Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ultralean Macro Nutrient Balanced Functional Food Bar

Q: What are your thoughts on UltraLean Macro Nutrient Balanced Functional Food Bar? It is labelled as gluten free/dairy free and soy free and my son loves them but the doctor who sells them said he should only have them twice a week...

A: The ingredients in Ultra Lean Gluco Support Food Bar seem okay in the sense that there are no ingredients that are really horrifying. I am not a huge fan of bars but this one looks better than most. I like that the protein in the bar comes from Peanut Butter, Rice Protein Concentrate and Rice Bran (and not soy protein isolate.) It is a fortified bar so it contains a lot of vitamins and minerals (as much as 1000% Daily Value of B6 and as little as 10% of Phosphorous.) For this reason, I would think of this bar as a bar and a multivitamin in one. Although it is tasty treat for an adult, the levels of fortification might be a problem for children if they consumed the bar everyday as they might a breakfast bar. I think this is the reason for the recommendation that you only give it to your son 2x per week. Although most of the B vitamins are water soluble and will not build up in the system, consuming them everyday as a staple of a young child's diet when the vitamins and minerals are not balanced might be problematic for a growing child.

Plus, the bar is more of a lab concoction than real food. Unfortunately, a lot of food these days is more food science than food--but, this bar definitely is given that Fruitrim is the first ingredient. And that might be another reason that it was recommended as an occasional and not an everyday snack.

Below is a breakdown of the ingredients in the bar:
  • Fruitrim is a carbohydrate based ingredient which extends the shelf life and yield of packaged products and has a sweet taste. It is "made from real fruit juice" and dextrins and it is gluten free. It says it is patented all-natural ingredient that contains no artificial ingredients, additives or preservatives. But even though it is described as "all natural" it can't be completely natural as it is a patented ingredient. It is, I think, better than a lot of bar ingredients (like soy protein isolate) but it also is definitely an ingredient formulated in a lab--and hard to really evaluate.
  • Peanut Butter-would love if this was the first ingredient but happy to see it 2nd
  • Rice Protein Concentrate- "basically the concentrated protein fraction of the rice grain and is produced from the rice milling process. It relates to the manufacturing of the rice syrup where natural enzymatic process transforms the complex carbohydrates of rice into a simple sugar. The leftover of this process is recognised as organic rice protein, which is filtered and dried at low temperatures. The resulting powder is referred to as Rice Protein Concentrate." 1
  • Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate Liquor) - chocolate flavor
  • Organic Brown Rice Crisps (Organic Brown Rice, Sea Salt, Organic Brown RIce Syrup) gives a yummy crunch and sweetness
  • Cocoa Powder - more chocolate
  • Chocolate Liquor - and more chocolate
  • Brown Rice Flour - seems fine
  • Rice Bran - full of nutrients. Bran is the nutrient dense outer coating of the grain.
  • Arabic Gum -this ingredient is found in M&Ms and gummy candies
  • Pure Vanilla - just a spice. Nice they use pure vanilla and not "artificial flavors"
  • Sea Salt - okay by me

  • Vitamins and Minerals:
  • Calcium Citrate - 20% DV
  • Magnesium Citrate 35% DV
  • Ascorbic Acid - Vit C 170%
  • D-Calcium Pantothenate (750% DV
  • Vitamin E Succinate 170% DV
  • Niacinamide - 260% DV
  • Biotin - 100% DV
  • Zinc Citrate - 70% DV
  • Pyridoxine - B6 1000% DV
  • Niacin - 260%
  • Riboflavin - B2 590%
  • Cyanocobalamin - B12 830% DV
  • Manganese AAC - 60% DV
  • Selenium AAC - 35% DV
  • ChromiumAAC
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Vitamin D3
  • Folic Acid
  • Vanadyl Sulfate