Protein bar vs protein shake?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
Protein bar vs protein shake. In this particle, I will compare protein bars and protein shakes so you can know how to best boost your protein intake and achieve your wellness goals.
“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”
Protein bars vs protein shakes.
What is a protein bar?
Protein bars are a high protein snack designed to help people boost their protein intake. Many people enjoy protein bars because they are convenient. You can eat a protein powder pretty much anywhere at any time, and doing so requires no cooking or cleanup. The average protein bar contains 10–20 grams of protein.
What is a protein shake?
A protein shake is a high protein drink designed to help people boost their protein intake. There are two types of protein shakes, ready-to-drink (store-bought) protein shakes, and protein shakes made with protein powder. In order to make a protein shake with protein powder, you have to mix the powder with milk or water. This requires a blender or a shake bottle, and a little extra time and effort. The average protein shake contains 20-30 grams of protein.
Protein bar vs shake.
Protein bars and shakes are basically two different forms of the same thing: a protein supplement. That said, there are a few differences between the two.
Per gram of protein, protein shakes tend to be cheaper than protein bars.
Protein shakes typically contain more protein than protein bars. They also contain less sugar and fewer calories, which is not necessarily an advantage, but it could be.
In terms of convenience, there is no virtually difference between store-bought protein bars and store-bought protein shakes. When it comes to making protein supplements at home, however, there is a huge difference. Homemade protein bars take at least an hour to make because they need to be refrigerated. Homemade protein shakes, on the other hand, can be made in just seconds if you have a good blender.
It is easier to swallow your food than it is to chew it. For someone who has trouble eating solid food, this is a good reason to choose protein shakes over protein bars.
It is easier to digest food in liquid form, so if you have gut issues or a sensitive stomach, protein shakes are a better choice than protein bars.
Protein bars do have one distinct advantage over protein shakes: they are easier to transport. A protein bar is far lighter than a protein shake, and takes up less space in your bag, car, etc. That said, if you were looking to stock up on protein supplements, buying protein powder is the way to go. You can pack far more protein in your pantry in the form of powder than in the form of bars.
Considering variables like cost, nutrition, convenience, consumption, digestibility, and portability, protein shakes are the clear winner in my book. This is not to say that protein bars are a waste of money, it is just that if I were to choose one over the other, I would choose protein shakes every time.
Given the wide variety of protein bars and shakes on the market, it is important to know that not all protein supplements are created equal. Unfortunately, many store-bought protein bars and shakes are full of food additives, heavily-processed ingredients known to cause uncomfortable side effects. This is why I recommend that you make your own protein shakes with protein powder. Unfortunately, however, many protein powders also contain food additives. You will therefore have to read ingredient lists to find the good ones. Keep reading to learn more about the top ingredients to avoid when buying protein supplements.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
Again, many protein bars, shakes, and protein powders are full of food additives. Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a protein shake every day) and cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. This is because food additives are hard to digest, and sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat. As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, which causes bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), and can lead to constipation. In the long term, food additives can disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
When buying protein supplements, one ingredient to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food). This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome. Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are also poorly absorbed by the gut (meaning they feed those hungry gut bacteria), and cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestine. Now you finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein supplements:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, they are the ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to look out for when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.
*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why we make the best fiber protein powder is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, and known to cause digestive issues, especially for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Over one in three Americans are lactose intolerant, and the prevalence of IBS is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent in the United States. It follows that you may be lactose intolerant or have IBS and not even know it. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a poorly understood condition, and it is unclear why dairy triggers symptoms. Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is clearly understood. People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy. As you just learned, partially digested food feeds the bacteria in your gut, which produce gas and cause stomach pain.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best protein supplements is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein supplements, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They are listed on the ingredient list as “collagen protein,” “pea protein, and” “whey protein” as opposed to “collagen,” “peas,” and “whey.” I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to the gut microbiome. It is therefore in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein supplements with egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed, and ground. Minimally-processed ingredients like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates. Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein than with any other type of protein. If you cannot eat eggs, try our almond protein powder. Unlike protein concentrates or isolates, almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients like calcium and vitamin E. We prefer almonds to other minimally-processed plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties and can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.
“I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20+ years and it’s always been hard to find a protein powder my stomach can handle. I’ve had no problem digesting drink wholesome AND it tastes great. I highly recommend this protein powder if you have IBS or Crohn’s.” – Jesse
Protein bars vs shakes.