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Ask the experts: Protein bars vs muesli bars

Q: "Is a protein bar better for me than a muesli bar? Will it help me build muscle?"

A: Most athletes and everyday exercisers get plenty of protein from their everyday food, so the addition of protein bars or shakes is unnecessary. Good sources of protein include lean meat, chicken, fresh and canned fish, lean dairy products, eggs, nuts and pulses.

To build muscle you need enough protein and carbohydrate in your diet, and you need to use your muscles in strength training and exercise. After resistance training, carbohydrate and protein can help build muscle, but excess protein will simply be used as an energy source. If you're not having a meal for an hour or more after training, a snack will help replenish carbohydrate stores and repair or build muscle. Try a pottle of low-fat yoghurt, a glass of milk, a fruit smoothie, or a small tuna or chicken sandwich. A protein bar may be more convenient, but be aware of the energy content. Many bars are around 900-1000kJ. Muesli bars provide carbohydrate but little protein and are generally lower in energy.


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