In 2013, the protein bar market generated about $500 million dollars, according to Euromonitor International. Judging by this number of sales, people eat protein bars often, including as a convenient meal replacement.
Reasons People Replace
You might substitute a protein bar for a meal, hoping it will help you trim calories and lose weight. Popular diet plans may actually direct you to substitute a protein bar or meal for whole foods at lunch or breakfast. Some choose a protein-bar meal after a muscle-building program at the gym, for convenience. Protein bars also make an easy grab-and-go meal when you don't have time to prepare whole foods.
Whole Food Is Best
People gravitate toward protein bars as a meal replacement, but this doesn't mean they're making a good choice. Many protein bars are glorified candy bars, containing corn syrup, chocolate, cane sugar and chemicals. If you're after more protein in your diet, you're best off getting it from whole foods -- including lean meats, low-fat dairy, soybeans and legumes. Protein bars don't contain some magical mixture of amino acids, the building blocks of muscles, that whole foods don't have. In fact, the protein in most protein bars is extracted from whole foods -- such as milk or soy.