Review of Protein, Energy, and Other Nutrition Bars by ConsumerLab

Review of Protein, Energy, and Other Nutrition Bars by ConsumerLab

November 7, 2019 5 By William Morgan


Hi I’m Dr. Tod Cooperman, President and
Founder of ConsumerLab.com which has
been testing dietary supplements and all
types of healthy food since 1999, and I’m
here to talk today about nutrition bars,
which include protein bars, fiber bars,
fruit and nut bars. Some of these come as
cookies now as well and — spoiler alert —
not my favorite, but I’m going to tell
you about what we found with these
various types of bars. I’ll also tell you
which was my favorite among these and
you can certainly go online and see our
report, if you’re a ConsumerLab member, on
the different types of nutrition bars
and cookies. So a few things first in
terms of protein bars, which are very
popular among athletes — they can give you
about 20 grams of protein or even more
in a bar, which is a significant amount.
An athlete who wants to get extra
protein usually needs about 30 to 50
extra grams of protein per day over what
a normal person would need. Also older
people who have sarcopenia — they’re
losing muscle mass. They can benefit from
getting extra extra protein. These bars
can do it; however, be aware that some of
them are also trying to be low in
calories and how they do that is by
adding all types of sugar alcohols like
sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol — anything that
ends in “ol” is typically a sugar alcohol
that appears in a bar and
those can give you some gassiness so be
aware of that. In addition we looked at
energy bars, basically there to give you
a lot of carbohydrates and sugars
primarily, we had a favored pick in that
category as well. The the energy bars,
there you’re actually or obviously trying
to get calories, so the good thing there
is you’re not going to run into these
sugar alcohols. And then there are the
meal replacement bars which give you a
nice balance of protein carbs and also
fats
preferably healthy fats — unsaturated or
monounsaturated fat.
My favorite in the meal replacement bar
area was was the Probar simply because
it really is a healthful bar, it’s a nice
balance of, as I said, proteins, fats and
carbohydrates and it also tastes very
good. It’s a basically a lot of fruits
and nuts [and grains and seeds]. The other bars that we looked
at included fiber bars. I must mention at
least one of these fiber bars had only
2/3 of the fiber that it claimed, it
wasn’t actually specifically a fiber bar
but it was very high in fiber
and that was disappointing. Another
disappointment with one of these bars is
that actually it [contained] over 60% more
carbohydrates — grams of carbs — than it
claimed. So there are some issues that
you can run into with these nutrition
bars and to be aware of. All that information
is in our report on ConsumerLab.com
where we have reviewed, tested, tasted, you
know, every one of these bars. There are
also the straight fruit and nut bars, like
a Larabar, which actually can give you
about as much sugar and carbs as some of
the power bars, you know, some of the kind of the Powerbar products out there. So
basically many types of bars. I would not
recommend that you use any one of these
as a meal replacement on an ongoing
basis. Certainly if you’re on
the go and you need to get, you know, a good
balance of nutrients, you can use one of
these that are meal replacement bars. In
terms of protein, it’s really,
I think, preferable to get your protein
either from food or even from a protein
powder — we have a whole review of protein
powders — because there you can put in all
kinds of healthful ingredients into a
shake and make a nice protein drink. As I
mentioned, with some of the protein bars
here, and there are some some decent ones
here, and we
did have a top pick, but you will get
some sugar alcohols and things you may
not really want. Also be aware that some
of these contain vitamins and minerals
that have been added, which can be a good
thing but if you’re already taking a
multivitamin and getting vitamins and
minerals from other sources, you may be
getting too much, so keep that in mind as
well. If you have any questions or
comments about our review of nutrition
bars, feel free to leave a comment or
question where you see this video. So
again, this is Dr. Tod Cooperman with
ConsumerLab.com. Thanks for your time!