink a shake, and then eat a large meal soon after with protein in it. They may be consuming too many grams of protein or calories. You should be replacing your ‘meat/protein’ food group with the bar or shake and eat a vegetable or fruit and grain with your meal.
There is no one ‘perfect’ shake or bar on the market, since there are so many variables when choosing a product. But there are products that have higher quality and better taste. With that being said, I would not get too caught up in individual ingredients, but start focusing on your overall diet pattern and ‘how’ you are eating. My only rule for clients is to have fun and enjoy these products with their healthy lifestyle, and choose foods that taste good and nourish your body. All food (and supplements) can fit!