Low-fat protein bars are convenient diet food products similar to a thick candy bar. While traditional protein bars emphasize protein above all other ingredients, the low-fat versions are tailored to weight loss with lowered calories and more carbohydrates than protein. Numerous flavors and formulations are sold, most enhanced with vitamins. The bars should only be used to replace meals or as a snack before or after a workout.
Stores sell low-fat protein bars in either singles or boxed groups, with the offerings typically dependent upon the particular store and the brands sold. Bars are always individually wrapped, as convenience is one of the major selling points for the food. The wrappers make it easy to pack a bar to eat on-the-go without creating a mess, though it is still best to keep the bar well-packed to avoid flattening it.
Standard protein bars contain higher levels of protein to aid in the building of muscle while the other ingredients, such as calories and carbohydrates, are secondary ingredients that can fuel cardiovascular exercise. These bars can be high in calories and fat as it is assumed that they will be consumed by an individual with a high rate of activity. Low-fat protein bars are defined by their low levels of fat, but they also tend to contain lower levels of sugar and calories with the carbohydrate level higher than the proteins. The bars are more suited to those pursuing cardiovascular exercises in the hopes of losing weight due to the increase in carbohydrates.
Different brands of bars are differentiated based on the flavors and textures offered plus the vitamins that a particular bar includes. Flavors of low-fat protein bars tend to be sweet to help to mask the distinct tastes of protein and fiber. Chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel are popular flavors offered, sometimes in combination. Textures tend to be chewy, though nuts and crispy bits can also be incorporated.
The low-fat protein bars can be used to replace one to two meals per day with the final meals being kept healthy and balanced. It is also acceptable to consume a bar before or after a rigorous workout. Eating the bars without following these instructions can lead to weight gain. These bars are healthier than standard protein bars, but will still add fat to a diet that hasn't been scaled back to accommodate the nutritional difference.