The Worst Protein Bar Ingredients

Posted by on Nov 24, 2012 in Healthy Eating | 3 Comments

What goes into your body will end up spending more than 4 hours in your body in your digestive system. It provides you energy, nutrients and can even be an usher for toxins. What food (or food-like substance) you put in, however good-intentioned it was when you chose it and began chewing, can be destructive to your digestive system-and can result in a back-up. Regardless of your efforts, a backed-up digestive system will cause less energy and nutrients to be absorbed from your food.

Good news for you, you can start crowding out this junk by adding more good, making a few simple changes to your diet and digesting good, nutrient-rich, whole foods.

What are some of the worst culprits in your average protein bar? They get dressed-up in a pretty costume that touts nutritional benefits of health, muscle-building, and energy-giving ingredients but can really be poisonous despite your best health efforts.

#1 Culprit : Soy Protein Isolate

Soy has long been touted to benefit women’s health with its high concentration of isoflavones.


Basically, isoflavones are compounds found in vegetable sources which mimic human hormones, particularly estrogen hormones (aka. phyto-estrogens). While still contested as beneficial or harmful for health, if we are worried as a nation about any excess hormones entering our bodies from the meat (or dairy) we consume, what about these plant-based hormones and their effect on our bodies? There is the potential for isoflavones to regulate your hormone production; however, it seems equally likely that the isoflavones could interfere with your regular hormone production. Either way, many hormonal imbalances can be corrected through clean eating, rest, and exercise.


Last point against soy protein: a high percentage of soy is grown in the United States is from genetically modified organism (GMO). So, why take a chance with your hormones and your health? Let the scientists debate the benefits and risks and you can reward your body in other ways.


#2 High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar Alcohols …. OH MY!

Despite the recent marketing surrounding corn syrup and its similarity to sugar, all sugars may have the same caloric content, but certainly  they do not have the same effect on metabolism and hormones. Studies have shown that those consuming equal amounts of fructose (the corn syrup) in comparison to fructose (sugar), actually gained more itra-abdominal fats in the body, they became less sensitive to insulin (the blood-sugar regulator), and they had higher levels of fat in the blood. So sugar really isn’t “sugar-is-sugar” after all.

Discussion around sugar alcohols could be a whole other post entirely. However, in an effort to be brief, these compounds can cause a firestorm within our digestive system. Sugar alcohols are hybrid-carbs. Basically, they are a part-sugar, part-alcohol molecule. The alcohols resist fermentation by oral bacteria (hence why sugar-free gum is allowed to be marketed as good for your teeth!) However, our the bacteria in our colons can and do ferment sugar alcohols. Over-consumption can therefore stimulate diarrhea, and can exacerbate any present IBS symptoms in a person. While not calorie-free, they still do contain less caloric content than sugar. However, most still have a very high (almost equally as high) Glycemic Index as sugar.

#3 Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil

While a cheap ingredient to add fats content to a food product, and in addition to being an unhealthy 86% Saturated Fat, there is no organic way to extract it. What is up with the “fractioned” qualifier? Basically this is just the most processed form of this oil. Want to nerd out for a second? Indulge me… (if not, you can skip the science lesson)


The process of fractionating oil involves heating then cooling the oil so it separates (hence fractions). Thicker fractions are more resistant to melting at room temperature and therefore make for good “chocolate” or flavored coatings on common energy bars. 


There you have it, three of the worst culprits to healthy efforts found in many of the standard energy bars or protein bars on the shelf today. What funky ingredients have you found in a protein bar? Did you do research on it to figure out what it actually was and how it affects your body?

How about trying something a little more simple? Your digestive system will thank you! Try our original Peanut Butter . It has only 4, all-natural ingredients.


To health, love and Kize




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