This meal replacement bar comes in nice red package boasting about all of the protein it contains. The serving size is 1 bar but how much fat, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol is really in it?
How many grams of fat are in this particular meal replacement bar?
6g fat per serving X 9 calories per gram = 54 calories from fat (they round down to 50).
What is the percentage of calories from fat in this meal replacement bar?
Now in order to determine the % of fat in this meal replacement bar we need to divide the number of calories from fat (50) by the total number of calories per serving (220). 50/220 = .227 x 100 = 23%.
23% of this product is fat.
The goal of a whole foods plant-based diet is to consume predominantly whole plant-based foods as well as consuming approximately 15% of calories or less from fat, while also avoiding animal based foods. In august 2010, after years of peer reviewed published scientific literature, two programs proven to have beneficial effects on stopping the progression and even reversing the progression of heart disease, both the Pritikin program and Ornish diets, consisting of 10 – 15% of calories from fat or less, are now covered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Horrigan, 2010, p. 346).
How many grams of saturated fat are in this meal replacement bar?
2.5g of fat in this meal replacement bar are saturated fat. 2.5g saturated fat X 9 calories = 22.5 calories saturated fat/80 total calories from fat = .28 X 100 = 28%.
28% of the fat in this meal replacement bar is saturated fat.
The American Heart Association ([AHA], 2016a) recommends that individuals consume no more than 5 to 6% of their daily calories from saturated fat and that individual consume no more than 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat a day (para. 14). According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2015) increased consumption of saturated fat is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (p. 27). According to the American Heart Association (2016, b) “your liver produces more cholesterol when you eat a diet high in saturated and trans fat”. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) (2002), recognizes that “among the fatty acids that make up the total fat in the diet, only saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids raise LDL cholesterol levels” (p.3263).
Evidence suggests that as the level of saturated fat intake increases so does the level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration in the blood, thus increasing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2002, p. 542). According to the IOM (2002) an upper limit is not set “for saturated fatty acids because any incremental increase in saturated fatty acid intake increases CHD risk” (p. 422). However, according to the IOM (2002) it is nearly impossible to consume a diet devoid of saturated fat due to a mixture of fatty acids however “it is possible to have a diet low in saturated fatty acids” (pp. 422-423).
How many grams of trans fat are in this meal replacement bar?
Trans Fats— are not listed because the meal replacement bar does not contains more than .5g of trans fat and therefore does not need to be labeled as containing trans fat. This product does not contain animal products however it does contain a small amount of oil which means it may contain a small amount of trans fat.
Trans Fats— while this labels lists it at 0g there is a loophole in the Code of Federal Regulations and Food and Drug Administrations (2017) labeling guidelines which state that if the product contains less than .5g trans fat per serving it does not need to be included on the label (para. 34). According to the FDA (2015) and the Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Susan Mayne, Ph.D., trans fats are found naturally in all animal foods but can also be found in fully and partially hydrogenated oils as well as other edible oils (para. 6).
Evidence suggests that as the level of trans fat intake increases so does the level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration in the blood, thus increasing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (IOM, 2002, p. 423). According to the IOM (2002) an upper limit “is not set for trans fatty acids because any incremental increase in trans fatty acid intake increases CHD risk” (p. 423). However, according to the IOM (2002) “trans fatty acids are unavoidable in ordinary, nonvegan diets, consuming 0 percent of energy would require significant changes in patterns of dietary intake (p. 423).
How many milligrams of cholesterol are contained within this meal replacement bar?
0mg of cholesterol in this meal replacement bar. According to the HHS and USDA (2015) only animal products contain dietary cholesterol (p.90).
Evidence suggests that as the level of cholesterol intake increases so does the level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration in the blood, thus increasing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (IOM, 2002, p. 542). According to the IOM (2002) “a tolerable upper intake level is not set for cholesterol because any incremental increase in cholesterol intake increases CHD risk (p. 542).
How many grams of carbohydrate are in this meal replacement bar?
32g of carbohydrate.
How many grams of sugar are in this meal replacement bar?
13g of sugar.
According to the HHS and USDA (2015) Americans should consume less than 10% of calories from added sugar (p. xiii). In a 2,000 or 2,400 calorie diet that means only 200 or 240 calories in the diet should come from added sugar.
How many grams of fiber are in this meal replacement bar?
4g of fiber.
According to the IOM (2002) “an adequate intake (AI) for Total Fiber in Foods is set at 38 and 25 g/d for young men and women, respectively, based on the intake level observed to protect against coronary heart disease” (p. 339).
How many milligrams of sodium are in this meal replacement bar?
170mg of sodium.
According to the American Heart Association ([AHA], 2016) Americans should consume “no more than 2,300 miligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults” (para. 1). Therefore if our diet should contain approximately 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day, that means for every 100 calories consumed, 100mg of sodium can be consumed. Which equals the approximate 1 to 1 ratio of sodium to calories. The lower recommendation of 1,500 is an ideal goal. According to the AHA “1 teaspoon salt = 2,300mg” (para. 6). Also, the AHA (2016) recognizes that the human body needs no more than 500mg of salt per day to function properly (para. 15).
Overview of the meal replacement bar
This meal replacement bar contains 0mg of cholesterol, 2.5g of saturated fat, and is labeled as having 0g trans fat which means it contains less than .5g per serving. There are 13g of sugar, 4g of fiber and 170mg of sodium. Keep in mind that any incremental increase above zero in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the IOM (2002), “the report doesn’t set maximum levels for saturated fat, cholesterol, or trans fatty acids, as increased risk exists at levels above zero, however the recommendation is to eat as little as possible while consuming a diet adequate in important other essential nutrients” (para. 8).
Skip these meal replacement bars and find healthy alternatives like fresh cut fruits and vegetables, or even seasoned roasted chickpeas.
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