A little sugar can be a good thing, especially when it comes to a little energy boost for runners. Although I like to get my sugar boost from honey (aka Honeystinger). Too much of anything, of course, is never good.
Who doesn’t love a nice chocolate covered protein bar that promises to help you start recovery off the right way? They sure taste good after a run, amiright or amiright? Sometimes those protein bars are just glorified candy bars. There’s debate on how much protein we need, and how much we can use at one time, but you can read this article for a little more information on that, if you want.
What should you look for in a protein bar?
- Ingredients you can pronounce
- Roughly 140 – 200 calories (higher and it’s more of a meal replacement)
- Around 10 gm of protein
- Around 7 gm of sugar (hopefully from real sources like honey)
- Around 4 gm saturated fat
- A ration of 3 or 4 to 1 protein to carbs
The above is a very rough guide. It depends on so many factors! It isn’t easy to find protein bars that are satisfying, not a gazillion calories or packed with way too much sugar. Just be a smart consumer and read labels.
Yogurt will always have sugar in it because of lactose, the sugar in milk. Plain or vanilla flavors typically have less sugar then other flavors or yogurt with added fruit. Women should have roughly 25 gm of sugar a day; (no, I don’t count sugar gms). There are flavored yogurts out there that have almost that much sugar in them!
Love your honey mustard dressing? Me too! A little sugar in your salad dressing isn’t going to kill you. Some dressings can way overboard on the sugar, though — because it’s addictive. Most of the time it isn’t even real sugar. Just read labels and choose wisely (around 2 gm per serving or lower).
Store bought bread is another sneaky spot sugar hides. It can easily be 3 gm or more per slice. Have a sandwich and you’re actually getting more than a teaspoon of sugar with that sandwich. Hey, the more you know!
Tomato sauce is healthy, right? It definitely can be, but it’s another place that sugar can sneak into. Sure tomato sauce is very acidic and a little sugar helps ease that acidity.
Manufacturers spend a lot of time finding out what will get you eating their products — and what will keep you coming back for more. Restaurants, too. Usually it comes down to adding too much sugar and fat. We’re just hard wired to love sweet and fatty things.
It’s never about just one thing that you eat. Think about a day’s worth of eats: have some yogurt for breakfast (or a snack), a sandwich for lunch, a protein bar after a run, spaghetti and salad for dinner — and you could easily overdose on sugar despite having what looks like a pretty healthy day of eating.
I want my sugar in cookies or ice cream, not in the “healthy” foods I eat all the time.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or medical professional.
Do you ever read labels?
Were you aware of how much sugar was in some of these foods we think are healthy?
Any great protein bars with real ingredients that you love?