How Many Meal Replacement Bars Should You Eat in a Day?

How Many Meal Replacement Bars Should You Eat in a Day?

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Last Updated on June, 2022

In today’s busy world, people are trying to find quick and easy ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You want to grab hold of something healthy and have it while you go on errands or any other work.

Meal replacement bars have become popular because they provide the convenience and nutrition people want. However, having too many of these bars may not yield your desired results.

If you already love to snack on these bars or want to try them out, here is a guide on how many meal replacement bars a day is good for you.

What Are Meal Replacement Bars?

Meal replacement bars

A meal replacement bar is a type of snack that consists mainly of protein, certain amounts of fat, and carbs. Ideally, these bars should provide snack portions of the above macronutrients. 

Initially, the gym-goers and athletes indulged in these healthy snacks. However, things have changed now that any ordinary person snacks on these bars while on the go.

Different Types of Meal Replacement Bars

There is a wide variety of meal replacement bars available today. The selection is endless, from high-protein to low-protein and low-sugar content.

Let’s look at a few popular meal replacement bar options.

  • Whey protein bars: These bars have the highest protein content, making them ideal for athletes and gym-goers.
  • Fast meal replacement bars: These bars are ideal to have when you’re fasting as they don’t interrupt the biological process that fasting triggers. These bars are great for satisfying your cravings while remaining in a fasting state. 
  • Low-calorie meal replacement bars: These meal replacement bars are suitable for those who are aiming to lose weight. However, you need to keep an eye on the ingredients in these bars as they may contain artificial flavors. More on that later.
  • Vegan meal replacement bars: These bars are ideal for vegans who struggle to meal their daily protein requirements. 

How Many Meal Replacement Bars Can You Eat in a Day?

A Girl Having meal replacement bars

The number of meal replacement bars you can eat daily depends on many factors, including body weight and weight loss goals. An ordinary person will do fine with one meal replacement bar a day.

However, athletes and those who hit the gym regularly can eat up to two meal replacement bars daily. Consuming more than this is not recommended for anyone.

Can Meal Replacement Bars Replace a Whole Meal?

A meal replacement bar can replace a meal because it contains high amounts of proteins, fat, fiber, and calories. These bars contain between 200 and 400 calories and give you adequate nutrition that an ordinary meal provides.

However, you should not replace all meals with meal replacement bars as it can result in negative effects like decreased metabolism, fatigue, and muscle loss.

Benefits of Meal Replacement Bars

Following are some of the advantages of eating meal replacement bars.

  • They are packed with essential nutrients that your body requires.
  • They are conveniently packaged, making them easier to take when you’re on the move.
  • They help lose weight due to high protein content that reduces your appetite.
  • They are delicious and affordable.

Side Effects of Eating Meal Replacement Bars

Choosing the wrong meal replacement bar or eating too many of these days can have side effects, including the following.

  • You could gain weight due to high-calorie intake.
  • You could develop metabolic disorders due to high amounts of sugar.
  • An overdose of these bars could cause nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and constipation.

When Should You Eat Meal Replacement Bars?

You could gain maximum benefits if you have a meal replacement bar for breakfast. It will give you the energy boost needed to carry on with your daily tasks. These bars are packed with nutrients that provide a healthy breakfast.

Meal replacement bars are also convenient and easy to have when you’re in a rush to have a full meal in the morning.

You can even have them for lunch if you’re too busy to have a traditional meal due to a scheduled meeting.

How to Choose the Best Meal Replacement Bar?

Every meal replacement bar is not a healthy choice and will not give you all the benefits mentioned above. In addition, if you choose the wrong type of meal replacement bar, it can cause harm to your body.

One of the main things you need to consider when choosing a meal replacement bar is its ingredients. The fewer the ingredients, the better. More on that later.

Choose a meal replacement bar with the following nutrient composition.

  • 15 to 20g of protein
  • 10g of fat (less than 5g of saturated fat)
  • 5 to 8g of fiber
  • 200 to 400 calories
  • Nore more than 10 to 15 g of sugar (lesser the better)

Healthy Ingredients Inside a Meal Replacement Bar

Healthy Ingredients Inside a Meal Replacement Bar

Choose a meal replacement bar with the following healthy ingredients.

  • Egg whites
  • Oats
  • coconut
  • Nuts and seeds (e.g., flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
  • Dried fruit (blueberries, raspberries, dates, etc.)
  • Cashew
  • Peanuts
  • Raisins

If you crave sweets, choose meal replacement bars with natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

Here’s an article on “How to make healthy DIY meal replacement bars“, so that you can include healthy ingredients in your own made bars.

Ingredients to Avoid When Choosing a Meal Replacement Bar

Not all meal replacement bars give the benefits mentioned above. Unfortunately, there are numerous products with unhealthy ingredients in them. Here are a few ingredients you should avoid when choosing a meal replacement bar.

  • Artificial sweeteners include high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, dextrose, fructose, sucralose, cane sugar, and agave nectar
  • Sugar alcohols including mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol
  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial food coloring
  • Artificial preservatives
  • Partially hydrogenated oils
  • Non-organic soy isolate

Meal Replacement Shakes Vs. Meal Replacement Bars

Meal replacement shakes, and meal replacement bars are both healthy as long as you avoid the above components and look for ones that have healthy ingredients.

The main difference between shakes and bars is how they are processed in the digestive system. 

Meal replacement shakes digest faster than bars because of their liquid content. However, the downside is that you may not feel as full as you are by eating a meal replacement bar.

Meal replacement bars, on the other hand, are solid food that keep you feeling full, apart from being slow in digestion.

Therefore, meal replacement shakes are suitable for those who want to gain weight. However, meal replacement bars are the best option if you’re looking to lose weight.

If you’re looking to gain weight, we’ve the 10 best meal replacement shakes for weight gain and also if this information is not enough, here’s a complete overview of meal replacement shake and bars.

Conclusion

Meal replacement bars are a very healthy snack and can replace one traditional meal. However, you can reap its benefits only if you eat it adequately.

Going overboard with meal replacement bars can give undesired results and risk your health.

It’s also vital to choose meal replacement bars with healthy ingredients and avoid ones with harmful ingredients like artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives.

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About the author
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Jennifer Pantall
Jennifer Pantall is a Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She loves tennis and has one daughter with a lovely husband that she adores. Jennifer also loves to spend time outdoors playing with her dog or walking in nature. You can find more about me here.
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