FutureLife have brought a new “functional food” product to the market in the form of energy bars. There are three varieties of bars which include a High Energy bar, a High Protein bar and a High Protein Lite bar. I stocked up on a few of these recently to give them a try and to pen a review. The first review of the FutureLife bars will focus on the High Energy option.
FutureLife High Energy Smart Bar
This FutureLife bar combines many of the nutritional components of their Smart Food cereal in a convenient, easy to carry, easy to eat bar. The purpose is to provide a food with “Fast Acting Energy & Electrolytes”. As we know, thanks to much research, fast acting energy in the form of carbohydrate assists athletic performance. We also know that replacing electrolytes lost during exercise are important for health and recovery. A bar that provides these has great potential for use by athletes. In addition the usual FutureLife ingredients that include a number of vitamins and minerals, the prebiotic inulin and the sterol compound Moducare are all present.
Before continuing I must highlight a major concern I have. That is that the nutritional information on the wrapper is significantly different to that on the website. I have assumed that the wrapper is the correct info for the purpose of this review and as such will state the information from the Choc-Strawberry Crunch version that I tested.
@foodforsportza Hey Adrian, we read your awesome review of our SmartBars. Wanted u to know the site nutritional info should now match packs
— FUTURELIFE® (@futurelifeza) April 2, 2014
[table caption=”Nutrition Information of Interest, per bar (40 g)” width=”450″ colwidth=”350|100″ colalign=”left|left”]
of which saturated,3.7 g
Moducare, 7500 μg
These values show a product that is well suited to use in longer duration events and training or as an option for both before and after exercise. An easily digestible, high carbohydrate, low protein, lowish fat food is suited to both before and during exercise and can be used in conjunction with another protein source for post exercise recovery goals.
The inclusion of vitamins and minerals beyond electrolytes is unlikely to have any benefit to health or performance however and possibly wasted in this product. We should be aiming to meet these micronutrient needs with our daily intake of food anyway.
The fat profile of the bar (a high percentage of saturated fat from palm oil) may be a point of caution for some with either cardiovascular or ethical concerns. A topic for another day though… This fat level is lower in the other flavour options (strawberry crunch & peanut butter crunch).
Moducare is a plant sterol and sterolin blend that has shown promise in improving certain health markers such as lowering cholesterol and enhancing immune function. There may be some benefit to the use of these plant based nutrients in overcoming immunosuppression common in stressed or over-reached athletes.
Taste and Use Test
I used the chocolate-strawberry crunch on a long trail run recently. It was an enjoyable snack and well tolerated, I could even say that I felt better after using it thanks to the carb boost. When I bought the bar, retailing at around R 9, I was a little put-off by the advertised “crunchy soya nuggets” which you will find in all the bars. However I actually found them to add a nice texture and a really positive element. The flavour mentioned was great, palatable and not overly sweet. In fact I suspect I will be using these again and I am aiming to include them in my training leading up to The Whale of Trail. These and their protein cousins (review coming soon) will be in my race pack for the ultra-distance trail race in May.
If you have had experience with any of their bars leave a comment below. For more on their Smart Food cereal read here.
Food For Sport Conclusion
- Economical energy source
- Fast acting carbohydrate (26 g per bar) for exercise
- Low in fiber, moderate fat and protein (depending on variant)
- Good tasting
- Easy to carry