Only a little – and for the better. We have reduced the amount of cane sugar and carob in the recipes, and by swapping the honey for rice syrup made every 9BAR (except Organic) vegan friendly, and with less sweetness, the fantastic flavour of seeds can shine through even more in every bar.
These are the things most people want to know about 9bar
Have the recipes changed with the new look?
Aren’t the bars still high in sugar though?
The total sugar stated on the nutritional label can be confusing because this includes the integral sugar found naturally in 9BARS plant based ingredients, mainly seeds and a bit of carob.
We aim to only use as much sugar and rice syrup as needed to properly bind the bar together, with the sugars providing the first fix of energy before the body breaks down the complex nutrition contained in the seeds (and nuts or fruits where relevant) and slow release the rest of the natural energy and nutrients into the body.
Furthermore from a health point of view there are many other nutrients in these ingredients that provide a great deal of health benefits so whatever smaller amount of added sugar is in a 9BAR we feel this is greatly out weighted by the majority of essential nutrients found in its main natural ingredients and the great taste it offers.
9BAR is after all a sweet bar and we also know it is a much healthier option to many other sweet snack foods on the market. The sugar in a 9BAR plays a very important role as a binder and we have found from our own trials that it falls apart if removed.
Sugar can generate health problems but only if it is eaten in excess or in an imbalanced diet. Natural sugar is found in the majority of foods, especially fruit in anything from trace to larger amounts. There is a greater concern if more of the total sugar in a product is added as opposed to natural although sugar content should always be a consideration as part of a balanced diet. This is why we always encourage people to follow a recommended healthy balanced diet and see no reason why 9BAR cannot be a part of that.
How much is also dependent on what sort of lifestyle you lead. We cannot make a product that suits everyone’s lifestyle and we have found 9BAR is ideal for people with active lives. It is an energy bar which is very popular with athletes and active people because of its nutritional makeup.
We accept 9BAR cannot be nutritionally perfect but compared to many sweet snack bars it is much more nutritious. For us it is all about making a sweet natural bar that retains the nutrition of the core ingredient. 9BAR also provides an alternative for those who have to follow a specific free from diet such as gluten. If you like the taste then just enjoy as we recommend, in moderation.
Why do you use palm oil in 9bars and is it sustainable?
We are fully aware of the issues associated with the sourcing of palm oil, and we have taken this into account when sourcing our ingredients, in particularly the vegetable oils and fats of palm origin.
Unfortunately, at this moment in time, replacing palm oil is not the right solution to address the environmental and social problems associated with oil palm cultivation for two reasons. Firstly, replacing palm oil with other types of vegetable oil would mean that much larger amounts of land would need to be used, since palm trees produce 4-10 times more oil than other crops per unit of cultivated land. This would result in serious environmental damage, with the risk that more forests would need to be converted into agricultural land. Secondly, in producing countries, millions of farmers and their families work in the palm oil sector. Palm oil plays an important role in the reduction of poverty in these areas. Stopping the production of palm oil altogether would create significant problems for these people.
At the present time, the best and most sustainable solution is to switch to sustainable palm oil rather than to other vegetable oils. All the palm oil we use is sustainably sourced and we continue to put plans in place to ensure we are fully accredited as a business.
Isn’t there still a lot of fat in a 9BAR?
9BAR is made predominately with seeds and it’s these that give 9BAR most of its fat content. Seeds have a lower percentage of saturated fat and much higher percentage of unsaturated. For example, sunflower seeds (which form the base of every 9BAR) have a fat content that is around 90% unsaturated. On average, the ratio of good fat to bad fat in a 9BAR is typically 4:1 and 9BAR can actually claim High in Unsaturated Fat on all Original Lift and Carob Hit bars.
It is well established that seeds have a high nutritional density including a high level of essential fatty acids. EFAs are commonly referred to as “good” fats which include EFAs such as omega 3. As with most fat containing foods there will be a range of both unsaturated and saturated but in seeds a much lower percentage of the fat is saturated compared to a higher percentage of unsaturated.
With fat it’s the “good/bad” ratio that’s important as the effect of the good can counterbalance the negative influence of the bad. Saturated fat is a real problem when foods like fried foods have a high ratio of unhealthy fats and very little other nutritional value. With seeds we feel the nutritional pluses more than outweigh the negatives. There is no such thing as the perfect nutritional food but compared to many other snack bars 9BAR is nutritionally denser.
We do stress that 9BAR should be eaten as part of a balanced diet and the FSA do accept a percentage of saturated fat as part of that balanced diet (10g per day). 9BAR is really seen as a treat especially for those with specific allergies but it is also very popular with endurance athletes who need higher levels of energy. Generally as part of a balanced diet we see no reason why a 9BAR can’t be a tasty part of it.
Is a 9bar high in calories?
9BAR is an energy bar (1 unit of energy = 1 calorie) embracing all the nutritional goodness of seeds which are also naturally high in calories. It is now understood that the most effective way of managing weight is to not rely on calorie counting in isolation but more to consider eating healthy nutritionally dense foods – i.e. foods that have a naturally high nutritional value (e.g. nuts, seeds, veg, fruit and pulses).
Seeds are generally a nutritionally dense food as they have a high nutritional value in a very small package. Compare it with something like a doughnut which may have a similar calorific value per 100g to seeds but is much more likely to have a very low nutritional value in a processed state.
This is commonly referred to as “empty calories,” calories which aside from an energy content have little other nutritional value. Nutritionally dense calories naturally contain both energy and a wider range of valuable nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and essential amino acids. Nutritionally dense foods are also more likely to keep you fuller for longer making a diet more sustainable and enjoyable.
9BAR is not designed or promoted as a slimming bar our key markets are for allergy sufferers who can find it hard to find a delicious treat and athletes and active people who usually need a higher calorie intake.
Eating one 9BAR will not pile on the pounds, that is much more to do with your overall diet and we always recommend following a recommended healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle which a 9BAR can be included as part of that.
Have any changes been made to the nutrition in 9BAR?
With the changes we have made to the recipes, on average we have reduced the total sugar content by 18% and the saturated fat by 23%, whilst at the same time increasing the fibre content by 62% which means that every single 9BAR is now High in Fibre.
Which products are not suitable for Vegans
- Organic 9Bar
Is 9bar ok for diabetics?
9BARS do contain sugar so they are not specifically advisable for diabetics. However as our scientific understanding of diabetes has improved it has moved away from the traditional no sugar and now promotes an overall healthy diet, specifically managing blood sugar levels.
The advice from the DOH states “It is not true that if you have diabetes you will need to eat a special diet. Eat a healthy diet that is high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in fat, salt and sugar.”
Eating the right type of carbohydrate is one of the main dietary considerations as it controls blood sugar levels. This means limiting your intake of foods with a high Glycaemic Index (GI) and replacing with lower, more regulating GI foods. Although 9BARS contain sugar the main ingredient is seeds which is low GI. Currently we are putting our bars through the GI testing process so we will have an accurate GI value very soon.
Studies also show different types of fat influence diabetes as essential fatty acids especially omega 3 can be beneficial. Type II is also greatly influenced by weight so it is important to achieve and maintain a balanced weight through a balanced calorific intake and exercise.
So although 9BARS are not necessarily suitable for diabetics they are perfectly acceptable as part of a healthy balanced diet and could be a healthier option compared to other snacks.
As with any health condition diabetics should always consult with a health professional before they consider any dietary changes and carry their instruction out under the recommended level of supervision and ongoing assessment.