January 25, 2023

Spelling bee: Protein bars

Untitled design-3.png

* Word : Chemophobia 

* Meaning of the word : Chemophobia (or chemphobia or chemonoia) is an aversion to or prejudice against chemicals or chemistry

* Use it in a sentence:
Some purveyors of protein bars also play on people’s irrational chemophobia to peddle their own chemically enhanced protein bars as better for you.


* Protein supplements exist to supplement our everyday foods. They exist to deliver the maximum amount of protein in the most calorie efficient manner (75-90% of calories in a scoop of isolate are from protein).

* Protein bars use protein isolates to spruce up the protein content of what would otherwise be a carbohydrate and fat laden treat/dessert. 

* Protein bars are superior to the protein beverages: solid foods take longer to digest than liquid foods potentially keeping you fuller for longer. 

* A 240 calorie protein bar providing 20 grams of protein is a healthier version of a chocolate bar. A scoop of whey with an identical amount of protein would provide fewer than half the calories. 


* Protein bars are more portable. This is a massive advantage. Protein bars are best used as a small, quick meal when pressed for time and options. They are neither economical nor nutritionally desirable as a daily staple. 

* Only 14 grams of whey are contained in a protein bar. 6 grams come from nuts which are not the best source of protein (poor absorption and sub-optimal amino acid composition). The 20 gram protein tag, while accurate, does not account for this.

* The cost per gram of protein is Rs 6-7 per gram , both Yoga Bar and The Whole Truth. Adjust this for only whey content and it is closer to Rs9-10. A scoop of Optimum Nutrition whey concentrate works out to Rs3.7/gram. Myprotein isolates are slightly more expensive. The downside is unflavoured whey isolates are harder to come by. You could carry a small shaker with whey protein to mix with water and consume before a protein-deficient meal.

*Eggs that contain 35% protein cost Rs 2-4/gram of protein. Cottage cheese contains 70% protein works out to Rs 6/gram. Neither eggs nor cottage cheese are as portable. 

* Nuts are an overblown food group. There are more fiber rich foods (mushrooms, vegetables and lentils). There are better sources of essential fats (algal or fish oil). 

* People exaggerate the goodness of minimally processed sources of glucose/fructose such as dates and jaggery. Conversely, they are needlesly fearful of non-nutritive sweeteners. 


* I do wish someone embraced non-nutritive sweeteners, fiber probiotics and gum extracts to formulate a bar that had protein content of closer to 50%. 

* Despite harping on the clean tag, both Yoga Bar and The Whole Truth contain whey that requires a fair bit of processing. This is not a complaint, just an observation. 

About Adarsh

- I run a strength and conditioning facility in Chennai, India
- I work with my clients to make training and eating for better body composition a part of everyday life
- I coach online and in-person
- I design and manufacture strength training equipment for use in our strength training facility