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"Energy" bars...

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So, is there anyone on this list (I mean, in this club) who can explain to me the significance of sugar alcohol a propos of nutrition? (No, I'm not looking for a real chemistry lesson).

The new PowerBar Protein Plus with 2g of impact carbs (Wow! Should I be impressed?) has 27g of sugar alcohol in it. What are the implications? One of my co-workers thought it noteworthy and suspect, for some reason.

There is one person here, at least, who studied nutrition and who is renowned for her cooking; but even this may be outside of her sphere?

By the way, there online comparisons of energy bars to be found; but they tend to be rather inconclusive, in my opinion. The array of these bars in the stores is rather daunting, isn't it? Views?

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Sugar alcohols are sweeteners that are absorbed slower than sugars and therefore can be considered lower in carbohydrates. They also do not contribute to tooth decay. They are purported to be better for diabetics than sugar but results are inconclusive. Because they are absorbed slower they linger in the system longer and can cause bloating and even a laxative effect.

For some links



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The laxative effect pointed out by Bob could be a problem when paddling.

"Consumption of 30 to 50 grams of sorbitol or xylitol, or 20 grams of mannitol, causes diarrhea in most people."

After just two bars you might be in a hurry to get that drysuit off... :-(

Source: http://www.lowcarbluxury.com/sugaralcohols.html

Mikael and Lynn

Necky Amaruk

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i agree with you. there is a w-i-d-e variety from which to choose and they all shoulder one another with bright shiny wrappers in attempts to sway you and gain your calorie starved dollar.

given the number of products vying for my attention i have come up with not one but 2 fool proof (and with me, this is important, no?) methods of selecting the proper bar.

methodology # 1

just buy luna bars. they are yummy. marketed to women on the wrapper (which is indeed bright and shiny) but they taste ^%$#$ great so i am willing to suffer the slings and arrows of the narrow minded if it means i get to eat something that is purported to be key lime pie in an energy bar and then BY GOD...have it actually be reminiscent of key lime pie!...it's a miracle!...in a bar!

methodology # 2

forget aforementioned bar and then just eat whatever suze has packed.

this results in my cupboards being chock full of tastey, brightly colored morsels....it's like a little fiesta in there. very chearful and always helps if you are just looking for a bit of snackage while watching everybody loves raymond.

anyways, i just go with what tastes good. but i may be doing it wrong....

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>Sugar alcohols are sweeteners that are absorbed slower than

>sugars and therefore can be considered lower in



Polyols (sugar alcohols) are a food bulking agent, they have a lower caloric content than glucose but ARE carbohydrates (the food industry will tell you otherwise as they jump on the Atkin's band-wagon).

It's true they are absorbed more slowly and thus may have a lower glycemic index. However, that which isn't absorbed obviously provides no energy, increases the osmolarity of the gut contents causing water to stay there or acutally be pulled back in to the gut (diarrhea), and is an excellent food source for bacteria (hence the gas).

Sugar alcohol accumulation may contribute to hypergalactosemia. Those with iffy kidneys may be better off with a banana.

Christopher: stick with Kendal Mint Cake


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Ahem, Chrisopher Dear,

I shall attempt to lay this discussion to rest (and myself in the deal after the solution).

Those of us blessed with common sense...(stretch, cough) know that the only tried and true way to get "sugar alcohol" is in a nice, tall, cold Margarita sans salt. There I've said it and I'm glad. Here's the thing. We DON'T drink them when we paddle of course...well I speak for myself. However, I've been telling anyone who would listen that AFTER paddling (and anytime really) margaritas are a good source of Vitamin C too(the limes - you don't see me with scurvy or colds do you?) The sugar thing can be found in that highly maligned high fructose corn syrup in the mixer.

A margarita can truly be considered the best of both worlds. It sure beats the hell out of eating a dried out, cardboard tasting, foil wrapped "thing". I also recommend a nice Mexican meal as a garnish (also after paddling...the "gas" thing from the beans). Oh yeah, and you don't have to worry about the "D" word unless you consume too many margaritas. I only heard of course...

Nutrionally and happily yours,


P.S. Mr. Binks you are quite right about the cake.

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Binky, since you've mentioned fruits I'm obliged to recommend fresh or dried fruit and nuts as superior sources for that which is sought in the aformentioned "cardboard tasting" vessels. I'd also note that the shiny wrappers found on fruit that are not edible are, however, biodegradable. Of course some of us are allergic to nuts, which is why we prefer to keep them far away.

P.S. - Dee is my wife's name.

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I used to use a lot of carb-heavy energy bars for hiking and never really felt any more benefit from them energywise than any other food. A couple of years ago I started using protein bars (EAS Myoplex Delux is my favorite -- Smores flavor), I immediately noticed that I felt better for a lot longer with protein bars than with carb bars.

I don't get a lot of advantage (to the contrary) from high carb products, never have. Experiment with a high protein bar or two some time and see how it works for you.

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