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Which Snack Bar Should I Choose?

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Original article first published by  ArmourUp Asia, our pop-up store partner.

We all know that eating healthy is pretty difficult, especially in Singapore where great-tasting, unhealthy food options are easy to find and are so affordable. Yeah sure, there are more options than ever before with restaurants, salad bars, and even food delivery services offering healthier meals but most people can’t shake off their snack cravings. If you were like me, you would have been raised on a diet of Super Rings, Kit Kats, and Twisties which could explain our obsession with snacks. Naturally, this meant that healthy and convenient snack products are in high demand here. Most people would have heard of protein bars but there are actually other types of snack bar products out there to suit different needs. Let’s break it down!

Protein Bar

A more convenient alternative to protein shakes, the standard protein bar comes as advertised and is usually packed with 15-20g of protein per serving. Protein is used for building and repairing muscle and is highly valued as a macro-nutrient. These bars also tend to feature a lower sugar content than other bars as they are also commonly used as a meal replacement for weight loss. However, in order to improve taste and flavour, natural or artificial sweeteners are used.

Examples: Quest Bar, FIT Crunch, B-Up Bar, Lenny & Larry’s Muscle Brownie, Fit Elite

Who should use them?

  • Gym Goers: If you’re into lifting weights, protein bars can definitely be useful in helping you build muscle and strength, and for recovery post-workout.
  • Endurance Athletes: It is also suggested that athletes of endurance sports like distance running and cycling can also benefit from protein bars are their extended period of activity can lead to muscle breakdown.

Energy Bar

Energy bars, as the name suggest, are formulated to provide a quick energy boost when consumed. Thus, they tend to feature a higher carbohydrate content (up to 40g+) that includes different types of sugar. Fruits and nuts are frequently used to provide this, along with adding different types of flavours. In fact, many consider energy bars to taste better than protein bars as they use natural sugars that improves flavour. Another difference is that they tend to be cheaper than protein bars as protein is more expensive as an ingredient.

Examples: Clif Bars

Who should use them?

  • Endurance Athletes: Marathon runners and triathletes who engage in long periods of exercise will require sufficient energy to last through their activity.
  • Soldiers: Days spent out in the field can mean that you might not get the chance for a proper meal. Energy bars can provide an easy way to get some energy to last longer. For guys who have served National Service in the Army and were issued field rations, you would have noticed a food bar included which serves the same purpose.

Nutrition Bars

Nutrition bars, unlike protein or energy bars, do not focus on a single macro-nutrient. Instead, they are marketed as a complete healthy snack compared to conventional options like chocolate bars and potato chips. Usually featuring about equal proportions of protein and carbs, these bars tend to also include vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and calcium.

Examples: PureFit Bar, Luna Bar (targeted at women!), Atkins Advantage

Who should use them?

  • Non-athletes: For most athletes, they require more specific proportions of either protein or energy. For regular consumers looking for a between-meal snack, nutrition bars are a good and healthy option.

Overall, there is no one-size-fits-all snack bar which you can claim is the best out of all the others. Your choice should depend on your own nutritional needs and the type of activity you will be doing. Even when comparing using the same activity, no two individuals can say that their needs are exactly the same. Take note of the ingredient lists as well! Do a bit of research, go through trial and error, and find which suits you the best. I hope this article has helped you in making sense of the various snack bar options out there and will help you make a more informed choice!

Credits: Gary Li from  Armourup Asia

Get these bars at our online store www.thefitnessgrocer.com or simply walk in at our pop-up store at ArmourUp Asia, 1 Sin Ming Road #B2-09 Unit 4, Thomson V Two, Singapore 575629. Check  here for directions.

Operating Hours: Weekdays from 12noon-7pm; Saturdays from 11am-5pm

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