I was asked a few weeks ago to test out a new-to-me product for diabetics. I was thrilled to be asked to write a review. The bars are called Extend Bar by Extend Nutrition and are easily available in your local pharmacy! They are not available in the grocery store though. But if you are diabetic, and on medication for your condition, the drugstore is a fine place to find a nutrition bar designed to help balance the blood sugar. The question I was wondering, is if it is designed for diabetics, can it also be used by athletes?
The Extend Bars are designed to help control blood sugar for 6-9 hours. This makes them great for diabetes. And as you know, I talk about balancing blood sugar all the time. That is the basis of what I do with my clients.
Healthy blood sugar levels are good for people looking to control weight and for those who exercise (aka athletes). The better you can balance blood sugar levels, the longer lasting energy you have (aka endurance).
Upon the arrival of the Extend Bars, I quickly chomped down half of the apple cinnamon bar flavor. I got Mixed berry and Yogurt & berry flavors, too. They are almost like a rice crispy type of granola bar – instead of oats, it is crispy puffed rice. It also has fewer calories than most bars out there with 150 calories per bar, and designed to balance blood sugar for 6-9 hours. Most bars make you hungry after just 2 hours. Almost like glorified candy bars with some added protein.
So how do they create a bar that lasts that long? The Extend Nutrition brand was introduced by Dr Francine Kaufman, MD – an expert in metabolism, a world-renowned endocrinologist and a published author. The Extend Bars use a uncooked corn starch. This uncooked cornstarch is considered a resistant starch because it escapes digestion in the small intestine – but it actually lasts longer than typical resistant starches.
So now I am sure you are wondering what I thought of the ingredients and what I thought about the taste. For a bar that is designed to balance blood sugar, I think the bar was too sweet. I personally want to get my clients off of sweet products and get used to either natural fruit, honey or maple syrup. I don’t like sugar alcohols due to their tendency for some people who are sensitive to cause gassiness. I am one of the sensitive ones, so I didn’t realy want to try it on a ride and get gas pains 2 hours into it. But luckily there are not artificial sweeteners! Yeah. So I was happy to read that in the ingredients. They do use less sugar alcohols (maltitol and sorbitol) than other brands and they use stevia as well. The stevia did not leave an aftertaste like other bars which is a plus! I typically stay away from stevia as it is too sweet and the aftertaste is unpleasant. So although the bars are too sweet for my liking (I don’t really like anything sweet and use half the sweeteners than most people I know), I think most others would find the bars to taste very good.
The Extend bars compared to other commercially available bars in pharmacies do look favorable in calories and in the sugar profile. They contain more protein and fiber than any other bar in its category both of which help to balance blood sugars. Both fat, protein and fiber help to slow down the absorption of sugars into the blood stream. But as you can see from the profile, the Extend Bars do not have sugars in them, and only 20 grams of carbohydrates.
Overall, for those looking for a ready-to-eat bar which helps to keep you satiated for more than 2 hours, I would recommend the Extend Bars. But try half a bar at first, as the sugar alcohols even in small quantities for some may cause gas and loose stools. This would be the only side effect that I experienced eating these bars. But with less, it might not be an issue.