FullBar: A Weight Loss Strategy That’s Full of Nonsense

August 21st, 2009

FullBarPart of the reason why people have so much trouble eating well, losing weight, and being healthy is the marketing of products that gives them false hope of a quick and easy solution. FullBar is such a product, and unfortunately, it steers people away from the truth about nutrition, health, and weight loss.

One of the rare and recent occasions that I was watching television, I saw a commercial for FullBar and was inspired by the misleading marketing to write about it.

What is FullBar?

As described by Dr. Michael Snyder in the video below, FullBar is a snack that you consume with water prior to a meal to promote a quicker feeling of fullness, and in turn, decrease how much food you eat. Based on the principles of radical weight loss surgery, it’s designed to forcefully reduce the amount of food a person eats. What the video doesn’t explain is why this is an extremely shortsighted approach to weight loss and health.

Meal Satisfaction is Not About Volume

We’ve all experienced the uncomfortable feeling associated with overeating and it’s almost always a result of eating unhealthy food. A section of the brain called the appestat is believed to control appetite through the monitored intake of nutrients, and according to this theory, a sufficient amount of nutritious food will naturally shut off your appetite. If there’s not an adequate amount of nutrition in your food, you’ll stay hungry, and this is why we’re much more likely to overeat processed foods that are lacking in nutrition. If you don’t believe this, try to recall the last time you stuffed yourself with fruit and vegetables to the point of feeling bloated? I bet it never happened!

In addition to the lack of nutrition that can promote overeating, some people are also driven to overeat because of psychological issues. In either case, the mere sensation of being full is clearly not always enough to prevent people from eating too much food.

The Flawed Approach of Bariatric Surgery

The FullBar approach is based on the principles of bariatric surgery and is even promoted as such. Bariatric surgery works by reducing the size of the stomach, and in some cases, also bypassing a portion of the intestines. The idea is that a smaller stomach will force people to eat less and that bypassing a portion of the intestines will reduce fat absorption, and in turn, reduce weight gain.

Digestion is one of the most important and foundational factors for good health, and as such, altering the body’s natural digestion mechanism is not a good idea. Because bariatric surgery interferes with digestion and absorption, it can cause nutrient deficiencies which can lead to poor health and disease.

Another major shortcoming of bariatric surgery is that it doesn’t change a person’s inclination to overeat. Instead, it only makes the consequences of overeating more dangerous and painful. Many people continue to overeat after having bariatric surgery, and as a result, are likely to experience pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and food may even get stuck in the upper digestive tract. Despite all of this, it’s highly possible for people to not lose much weight, or even gain wait, after having bariatric surgery.

Is FullBar Any Better?

Although FullBar is certainly a better choice than surgery, it still neglects the foundational principles of good nutrition. Optimal health and healthy weight loss are supported by a diet consisting of natural whole foods such as meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables. It’s rare for someone to follow such a diet and be overweight. However, as you can tell by simply observing how many people are overweight, it’s also rare for people to actually follow this type of diet.

Filling up on water and a FullBar prior to a meal has the effect of diluting stomach acid which can impair digestion. Furthermore, if the combined volume of water and a FullBar actually do reduce food consumption, then they are displacing the nutrients from other foods that would normally be consumed. All of this has the potential to produce nutrient deficiencies which can promote poor health and disease.

What’s in a FullBar?

Since the FullBar program requires that you rely on two FullBars per day as part of your nutritional intake, let’s take a closer look at what you’d be eating. I chose to use the ingredients of the Cranberry Almond bar as this appears to be the healthiest of the three flavors.

Brown Rice Syrup, Puffed Wheat Cereal (Durum Wheat, Ferric Orthophosphate, Niacinamide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin), Soy Protein Concentrate, Honey, Diced Sweetened Dried Cranberries (Cranberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Gum Arabic, Sunflower Seeds, Glycerin, Agave Syrup, Roasted Diced Almonds, Canola Oil, Salt, Cinnamon, Natural Flavors.

Durum Wheat: Durum wheat is a grain that’s particularly high in gluten. This is worthy of consideration because the incidence of gluten sensitivity is more common than most people realize. Furthermore, this wheat isn’t listed as being whole which means it’s likely to be a source of refined carbohydrates which can be just as bad as sugar in terms of causing blood sugar fluctuation. Finally, all grains should be thoroughly soaked before consumption to break down the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which respectively interfere with mineral absorption and protein digestion. It’s highly unlikely that the grains used in FullBar are soaked prior to being used.

Soy Protein Concentrate: Despite being marketed as a health food, soy is an extremely cheap ingredient that’s very common in processed foods and is regarded by many health experts as anything but healthy. Soy contains phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen in the human body, contains a high concentration of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that interfere with digestion and can’t be sufficiently broken down through soaking, can impair thyroid function, and is likely to be genetically modified and heavily contaminated with pesticide residues.

For more information on soy, I recommend reading The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla Daniel or visiting the Soy Alert section of the Weston A Price Foundation’s website.

Diced Sweetened Dried Cranberries: Cranberries should be one of the healthiest ingredients in FullBar, but in this case, they’re processed with added sugar and sunflower oil. The added sugar is bad enough without the addition of sunflower oil. As most people know, the intake of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids should be roughly equivalent. Despite this, the typical modern diet is extremely imbalanced in this regard with a much higher intake of omega-6 fatty acids and sunflower oil is quite high in the omega-6 linoleic fatty acid. This imbalance can promote cancer, heart disease, depression, and number of other issues.

Roasted Diced Almonds: Almonds are the other ingredient that give this flavor of FullBar a healthy image. However, because the almonds are roasted, their enzymes are likely to be destroyed and their fats likely to be denatured. The result is almonds that are harder to digest and contain potentially harmful fats which means they aren’t healthy at all.

Canola Oil: Although canola oil is widely recognized as healthy, there’s good reason to suspect otherwise. Canola is a hybridization of the toxic rape seed and is often promoted as healthy because of it’s low saturated fat content and it’s high omega-3 fatty acid content. This is misleading because the idea that saturated fat causes heart disease is a myth and the omega-3 fatty acids in canola oil are often converted into trans fat during processing which actually can cause heart disease as well as other problems. For more information on canola oil, check out The Great Con-ola by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Salt: Although I consider natural sea salt to be healthy and use it in my diet, refined table salt, which is most likely what’s in the FullBar, is a completely different story. It’s often associated with high blood pressure and heart disease and commonly contains additives that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, kidney malfunction, poor digestion, and water retention. In addition, it’s stripped of the many beneficial minerals and trace elements found in natural sea salt.

Agave Syrup: Agave nectar, or in this case syrup, has become a popular sweetener that is marketed as natural and safe for people who are susceptible to blood sugar problems. Although agave nectar originates from a natural source, the agave plant, it’s chemically processed and the high fructose content that results is typically converted into fat by the liver. This is ironic considering that FullBar is designed to promote weight loss.

Sweet Deception

Even if FullBar really does promote weight loss, it clearly has no place in a truly nutritious and healthy diet.

For a diet bar to be financially successful, it has to taste good, and to taste good by modern standards, it must contain sugar. This is a predicament because people recognize sugar as an unhealthy ingredient, and it’s also a significant cause of weight gain which is the very thing that FullBar is aimed at reversing. A FullBar contains about 30 grams of carbohydrates, 10 of which are sugar. Although sugar is not so obvious in the ingredients, it’s subtly disguised through other ingredients such as brown rice syrup, honey, and agave syrup.

30 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of sugar isn’t awful, but it’s not great either. Considering that you’re supposed to eat two FullBars per day, that totals to 60 grams of carbohydrates and doesn’t leave much room for the consumption of carbohydrates from other sources, especially for someone who’s trying to lose weight. As a result, most people are still likely to consume too much carbohydrate even with the supposed appetite suppressing action of FullBar. Furthermore, many people are literally addicted to carbohydrates and the sensation of being full is unlikely to stop them from getting their fix.

How to Lose Weight the Healthy Way

The only healthy way to lose weight is by embracing a healthy lifestyle as the foundation of your efforts. Although it’s possible to gain weight by eating too much fat, most people gain weight from eating too much carbohydrate. Furthermore, fat is an essential part of a nutritious diet and the fear that many people have of it is unhealthy.

Although I don’t recommend a diet that is excessively low in carbohydrates, the simplest way to lose weight is to eliminate foods containing sugar or refined carbohydrates and keep your carbohydrate intake fairly low. 100 grams per day is a good guideline to start with and you can adjust it as you see necessary based on your results and how you feel. The easiest way to avoid foods that contribute to weight gain is to focus on eating only natural whole foods such as meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables which are the healthy foods you should be eating anyway.

Another important aspect of losing weight is minimizing both your physical and mental stress to reduce excessive release of cortisol and insulin which promote fat storage.

To learn more about the basic healthy lifestyle habits that will support your weight loss efforts, sign up for my free course, 7 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Happier, and Healthier You!

This article is part of Fight Back Fridays.

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