You caught us: We love protein. Studies suggest that athletes who supplement with protein (like whey or soy) build more lean muscle mass. Protein helps prepare muscles before a strength-training workout, and repair them afterwards. So our beef (pun intended) with protein bars isn’t with the protein— it’s the vehicle.

A single protein bar can pack on upwards of 300 calories— and they often come from loads of sugar and fat, sometimes as much as a candy bar! Not to mention, for the casual gym-goer, the amount of protein in a protein bar isn’t truly necessary. But if you do need the extra protein, opt for a homemade protein shake instead of hitting the bars.

The Takeaway: Protein is a necessary part of an athlete’s diet, but protein bars pack on more unhealthy extras than they’re worth.

Less Is More?

On average, adults should consume 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of weight each day. Often, when folks amp up their protein intake, they may skimp on other necessary nutrients like fiber. While adding protein is a-okay, balance is essential.

Fun Fact:

The word “protein” is derived from the Greek, “protas,” which means, “of primary importance.”