Protein Bars: What Ingredients To Watch Out For

(Last Updated On: May 4, 2022)

Protein bars, they sound like a healthy snack, don’t they?

Unfortunately, sometimes they aren’t. In fact, sometimes, they can be downright unhealthy.

This article will tell you what to look out for in protein bars to make sure you get the protein bars that are actually healthy as you would expect.

protein bars

Benefits of Getting MoreProtein

Protein Builds Muscle

Protein is the building block of your muscles. If you want them to stay strong, make sure they have enough protein! Eating adequate amounts can help promote muscle growth when strength training and maintaining mass during physical activity or gaining more weight.

Eating a high-protein diet has been shown time after again as good for promoting gains in size from both new muscle cells while also preserving existing tissue by preventing breakdown due to stress. (1)

Protein Reduces Appetite

Protein can also help to control hunger levels. If you feel full, you’re less likely to overeat. This can help you lose weight in the long run. (2)

Replace some of your carbs and fats with protein to lose weight or belly fat. This can be as simple as making the potato/rice serving smaller while adding a few extra bites on top which contain meat, fish or even eggs.

Protein is Good For Bones

The idea that protein is bad for your bones, mainly animal-based foods like eggs and dairy products, isn’t accurate. There are many benefits to eating more proteins, including increased acid load, which leads to calcium being leached out of the body to neutralize this negativity. (3)

A lot people believe what they want because marketers will tell them anything (or maybe it’s just me). But suppose you’re looking at staying healthy or preventing osteoporosis. In that case, I recommend adding some plant-based sources into our daily diet, such as soybeans/edamame beans, along with other vegetables-rich grasses.


Benefits of Protein Bars

Protein bars are a great way to get extra protein into your diet. They’re also convenient and easy to take with you on the go.

There are many different types of protein bars, but they all have one thing in common: they’re high-protein snacks that can help you reach your daily protein goals.

Protein bars can be a valuable part of your diet if you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or improve your overall health. Here are some of the benefits of protein bars:


What to watch out for in a Protein Bars

Palm Kernel Oil

Palm kernel oil is a type of vegetable oil that is extracted from the kernel, or innermost part, of palm trees. It’s a popular ingredient in many processed foods because it’s relatively inexpensive and helps preserve shelf life.

However, palm kernel oil is high in saturated fat and should be avoided if you’re trying to eat a healthy diet.

The World Health Organization, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and other medical organizations recommend against consuming palm oil because its high saturated fat content can lead to harmful cholesterol levels. (4)

Many protein bars contain palm kernel oil, so check the ingredient list before you buy.


Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are a type of sweetener that is often used in place of sugar. They’re lower in calories than sugar, but they can still have a laxative effect when consumed in large amounts. (5)

If you’re sensitive to sugar alcohols, you may experience bloating, gas, and diarrhea after eating foods that contain them.

Be sure to check the ingredient list of your protein bar to see if it contains any sugar alcohol.


High Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup is a type of processed sugar that is often used in processed foods and sweetened beverages. It’s made by extracting glucose from cornstarch and then converting it to fructose. (6)

Fructose is a type of simple sugar that is found in fruits and honey. It’s also metabolized differently than other types of sugars.

Consuming too much fructose can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance, both risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

High fructose corn syrup is often used as a sweetener in protein bars. Be sure to check the ingredient list to see if it’s included.


Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are manufactured chemicals that are used to sweeten food and beverages. They’re often used as a sugar replacement in low-calorie and sugar-free foods.

Most artificial sweeteners are safe for most people, but there is some concern that they may be linked to cancer and other health problems. (7)

If you’re concerned about the safety of artificial sweeteners, you can check the ingredient list of your protein bar to see if it contains any.

protein bars

Home Made Protein Bars

Making homemade protein bars is a great way to know exactly what ingredients are being used. This also allows for more creativity in flavors and textures. Below is a recipe for a healthy and straightforward home made protein bar:


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients until well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press down firmly.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Enjoy your homemade protein bars!


Buy Better Protein Bars

You don’t have to make your own bars to though. There are bars on the market that don’t have palm kernel oil, sugar alcohols, or anything artificial. You do have to look at the ingredients, though, as more than half the bars on the market have ingredients you would like to avoid.

You can look at our list of the best protein bars, but even some bars on that list have sub-par ingredients. If you want good bars with natural ingredients, I would go with the Uncut Bars from Transparent Labs or RX Bars, and you will be happy with either of those.


Final Word

Protein bars are a great way to increase your protein intake, but watch out for unhealthy ingredients like palm kernel oil, sugar alcohols, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. Choose protein bars made with healthy ingredients and have a balance of nutrients.


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