Are you guilty of this? When hunger strikes after a work-out, many mistakenly turn to the wrong foods; it’s a shame to put junk in our body after we’ve worked hard on it. Thanks to confusion in the media and marketplace, people reach for what they think is healthful, but is actually filled with high amounts of unwanted sugar, sodium, fat, carbohydrates, GMO-ingredients and excess calories.
Protein bars tend to be a popular choice for those on-the-run, however, if you read the ingredients and nutritional facts on the labels, you’ll find you’re better off running away from most of them! Protein bars are often made with processed grains and starches (which are high in simple carbohydrates), GMO-soy, a lot of sugar to improve taste (and even worse, added fructose), additives, preservatives, and other unnatural ingredients. Instead of those protein bars, consider bars naturally sweetened with stevia, real fruit or honey. Seek out bars that are under 10g of (naturally occurring) sugar if you can. Aside from protein bars, try other snack options too.
Bars indicated as “Paleo” will be lower in overall carbohydrate count, should not contain added sugar (but will contain some naturally occurring sugar from real fruit) and usually contain natural ingredients. I am a fan of the Paleo diet for its overall health benefits. Raw protein bars are another to keep an eye out for. They usually contain more healthful ingredients, more nutrients and they often contain fruit, such as dates to sweeten them. A bar that is raw and Paleo is an even better choice!
It’s unfortunate that although sweet is our “go-to taste” for comfort, most things that taste sweet are actually making us sick. There are many reasons why we should avoid refined sugar like the plague. Sugar is linked to type-2 diabetes, it’s bad for our heart and our overall immune system, to name a few. According to Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and author, the best sweeteners for our health are stevia (I prefer pure liquid form as I find the powder to be more bitter), monk fruit (lo han guo) and xylitol. I am not a huge fan of xylitol because it is quite processed.
If you’re taking care of your body with fitness, then consider taking the same care with respect to nutrition and think about that post-workout snack. After all, every bite matters.