Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Protein Shakes & Bars
avatar
Michael_Dansinger_MD posted:
Many of my patients ask about protein shakes and protein bars.

Do you use protein shakes or bars? Do they help you stick to your eating plan? Do you do it for weight control or for bulding muscle? Do you have any favorites? Any brands you disliked?

Michael Dansinger, MD
Reply
FirstPrevious12NextLast
 
avatar
betaquartz responded:
I had asked pretty much the same question in a previous post. I am still looking for a snack alternative to take with me on my trip to Italy. I will be the only diabetic in the group and as I have seen before, people seem to skip/overlook meals when they are sightseeing. I am not prone to highs and lows, but don't want to end up in a weakened state, or hold others back. My previous post is at this link

boards.webmd.com/webx?THDX@@.89eed309!thdchild=.89eed309
 
avatar
diabeteswillnotstopme responded:
I am a huge believer in protein shakes and bars. I am at a desk job and could munch mindlessly with out thinking of what I am eating. My favorite breakfast is Sugar Free Carnation Instant breakfast mixed with Soy Slender (I find it in MN at Cub foods) Soy milk with Splenda.. It is so good, good for you if you use splenda.. only 4 carbs per 8oz. So this keeps your carbs down and the CIB has 14-15 carbs. I then blend with 1/2 cup blueberries, or frozen fruit for smoothies. This keeps me energized through out the day. Since you are on the go, they have SFCIB in bottles. I keep some in my drawer at work for a snack as well.

If you have a target in your area, they have these organic fruit bars drizzled with yougert.. Like Peach, Mango and then they have tiny bits of fruit mixed in as well. Kashi Bars make protein bars and are amazing.. Fiber 1 bars.. Peanut butter and Carmel.. keep me full and is a nice sweet treat.. ( don't eat more than one at a time, remember FIBER:-) For me, it's all about taste.. If it tastes low carb and gross I won't eat it. Try dried fruit strips.. They have pre packaged nuts which are great for protein and travel well. Special K protein shakes, water, bars aren't bad either.. I've got to get back to work, but if I think of anything else I'll let you know.
 
avatar
flutetooter responded:
I do not use any artificial sugars (if possible) and few soy products because of the estrogen mimic quality. My shake of choice is Designer Whey natural 1/2 scoop ( 8 gm protein), and 1/2 to 1 cup frozen fruit (about 10 grams carb) and about 1 cup water or milk if I want more calories. I have a hand held immersion blender stick that whirs this up in a tall plastic glass. I use these often for a snack.

I use protein bars ( approximately equal protein and carb grams) only in emergencies and to travel. Atkins is good, also Zone bars - only from Dr. Sears web site. Glucerna 12 gm carb is O.K. too. Quaker has a too much sugar, but a half is O.K. I carry these when food supply is iffy, such as when snorkeling or river rafting) but also carry cheese sticks, apple, lots of water.
 
avatar
DavidHueben responded:
I occasionally eat an Atkins Advantage bar when I don't have the time or opportunity to have a regular meal. I have also been known to eat a Slim Fast bar. I do it neither for weight control nor building muscle. Just convenience. I probably do this 4 - 6 times per year.

David
 
avatar
betaquartz responded:
Flute, I watch the same when it comes to artificial sugars, I have stopped everything with splenda, sweet n low, equal. When using a sweetener now I use truvia, or one of the sugar alcohols. Even then I don't use sweeteners much at all.

When looking at protein bars I am finding that they are slated towards more energy, and they seem to be loaded with sugars. I have seen that most of the granola, nut granola bars have fewer sugars, and have fiber which does make up a large amount of their carb values. Wish I could find a bar that uses whole grain, protein powders, natural sugars, sufficient balance of fiber, a little fruit, and tastes good. Why is that so difficult to find?
 
avatar
phototaker responded:
I agree with David about the Atkins' bars. I used those when I was first diagnosed for a "treat". There was so much protein in there, and the carbs were lowered, too. I think it's a good thing to bring on a trip. For me, though, my IBS symptoms acted up with them, so now I use the 25% less sugar Quaker Oats bars. They're lighter to put in my purse(along with nuts I carry), and I only use them when I'm not near food and need a quick pick-me-up.
 
avatar
flutetooter responded:
Beta -- See if you can find "South Beach Living High Protein Cereal Bars". I pick up two packages of five bars each, Dark Chocolate Berry, and Peanut Butter. There are lots of ingredients, but I see slightly more real foods and less chemicals than most. One 35 gram bar of either contains 15 g carbs and 10 g protein and 5 g fat. It gives a diabetic exchange of 1 carbohydrate and 1 lean protein. I purchased these at Meijer's.

I plan to take 1 or 2 bars when we go snorkeling and river rafting, or on any Caribbean islands tours. I cannot depend on being able to get food anywhere. I will also carry an apple, cheese, raisins, Werthers butterscotch candies (5g), water, turkey jerky sticks, and maybe a hard boiled egg or Canadian bacon filched from the breakfast buffet.

I carry enough emergency food to last 4-6 hours. All these items are high nutrient and compact and fit easily into a shoulder bag. I eat every two hours when traveling and never wait for the big "planned picnic" if it occurs after my mealtime. I snack regularly and then eat less at the meal. We've been doing this for years. Enjoy your trip!
 
avatar
flutetooter responded:
P.S. Oh yeah, and NUTS!
 
avatar
Michael_Dansinger_MD responded:
I have encouraged many of my patients to consider trying protein shakes as an alternative to starchy breakfast foods. Many of my patients eat fruit, cottage cheese, light yogurt, egg whites (with or without yolks), and/or lean protein such as turkey ham/bacon or soy sausages at breakfast. However, many have found the shakes to be a welcome addition to the list of options.

I have not tried all brands of protein powder. Of the half-dozen or so that I have tried, I have favored Designer Whey brand based on a balance of taste, nutritional profile, and availability. They have many flavors. I am a chocolate fan as many of you know. I use a blender to make a smoothie consisting of one scoop of chocolate flavored powder, one frozen banana, and about a cup of water. Could use frozen cherries, strawberries, raspberriies, etc. Many use skim milk or yogurt instead of fruit plus water, The powder has sucralose (splenda) artificial sweetener in it. There are protein powders without artificial sweetener available at Whole Foods or GNC, etc. Some patients use these homemade shakes/smoothies at times other than breakfast as a snack alternative.

Personally I'm not as big of a fan of protein bars. They usually contain sugar alcohols which are not absorbed into the body and cause a laxative effect and gas. They are there to proviide sweetness and volume to the bar and bind everything together. Many bars contain either saturated fat or refined carbohydrate. Some of my patients find them pretty convenient and reasonably tasty, however. Overall, if they help someone stick to an eating plan that is working to decease excess body fat or normalize glucose levels, then I think protein bars are worthwhile.

Protein shakes and bars are usally around 200 calories and range widely in carbohydrate grams.

On a side note, I must confess that I once gave my wife a box of Atkins bars for Valentines day about 10 years ago. She was very happy to receive those bars instead of candy that year!

Michael Dansinger, MD
 
avatar
phototaker responded:
The nurse friend I have, Dr. D., mentioned cottage cheese and berries as one of the things she recommends to her patients with diabetes. I'm allergic to milk,but that protein powder drink sounds really good. I'm starting to see a big difference in my bs levels when I have bread, and am "almost" ready to cut down on it now. I know I will never stop eating it altogether, but I can surely cut down. I'm still not using medicine, and am at an A1C of 5.9. I'd like to bring that number down, too. I know if I get off another 10 pounds, it would be better for me, too. I'm at 157 right now and 5' 5 1/2". The exercise is working wonderfully for me as I'm retired, and have the time to take care of myself so much better. Because I had a huge sweet tooth when I was heavier, the 25% Quaker Oats bars have helped me to stay on target. I have one a day. I don't like the fact they have ingredients that are not the most healthy, though. The nurse also mentioned that melons were a better fruit for me to have. I bought a big melon today, and had it for dessert, instead of the bar.
 
avatar
phototaker responded:
P.S. I had "part" of the melon, not the whole thing!!!
 
avatar
focusonme responded:
Greetings I have found a GREAT protein bar: Pure Protein 31 grams of protein, 3 grams og sugar 0 grams trans....There are 2 flavors chocolate chocolate and chocolate Peanut Butter (my favorite). They sell at Trader Joes for 1.99; a little expensive but I think about it as 2 meal replacements. I usually eat 1/2 of one in the mornings as braakfast with tea or coffee. It holds me all morning. I use the bar to keep my calorie intake lower and also ensure my sugar levels dont get high to start the day. It absolutely helps me stick to my dieting plan.
 
avatar
An_202467 responded:
I realize this post is older but I wanted to refresh it because this was the answer that I was looking for today. I have never been a breakfast eater and now realize that I must have something but must be something quick so I have been doing the protein bars. This morning's reading from me from 113 to 167 2 hrs after consuming the bar. Cal: 110 Carbs: 17. My levels usually (and I understand should) go down after eating. The rest of my day was rather normal ... Any input?
 
avatar
betaquartz replied to An_202467's response:
I used protein bars as a back up when on vacation in Italy. As often happens in a group, meals get set aside till later. I get hungry. Not weak, or sick, just hungry, and sometimes with that irritable. So a snack is important. When choosing my snack bars I went for some that had high fiber to carb ratios, so that the effective carbohydrate was lower. You subtract the fiber from the carbohydrate to find the actual carb level. Fiber has a tendency of slowing the digestion of the bar till later, and the soluble fiber is good for the movement of cholesterol. Slowing the digestion down helps to even out the spike. Try a bar with less fiber check your sugar, then try one with much more fiber and you should see a difference. Label reading is a pain, but in the long run worth it. One other thing, some bars use high fructose corn syrup-a definite no no!


Featuring Experts

Michael Dansinger, MD, is a nationally recognized authority on dietary and lifestyle counseling for weight loss and disease prevention. He is the nutr...More

Helpful Tips

Ideal Blood Sugar
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes-you should talk to your doctor about target blood sugar goals. Here is a general range suggested ... More
Was this Helpful?
119 of 170 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Conquering Diabetes - Michael Dansinger, MD

Dr. Michael Dansinger provides thoughtful tips for those with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes who want to reclaim their health...Read More

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems to the
Food and Drug Administration

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.