Why you shouldn't replace your meal with a protein bar

When on the run (or after your run), it's easy to grab a protein bar with your latte and call it breakfast. Unfortunately, convenient as it may be, a protein bar cannot provide you with the nutrients you can get from whole foods. Registered dietician and author, Katherine Tallmadge, tells Today that she does not advise getting protein in supplement form but instead from real food, which she says, "you can feel full or more satisfied with fewer calories." Tallmadge goes on to suggest yogurt, nuts, or dried fruit as alternatives to protein bars.

According to LIVESTRONG, most of those well-marketed protein bars are just a step away from a candy bar, filled with various chemicals and other non-nutritional ingredients like highly processed oils and high fructose corn syrup. It is important to note that research shows consuming too much fructose can put you at a higher risk for obesity and diabetes (via Healthline). Another concern, according to Men's Health, is the high sugar content in many protein bars, which in some cases, can be more than that in a donut.

Some protein bars can be a healthy snack alternative

Not all protein bars are bad for you, and while using them as a meal replacement may not be the healthiest option, some can make a good snack. Dr. Emilie Aspray of Glasgow University suggests reading the ingredient label is key. Dr. Aspray told Men's Health that choosing bars with pure whey isolate protein, whole grain oats, and bean gum are a better choice. Aspray goes on, mentioning ingredients to avoid in your protein bars like hydrogenated palm oil, specialty flavors, and artificial sweeteners.

Busy lifestyles require adjustments and while a high-quality, nutrient-dense protein bar can be a decent snack on the go, as meal replacements it is not as beneficial as you may think. Even if the end goal is weight loss, some of these bars contain high sugars, fats, and calories from unnatural sources, which can cause more of a problem than a solution (via Women's Health). Learn to become an expert label reader and know your ingredients to make it easier when choosing your next protein bar.