The Best Meal-Replacement Bars for Weight Loss

The best meal replacement bars will fill you up.
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If you're struggling to lose weight, don't be afraid to use aids like meal replacement bars to regulate your diet. Meal replacement bars are a useful tool if you want to shed extra pounds. The best bar will give you a balanced mix of nutrients and fill you up.

Lose Weight With Protein Bars

To lose weight you have to consume fewer calories than you burn. This is called a negative energy balance because you're expending more energy than you take in. It seems simple, but figuring out how to consume fewer calories is difficult and complex.

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Tracking your calories is the easiest way to monitor how much you're eating. You can use an app like MyPlate to track your daily food intake. It will give you a breakdown of the nutrients you eat as well.

Reducing your portion size at each meal is a strategy to reduce your overall calorie intake. However, you have to have the discipline to limit yourself from taking more food than you truly need. Meal replacement bars offer an alternative because they're already measured out.

A meal replacement bar is a substitute for one of your meals. A January 2019 study published in Obesity Reviews found that replacing one or more of your daily meals with a meal replacement bar or shake can help you lose weight.

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The researchers collected 23 studies that looked at using meal replacements versus diets with regular food. In the end, the meal replacement was more effective at helping subjects lose weight over one year.

A November 2018 study published in Obesity showed that an entire meal replacement regime caused more weight loss than dieting with regular food. The positive results from these studies show that there's some benefit to using meal replacement bars as part of your diet, but the reason isn't clear.

Read more: The Best Meal Replacement Shakes for Women

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Determining the Best Bar

It could be that meal replacement bars are smaller than the average meal that people eat. The aim of meal replacement bars is to supply your body the nutrients it needs without excess calories. In other words, it's stripping the extra energy out of food and giving you the most important parts.

From a health standpoint, it might be better to eat whole foods rather than bars, but for weight loss, meal replacements seem better. To find the best bar for you, consider your own dietary restrictions and whether or not the product you're looking at has the nutrients you need.

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The United States Department of Agriculture's website lists dietary guidelines for optimal health. A balanced diet, according to their site, includes fruit and vegetables. There should also be carbohydrates, particularly whole grains, and protein. To make sure you're getting enough of each kind of food, you can have something from each major food group at each meal.

The guidelines also recommend limiting sugar, sodium and saturated fat. Your meal replacement bar should include elements from these health guidelines to constitute a meal. You need carbohydrates but limited sugar, protein, vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables and fiber.

You should also consider your own dietary preferences when selecting a meal replacement bar. There are products for vegetarians and vegans that use soy or other vegetarian protein sources. There are also options for those who suffer from gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance or nut allergies. Make sure you select the best protein bars for your needs.

Best Meal Replacement Bars

Atkins is a popular diet program that offers its own meal replacement products. The diet itself is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat, so if you're getting your carbohydrate sources from whole food then this bar is a useful option.

Read more: Can You Lose Weight Drinking Protein Shakes to Replace 2 Meals a Day?

In one Chocolate Almond Caramel bar, there are:

  • 15 grams of protein
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 1 gram of sugar
  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 190 calories
  • Various vitamins and minerals

This bar is ideal for someone who needs more fiber and doesn't have any dietary restrictions, since the bar contains whey protein which is derived from dairy.

The Pro Bar Almond Crunch bar is ideal for vegetarians, vegans and those with gluten intolerance. There are also no ingredients from genetically modified organisms. The bar is made without any animal ingredients. The nutrition facts for one bar are:

  • 18 grams of fat
  • 48 grams of carbohydrates
  • 6 grams of fiber
  • 19 grams of sugar
  • 9 grams of protein
  • 370 calories

This bar has more carbohydrates than a typical bar, which is ideal if you need more carbohydrates in your diet. There's 18 grams of fat but only 2 grams of saturated fat. The biggest drawback is the 19 grams of sugar, but the bulk of the sugar comes from dates.

The bar also contains 370 calories, which might seem like a lot if you're trying to lose weight. However, if you're using it as a true meal replacement, it has to have enough energy to sustain you for a few hours. If you're looking for a substantial bar this product will work for you.

Isagenix, a company that has a weight loss meal plan complete with their own meal replacement products, has a meal replacement bar that you can use as part of their program or on its own. The nutrition facts are:

  • 270 calories
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 28 grams of carbohydrates
  • 18 grams of sugar
  • 18 grams of protein
  • Various vitamins and minerals

The bar contains whey protein, which is not ideal for someone with lactose intolerance. It has plenty of protein and relatively low-fat content, which is ideal for someone who needs a lean protein source in their diet.

Met-Rx, a supplement company, makes a protein bar with its own signature protein blend. The nutrition facts are:

  • 410 calories
  • 14 grams of fat
  • 42 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 27 grams of sugar
  • 32 grams of protein
  • Various vitamins and minerals

This bar is high in calories, carbohydrates, protein and sugar. It's not ideal if you want a light snack, but if you need a substantial meal replacement bar then this product will work for you. Most meal replacement bars have fewer calories, which is challenging if you want to use the bar to replace an entire meal, such as lunch. In that case, it needs enough nutrients to sustain you for quite some time.

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