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Does Your Energy Bar Give You Gas?

girl jogging 2
You try to do the right thing by eating something before exercising. We all know a car doesn’t run on an empty tank.  So to put “gas in your tank”, you grab an energy bar. But soon after eating it, you have gas alright – but not the kind you joggingwanted! Your stomach is soon stretching your lululemons to the max and you notice your running partners are no longer with you. Learn why some of these bars can cause gas and what you can do about it.

 

Causes of gas

There are many causes of gas, including swallowing air, IBS, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, antibiotics, laxatives, constipation and food intolerances. Guess what ingredient in energy bars may be problematic for some people – carbohydrates! Certain carbohydrates are not digested or absorbed well in the small intestines. Once the carb travels into the large intestine, bacteria that live in large intestine eat the carbohydrate and gas is formed.  Bloating, constipation and diarrhea can also occur. This mainly happens with people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, some healthy foods such as dates, are often the worst offenders. Keep in mind once you’ve eaten the culprit it, can take many hours for the symptoms to occur. This can sometimes make it difficult to assess the problematic ingredient!

Potentially gas causing ingredients

Common culprits are carbohydrates called FODMAPS. This is an acronym for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Stay tuned for a blog post on FODMAPS! The following carbohydrates are FODMAPS frequently found in energy bars Keep in mind that many of these ingredients are quite healthy – but may cause symptoms in some people. The ingredients with a star tend to cause the most problems.

*inulin or chicory root. This is a natural fiber that is added to many foods. It has health benefits – however can wreak havoc in intestines for some people!*sugar alcohols.  Common names for sugar alcohols are sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH).  These sugars are incompletely digested – hence the gas. They have fewer calories than other sugars which is why many food companies like to add them to barsfructose (includes high fructose corn syrup)prunes, dried figs
agave
fruit juice concentrate (pear, apple)
apples
honey

 

Examples
quest

Larabar is a very healthy bar and contains only natural ingredients. However some of these ingredients, namely dates in this example (Carrot Cake) may cause some problems for some people.

 

Quest bars are a favorite for many people due to the high fiber content. But this added fiber may cause intestinal upset (although the websites claims isomalto-oligosaccharide does not cause any intestinal upset whatsoever even for people with very sensitive stomachs).

 

Powerbar has been around for years and is well tolerated by most people as it’s low in fiber and doesn’t contain ingredients such as dates and honey. However it does contain added fructose which could be a problem for some people.

 

Luna Bar is a favorite bar for many people. However most of their bars contain some inulin.kashiKashi has added fructose and chicory root fiber to many of their bar (see label on the right)

 

Bottom line, energy bars can be a convenient way to get an energy boost before workout. However, if you find you are getting gassy or bloated after eating them, scrutinize the label. You may find one or more of the ingredients are culprits for you!

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MEET MARTHA

I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.

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