Muscle gain is a controversial issue, as is protein. What's the best protein for promoting muscle growth? There's an ongoing clash of opinions among sports nutrition experts on the subject. Numerous protein products with flashy labels promise the best results. Unfortunately, most consumers realize that there's a huge gap between what the labels say and what the products deliver. Consequently, there's disappointment and confusion among bodybuilders and athletes who are looking for potent protein products that can meet their daily nutritional requirement and effectively promote growth.
The Principle of Muscle Gain
The one principle that defines growth is clear: Muscle gain is a process that involves a surplus of protein synthesis over protein waste. When the rate of protein use in the muscle tissue is higher than the rate of protein breakdown, the muscle gets larger and growth occurs. Conversely, regardless of how much protein you consume, if the rate of protein use is lower than the rate of breakdown, a catabolic state occurs and the muscle tissue loses mass. No one can argue those facts.
Anabolic and catabolic processes occur simultaneously in your body every split second of your life. The trick is to take advantage of that biological makeup and nourish the body in a way that will give you the highest percentage of net protein utilization from food with a minimum of protein waste.
Unfortunately, it's not always possible to get enough protein for net utilization from food alone. Bodybuilders, whose protein requirements are much higher than the average Joe's, must use protein shakes or bars in addition to whole food to support their body's great demand for amino acids.
There is significant evidence that food is better used in a solid form than in a liquid form. Studies reveal that chewing food rather than drinking it involves a process called the saliva test, which induces critical actions of the epidermal growth factor, a factor that plays an important role in regenerating liver cells and supports critical immune functions.
Solid food generally has a slower rate of assimilation than liquid food. When protein is slowly released, it helps keep the muscle in an anabolic state for a longer period of time while minimizing amino acid waste. From that aspect, protein bars are superior to protein shakes. Properly designed protein bars can be the best vehicles for delivering amino acids to starving muscles.
Searching for the Ideal Protein Bar
A protein bar should be a nutritional as well as a taste treat for people who are interested in a quick snack that will satisfy their protein needs. Ideally, it should provide quality protein with bioactive nutrients that will help replenish energy reserves, particularly postworkout, spare amino acids and promote maximum net protein utilization for growth.
The reality is far from ideal, however, and many of today's protein bars betray their purpose. Instead of nourishing the body in a way that supports its anabolic functions, they often increase the overall metabolic stress, causing protein waste, indigestion, bloating, water retention and fatigue, which altogether lead to a sluggish metabolism and impaired nutrient assimilation.
What's more, a lot of protein bars have a funky flavor and a chemical aftertaste. Bodybuilders and other athletes who are looking for a quick protein snack or a fast recovery meal are often left disappointed, to say the least. ALL People need some solid standards by which they can evaluate protein products, and in particular, protein bars. An ideal protein bar should meet the following requirements:
1) It should have the correct nutrient blend.
2) It should be free of toxins.
3) It should taste delicious.
A correct nutrient blend means the right amount of quality protein with the correct percentages of carbs, fat and protein for promoting maximum net protein assimilation. It should also be low in sugar.
Free of toxins means no dangerous chemicals or food additives. It should not contain any hydrogenated, partly hydrogenated or rancid oils. It should also contain no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, including glycerin, which can cause indigestion or bloating, signals of overall metabolic stress.
And it should taste delicious. A protein bar is food. Therefore, it should taste and smell like food. It should have a moist, semisoft texture that easily dissolves in the mouth'and without any chemical aftertaste.
It's hard to find a protein bar that meets any of those standards. There are currently two major categories of protein bars: High-sugar bars. Some popular protein bars are high in carbohydrates, particularly sugars like corn syrup and fructose. Sometimes known as energy bars, they usually taste okay; however, their high sugar content raises blood insulin levels rapidly. That leads to blood sugar fluctuation, which may cause insulin insensitivity and undesirable fat gain.
Low-carbohydrate bars. Some protein bars are marketed as being low in carbohydrates. Unfortunately, many are high in bad fats such as hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated oils, all unhealthy. They negatively affect essential metabolic pathways and are believed to destroy brain cells. Hydrogenated fats and trans fatty acids are also believed to cause insulin insensitivity and fat gain. Many low-carb bars today contain glycerin, a sugar alcohol, which supplies the body with empty calories and can cause bloating. In fact the FDA requires that sugar alcohol be listed as a carb on the nutritional-facts panel but, ironically, allows the bars to be called low carb. To add insult to injury, low-carb bars often have that funky taste and aftertaste mentioned above.
So the ideal protein bar is one that provides an optimum serving of high-quality protein that has the highest biological value combined with bioactive compounds, including good fat and naturally slow-releasing complex carbs. It's low in sugar, is made from only top-quality ingredients and has a clean, delicious taste with no aftertaste.
Introducing: The Warrior Bar'
The Warrior Bar is a significant step forward, pioneering a new generation of protein bars. It's specially designed to nourish the body's demand for good-quality protein with the right combination of whey- and milk-isolate proteins. The protein content was designed for maximum biological value. Other bars may need twice as much protein to provide the same net protein use, due to typical protein waste. The Warrior Bar contains grade-A medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil supported by slow-releasing complex carbs to promote maximum protein utilization.
Unlike most commercial protein bars, the Warrior Bar is made only from natural ingredients. It's free of chemical additives, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohol, glycerin, hydrolyzed gelatin, hydrogenated oils and fructose. It's sweetened with a proprietary new blend of natural low-glycemic-index sweeteners.
The Warrior Bar is perfect as a snack, a recovery meal or simply a delicious dessert. Bodybuilders can eat more than one at a time, as the Warrior Bar supports lean muscle gain without fat gain. The nutritional composition, in particular the MCT oil, enhances anabolic processes without converting into bodyfat.
With a taste like creamy pumpkin pie, it's definitely in a league of its own.
Editor's note: To get two boxes (24 count) of the new Warrior Bars for only $39.95 (you save almost $20), call (800) 447-0008 and ask for the IM Research Team Warrior Bar Special. IM