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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Comparing The Most Popular Sports Bars

I think this is a good time to cover the 40/30/30 diet which is also known as the Zone diet (4).  By eating 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 30% protein, proponents claim that it will cause the body to produce more eicosanoids which is a substance theorized to vasodilate and increase blood flow towards active muscles and promote increased oxygen delivery (5). The key word here is theorize... there is no research that have found evidence that eicosanoids actually contributes to active muscle vasodilation (2,4).  Studies do not recommend the 40/30/30 diet because overall, it will not provide optimal nutrition for health or athletic performance (2,3).  Until a new study finds that the claims are actually true, don't believe the hype.

I highlighted any nutrient which doesn't meet the criteria in blue.  As a reminder, here is the criteria for sports bar during exercise (Plowman, 2011) :
  1. Protein: < 8-10 g
  2. Fiber: < 5g
  3. Fat: < 4g per 230 kcal serving OR < 15.7% of total calories
  4. Carbohydrates: > 60% of total calories
Remember to drink at least 12-16 oz. per bar to account for the sport bar's lack of water content and make digestion easier!

Balance Bar(TM) CarbWell Peanut Butter
  • Total Calories: 200, from Fat: 70
  • Fat: 8g = 36%
    • Saturated: 8g
  • Carb: 22g = 44%
    • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 14g = 28%
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Total Vit/Min: 23
EAS Myoplex(R) Mass Bar
  • Total Calories: 390, from Fat: 180
  • Fat: 22g = 51%
    • Saturated Fat: 13g
  • Carb: 29g = 30%
    • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 30g = 31%
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Total Vit/ Min: 22
MET-Rx ProteinPlus Protein Bar(R) Chocolat Chocolate Chunk
  • Total Calories: 310, from fat: 90
  • Fat: 10g = 29%
    • Saturated Fat: 8g
    • Trans: 0g
  • Carb: 33g = 43%
    • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 32g = 41%
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Vit/ Min: 18
Clif Bar(TM) Original Apricot
  • Total Calories: 230, from fat: 30
  • Fat: 3.5g = 14%
    • Saturated: 0g
    • Trans: 0g
  • Carb: 45g = 78%
    • Sugars: 25g
  • Protein: 9g = 16%
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Vit/ Min: 23
Clif Bar(TM) Original Mini Crunch Peanut Butter
  • Total Calories: 100, from Fat: 25
  • Fat: 2.5 = 23%
    • Saturated: 0g
    • Trans: 0g
  • Carb: 17g = 68%
    • Sugars: 9g
  • Protein: 4g = 16%
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Vit/ Min: 23
PowerBar(R) Harvest Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
  • Total Calories: 240, from Fat: 40
  • Fat: 4.5g = 17%
    • Saturated: 1g
    • Trans: 0g
  • Carb: 42g = 70%
    • Sugars:
  • Protein: 10g = 17%
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Vit/ Min: 7
Marathon(R) Energy Bar Chew Chocolatey Peanut
  • Total Calories: 210, from Fat: 70
  • Fat: 8g = 34%
    • Saturated: 3g
    • Trans: 0g
  • Carb: 26g = 50%
    • Sugars: 15g
  • Protein: 13g = 25%
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Vit/ Min: 16
PR-Bar(R) Chocolate Peanut
  • Total Calories: 200, from Fat: 60
  • Fat: 7g = 32%
    • Saturated: 2.5g
    • Trans: 0g
  • Carb: 21g = 42%
    • Sugars: 17g
  • Protein: 15g = 30%
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Vit/ Min: 16
Twix(R) Caramel Cookie Bar
  • Total Calories: 130, from Fat: 50
  • Fat: 6g = 42%
    • Saturated: 4.5g
    • Trans: 0g
  • Carb: 17g = 52%
    • Sugars: 12g
  • Protein: 1g = 3%
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Vit/ Min: 1
WHICH BAR IS THE BEST DURING EXERCISE?
The bar that met the criteria the closest was the original size Clif Bar.  The Clif Bar Mini did well too, but had a greater percentage of calories from fat compared to the the larger Clif Bar.  PowerBar Harvest met the criteria well and might be a better choice than the Clif Bar Mini.  The others had too much of the nutrients that isn't optimal for during exercise (fat and protein) and too little of the nutrient that is need during exercise (carbohydrates).  As of now, Clif Bar clearly won as the best sports bar to eat during exercise.

References:
  1. Nutritional information was gathered through publicly available company websites.
  2. Cheuvront, S. N.: The Zone diet and athletic performance. Sports Medicine. 27(3):213-228 (1999).
  3. Cheuvront, S.N.: The Zone Diet phenomenon: A closer look at the science behind the claims. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 22(1):9-17 (2003).
  4. Plowman, Sharon A., and Denise L. Smith. Exercise physiology for health, fitness, and performance. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011. Print.
  5. Sears, B: Enter the Zone: A Dietary Road Map to Lose Weight Permanently, Reset Your Genetic Code, Prevent Disease, Achieve Maximal Physical Performance, Enhance Mental Productivity. New York: Harper Collins (1995).