HEADLINES Published May2, 2015 By Bernadette Strong

Nutrient Rich Snack Bar May Improve Health

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A special nutrient bar shows some promise in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,
(Photo : John Moore, Getty Images )

Eating a snack bar that is dense with fiber and nutrients twice a day appears able to make helpful changes to the metabolism and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a study. The participants in the study made no other changes to their diet or lifestyle.

People who were overweight or obese and who ate two of the bars per day for 8 weeks lost a small amount of weight, a bit of their waist circumference, and showed some positive changes in blood lipoprotein levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and insulin resistance, which is a key factor in type 2 diabetes. The amount of weight (about 2.4 pounds) and waist circumference (about 1.2 inches) lost was statistically significant.

The CHORI bars were also found to reduce the amount of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, which is a marker for chronic inflammation in the body. However, the biggest metabolic improvements occurred in the overweight or obese people who had low levels of chronic inflammation at the start of the study.

The study also looked at the effects of eating two bars a day for 8 weeks on people who were not overweight. Metabolic improvements were seen in these people as well.

The CHORI nutrient bar is a low-calorie, fruit-based bar that is fortified with micronutrients, fiber, and other dietary components. It was developed at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The idea is that a poorly regulated metabolism in obese people is largely due to inadequate nutrients in Western diets. Several versions of the CHORI bar were made for the studies. They contain fruit concentrates, nuts, dark chocolate, supplemental vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and glutamine. Each bar is about 110 calories.

One of the limitations of this study is that there was no control group. In addition, no effort was made to determine if participants changed their diet or exercise habits in any way during the 8 weeks of the study.

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