In the past couple of years, nutritional bars and energy drinks, such as protein shakes, etc., have really taken the fitness world by storm.
In fact, most serious athletes necessarily include such things in their workout and fitness plans. If you train with a personal trainer in a gym or otherwise, they will also most likely include nutritional bars and energy drinks in the diet they prescribe you.
In this article, we will explore everything that you need to know about nutritional bars so that you can understand the various brands and varieties available and whether or not nutritional bars are a safe and nutritional option for you!
What Is A Nutritional Bar?
A nutritional bar, as the name suggests, is simply that – an energy bar packed with enough nutrients to get you on the go and ready for the day. Our modern lifestyles are as lazy as can be. We prioritize anything that makes it possible for us to do less work and reap greater results. We are, in fact, too lazy to even sit down and have proper meals with family members.
Moreover, we are always in such a rush to get to our workplaces and start our days that we often end up neglecting a number of things that are absolutely essential for our health. Skipping breakfast, for example, is a common mistake that many of us make.
As such, nutritional bars were created for those who are too lazy to make their own meals, as well as those who are always on the go.
Nutritional bars are typically packed with energy, in the form of carbohydrates. As such, you can easily buy a whole stock and pick one up every day on your way out to work, or grab one from the pantry when you come back home exhausted at the end of the day.
Not all nutritional bars are high on carbohydrates, though. In fact, different brands of nutritional bars specialize in different nutrients. For example, some nutritional bars are high energy bars, some are high protein, some are specifically titled ‘breakfast bars,’ yet others are high in carbohydrates. So it really depends on which ones you end up opting for.
Typically, if you train professionally at a gym, it’s normal that your trainer might have recommended that you start to eat certain nutritional bars or even protein shakes in order to maintain a certain calorie count or get the energy you require to work out.
Similarly, if you are an athlete, such as a high-sprint runner, or a swimmer, it’s even more likely that you may have or currently do consume nutritional bars.
Let’s take a look at the main brands of nutritional bars available and how different brands can vary based on the ingredients they have to offer.
Main Nutritional Bar Brands
As discussed above, there are many different types of nutritional bars available in the markets, each specializing in its own unique type of nutritional content.
Here is a breakdown of the main nutritional brands available in the market today.
Grocery stores are full of so many different nutritional bars that it can be difficult to determine which ones are actually ‘healthy.’
Clif Bars have been around for some time now. They are the only nutritional bar you will ever require on a long ride when you need something to fuel yourself – at least that’s what the marketing will tell you.
What’s in a Clif Bar?
A Clif Bar is a sort of nutritional bar that is ‘carbohydrate-based.’ The claim that the makers of the bar put forward is the following:
A Clif Bar comprises of:
5 grams fat
40 grams carbohydrates
2 grams sugar
9 grams protein
While these are the main constituents of the bar, this isn’t everything. The bar is also made up of other ingredients. These include:
Organic Rolled Oats
Brown Rice Syrup
Soy Protein Isolate
Organic Roasted Soybeans
Organic Sunflower Oil
Organic Oat Fiber
Organic Soy Flour
Because a Clif Bar is rich in carbohydrate content, it typically provides you with all of the essential nutrients you need to get you through the day.
Clif Bar’s high carbohydrate content is supposed to give your muscles the required energy to get you through a difficult task, be it a long day at work, a trek up a mountain, or even just your regular exercise.
The best thing about Clif Bars perhaps is that they come in a variety of different flavors you can choose from.
No matter the flavor, each bar is a combination of simple as well as complex carbohydrates so that your body can sustain some energy while processing other energy so that you can use it instantly. Simple carbs are also important because your body can break those down much faster.
The bars don’t only comprise of carbohydrates. They also contain the necessary amount of fat and protein to balance out the high carbohydrate content so that even one bar can give you a balanced diet.
Can You Eat A Clif Bar Daily?
Clif Bars certainly do have a high nutritional content, but even so, they aren’t ideal in all situations because of their high carb content and calorie content. The thing is, if you are a perfectly healthy individual, your body will generally have enough energy stored inside your muscles.
Perhaps if you feel extra weak or tired some days, or if you plan on going on some long hiking treks or are about to engage in an excessive high-intensity workout, then it might make sense for you to eat a Clif Bar regularly; otherwise, you shouldn’t make too much of a habit of consuming them. Too much sugar and too many calories can otherwise lead to health problems where there were none. For example, you might face diabetes or obesity.
If you are somehow very keen on having Clif Bars regularly, you might want to consider having certain Clif Bar variants instead, such as gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free bars. You can even go for special high-protein bars.
Many people opt for nutritional bars regularly, even just to snack in the middle of the day. This isn’t too great an idea because of the excessive calorie intake. Instead, you can opt for other healthy snacks such as fresh fruit and nuts.
Perfect Bar is a whole company that specializes in nutritional bar production. The Perfect Bar is an innovation of the Perfect Snacks Company.
The company focuses on creating things that are completely nutritious. They offer protein bars made up of completely organic or whole-wheat protein that can be refrigerated. In fact, these bars are the first protein bars of their kind, the first sort of protein bars that can be refrigerated.
There are many reasons to consider having whole-wheat protein bars. For starters, whole-wheat protein is typically more nutritious than any other sort of protein.
Whole-wheat protein keeps the muscles strong and functioning well and the mind working well and active as well.
What other ingredients are these bars made up of?
Perfect bars have protein as the key ingredient but not the only ingredient. They are made up of other ingredients as well. These typically include:
Egg Powder (dried)
Flax Seed Oil
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Sesame Seed Oil
Rose Hip Powder
Peanut Butter (optional)
The common ingredients in most or all nutritional bars are: Lecithin (organic typically) and Sunflower oil. At Maverik oils, we specialize in all types of oils and lecithin.
Let’s now look at the role each of these plays in nutritional bars.
Lecithin in Nutritional Bars
Lecithin can be of two different types – Soy Lecithin that is derived from soy, and Sunflower Lecithin that is derived from sunflowers that have been dehydrated.
Lecithin is used in nutritional bars because it fulfills the purpose of an emulsifying agent. An emulsifier is a substance that not only preserves food but also adds to its texture, making it smoother overall and better in both taste as well as texture.
It would be nearly impossible to find a nutritional bar or any other such substance without an emulsifier. Organic emulsifiers are safe and natural and will not cause any harm to you.
At Maverik oils, we specialize in both soy-based as well as sunflower-based lecithin.
What is soy lecithin?
Soy lecithin comes under the category of an additive but is also considered to be an emulsifying substance. Lecithin is pretty useful when it comes to breaking down cholesterol and allowing oil and water to mix well with one another.
What is sunflower lecithin?
As described above, sunflower lecithin is a type of lecithin that is made when sunflowers are dehydrated.
Sunflower lecithin is obtained from the gum part of the sunflower and is processed through a cold press type system.
Lecithin is important for nutritional bars because nutritional bars usually have to be kept in supermarket shelves and therefore need to be preserved. Even if certain nutritional bars such as the Perfect Bar are refrigerated, they still need something to increase the amount of time they stay preserved and good. Otherwise, over time, nutritional bars might not taste quite as fresh as they are supposed to.
Does Lecithin Have Any Benefits?
Lecithin is important even as part of the human anatomy. Lecithin helps to immobilize fat substances and prevents fat from accumulating inside the body itself.
As such, lecithin can actually end up being beneficial for you. This applies especially if your cholesterol levels are typically higher than they should be, or if you have suffered from a heart stroke, attack, or any other types of cardiovascular diseases.
Sunflower oil is used as a key ingredient in almost all nutritional bars. Sunflower oil is naturally extracted from sunflower seeds. It is, in fact, one of the most popular vegetable oils that are extracted from seeds.
Sunflower oil is one of the healthiest oils you can consume. It contains a high proportion of Omega-6 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats.
It is versatile and great in texture. This is one of the reasons it is so popular all over the organic food industry, and also why it is a major ingredient in nutritional bars.
At Maverik Oils, we have a number of sunflower oil varieties present. These include:
Non-GMO Expeller Pressed High Oleic Sunflower Oil
Organic Expeller Pressed High Oleic Sunflower Oil
Non-GMO Mid Oleic Sunflower Oil
Winterized Organic Expeller Pressed High Oleic Sunflower Oil
Winterized Non-GMO Expeller Pressed High Oleic Sunflower Oil
Despite their popularity, nutritional bars should never be considered a replacement for a proper meal. They are typically loaded with nutrients, but they can only supplement your diet, not replace the food that you eat. It’s always a good idea to consult your personal trainer or physician before you begin to consume nutritional bars in bulk.
This was a guide to everything you need to know about nutritional bars.
Now that you know a lot more about them and the ingredients that go into them, you can hopefully make a better decision!