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Nowadays, you can satisfy just about any nutritional need in portable, rectangular form: protein bars, fiber bars, performance bars (whatever that means), protein and fiber bars … And the FLAVORS, my god. Caramel fudge, chocolate chip with mint, strawberry. It's like an ice cream!
Unfortunately, just like ice cream, these bars can cause unfortunate side effects to some people. If you've ever had gas, cramps, bloating, and general stomach problems after your fiber bar after the training Protein bar, it is normal to feel betrayed and confused. But you are not alone.
"Many of these health angle bars may contain ingredients that may cause distress in people (GIs)," Colleen Tewksbury, Ph.D., MPH, RD, Senior Researcher and Manager of Health Canada. Penn Medicine's bariatric program and elected president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says SELF.
Cool, it's not in our heads, so what about? Here is what you need to know about common bar ingredients that could cause you stomach problems.
The first culprit: added fiber
The type of indigestible carbohydrate we call fiber is, in many ways, a bomb. In addition to regulating digestion and helping you poop, as if that was not enough !, Fiber slows the absorption of sugar and cholesterol in the blood, which can help keep blood sugar levels stable and stable. reduce LDL-cholesterol, Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Fiber consumption is associated with many measures of health, and most of us could do with eating more.
We all know that. And those who try to sell bars know we know it, so they load them with fiber. We are talking about 10, 12 or 15 grams of fiber per serving. It's way beyond that of an apple (4 or 5 grams) or a slice of whole grain bread (3 grams). In fact, "it's about half of your fiber needs for the day." Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D.N., assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences of UAB, told SELF. (The Dietary guidelines recommend eating about 14g per 1,000 calories in your diet, which is about 25 to 35g for most people).
Common bar ingredients such as oats or nuts can naturally provide a few grams of fiber, but food manufacturers typically use what's called added fiber significantly increase the fiber content of a product. The most popular type is extracted and isolated from a plant called chicory root. The manufacturers love it because it helps to pack a huge amount of fiber without giving it a taste of mulch. Look for the label of chicory root, inulin, chicory root fiber, chicory root extract or oligofructose on the label FDA. The added fiber is not divided separately in the Nutrition Facts table; this has just been included in the total number of fibers. It is therefore advisable to look for one of these names of ingredients.
And you may have already learned the hard way that, wonderful as the fibers are, there are too many. "Every time you eat a ton of fiber in one sitting – or just more than you normally do – you run the risk of spoiling your belly," says Kitchin. Excess fiber can usually cause gas, bloating and cramps Mayo Clinic.
Although this can sometimes happen with fiber-based natural foods (such as beans), this is much more likely to occur with these bars because of the extremely high concentration of fiber. "(Inulin) is a fairly dense fiber initially, but it's really the huge amount you get at once that can cause a problem," says Tewksbury. "It's a lot to handle for your stomach … your system is just not used to that."
Another problem specific to these bars: the fiber works best when your system contains water, explains Kitchin, because it absorbs water to soften things. When you eat something like fruits and vegetables, your fiber naturally contains water. But as these bars are pretty dry, if you do not drink water with them, "you're going to have that very dry mass sitting there," says Kitchin.
The second culprit: sugar alcohols
As many of us try to eat more fiber, many people tend to reduce their sugar intake in the brain. Enter a strange type of carbohydrate called sugar alcohol. (It's not the kind of alcohol that gets intoxicated, so why your protein bars do not make you drunk.)
Sugar alcohols have a sweet taste, but add nothing to sugar content and contain fewer calories per gram than real sugar per year. FDA. For example, food companies often turn to them when they want to make a product that will appeal to those looking for snacks with less sugar and calories, says Tewksbury. They can be made in a laboratory from sugars and starches, or extracts of fruits and vegetables, where they occur naturally in small amounts, as appropriate. FDA. Look for these eight FDA-approved sugar alcohols on the label: erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH), isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. It is up to manufacturers to include or not sugar alcohol in total carbohydrates in the Nutrition Facts table (unless they emit a health claim about the ## 147 ## ################################################################################ 39, sugar alcohol). The only way to know for sure if a sugar contains sugar alcohol is to: scan the list of ingredients.
The other reason why sugar alcohols are so popular in these products – even more so than other sugar substitutes, such as sucralose (Splenda) – is that they result in a bar, a texture or a more delicious taste. (If you have ever tried brownies or biscuits at home using Splenda, you'll understand.) "They cook very well and give a much more pleasant product to eat than sucralose," says Tewksbury. Sugar alcohols can also help add volume and texture, keep a baked product or wet bread, and prevent it from turning brown excessively during cooking. FDA.
However, sugar alcohols have a low sweetness disadvantage when they are consumed in equal amounts in certain bars: gas, bloating, cramps and diarrhea. How much is too much depends on the person. "It's hard to say," says Tewksbury. "The theory is that a person's threshold and the severity of a reaction may be dependent on the composition of his intestinal bacteria," a science that we are just beginning to understand. can have a problem with as little as 5 grams, while other people will not notice any side effects until they reach 15 grams (this may depend on the type of 39, sugar alcohol, more on that in one minute). the more alcohol there is in the sugar, the more problems you have.
This is due to the unusual way that sugar alcohols move in your digestive tract. Generally, during the process of digestion, foods are broken down and their nutrients absorbed by the body, leaving mainly waste (the ingredients of your next poo) in the colon. But sugar alcohols remain largely intact during the digestive process. A good amount is enough to your colon, where the bacteria feed, says Tewksbury. "And every time the bacteria eat, they produce gas." The gas can accumulate, causing bloating, cramps and discomfort, or escape by stinking animals. Sugar alcohols can also have the effect of drawing water into the colon, says Tewkbsury, producing an aqueous avalanche of feces called diarrhea. (For this reason, small amounts can actually be used to help with constipation, says Tewksbury.)
Some sugar alcohols are more aggravating than others. In general, the FDA found that sorbitol and mannitol were the worst offenders, imposing warning labels regarding the potential laxative effects of "excessive consumption" for products containing them. Although xylitol, which is becoming more popular, does not require warning labels, it can certainly cause these problems to many, if not most, people, says Tewksbury. And there is proof that erythritol is less likely to cause gastrointestinal problems because it is better absorbed in the small intestine than other sugar alcohols, so it is less concentrated down to the colon.
"Everyone has a different threshold than their body can handle" with respect to inulin and sugar alcohols, "so the severity of the effects really depends on the individual," says Tewksbury.
If your expensive bars do not cause you any problems, there is no reason to abandon them. If they cause you light gas and you consider it a good compromise, who are we to stop you? "It's not dangerous, but uncomfortable," says Kitchin. But if you have experienced post-bar misery, now you know why.
This does not mean that you have to break with the bars. You can try to incorporate your problematic diet into your diet more gradually to help your body adapt. "I tell my patients that every time you try a new product that's high-fiber or low-sugar, be careful and slow down," says Kitchin. In general, it's a good idea to slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet, National Library of Medicine of the United States. (And again, drink a lot of water.) This can be hard to do with a high fiber bar, so Kitchin recommends starting with half a day for a few days and seeing how you you feel. Same thing for sugar alcohol; Gastrointestinal symptoms are more likely to occur when you are not completely used to the substance and you eat about 20 grams in one sitting. But studies show that with usual consumption, the intestinal flora can really adapt to better manage sugar alcohols. Here, there is not really a magic formula: take a little at a time and see how you feel.
However, considering the number of options available, a fairly simple solution is to try another type of bar containing fewer ingredients (if any), which is a problem for you. This could mean choosing one with less fiber. After all, the best way To meet your daily fiber needs, you must eat a wide variety of naturally fibrous foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and vegetables. whole grains, because of the nutritional richness they offer – consider fiber bars as a bonus. Or try a bar that contains real sugar instead of sugar alcohols, whether it's added (like honey) or of natural origin (like raisins). It's hard to remember sometimes in the era of keto and paleo, But sugar has its place in a healthy diet and is not in itself something to be fear or avoid like the plague. At the end of the day, something that gives you the impression that shit is not better for you, even if it's high in fiber and / or sugar.
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