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Are you looking to build a slim and toned physique but need to know which snacks will help you gain muscle? If so, you are at the right place. Protein bars are a convenient on-the-go option for a quick and satisfying snack. They provide amino acids (building blocks of protein) to help you build lean muscle and burn unwanted body fat. According to a 2020 study published in the journal FoodHigh-protein bars may improve body composition in athletes by supporting muscle mass growth and promoting fat loss.
In our fast-paced lives, protein bars provide a quick and easy dose of protein without a carb overload. To find out which low-carb protein bars are best for lean muscle growth, we talked to Gianna Masi, RDN, CISSN, CPTCertified personal trainer and registered dietitian with Barbend, who shares her top picks for fueling your lean muscle growth, along with expert tips Join to choose healthy protein bars.
If you’re ready to discover the perfect low-carb protein bars to support your lean muscle growth journey, keep reading. We’ll walk you through your options, help you understand what makes these bars stand out nutritionally, and make sure you have the information you need to make healthy choices. And when you’re done, check out the 9 best store-bought protein shakes, according to a nutritionist.
How we choose the healthiest low-carb protein bars
There are some essential tips when choosing the healthiest low-carb protein bar.
- Ingredients list: Choose bars with simple, whole-food ingredients and avoid bars with too many artificial additives or sweeteners.
- Protein content: “For lower-carb options, aiming for under 30 grams of carbs per bar and at least 10 to 15 grams of protein or more for a snack is a good goal,” says Masi.
- Sugar content: Choose bars with minimal added sugar, as too much sugar can counteract the effects of a low-carb diet.
- Fiber content: Higher fiber bars can help keep you full and aid digestion.
“In lower carb bars and protein bars in general, some companies will look to reduce the natural sugar and carb content and swap them out with sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners so the bar still tastes good with less carbs or calories.” “For many people, sugar alcohols can cause stomach upset or bloating, depending on your tolerance level. Sugar alcohols are low-calorie sweeteners and are a type of carbohydrate that is harder to digest. These include erythritol , xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol and mannitol.”
1 BAR (50G): 200 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (2 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 13 g protein
NuGo bars stand out for their great taste and minimal impact on blood sugar levels. They’re also a great choice for those craving the flavor and nutrition in a low-carb protein bar. “I love these because they have dairy-free options and can be hard to find,” says Masi.
1 BAR (60G): 280 calories, 16 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (4 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 20 g protein
Rise Bar focuses on using minimal ingredients for maximum nutrition. These bars are made from whole foods and contain a good amount of protein while keeping carbs low.
1 BAR (70G): 300 calories, 14 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (4 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 18 g protein
G2G Protein Bars are designed with simplicity and effectiveness in mind. They provide high amounts of protein, making them a great choice for those looking to increase muscle growth. “This is a high-protein option with 18 grams per bar,” says Masi.
1 BAR (40G): 150 calories, 3 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (5 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 15 g protein
ProMix Protein Puff Bars are packed with protein and air-injected for a light, crunchy texture. If you’re looking for a low-carb protein bar that’s delicious and fun to eat, these are worth trying. “These have no artificial sweeteners and have a crunchy texture, so they’re one of my top picks,” says Masi.
1 BAR (55G): 210 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 20 g protein
Focusing on high-quality protein and minimal carbs, Barebell Protein Bars provide essential nutrients for muscle recovery. If you hit the gym regularly, these bars can be a valuable addition to your routine. “Barebell bars are popular for their flavor, and they have small amounts of sugar alcohols, so keep that in mind,” says Masi.
1 BAR (60G): 200 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (14 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 21 g protein
Quest Protein Bars have long been a favorite among health-conscious people. That’s because they’re known for their wide variety of flavors and their commitment to providing quality protein with minimal sugar. If you want a low-carb protein bar with lots of options, Quest has you covered.
1 BAR (40G): 180 calories, 10 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 4 g protein
BelliWelli Bars are a great choice for people with dietary restrictions. These low-carb protein bars are gluten-free and free of major allergens. Their unique blend of seeds and nuts offers a different snacking experience that is both healthy and satisfying.
“For those who need to eat low FODMAPs or are very sensitive, BelliWelli Bars are a good choice. They are low in protein, only about 5 grams per bar but are a good option to have in your bag,” Masi speak.
1 BAR (60G): 190 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (10 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 21 g protein
These bars, available at Costco, are known for their delicious flavor and impressive protein content. Plus, they’re high in fiber, have only 2 grams of sugar, and provide a significant amount of protein per serving.
1 BAR (60G): 220 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (6 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 20 g protein
ONE Brands offers a variety of low-carb protein bars in a variety of flavors. These bars typically contain just one gram of sugar and 6 grams of fiber and contain a significant amount of protein.
1 BAR (63G): 210 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 459 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (12 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 20 g protein
MusclePharm’s Combat Crunch Bars are a favorite among fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders. They are gluten-free, low in sugar, high in fiber and packed with protein.
1 BAR (54G): 210 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (10 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 20 g protein
Atlas Protein Bars are known for their clean ingredients and excellent protein-to-carb ratio. They come in a variety of flavors and provide satisfying protein with fewer carbs.
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