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Diabetes Diet

Eating Solo

You can eat your Solo energy bars alone. They are, after all, intended for low-glycemic nutrition when you are between meals and not sitting down with other people.

But don’t be surprised if these energy bars draw a crowd. They are that healthy and they taste that good.

Solo bars are probably the lowest glycemic that you can get. These are also the first energy bars that proudly state their glycemic index right on the wrappers.

The four flavors have GIs from 22 to 28. That’s on the scale where glucose equals 100.

Ever more impressive is how the GIs of Solo bars compare with that of other energy bars. Of all those tested, one flavor made by PR Nutrition is close to that of the Solo bars with a GI value of 39.

But another PR Nutrition bar has a GI of 81, and the biggest names in this business – Power Bars, Clif Bars, and Balance Bars – have bars with GIs of 83, 101, and 56 respectively, according to the definitive glycemic index table.

The Glycemic Index Laboratories in Toronto, Canada, tested the Solo bars. “The Solo bars compare very favorably” with the values of other bars reported in the literature, Alexandra Jenkins, the director of research, told me.

Energy bars are not a lonely little business. In my local Whole Foods Market I counted 24 brands. Around the country more than 70 brands sell energy bars for a total of more than $300 million annually, according to industry estimates.

Many other so-called energy bars are in fact nothing more than candy bars with a hot new marketing name. Solo bars are one of the few brands that meet or exceed the Prevention Magazine criteria for number of calories and grams of sugar and fiber.

I can’t fault the ingredients in Solo bars. For sweeteners they use fruit purees, brown rice syrup, honey, and fructose – and none of the high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols, and aspartame prevalent in most bars. They have no trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils.

These energy bars certainly won’t spike the blood glucose of people with diabetes. But no one would be eating them unless they also liked the taste.

“Tastes rules,” Saul Katz, the president of Solo GI Nutrition in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, told me. “Our first bars didn’t taste so good. We knew that they had to taste delicious and indulgent. We wanted to take out the between meal problem and fix it and make it healthy.”

My evaluation is that they have completely succeeded. I like each of the four flavors of Solo bars – Peanut Power, Chocolate Charger, Berry Bliss, and Mint Mania. (This company appears to be as addicted to alliteration as I am.)

My favorite flavor is the Peanut Power bar, which has a most pleasant light crunch. The Chocolate Charger is almost as tasty.

Solo bars are available in the leading natural food markets, Whole Foods and Wild Oats. Kroger and GNC also carry them.

Saul tells me that Solo bars are the first products that his company developed under its own name after developing products for several large companies for the past 15 years. He says that he has several other products in the works. If they are anywhere near as good as Solo bars, I will be reporting on them later this year.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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