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Protein bar craze isn’t as healthy as you might think.

Protein bars are everywhere. A healthy accessible snack found in grocery stores, gyms and gas stations. “The global market for protein bars is growing quickly and expected to swell to more than $2 billion by the end of 2026, according to the financial analysis site, MarketWatch.”

Protein bars show people doing physical activities like people hurling kettlebells as something that is specifically attuned to athletes. Other protein bar brands seem to want their product to fall into the umbrella term of wellness. 

The products are advertised with calm women journaling and partaking in healthy activities. The problem is people assume protein equates with health.

“You can put ‘keto’ or ‘protein’ on a candy bar and sell it, and people don’t even question it,” said Janet Chrzan, an adjunct assistant professor of nutritional anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. “

Protein is essential to our bodies for muscle building and for repairing it. It is also responsible for our hair, skin, nails and organs. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, help with brain functions. Many diets associate protein with weight loss. Which explains the craze. 

Many people think they aren’t consuming enough protein. When in reality most who consume meat get far more than the recommended protein daily dose and those who don’t eat meat get it from plant protein tofu, legumes and nuts.  

You’d be hard-pressed to find an American who actually needs more protein, though, said Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Protein keeps you fuller according to Dr Rimm. However a Clif bar is still loaded with added calories it contains 16 grams of added sugars, more than what’s in a. A Gatorade protein bar isn’t as healthy. It contains 28 grams of added sugars. That is twice the amount of sugar found in a frosted donut from Dunkin’ Donuts. 

Protein bars might make more sense for those who have a protein deficiency or are vegan and need more protein in their diet. Protein bars can come with a lot of sugar so they aren’t exactly healthy. 

Protein bars are just that a snack they aren’t meant to replace a whole meal. “If you’re going up the side of the mountain, if you can’t grab a full meal.” But it’s not meant to be an actual replacement for a meal, said. Stephanie Urrutia, director of performance nutrition at the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of California, Los Angeles 


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