The FDA Revises Its “Net Carbs” Guidelines For Protein Bars


Breaking Supplement News 

Big changes are in store for makers of some of the nation’s top-selling protein bars, as the Food and Drug Administration has revised its determination of what constitutes carb content in protein bars. Specifically, the watchdog agency's reclassification of isomalto-oligosaccharides (or synthesized IMO fiber) as a carb, not an indigestible fiber, will more than likely result in significant increases in the "net carb" total listed on the ingredient panels of many bars.
Now, we know what you may be thinking. A carb is a carb is a carb, right? Well, not always. Sometimes a carb is a fiber. And sometimes that fiber is identified as an indigestible fiber, enabling some manufacturers to decrease the net carb count listed on their bar packaging. This has been the case with isomalto-oligosaccharides for quite some time, despite science going all the way back to 1992 (Kohmoto, Takanobu, et. al) disputing the degree to which these IMOs are truly indigestible.  
Unlike the natural fiber you would find in bran flakes or oatmeal, IMOs are a sweet-tasting prebiotic fiber synthesized via enzymatic reactions involving starch. And it turns out that our bodies can digest these synthesized fibers much more efficiently than was previously believed. In fact, our small intestines contain a number of specialized digestive enzymes that can digest up to 83% of IMOs as a sugar called maltose.  
If this revised estimate of the digestibility of IMOs is taken into account, then the Nutritional Facts panels of quite a few typical protein bars (I.e. many of the best-selling, inexpensive protein bar brands) are about to undergo some dramatic changes. Indeed, this is the claim of a class action lawsuit brought against one high-profile protein bar manufacturer in 2013, which claimed that, due to the underestimation of IMOs’ digestibility, their bars’ packaging “understated their calories by at least 20% and overstated their dietary fiber by 750%, based upon their testing and the generally accepted methodologies for testing fiber.”  
In effect, some fiber really isn’t fiber; it’s just hidden sugar. This is what the FDA has, at last, determined. Better late than never, we say.


IMOs and Your Dietary Regimen 

The reclassification of IMOs is critically important for fitness-conscious people who are careful about what they eat. If you’re looking to attain a healthy, active lifestyle and peak physique, you know the importance of maximizing quality protein intake while dialing down carb consumption (especially junk carbs). Typical protein bars seemed to offer the ideal “win-win” solution to this challenge: plenty of protein and relatively few net carbs. And they tasted pretty good as well! 
Setting aside the issue of the actual protein quality of common protein bars (which is pretty inferior), we now know that even the stated carb content of these bars is deceptive. Claims of low net carbs on product packaging are revealed to be largely false. Your ‘4 net carb” protein bar is, in fact, an “18 net carb” protein bar, and you’re consuming plenty of extra, hidden calories in the form of sugar, too. This is a nutritional disaster for anyone trying to achieve their fitness and physique goals by, in part, adding these lesser proteins bars to their regimen. If you’re lucky enough to find a protein bar that has a good quality source of protein, combining high amounts of fiber during the intake of this protein will only cause everything to flush through your body faster ultimately blocking the absorption of the protein. 
The Emergence of a New and  
Nutritionally Superior Protein Bar 
Fortunately, the news is not all bad when it comes to protein bars and your nutrition. Firstly, we want to emphasize that dietary fiber is essential to your health. Dietary fiber, like that found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease. The emphasis here is on natural fiber. You don’t need fiber in your protein bar, and you certainly don’t need synthesized IMO fiber. 
And what about protein bars? The news here is good as well. There are new, advanced protein bars out there that contain no excess carbs disguised as bulky nutritionally useless fiber. Our own multiple-award-winning ProSource Bar contains very little dietary fiber (just a gram or two) and about four grams of sugar. Instead of trying to fake the numbers, The ProSource Bar uses a small amount of sucralose, the only non-nutritive sweetener actually made from sugar. 


And that’s just the beginning of the story of the ProSource’s Bar’s nutritional benefits. The ProSource Bar is powered by a blend of highest-quality, ultra-hydrolyzed whey protein and cold-processed, micro-filtered whey protein isolate, protein sources chosen specifically for their complete and highly-bioavailable amino profiles.  
The ProSource Bar recipe is based on a philosophy of incorporating wholesome and nutritious ingredients. That means no IMO fibers, no sugar alcohols to cause you intestinal distress and bloating, no fillers or gelatins or indecipherable ingredients. You’ll also find no cheap whey concentrate or soy protein in ProSource Bars. Even soy lecithin (a common emulsifier in inferior protein bars) has been eliminated in favor of healthy sunflower oil. The end result of all these highest-quality proteins and nutritious ingredients? The best-tasting protein bar you’ll ever enjoy. 
Adhering to our philosophy of providing the best proteins on earth in a recipe based on wholesome ingredients hasn’t always been the easiest path to pursue, especially in a protein bar marketplace where many of our competitors are cutting costs with inferior ingredients and making false nutritional claims. But in the end, as this FDA ruling makes clear, we have been vindicated in our approach to nutrition. Enjoy every crunchy, creamy bite of your ProSource Bar secure in the knowledge that you're supporting your fitness regimen and your healthy lifestyle to the fullest.
Scientific References
Kohmoto, Takanobu, et al. “Metabolism of13C-Isomaltooligosaccharides in Healthy Men.” Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, vol. 56, no. 6, 1992, pp. 937–940., doi:10.1271/bbb.56.937.

The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.