It seems that every bodybuilder these days is supplementing his or her diet with additional protein. If you are trying to build muscle, comparing protein bars vs. shakes will help you determine which form of protein is right for you.
Advantages of Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are often touted as a weight loss tool, and are frequently used as a meal replacement. Many are therefore very low in calories, while also being high in vitamins such as A, B, C, and D. Protein powder shakes offer more protein than bars for each 100 grams of product, and also tend to cost less than protein bars. A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise indicated that consuming protein powder prior to a workout increases your calorie-burning efforts over the next 24 hours, making shakes perfect for use before exercising as well.
Disadvantages of Protein Shakes
The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism reports that a combination of protein and carbohydrates is ideal for muscle recovery. Since protein shakes tend to be lower in carbohydrates, they are less effective than bars are at stimulating recovery. Protein shakes found in a can must be refrigerated for optimum flavor, and powdered shakes require some form of preparation. As such, shakes tend to be less convenient, and may therefore not be suitable when working out away from home.
Advantages of Protein Bars
Although they typically contain more calories, protein bars are nonetheless more filling than shakes because they are solid food. For this reason, they can often be just as effective as protein shakes are at being meal replacements. Many contribute essential amino acids that will help you build muscle, repair damaged tissue, and synthesize red blood cells. Protein bars are also easier to enjoy while on the go, because they require no preparation and can easily be thrown in a duffle bag, backpack, or suitcase and eaten anywhere.
Disadvantages of Protein Bars
When comparing protein bars vs. shakes, it is important to read the ingredients. Some protein bars contain loads of added sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals, which offsets their healthy benefits. Avoid consuming bars that contain hydrogenated palm oil, as this ingredient increases a person’s fat consumption and makes it more likely that he or she will actually gain weight. To prevent buying an unhealthy protein bar, choose one with at least 20 grams of protein that is either whey or a whey/casein blend, and ensure there are fewer net carbs than grams of protein. You should also choose one with as few ingredients as possible, and skip any that contain ingredients you cannot pronounce.
When comparing protein bars vs. shakes, it is important to note that both have their own advantages and disadvantages. For this reason, bodybuilders rarely rely only on one type, but instead use a combination of bars and shakes to provide them with the additional protein and nutrients they need to develop strong muscles.