The Athlete

Nutritional Bars: This Bar's For You

Nutritional bars are wildly popular in the world of sports nutritional. In fact, nutritional bars are quite popular amongst people who don't play any sports at all. They're also commonly used by both men and women who are on weight loss diets. Nutritional bars come in all shapes and sizes; sometimes they are known as meal replacement bars, energy bars, health bars, protein bars or diet bars. Nutritional bars are usually larger than regular snack bars and contain more energy, carbohydrates, protein or calories than a regular snack bar such as a granola crunch bar. It all depends on the type of nutritional bar. They are so popular now that you can get them in corner stores, grocery stores, and even vending machines, not just in sports nutrition or health food stores as was once the case.

When it comes to sports nutrition, different people have different needs and goals. If you're going to use nutritional bars as part of your diet or training program, it's important to select the right nutritional bar for your goals. It pays to do a little shopping around and a little research - don't just grab any old nutritional bar. A good place to start is to figure out what general type of nutritional bar you want. For example, if you're trying to lose weight, you may want to eat different nutritional bars as opposed to if you were trying to store energy for say a long distance run or a decathlon.

You should then carefully read the label. The United States Government regulates the packaging of all consumer products, including nutritional bars. All ingredients in the bar, including carbohydrates, protein, fat, and caloric levels should be clearly visible, usually on the back of the bar's wrapper. Have a good look at the contents. Many different nutritional bars vary greatly when it comes to such things as carbohydrate levels and the amount of fat.

One thing to remember is that you should probably not snack on nutritional bars in between meals, unless of course, you are trying to gain weight or build mass. Because nutritional bars are usually packed with high levels of carbohydrates, proteins, and even fat, they should be used prior to or immediately following a strenuous workout or a lengthy sports activity. This way, the body will make the best use of the nutrients contained in the nutritional bar, and it won't be turned into fat. It's especially important to remember this if you are on any sort of a low-carb diet: many nutritional bars are packed with carbohydrates. Sometimes they contain as many carbohydrates as three or four pieces of bread.

Overall, nutritional bars are relatively inexpensive and safe. You should maintain a proper diet, and whenever possible, eat natural, unprocessed foods as your body's main source of energy. Nutritional bars should be used as nutritional supplements or quick sources of energy, not necessarily as meal replacements, at least not for an extended period of time.