I’ve had box of SoLo Nutrition Bars sitting in my panty for a couple of months now.
My plan was to include them next round of head-to-head energy and protein bar reviews (which I still plan on doing), but then a week ago before my usual 5K run, I needed a quick pick-me-up. A protein shake just wasn’t cutting it, so I decided to dig in early and try out one of the SoLo Bars. Afterall, if they are good enough for Paul Tichelaar, member of the Canadian Olympic Triathalon Team, I figured they’d be fine for my measly little 3.1 mile run.
So I gave in, broke the seal on the box, and grabbed a Chocolate Charger. .
Who Is SoLo Nutrition?
SoLo Nutrition Bars are manufactured and marketed by SoLo GI Nutrition in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. According to the company’s website, SoLo GI Nutrition is planning on developing a series of low-GI specialty performance foods and snacks, with SoLo Nutrition Bars being the first of these products.
SoLo Nutrition Bars: High Performance Nutrition?
SoLo’s unique claim to fame is that unlike many energy bars, the SoLo bars are formulated to reduce glycemic load on the body. Glycemic load is a measure of how a carbohydrate raises blood glucose (blood sugar) levels.
While this might seem like a marketing hook, there are actually some very solid, practical nutritional reasons why you might want to choose a nutrition and energy bar that minimizes blood glucose spikes. While blood glucose spikes can deliver a quick burst of power, rapid increases in blood sugar levels also have a tendency to cause energy crashes later on — exactly not the thing you want to happen during any type of endurance activity, like running, biking or even working out at the gym.
The manufacturers of SoLo Energy Bars claim that their particular low-glycemic nutrition bars are formulated to have minimal impact on blood sugar levels, providing more sustained energy to power your performance, exercise or endurance activity. They call this “Controlled Energy Response”, which is really just marketese for “slow-burning carbs.”
What you need to understand is that most energy and nutrition bars are extremely high in simple sugars, which make them suitable for post-workout nutrition when insulin sensitivity is increased and the body can more effectively utilize carbohydrates.
However, the high sugar content doesn’t make them as well suited as a pre-workout snack, when complex carbohydrates are the preferred source of sustained energy. And most energy bars are also too high in simple sugars to make them a smart choice for in-between meal snacking at the office. In fact, some “nutrition” bars are so high in sugar, that you’d be just as well off to grab a Snickers bar.
SoLo claims that their nutrition bars cause blood sugar to rise more slowly than the average energy bar, and those levels are sustained for longer periods of time.
According to SoLo’s literature, the first rise in blood sugar with a SoLo Bar occurs over a period of about 60 minutes, and then begins to trail off gradually over 180 minutes. This is much less pronounced than the spike you see with high-sugar, high-glycemic energy bars, where the initial blood sugar spike takes place in a very short window — typically within 30-40 minutes of ingesting the bar, and then drops back to pre-consumption levels within 60-90 minutes.
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