Protein Bars vs. Protein Shakes: Decoding the Ideal Protein Boost for You

Protein plays a major role in the body. It maintains pH and fluid balance, drives metabolic reactions, keeps the immune system strong and most importantly, helps the body’s muscles grow and recover faster. Said in simple words, protein is crucial to good health, and usually, those who are physically more active and want to build more muscles rely on the use of protein powders

Usually, these powders are added to shakes for better and quicker consumption and body absorption. However, more and more people also rely on the use of protein snack energy bars as a convenient way to improve their protein intake.

a protein shake and a protein bar placed on a table
source: longevity.technology

What Are Protein Bars?

Protein snack bars are popular nutritional snack bars that usually contain high doses of protein. They’re a convenient source of nutrition designed to be consumed post-workout when the body needs a dose of protein to aid recovery. They’re ideal on the go and in times when you don’t have the time to sit and prepare yourself a decent meal that is high in protein. 

Generally speaking, these bars contain fast-digesting proteins like whey, which makes them the most effective tool for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Quite often, these bars also contain a balanced mix of macronutrients and a good amount of fats and carbohydrates.

couple protein bars stacked on top of each other placed on a table
source: mensjournal.com

Benefits

Convenient

In comparison to protein shakes, bars are certainly more convenient to consume and store. Firstly, you shouldn’t pre-prep them at home and consume them whenever you want. What’s more, you can store them literally anywhere you want, even in a small pocket in your bag, jacket or jeans. This makes them easily accessible and perfect when on the go and you need a quick pick-me-up snack.

Greater Macronutrient Balance

When compared to shakes, it seems that bars have a better macronutrient profile, while protein shakes are mainly rich in protein and nothing else. Bars have more fibre than protein shakes and this will add to both digestion and improved bowel movement. The macronutrient balance in protein bars can keep you fuller for a longer period of time because of the variety of healthy fats and mix of nutrients they contain.

Lighter to Carry

When compared to shakes, protein energy bars are lighter in weight which makes them easier to carry around. Unlike shakes, these bars are dry and lighter on the stomach which could be extremely helpful when taken as a pre-workout snack. By being smaller and lighter in comparison to the voluminous and liquid protein shake, a snack bar will allow you to easily perform any kind of exercise, even the high-intensity ones.

Less Processed

Even though both bars and shakes are considered processed food, it seems that snack bars are a better option since they’re less processed. Protein shakes, on the other hand, are made from protein powder which is extremely processed.

an older gentleman eating a protein bar
source: silversneakers.com

Are Protein Bars Good For You?

When taking into account all of the aforementioned things, you can be sure that these snack bars are healthy and beneficial. They’re considered a nutritious food that has good amounts of protein, fat, fibre and many other essential vitamins and minerals.

young man opening a protein bar
source: mensjournal.com

What Are Protein Shakes?

Protein shakes are another dietary supplement that has the goal of providing you with the needed daily dose of protein when needed. There is a large selection of protein shakes available on the market ranging in type and flavour which allows you to pick the one that tastes better. Containing higher doses of protein, these shakes are also responsible for muscle growth and recovery. Depending on your needs and the type of protein shake you choose, you can take it before or after your workout.

athletic and fit young man drinking a protein shake at the gym
source: menshealth.com

Benefits 

Easily Customisable

Just like choosing a protein snack bar according to your personal taste, you can also choose to buy a protein powder and make yourself a protein shake according to your personal preferences. This will help you have a shake to your personal nutritional needs and goals and enjoy drinking it. This will give you greater control of what you are consuming which isn’t the case with ready-made shakes which also happen to be more processed than the homemade ones.

Great Source of Protein

For those of you who want to lose some weight and burn fat, choosing shakes over bars would be better since they are a greater source of protein. Making your very own shake could consist of the powder solely and plain water which will give you a source of very lean protein, however, in those times when you have a sweet tooth, it’s always a better idea to have a protein bar rather than anything else.

person pouring protein shake from shaker in glass
source: menshealth.com

Which One Is Better?

The truth is that both of these protein products are good for you, but if you want to have a more balanced and proper nutritional intake, then you should certainly opt for a bar instead of a shake. Both of them have different purposes, so you can consume them according to your needs.