Product No Case: Full Bar

All too often, a product appears that causes me to shake my head in disappointment. The latest product? Fullbar, a granola-type bar that claims to help you “feel full and satisfied on smaller amounts of food”. Developed by a bariatric surgeon (Dr. Snyder), the bar’s use is simple: consume with 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal and you’ll eat less at the actual meal! Exciting, right? Not so fast! Let’s look at the ingredients, shall we?

A cranberry almond fullbar has the following ingredients: brown rice syrup, puffed wheat, soy protein concentrate, honey, acacia gum, cranberries, sunflower seeds, agave syrup, glycerine, almonds, canola oil, salt, cinnamon, sugar, natural flavor, sunflower oil, soy lecithin.

Can you say “sugar”? Sugar by any other name is just as sweet: brown rice syrup, honey, and agave syrup are all sugar. This quick-digesting carbohydrate will provide a little energy and almost no nutrition. The bar’s five grams of protein will not keep you full for long. The other ingredients, such as puffed wheat, acacia gum, and glycerine, also do not provide adequate nutrients. And, what is “natural flavor”, anyway?

If the bar causes you to eat less at meals, you will be consuming less of the nutrients you need from “real” food. In general, real food is more satisfying that processed food. Unfortunately, fullbar fills your stomach with quick-digesting sugars and fillers, so that you will eat less real food. Thanks a lot, Dr. Snyder. I don’t know about you, but not only do I like to know what I’m eating (and “natural flavor” doesn’t cut it), I prefer real nutrition to fake “food”.

Also, as Marci wrote in a prior post, intuitive eating is flexible and allows you to enjoy a wide variety of foods without guilt or shame. Listening to your hunger cues is an important part of intuitive eating. Unfortunately, a fullbar is designed to suppress the hunger cues that help us decide when to eat and may increase feelings of shame and guilt around these natural cues. Eating a fullbar is like saying “my hunger cues are not natural and should be suppressed!”

This product has a definite health halo. The packaging is stamped with as many healthy looking words and images as it can hold, from the “100% Natural!” claim (“natural” is not a regulated FDA term and means nothing), to the mistakenly-used medical symbol surrounded by the words “Developed by a leading weight-loss surgeon”. fullbar even displays plump cranberries and healthy-looking almonds and puffed wheat on the front to complete the look.I had a chance to try a fullbar and was turned off by the chemical taste and Styrofoam-like texture. Why eat something that doesn’t taste good and offers little nutrition? Skip the fullbar and enjoy real food with real nutrients. Your body will thank you!

This post was written by Jessie Erwin, dietetic intern at the University of Connecticut. You can follower her on Twitter @JessieHealth.

As an aside, I tasted the Full Bar and have two words: flavored Styrofoam. Yuck!