A study finds that ‘healthy’ protein bars make you fat because they don’t fill you up
- Arizona State University researchers asked people to eat a protein bar a day
- They said this increased their daily calorie intake by as much as 220 calories
- Body scans revealed that they gained 0.5kg of fat over a week
It’s often thought of as a healthy snack, but protein bars can make you fat.
A study found that people who ate one every day were more likely to gain weight within a week compared to people who didn’t.
Researchers believe that although protein bars are often nutritious, they are not satiating enough to prevent a person from eating more later.
Most popular brands, such as Quest Pars, contain about 200 calories, which is about the same as two or three medium-sized apples.
The protein industry is booming in the US, with sales reaching $6.5 billion this year – double the amount just in 2014.
High-protein diets can aid weight loss by reducing levels of hunger hormones, while raising levels of those associated with satiety.
But many protein bars are high in calories, which makes it easy to add calories without having to eat a lot of extra food.
Study Suggests Protein Bars Might Make You Fat (file photo)
The above shows the size and projected size of the protein supplement market in the US from 2014 to 2025. This forecast was published in Statista in 2021
Researchers at Arizona State University tracked 21 people, most of them in their 20s.
During the first two weeks of the experiment, participants were encouraged to eat their usual diet while keeping track of their daily calorie intake.
They were then asked to eat a protein bar a day within an hour of waking up each morning for another two weeks.
Overall daily caloric intake increased by up to 220 calories while following the protein bar, while fat mass increased by 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) during the first week.
Dr. Carol Johnston, Arizona State University health expert and others said on the study: “Sales of nutrition bars are showing rapid growth year after year in the United States.
These bars may be an effective source of certain nutrients.
However, eating nutrition bars may increase your total daily energy intake and risk of gaining fat mass and final body mass over time.
Eating a high-protein diet can reduce appetite because it lowers levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin – and raises levels of peptide YY behind the feeling of fullness.
But many protein bars today are considered little more than “candy in disguise.”
This is because they contain added sugars and high fructose corn syrup studies It has been associated with an increased risk of obesity and overweight.
The study was presented at the Obesity Week 2022 conference in San Diego, California.
What should a balanced diet look like?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS.
• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Layer meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: Like eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat crackers, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, 1 large baked potato with the skin on
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) choose options that are lower in fat and lower in sugar
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including two servings of fish each week, one of which should be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and fats and consume in small quantities
• Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily
• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide