Protein Bars and Shakes: To eat or not to eat?

Many of us snack on protein bars and shakes throughout the day, but are they really good for you? Erika Graziani, a dietitian with Lee Health, says there are a couple of things to consider when deciding what type of protein bar is best for your body. “We want foods that come from our kitchen and not that come from a lab. So when you’re looking at the ingredient list and all of a sudden you’re seeing these things and you can’t buy it in the grocery store then what’s it actually doing to your body?”

If you’re only relying on protein bars for a healthy snack, she says make sure they are filled with healthy ingredients. “Are there vitamins and minerals or fiber, or is it just a lot of added sugar, a lot of added fat and those types of things,” said Graziani.

But how often should we really rely on protein bars and protein shakes? “In regards to protein shakes and bars, we don’t need to depend on them. The best thing is to try to get all your nutrition through food whenever you can,” said Graziani.

While healthy protein bars and shakes can be a good source of protein, experts say they shouldn’t be your only source of protein. Other easy to grab protein snacks are nuts, peanut butter, granola bars, yogurt, and hummus. “Everybody’s always talking about protein and making sure they’re getting enough, when in fact, the average person gets plenty of protein and most people get more protein than they need,” said Graziani.

Health experts say only 10 percent of our overall calories need to come from protein. “If you eat the right foods, eat a variety of variable protein sources, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, maybe dairy or dairy substitutes, between all those things if you’re eating how you should you’re going to get enough protein without actually having to worry about a specific number of grams,” said Graziani.

Before you buy, check the ingredients and throw in a couple of other healthy choices to get the protein you need throughout the day.

View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/

Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.

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