The Best Nutrition Bar for You - How to Choose the Right One | PureFit
Choosing The Right Nutrition Bar
Picture yourself in the nutrition bar section of your local grocery store. To say that the shelves are stocked to the gills with nutrition bars promising everything from optimal nutrition and weight loss to a meal replacement or enough energy to scale Mt. Everest would be an understatement. How can you tell which one’s best for you?
Since choosing the right nutrition or energy bar can be exhausting, we’ve put together this short guide to selecting the right bar for your lifestyle and unique dietary requirements. As always though, if you’re starting a new weight management program or making significant changes to your diet, please consult a qualified nutritionist or medical professional before proceeding further.
Taking a ‘taste test run’
You’re probably surprised we’d say that (after all, we do make some mighty good tasting bars ourselves). With so many choices now available, no one should settle for eating a lousy tasting nutrition bar. Of course, we’re biased about ours, so be sure to include some PureFit bars in any testing you choose to undertake.
Also, be sure to test under normal conditions (i.e., if you’re a performance athlete, taste test under normal athletic conditions).
A lot of so-called nutrition bars contain as many hollow calories as the average fast food sandwich. Keep in mind that one-pound equals 3,500 calories, and that in order to maintain your current weight, your body requires 10 calories per pound per day. In other words, if you weigh 190 pounds, your body requires 1,900 calories per day to maintain that weight.
If you consume a candy bar-like nutrition bar, one that accounts for nearly 20% of your daily caloric needs, you’re bound get into trouble. Of course, you need to take into account that exercise burns calories, but still, err on the safe side by looking for nutrition bars with approximately 150 to 300 calories per serving.
Not all nutrition bars are created equal, and to see this for yourself, just look at the list of ingredients of your average nutrition bar. Many are loaded with sugar, partially hydrogenated oil, artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients that just aren’t very good for you. As one example, some popular nutrition bar companies use maltitol syrup in their bars.
Maltitol syrup is a sweetener that can produce gas, bloating and a laxative so overpowering that many countries now require a warning label on foods contain the item.
Other commonly used sugar alcohols you may want to avoid include: malitol syrup (notice the different spelling), glycol, isomalt, lactitol, glycerol, glycerine, erythritol, arabitol, xylitol, ribitol, mannitol, and sorbitol.
Watch Your Balance
Choosing a nutrition bar with the right balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein is critical to optimal performance, and here’s why: A diet composed of approximately 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat is ideal for body fat loss and consistent energy. This nutritional philosophy is commonly referred to as “The Zone,” and is, in our opinion, the greatest dietary discovery of the last 50 years. In short, it is especially difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight when eating a diet primarily comprised of carbohydrates, especially if you work out consistently, because you force your body to burn carbohydrates (sugars). When you eat a diet composed of about one-third protein, you allow your body to burn stored body fat—the reason most of us work out. In other words, the ratio of the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your diet determines if you will predominately burn carbohydrates or stored body fat.
Create the Perfect Match
Since everyone’s nutrition bar needs are different, use the following as a guide to help determine which type of bar may be right for you:
High Performance Athletes
As you may have suspected, high performance athletes need a 40/30/30 bar or something very similar. We all know how good our bodies feel when we eat a balanced meal of a chicken breast salad instead of a high-carbohydrate meal of pasta and bread.
Not only will high-performance athletes remain satisfied longer with a 40/30/30 nutrition bar, they most likely won’t feel lethargic, irritable, or bloated while performing or afterwards.
When running from work to the gym, like a high-performance athlete, the fitness enthusiast needs a well-balanced and convenient nutritional choice, so here to, a 40/30/30 bar works fine.
Be careful though when it comes to convenience – despite how tempting it may seem, avoid the candy bar-like nutrition bars.
Casual Athletes and Weekend Warriors
Casual and weekend athletes need protein (to repair muscle tissue that has been broken down by shocks to the muscle caused by activity that occurs in five-day intervals). In addition to a high protein option, the occasional weekend warrior needs a nutrition bar that will not melt in its packaging and that provides solid nutrition (sadly, a lot of nutrition bars have hydrogenated oils that cause them to melt). After you complete a hard workout, you don’t want a nutrition bar that will melt all over you. Here again, a bar high in protein—like a 40/30/30 bar— and one that doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils, will prove to be most beneficial.
Soccer Moms and Busy Professionals
Sadly, many soccer moms and busy professionals do not eat right and instead turn to mislabeled nutrition bars to supplement a poor diet. Busy people who are often on the go need a nutrition bar that’s convenient, healthy, and that tastes great too. More than anything though, if you fall into this category, you need a bar that will not make you “bonk” 60 minutes after the bar’s all gone. Not surprisingly, a 40/30/30 bar is perfect for soccer moms and busy professionals, especially if used as a nutritional supplement and not a full-on meal replacement.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages. Common symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss (or stunted growth in children), and fatigue, among others.
People with celiac disease must avoid any products with wheat and gluten, which many nutrition bars contain. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, make sure you look for a nutrition bar that’s wheat and gluten-free.
If you’re a diabetic, when it comes to choosing a nutrition bar, you a need low glycemic choice… a bar that aids in lowering blood sugar levels (important for HbA1c), helps you lose weight (when used in combination with a healthy diet and physician-approved and monitored exercise plan), and that ultimately helps reduce your risk of heart disease. Guess what? When it comes these and other diabetic-specific needs, here again the 40/30/30 nutrition bar makes the most sense. But to be sure, please consult your doctor or endocrinologist.
With so many food intolerances and allergies disturbing the way we live, now more than ever, it’s vital that you know that what you’re eating is healthy for you and your family and loved ones. More than anything else, when it comes to nutrition bars, read nutrition labels carefully. Far too many nutrition bar manufacturers pack their bars—which in some cases are no better for you than your average candy bar—with ingredients that just aren’t healthy for anyone, let alone people with food allergies or intolerances.