Trying to sort through the maze of protein drinks and bars.

Okay honestly, I didn’t even fathom the amount of information out there about protein drinks and bars.  I have read and re-read information about it and honestly not sure I have the answer to the question of whether or not you should use them and that’s because the answer largely depends on what you are looking to get out of it.  Protein shakes/bars by all accounts are a way to get more protein in your diet without adding a lot of calories.  They offer a lot of convenience if you work out and then have to “run” to your next activity. They are also pretty popular as a way to help rebuild or build up muscle for weight lifters or refuel for distance runners.

It looks as though one of the biggest things you need to decide is the why of using it in your diet. The type you want and how much you want largely depend on this.  Just remember that per the CDC it depends on age Current protein recommendations CDC.  It would also depend of course on medical issues such as whether you need to add weight or lose weight, are you trying to recover from a surgery or injury, etc.  So that being said, since it is a huge undertaking to make a determination here is what I say.

  1. Talk to your doctor, dietitian, or trainer to discuss what your current calorie intake and medical needs are.  They can help you navigate it for your particular condition.
  2. Do your research and read your labels.  Some of the drinks are Soy based, some are Whey based, and others are Casin based.  There are reasons why each was developed and this might influence your choice.  Part of the differences are related to how quickly they are digested and whether they are considered vegetarian or not.
  3. If you are looking at doing “clean eating” check the labels some of them are rather long.
  4. Some of them are not, I repeat not gluten free so if that is a problem for you again read the label (I’m sounding repetitive, but seriously too many people don’t look at the labels).

Here are a few links of some different products and more research on the differences to help you sort it out.
Live Strong Whey Vs. Soy Vs. Casein
Fitbottomgirls Protein Bars, Powders, and Drinks
Web MD Protein Shakes
Active.com

Check them out see what they say and then most importantly make an informed decision.  Seriously, just because this or that person on TV or some other form of media uses them doesn’t mean they are right for you.  Just because it’s popular doesn’t really mean it fits for you and your needs.

On to good news, I am totally seeing some progress in my goal to do pull ups.  I have been able to increase the amount of weight I am able to lift and have been able to increase the dips I do on the pull up machine as well.  Unfortunately my gym doesn’t have any pull up assist straps so I will have to invest myself and/or modify my plan a bit.  I did ask them if they might think about getting some, so we will see. 

Hope you find the information useful and if you have any info or thoughts on protein shakes/drinks/bars post a comment.

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