6 Common Allergens Found In Sports Nutrition Bars
Finding a truly healthy nutrition bar can be tough as I noted in my article, “Zing Bars Awarded Best Nutrition Bar 2008.”
I interviewed the makers of Zing Bars, nutritionists Michael Kaplan, ND, Minh-Hai Tran, MS, RD and Sandi Kaplan, MS, RD to help us better understand the common allergens found in nutrition bars.
#1 – Gluten sensitivity is among the most common food sensitivities within the US and Europe. Gluten is a protein found within grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut & triticale. Gluten free grains include rice, corn, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth & teff.
Certified Gluten Free Oats are thought to be safe for most people with gluten sensitivity, as conventional oats are usually contaminated with wheat during processing or transport. Gluten sensitivity is a permanent condition that requires a person to avoid these gluten grains without reprieve. Gluten sensitivity can lead to Celiac Disease, and has been implicated as playing a contributing role in chronic inflammation, auto-immune disease and nutrient deficiencies.
#2 – Soy Protein is a common food allergen that is on the rise is western countries. Studies show that processed soy protein, such as soy protein isolate powder, has more allergenic potential because of the concentrated nature of the product. This is a tremendously common form of protein in nutrition bars because of its low cost. Whole food forms of soy, such as whole soy beans (and to a lesser degree tempeh and tofu) are generally better tolerated by soy sensitive individuals.
*It’s important to note that soy lecithin is not a soy protein, and therefore does not carry the same allergenic potential of the soy protein isolate powders. Soy lecithin is an emulsifier that is used to make smooth textures and mixtures, commonly found in chocolate coatings & chocolate chips.
#3 – Corn is generally found in bars in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup (discussed earlier).
#4 – Casein is a chief milk protein that is occasionally found in nutrition bars. Casein is a difficult protein for some individuals to digest and occasionally can present as a sensitivity in its own right. Casein contrasts with whey, a milk protein that is far easier to digest and is inherently low in lactose.
#6 – Additives/colorings/preservatives can be allergenic in their own right. While these additives remain on the FDA’s GRAS (generally regarded as safe) list, they should be avoided by anyone wishing to make the healthiest food choices.
Check back soon to find out which sports bars are best for athletes!
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