Before hitting the gym or starting a long run, your body needs carbohydrates. It is best to avoid protein, fat, fiber and sugar alcohols, all of which can delay the emptying time of the stomach and slow digestion, causing cramps and sluggish energy levels. Energy bars are usually too highinprotein, fat, fiber, and possibly sugar alcohols to be used for pre-exercise nourishment. Instead, try another carbohydrate-rich food. During your workout, energy bars are not an appropriate refueling choice because aerobic and high-intensity exercises require blood flow to the muscles, not to the stomach for the digestion of foods. After exercising for more than 60-90 minutes, consider a sports drink or sports gel to boost your energy levels, promote hydration, and balance electrolytes in the body. Energy bars may work for low-intensity, very long-duration activities such as a long, slow hike or bike ride. (During lower-intensity exercise, less blood is diverted to the muscles.) After your exercise session, your body needs mostly carbohydrates (to replenishglycogen stores in the muscles), some protein (to help repair damaged muscle tissue), and a little fat (for cellular repair). Eating a "real" and complete meal is your best bet. But if you cannot eat a meal within two hours working out, then an energy bar paired with a glass of water and a piece of fruit is a good option. Look for a meal replacement bar withat least 30 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams (or more) of protein, and 5-10 gram of fat.
We all know that it is best to eat a variety of whole foods at each meal to provide a well-balanced diet. But on some days you may need to grab something to prevent skipping a meal or snack, and a so-called energy bar may be a good alternative.
Most, if not all, are sweet, some more so than others. Look at the sweeteners used by reading the ingredients label. Be aware that food manufacturers now combine artificial sweeteners in foods and beverages.
Acesulfame potassium is commonly used with aspartame or nutrasweet and sucralose, marketed as Splenda. Some bars cleverly use the term evaporated cane juice, which we know is sugar. But at least we know it is a sugarcane product.
Many of the bars also contain nuts or soy for their protein source.
For a feeling of fullness and satisfaction to last you a couple of hours, until your next meal, look for a bar with three to five grams of fiber. Also, what I have found works for me is at least 3 grams of protein for every 15 grams of carbohydrate. This helps with balancing blood sugar and insulin release, which in turn controls appetite.
The calorie content of energy bars varies, so reading the label is important when evaluating which bar to buy. Of course, taste is important too, so try several flavors and brands before forming your opinion on whether an energy bar will work for you.
Energy bars can also provide energy before and/or after a work out or participation in a sporting event. For a good source of energy, focus on a bar with mostly carbohydrates. Remember also to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or non-caffeinated beverages