July 17, 2013

Damn Artificial Sweetners

by pyrad
Categories: Diet
Tags: ,
Comments: 4 Comments

After my swim this morning, I reached for one of my trusty protein bars. From what I understand, getting some protein and carbs not long after a workout is important for recovery.

Premier Protein Bars. To my dismay, contains sucralose...
Premier Protein Bars. To my dismay, contains sucralose…

I have a Premier Protein™ Bar Variety Pack with 15 bars that I purchased a few months ago from a local Costco. I looked over all the ones Costco had, and wanted a protein bar that maximized grams of protein with the fewest number of calories. This brand seemed to have the best ratio (30g of protein for 270 calories) with what I thought was no artificial sweetners.

Premier Protein Bar nutritional info
Premier Protein Bar nutritional info

I really liked them. They didn’t taste like cardboard, weren’t too hard to chew, were quite portable and were good for satisfying my appetite. The vanlilla flavour was particularly tasty!


The “Evils” of Artificial Sweeners

I know a lot of protein bars cheat the protein/calories ratio by using artificial sweetners or sugar substitutes. Most people are familiar with artificial sweetners in drinks like Diet Coke. Some common examples of these sugar substitutes are sucralose, aspartame, stevia, saccarine and sugar alcohols.

The general purpose of a sugar substitue is to provide the sweetness of sugar without the calories. They have value to diabetics who need to carefully monitor their sugar input. They are also popular with people looking to reduce their calorie intake while still enjoying the flavour of sugar.

However, I’m very wary of artificial sweetners and sugar substities. I feel like it’s cheating to get the taste of sugar without the consequence of calories. I suspect there must be some penalty for bypassing sugar like this. There is incomplete and unreliable information that suggests that sugar substitutes aren’t digested properly, accumulate in fat, and that they may contribute to cancer and DNA damage.


Paul Fails to Read Fine Print

When shopping at Costco, I passed over several other brands of protein bars because they contained sugar substitutes. Today, I just noticed that the Premier Protien bars I chose also have a sugar substitue: sucralose. I don’t know how I missed it! It’s in the ingredients and even says that it has 27mg per bar. It’s even printed on the front: “Contains sugar and sucralose”


Everything I read says that it’s safe as long as I have less than 5mg of sucralose per kg of body weight per day. So, I could actually eat about 18 of these bars a day according to the FDA. That still doesn’t make me feel any better.

All I know is I’m not buying this brand again.


Protein Crazy!

Why am I so obsessed with protein? Because I’m a big guy! I wrote a post a while back estimating how much protein a person needs a day. I estimate I need between 75 and 180 grams of protein each day! That’s A LOT! And it does keep me from getting hungry, so I’m all about low calorie (yet sugar substitute free) protein sources.
Now, I ask you dear readers:

What protein bar do you recommend?

Are you worried about sugar substitutes?



Comments closed


  1. Prudence says:

    Hi Paul, hope your basement/home is more cleaned up?. Sorry to hear about the flooding, and how it destroys memories 🙁 And you’re not a runner ‘imposter’ either – you’re a runner who’s trying to ‘cross’ train – most elites do – swim, bike, walk etc. When you’re ready, you will feel stronger to run again. Maybe consider trying to do a ‘Try a Try’ one day? Triathlete or a Dualthon?. OKay, the bar, I eat is the Larabar – vegan, it’s pretty high in natural sugars – not made with artificial sweeteners. Protein is a bit low 6-8grams, high on carbohydrates 26g, and fibre 3g. And I followed you on Twitter recently, maybe if you follow me back? Hope you are doing well, and staying cool in this weather!

    • Prudence says:

      And Clif Bar! Also made with natural sugars, and the protein is slightly higher – 10g. Hope this helps.

  2. To be honest I’m not a big fan of protein bars or any of that processed stuff. I was reading “The China Study” and Dr.Campbell did this test where he fed mice casein (milk protein)and there was convincing evidence to show that it causes cancer. However, this is only if they’re exposed to a carcinogen. We’re exposed to way too many carcinogens nowadays though… Interestingly, when Dr. Campbell fed the mice gluten or soy protein they didn’t get cancer.

    Most commercial protein bars are made out of whey protein (also milk protein) so I’d stay away from those.

    Personally, I make my own homemade protein bars using chickpeas, oats, pb, and various add ins. Maybe check out Vega for various protein bar recipes and stuff.

    The only non caloric sweetener that I consume is Stevia because I won a giveaway and have a year long supply of it. Instead I use bananas in my oatmeal or baked goodies 😛

  3. […] while back I was unhappy to discover that the Protein Bars I was using from Premier Protein contained the artificial sweetner […]