Chocolate was the main ingredient listed in nearly 40% of protein bars surveyed
New research conducted by Safefood reveals protein bars are not as healthy as the one third of those surveyed think.
In reality, most of the bars on the Irish market are “highly processed” and have a similar amount of calories as a traditional bar of chocolate.
The study found that chocolate was the main ingredient listed in nearly 40% of the 39 protein bars examined.
A further 77% were high in saturated fat with 79% being a source of salt.
The research conducted looked at the nutritional content of 83 high-protein snack foods and drinks available for sale in supermarkets across Ireland.
These foods included protein bars, yoghurts, yoghurt-style products and milk drinks. According to industry sources, there was a 498% increase between 2010 and 2016 in products claiming to contain “high-protein”.
Dr Catherine Conlon, Director of Human Health & Nutrition at Safefood says that even though these type of products have become mainstream, they aren’t what people associate them as in their heads.
“Processed snack foods high in protein need to be combined with fat, sugar or salt in order to make them tasty,” she said.
“People would be better sticking to natural sources of protein in their diet, which tend to be much healthier.
“And if you need a source of protein as a snack, alternatives like some nuts, a small glass of milk or a yoghurt is the way to go instead of these foods with added chocolate.”