Most people don’t know these facts. 

Have you ever taken a few minutes to look at most protein bars?

I think you’re going to be in for a shock when you read the TRUTH about the ingredients in some of the most popular protein bars on the market right now.

Here are the facts:…

#1 – Soy Protein Isolate (SPI)

This is, unfortunately, one of the most prevalent protein sources you’ll find in protein bars, especially those marketed to women. This marketing would have you believe that soy is an excellent protein source for women because of the isoflavones found in it. In reality, studies have indicated that these soy isoflavones can actually be TOXIC because of how the soy is processed (fermented soy products such as tofu are fine, just fyi).

In addition, SPI was actually considered a WASTE product in soy processing until recently, when it was discovered that money could be made by passing it off as a protein source. It’s cheap and definitely NOT a high-quality protein. It should be avoided.

#2 – High Fructose Corn Syrup

This is an easy one to figure out…the adverse health effects of it are well documented (contrary to what the commercials from the Corn Growers Association claim)It’s one of the WORST things you can eat and yet there are still bars that use it as a primary ingredient.

#3 – Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil

Palm kernel oil is a cheap, unhealthy fat. Unlike plain palm oil, palm kernel oil can’t be obtained organically. Instead, the oil must be extracted from the pit with a gasoline-like hydrocarbon solvent. The fractioned form is the most processed…if you see that in the ingredients, you should definitely avoid it.

#4 – Sugar Alcohols

This includes ingredients like Maltitol Syrup, Xylitol, Sorbitol, Lactitol, Mannitol, and Erythritol. Sugar alcohols are included in bars for sweetness…especially in bars that are “carb controlled”. Sugar alcohols don’t impact blood sugar as much as regular sugar because they’re not well absorbed in the digestive tract…and when things aren’t well absorbed in the digestive tract you get gas, abdominal cramping, and bloating.

In small amounts, sugar alcohols aren’t a big problem, but if you start getting into the double digits of grams of sugar alcohol (and many low-carb bars are in the 20 gram range), THEN you can start to see unpleasant digestive issues.

#5 – Artificial Sweeteners

These include saccharin, sucralose, and aspertame. I won’t get into the whole debate about whether artificial sweeteners are bad for you or not and what they turn into in your body, etc. You can do your research and decide for yourself the risks of ingesting artificial sweeteners. Personally, I try and stay away from artificial sweeteners as much as I possibly can.

In Summary…

Those are my top 5 worst protein bar ingredients…and you will actually find bars that contain ALL of these ingredients in them.

The main problem I have with the vast majority of protein bars today is that at their most base level, they’re deceptive. The bars are put forward as convenient, healthy alternatives to food for “on the go” people. Yet when you take a close look at the ingredients, they’re actually WORSE for you than most candy bars.

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  • Posted by Bonnie O'Brien on August 23, 2012

    Great news thanks let me learn more about this product

  • Posted by Kevin mabbitt on July 01, 2012

    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing. I need
    To look closer at the labels. Are there a few that you recommend?

  • Posted by Lauren Rae on April 29, 2012

    Thank you for this! Very informative… being aware of the ingredients in the foods we eat is more important than purely reading nutritional facts on the product.

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