Deciding which bar to fuel you through a long day can be challenging as there are so many on the market to choose from! I recently sat down with my colleagues at Sports Medicine Weekly, Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole, for a quick way to break down how to choose the best bar for you.

Q: What do you look for in a nutrition bar?

A: Look for recognizable real food ingredients. This includes food such as nuts, seeds, nut butters, quality protein, oats, whole grains, dried fruit, greens, chia, flaxseed, maca, spirulina, and goji berries. Aim for bars that are sweetened with dried cherries or dates instead of sugar and artificial sweeteners which is real food and also add fiber.

Look for bars high in protein and fiber and low in sugar. When a bar reads low in sugar, you’ll want to read the label and see what they sweeten it with; for example, sugar alcohols such as erythritol and mannitol can be safe but wreak havoc on people?s digestive tract, especially mine!

Oats are a healthy, inexpensive filler which is why some bars sell for a lower price at around $1.99 and my real food ?Transformation Bar sell for over $4. Choose a bar that?s nutrient-dense with healthy fats that will satiate you for hours and give you the health benefits your body needs and deserves. Look for a quality protein source from non-GMO rice, hemp or pea protein, or grass-fed organic whey protein devoid of rBGH growth hormones. I look for bars in the refrigerated section that are preserved for freshness. I don?t want to eat a bar with a 2-year shelf life! How can that be real food?

Q: What should I avoid?

A: Avoid artificial sweeteners. This includes aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame K (or ace K). Stevia and monk fruit are a much safer non-caloric sweeteners. Avoid isolated soy protein which is chemically processed and genetically engineered. Isolated soy protein can cause gastric upset, as well. Whole food forms of soy can be healthy.

Whey from healthy cows are a great source of protein, if you can tolerate the casein, which is the protein found in dairy. Know your sources. Buy organic or non-GMO whenever you can.

Q: We love your Transformation Superfood Bars and they often get Dr. Cole through several long surgeries. What makes your bars different from others on the market?

A: Karen?s Transformation Superfood bars contain 270 calories for a 60 gram, super heavy bar. ?Most other bars are smaller at 45 grams in weight. Transformation bars contain 11 grams of organic rice protein, 12 grams of fiber, and only 5 grams of sugar from the dried cherries. YUM! Transformation bars are non-GMO, made with cashew butter, almonds, cherries, rice protein, 100% unsweetened raw cacao chunks (that taste like chocolate chips), plus superfoods such as flaxseed, spiralina, maca, and greens.

They are vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free. They make a great pre or post workout energizer. They get me through my 3-hour bike rides, and they have enough protein and healthy carbs to be a recovery snack after a great workout! I take them with me when I travel and make a great mini-meal on an airplane or anytime I need some fuel. They are best kept refrigerated but are packaged and can stay out of the fridge at above 72 degrees until the expiration date set on each bar. If you refrigerate or freeze them, they will last even longer!

Q: Where can we get them?

A: You can find the KMHC Transformation Bars on Amazon, at my MCTLean website, and locally in Chicago at East Bank Club. I have over 450 recipes on my website! Check out Client Favorites on my recipes page and you can make your own delicious, nutrient-dense bars!

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