FUEL

Buyers Guide: Meal Replacement Bars

If you are an athlete, eating can be a full-time job. The more active you are, the more calories you burn, and replacing those calories is crucial to maintain performance, overall health, and wellbeing. In order to raise caloric intake, many people turn to meal replacement options for their convenience and portability. There are many meal replacement options out there and choosing the right one will be dependent on your personal and nutritional goals. Of the factors to consider, satiety, weight loss, energy, and muscle recovery are at the top of the list. You should consult a doctor or nutritionist to find out how to optimally supplement your diet, but if this is not feasible, you will have to identify what your general goals are.

 

Weight Loss and Satiety

For most non-athletes, weight loss is one of the allures of choosing meal replacement bars. Meal replacement serves the purpose of providing the body with satiety via higher dietary fiber with fewer calories than a full meal. Foods with high dietary fiber are harder to digest and therefore make you feel more full than eating foods low in fiber. If your goal is to lose weight and feel satiated until your next meal, choose a bar comprised of whole fruits and grains and lower in calories.

Post Workout Recovery

If your goal is to recover between workouts, choose bars that are higher in protein. Adequate protein intake following a workout is beneficial for muscle recovery. You will also want to find a bar that has a good amount of complex carbohydrates and as little sugar as possible. The type of protein used in meal replacements varies substantially, but the gold standard for post-workout recovery is whey protein. Plant based alternatives include pea protein and brown rice protein, which are preferred by some for their environmental sustainability.

Supplemental

Plenty of research suggests that the majority of people have some nutrient deficiency. If you want to supplement your diet to maintain optimal levels of micronutrients, you will want to find a meal replacement bar that is fortified with vitamins and minerals. Note that many meal replacement bar manufacturers chemically synthesize their micronutrients in a lab, so choosing a bar that is minimally processed and sourced from whole foods is healthier to ensure adequate nutritional content.

What to Avoid

Meal replacement bars are typically marketed as healthy alternatives to meals but this is rarely the case. There are many items on the ingredients list to avoid. The easiest test for choosing the right meal replacement bar is to look at the ingredients and see how many words you cannot pronounce. This may seem like a joke, but meal replacement companies frequently use chemicals and artificial ingredients to cut nutritional corners and deceive people with artificial tastes and textures.

Artificial Flavors

The definitions of artificial and natural flavors are confusing, but the gist is that a natural flavor is any chemical extract from some preexisting food material that is intended to add flavor instead of provide nutritional value. That being said, artificial and natural flavoring can be deceptive as companies will use chemical synthetics to trick people into believing that what they are eating is natural. For example, researchers have been able to extract vanilla flavor from cow feces, so consider this fact the next time you are eating something with “natural vanilla flavor”.

Also, there are many long-term health risks associated with artificial flavoring including, but not limited to, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mental illness. Be skeptical when a company uses “natural” to describe their product and avoid “artificial” flavoring at all costs.

Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

Many meal replacement bars have added sweeteners. Bars with high sugar content can be a quick energy fix when you are about to crash, but added sweeteners should mostly be avoided. Artificial sweeteners are also used in place of sugar to offer foods that maintain sweetness with fewer calories. Research has suggested that chemically synthesized sweeteners have been linked to health risks such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. If you must have something sweet, choose a bar that uses organic cane sugar, coconut sugar, or honey.

Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol. They are, however, derived from sugar and largely used as a thickener or sweetener in meal replacement bars. One reason they are commonly used is that their molecular components bind to water molecules and keep the bars from drying out. Since they are not entirely digestible, the consumption of excess sugar alcohols leads to gastrointestinal issues such as flatulence, bloating, and diarrhea.

Replacing Your Meals Healthily

Due to the high amount of processing, artificial sweeteners, and flavoring prevalent in most meal replacement bars, it is important that you choose one made with whole foods and minimally processed. Once you get past the challenge of finding something non-artificial and low in sugar, you can focus on other nutritional aspects that suit your individual needs.

In order to find a high quality meal replacement bar or supplement, look at the label specifically for badges such as “NSF”, “NonGMO Verified” and other information such as “No Sugar Added”. NSF is a large, third party organization that confirms products are exactly what they say they are and up to public health standards. These badges are helpful in determining that quality of the product you are about to consume.

I selected the bars in these pages for review based on having no genetically modified organisms (NonGMO), made with whole food ingredients and minimal processing.

GoMacro

Macrobar (Protein Paradise)

260 Calories (100 from fat)/Carbohydrates 30g/Fiber 1g/Sugar 10g/Protein 11g

GoMacro is sustainably sourced with whole foods ingredients. The bar tastes similar to granola. It is marketed as a protein bar; however, there are only 11g per serving.

Healthy Warrior

Superfood Protein (Dark Chocolate, Coconut, Sea Salt)

200 calories (80 from fat)/25g Carbohydrates/5g Fiber/11g Sugars/10 g Protein

This Healthy Warrior is made with plant proteins and superfoods such as chia, quinoa, and oats. This bar was also marketed as a protein bar but has only 10 grams.

Genuine Health

Proteins+ (Cinnamon Pecan)

200 Calories (Fat Cal 70)/25g Carbohydrates/11g Fiber/12g Sugars/15g Protein

The Proteins+ bar is pretty well rounded with lots of carbs, fiber and protein. The fermented Greek yogurt shell has a good taste and helps with digestion. I felt the most full after eating this one.

Garden of Life

Organic Plant-Based Performance Protein Bar (Chocolate Fudge)

280 Calories (Fat Cal 80)/34g Carbohydrates/10g Dietary Fiber/8g Sugar/20g Protein

Garden of Life is the only bar of the group that advertised its NSF and Informed Choice standings for quality. These bars are marketed as protein bars, designed to aid in muscle recovery and fuel for exercise. The taste was sweet with a rich, chocolate flavor. It also had a nice, crispy texture.

Rise

Protein Bar (Chocolate Mint)

270 Calories (130 from fat)/24g Carbohydrates/4g Fiber/17g Sugars/15g Protein

Rise is a small batch company meaning that they do not mass produce their product. These bars had a great taste, though the flavor was not robust. These were completely simple with few ingredients. I actually felt satiated and did not get hungry again for some time.

Final Notes

Eating clean and healthy meals should always be at the top of the dieting priority list, but life does get in the way and a quick fix is necessary sometimes.  Meal replacements, therefore, should never be a permanent dietary solution unless prescribed by a doctor. After trying out these bars and taking their nutritional values into account, here are my thoughts:

Satiety

The Rise and Genuine Health bars both left me feeling full and sustained for the next few hours of my day. Based on the amount of dietary fiber, however, the Garden of Life bar would be a solid choice for sustainability.

Muscle Recovery

The Garden of Life would be my choice because of its higher protein and carbohydrate content. It had a sweeter taste but a low amount of sugars and a higher amount of dietary fibers than the other bars.

Supplemental

If my goal was supplemental, the Healthy Warrior promises the most nutrient dense meal replacement with its variety of superfoods. The supplemental component to choosing a bar here is widely subjective. A healthcare professional should be consulted to find out what nutrients you are deficient in so that you can make a more informed and objective choice.

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Essential Skincare Complex

    Dec 18, 2017 at 10:53 am

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page layout
    of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  2. Trembolex Ultra Review

    Dec 18, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Great blog right here! Also your site rather a lot up very fast!
    What host are you the use of? Can I get your affiliate link for your host?
    I desire my site loaded up as fast as yours lol.

  3. Automated Daily Income Review

    Dec 18, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Really wonderful visual appeal on this web site, I’d value it 10.

  4. Max Trim Fx Diet

    Dec 18, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Some really terrific work on behalf of the owner of this internet site,
    utterly outstanding articles.

  5. CBD Pure Hemp Oil

    Dec 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks for finally talking about >Buyers Guide: Meal Replacement Bars – Jiu-Jitsu Magazine <Liked it!

  6. Vala Facial Serum

    Dec 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to
    your webpage? My blog is in the very same niche as yours and
    my users would truly benefit from some of the information you present here.

    Please let me know if this alright with you. Cheers!

  7. Automated Daily Income System

    Dec 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Remarkable things here. I am very satisfied to peer your article.
    Thanks a lot and I am looking ahead to contact
    you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  8. Nutra SlimX

    Dec 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t drop many comments, however i did a few searching and wound
    up here Buyers Guide: Meal Replacement Bars – Jiu-Jitsu Magazine.
    And I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright.
    Is it just me or does it give the impression like a few of the remarks
    come across as if they are coming from brain dead individuals?

    😛 And, if you are writing at other online social sites, I would like to
    follow everything new you have to post. Could
    you make a list of the complete urls of all your community sites like your
    linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  9. Hydra Claire

    Dec 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    When someone writes an piece of writing he/she retains the image of
    a user in his/her brain that how a user can understand it.

    So that’s why this paragraph is amazing. Thanks!

  10. Dermavelle Review

    Dec 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?
    A small number of my blog audience have complained about my blog not working correctly
    in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any ideas to
    help fix this problem?

  11. Nutra SX

    Dec 19, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges.
    It was truly informative. Your website is useful. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Optimal Choice CBD Review

    Dec 20, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Good info. Lucky me I discovered your blog by
    accident (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!

  13. Buy Renovare Cream

    Dec 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I very glad to find this site on bing, just what I was searching for :
    D as well saved to favorites.

  14. Nivele Cellulite Cream

    Dec 20, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    This site certainly has all the information I wanted about this subject and didn’t know
    who to ask.

  15. Levimax

    Dec 20, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  16. Green Science CBD Oil

    Dec 20, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    What’s up, of course this piece of writing is truly good
    and I have learned lot of things from it regarding blogging.

    thanks.

  17. Grade A CBD Oil

    Dec 21, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Very superb information can be found on blog.

  18. Testo Genesis

    Dec 21, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Great post, you have pointed out some fantastic points, I
    also think this is a very superb website.

  19. Brute Gains Review

    Dec 22, 2017 at 2:06 am

    This piece of writing will assist the internet users for building up new weblog
    or even a weblog from start to end.

  20. Hydroxina

    Dec 23, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was a
    enjoyment account it. Glance complicated to more added
    agreeable from you! However, how could we
    keep in touch?

  21. Purely Organic Release Cream Review

    Dec 23, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Appreciate it for this post, I am a big fan of this web site
    would like to go on updated.

  22. Healthy Bloom CBD Oil

    Dec 24, 2017 at 12:07 am

    What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this
    I’ve found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads.
    I am hoping to give a contribution & help different
    customers like its helped me. Good job.

  23. Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog centered on the same subjects
    you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers
    would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

  24. Male Onyx Testosterone Pills

    Dec 26, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Whoah this blog is wonderful i like studying your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You already know, lots of people are hunting around for this info, you could help them greatly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Popular

To Top