The healthiest high protein snacks to fuel your fitness goals
Fortified foods are all the rage right now, but some protein-packed snacks are better than others
Before you chow down on your chosen protein snacks, it's worth working out which ones will truly benefit your body.
Simply slapping the word 'protein' on a food product is not enough to justify its position as a healthy snack. The calories, macros and full list of ingredients need to be taken into account.
The cereal killer
It is common to see foods once viewed as unhealthy now promoted as high protein - and therefore apparently better for you. This doesn't mean they're a healthy choice, or will help you build muscle or lose fat.
Stamping the word 'Protein' on something doesn't necessarily mean it's high in protein.
Take for instance Shreddies'...
Nutrition consultant Joseph Agu showed how many of the 'high protein' cereals actually contain much higher levels of sugar and fat. Plus the level of protein is only marginally increased.
All of this begs the question - which high protein snacks are actually worth your money?
These are easy to get wrong, and so many are packed full of sugar and trans fat. This essentially makes them no different to a chocolate bar, but with some protein. Unless you're training immediately and putting that sugar to good use, you're basically consuming empty calories. And lots of them.
Two of the best options are Grenade's Carb Killa bar, and Quest bars.
Each Grenade bar packs 20-22 grams of protein, and research shows between 20 and 40 grams is sufficient for boosting muscle protein synthesis after a workout. Coupled with just two grams of sugar, the protein pros outweigh the cons.
Quest bars are better for when you're going much longer without food. They contain a whopping 15 grams of fibre - great for digesting food and making use of the protein you're consuming.
Extremely popular in America, beef jerky is now on an increasing number of British shelves. But some cuts are far healthier a protein snack than others.
The Curators' jerky is arguably the pick of the bunch. Each pack has a maximum calorie count of 92, and a lower calorie diet can help you lose weight and fend off fat gain.
These snacks are high protein, like many others, but The Curators' jerky is from grass-fed beef. When an animal is fed its natural diet, it has a far more positive effect on your body's internal health.
This jerky is also low in nitrates. Most processed meats spell danger because they are cured with these. There's a growing amount of evidence linking nitrates to serious illnesses, so limiting your intake is definitely advisable.
Bread in itself isn't bad for you, though many assume so. Excessive calories fuel fat gain, not necessarily the specific foods you're eating. That said, certain kinds of bread are naturally more nutritious.
Rye: this bread is very low on the GI scale. Don't fret - this just means it is gradually digested by the body and not likely to cause a sudden surge in blood sugar.
Ezekiel: This variety combines six grains and legumes. In addition to wheat, you'll find barley, beans, lentils, spelt and millet. As a result, Ezekiel bread has a sizeable portion of essential amino acids (EAAs).
Dr. Zak's: A favourite with bodybuilders, two slices of Dr. Zak's contain 30 grams of protein. Couple with a lean protein source and some salad and you have yourself a fine muscle-building meal.
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