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Balance Bars
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do the bars contain different types of sugar?
Sugars give our manufacturers the ability to control the glycemic response of the bars. Some sugars, like dextrose, enter the bloodstream rapidly. Others, such as fructose, breakdown much slower. This, along with a balanced combination of protein and fat creates a product that gradually increases blood glucose levels and maintains them for an extended period of time. The result is sustained energy and hunger satisfaction.

2. How much sugar is in the bar?
The small amount of sugar in one Balance bar is equivalent to eating either an apple or an orange (about 15 grams). Although some of the sugars are refined, they are supplemented by a combination of vitamins and minerals contained in the product.

3. Why refined sugars?
In development of the Balance bar, many standards had to be met. Three primary ones were that it had to taste good, maintain a 40-30-30 macronutrient ratio—and possess a shelf life acceptable to the grocery foods industry (including the natural foods sector). Numerous types of sweeteners were (and are continued to be) tested to determine if they meet these standards, but none, to this date, have been as effective as the current formulation.

4. With sugar as an ingredient, how can these bars be safe for diabetics and hypoglycemics?
Sugars, or carbohydrates that are high glycemic can cause unfavorable blood glucose fluctuations when eaten alone. However, when these types of carbohydrates are moderated and combined with protein and fat, it modulates the glycemic response. Glucose then enters the bloodstream at a slower rate and requires less insulin to control it.

This is the primary function of the Balance Bar. A small pilot study indicated that the composition of 40% carbohydrate and 30% each of protein and fat provides safe blood sugar response in insulin dependent (Type 1) and non-insulin dependent (Type 2) diabetics. The Balance bar is approved for advertising in all American Diabetes Association publications. HOWEVER, we recommend that all diabetics and hypoglycemics consult with their health care provider prior to using Balance products.

Furthermore, for those diabetics who still believe that sugars should be avoided, the American Diabetes Association revised their dietary recommendations in 1995. They stated that all types of sugar can be tolerated by diabetics, but stress the importance of combining them with a balanced meal to assure an agreeable glycemic response.

5. Do the bars contain lactose? Can lactose intolerant people consume the bar?
Only three flavors, Honey Peanut, Chocolate, and Chocolate Raspberry Fudge contain lactose. These flavors contain less than 1 gram per bar.

In most cases, lactose intolerant individuals can tolerate up to 5 grams of lactose without any symptoms. For a comparison, this is the amount found in 100 ml. (1/2 cup) of milk. As you can see, Honey Peanut, Chocolate, and Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Balance bars are well below the threshold for lactose intolerance. If you are lactose intolerant, please check with your physician before trying Balance bars. The information on the amount of lactose in the three flavors will help your physician determine if they are safe for you. In any case, if you are highly lactose intolerant, please avoid the lactose-containing flavors.

6. Why are the bars low in dietary fiber?
Fiber is a bulky ingredient that does not serve a purpose for the intentions of the Balance bar. A bar with significant fiber may also cause gastro-intestinal disturbance with athletes who use it during training or competition. Fiber is an important part of one’s overall diet. We recommended that you consume 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber from meals containing portions of low-glycemic fruits, vegetables and legumes.

7. Why do the bars contain palm kernel oil?
Coatings on nutrition bars require a saturated fat to remain solid at room temperature. A saturated fat has a semi-solid consistency while a mono- or poly-unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature. This point makes it clear that using unsaturated fats to create a coating would be unmanageable. We use a small amount of palm kernel oil (2gm) to create a natural, stabilized one. The uncoated flavors of Balance bars also contain minute amounts of palm kernel oil (less than 0.5gm). It acts as a protective coating around certain vitamins and minerals so they do not oxidize or give the bars a "vitamin-like" taste.

The only other alternative would be to use a coating that contains hydrogenated oils. They are derived from a chemical process that gives polyunsaturated oils a more solid texture. Hydrogenation also disfigures the natural shape of the fat molecule and creates trans-fatty acids (TFA’s). Unlike normal cis-shaped fatty acids, TFA’s are not easily metabolized by the body. They are "super-saturated" fats that layer themselves on artery walls and interfere with the duties of healthy fats (creating essential fatty acid deficiencies). In fact, a large scale clinical study was performed which showed that eating as little as 5 grams of TFA’s per day increased the risk of heart disease by 70%!

8. Isn’t palm kernel oil bad for you?
Palm kernel oil, classified as a medium chain triglyceride (as well as coconut oil), is different from other triglycerides (fats) because it is more water soluble (dissolvable), requires less bile salts for digestion and is easily absorbed through the intestinal membrane into the bloodstream. However, it is not shuttled into lipid storage (bodyfat). Palm kernel oil is actually converted into free fatty acids to serve as an energy source for ATP production. ATP is the compound that fuels all cellular activity.

Whether it is consumed in small amounts from our products, or eaten in moderation from other food sources—unhydrogenated palm kernel oil (and other tropical oils) is generally considered healthful. Contrary to current beliefs, studies on individuals in countries that consume large amounts of palm oils show less incidence of heart disease than in the United States. We feel that Palm kernel oil is the healthiest choice for Balance bars.

9. How much monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat is in the bar?
When you subtract saturated fat grams from total fat grams, the remaining content divides up fairly evenly between mono- and polyunsaturated fats. This includes all flavors of the Balance bar. For example, Cranberry contains 2.1 grams of monounsaturated fat and 2.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat.

10. What is the quality of the protein blend in the bar?
Proteins are rated by Protein Efficiency Rating (P.E.R.), or alternatively by essential amino acid scoring. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates the use of this rating. To be considered high quality, the P.E.R score must exceed 2.4, which is that of the milk protein, casein. By the P.E.R standard, milk protein can be considered high quality, but soy cannot.

The reason we use both milk and soy proteins in Balance bars is that the blend of the two results in a P.E.R. far higher than either of the proteins individually. Where milk is deficient in methionine (its limiting amino acid), soy protein possesses higher levels. Therefore, the combination of milk and soy will boost the overall P.E.R. (2.8).

Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) is a newer scale that, most nutritionists beleive, has more relevance on human nutrition than the P.E.R. It measures a protein’s individual amino acid composition. A deficiency of any one of the essential amino acids will lower the overall score of the protein. The PDCAAS scale ranges from 0.4-1.0. High quality proteins score within the range of .99-1.0. All flavors of Balance bars score within this range.

11. How much caffeine is in each bar?
The only flavor of the Balance bar that contains any traces of caffeine is Mocha. It contains about 15mg. of caffeine. A regular brewed 5oz cup of coffee has 110-150mg of caffeine.

12. Do the bars that have chocolate coatings or textures actually contain chocolate?
No. Honey Peanut, Chocolate, Mocha, Chocolate Raspberry Fudge and Almond Brownie Balance bars contain cocoa powder. It is intended to simulate the taste and consistency of chocolate, but is virtually free of theobromine, the alkaloid found in chocolate, which can cause heartburn in certain individuals.

13. Are the bars gluten-free?
None of the ingredients in Balance bars contain gluten. However, Balance bars are not a certified gluten-free product. Extremely hard to detect traces of gluten may be found in the machinery or raw materials (primarily sweeteners) used in manufacturing the product, and traces may be found in some bars.

14. Do the bars contain the flavor enhancer, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?
No. MSG is not used as an additive in any of the existing ten flavors.

15. Do the bars contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives?
Balance bars do not contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

16. All flavors of the bar have a statement on their wrappers, "May Contain Traces of Various Nuts". What does this intend?
The intention of this statement is not to claim that the product uses various nuts in its formulation. Unless appearing on the ingredients panel (i.e. peanuts or almonds), Balance bars do not contain added nuts or nut products.

"May Contain Traces of Various Nuts" simply means that under rare conditions, a small nut fragment may enter the product via the machinery or raw materials during manufacturing. The statement appears as a warning to those individuals who are highly allergic to nuts.

17. Is it safe for those that are pregnant or nursing to consume the bar?
Absolutely. However, we recommend that the Balance bars are used for snacks and not meal replacements. The bars along with nutrient-dense meals helps assure that a female gets the extra calories necessary during pregnancy or lactation. Always check with your physician to ensure you are getting balanced nutrition.

18. Can children use the bar?
Half of a Balance bar is a great snack for children. The whole bar may also be used for a meal replacement. Make sure your kids drink at least 8 oz of water with the bar.

19. Why should you drink water with the bar? What is wrong with drinking beverages such as coffee, soda or juice?
Balance bars are nutrient-dense and require liquids to efficiently breakdown and disperse the carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. Water is the best choice because it is non-caloric and will not alter the 40-30-30 composition of the bar.

Beverages such as juice and most sodas contain sugars (carbohydrates), while coffee (and sodas) contains caffeine. When combined with the bar, these ingredients stimulate the secretion of insulin. This may affect the bar’s ability to help provide hunger satisfaction for an extended period of time.

20. What is the bar’s shelf life?
Balance bars have a shelf life of six months from the date of manufacture. After this period of time, there is nothing that "spoils" or "goes bad", but they do get harder and lose some flavor. Vitamin levels in the product will also tend to decrease after expiry. Otherwise, eating a bar that has surpassed the six month shelf life will not harm you.

21. How can you tell when the bars have been manufactured?
On each Balance bar wrapper there is a manufacturers stamp that consists of four numbers and two letters (Julian dating). The first three numbers represent the day of production ( i.e. 001 = January 1st, 365 = December 31st ). The fourth number represents the year of production (i.e. 7 = 1997, 6 = 1996). The final characters, two letters, are references for the manufacturer.

22. What is the glycemic index of the bar?
The glycemic index measures the speed at which carbohydrate-dense foods convert into blood glucose. The glycemic index of a food depends on many factors: food digestibility, fiber content, sugar content, sugar type and how the food is prepared. In fact, even the most complete glycemic index tables contain a limited number of food references. There are two scales - one which uses white bread as the base point, and another which uses glucose. Always be sure to check which scale is being referred to.

The Balance bar is a multiple-ingredient food product (contains carbohydrate, protein, and fat), thus it is not included in the glycemic index. Remember, the glycemic index measures individual (mostly carbohydrate dense) food items.

23. Are Balance bars "Zone" favorable?
Yes. If you are following Barry Sears’s Zone diet, one bar is the equivalent to two blocks each of carbohydrate, protein and fat. In his block system, macronutrients are broken down as follows: One carbohydrate block equals 9 grams of carbohydrate, one protein block equals 7 grams of protein and 1.5 grams of fat, and one fat block equals 1.5 grams of fat. A common error is made by individuals who claim the bar is too low in fat. They simply overlook (or are unaware of) the 1.5 grams of fat per block of protein.

24. Are Balance bars truly within a 40-30-30 ratio?
Absolutely. Balance bars are carefully manufactured to FDA standards. Each newly manufactured lot of bars is subjected to laboratory testing to, among other things, assure integrity of the 40-30-30 ratio.

It is important to note that 40-30-30 is based on percentage of calories and not grams. Each of the three macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat) must first be converted in to calories. Secondly, the calories from each are divided in to the total calories of the bar. The sum will be 40% carbohydrate and 30% each of protein and fat.

The preceding information on Balance Nutritional Products should not serve as medical advice. Before using them, for any purpose, an individual should always consult with their physician.

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