I was pleased to receive a supply of Promax Lean Bars from MaxiNutrition recently and I’m keen to give you my thoughts on them, both from a nutrition point of view and as a snack food.
The ones I have are the Dark Chocolate flavour, they are also available as Chocolate Orange or Chocolate Mint – I prefer the 100% chocolate flavour hit of the Dark Chocolate ones. Whichever flavour you choose, the nutrition information is the same – so flavour choice is purely down to taste preference. The bars are supplied individually as a 60g bar or in a box of 12.
Let’s look at the nutrition first. Each bar provides 206 calories of energy. The macronutrient breakdown is that these calories are sourced 44% from protein, 36% from carbs and 20% from fat. For me, that is pretty close to ideal as I like to have a 40:40:20 ratio. Of course, that is a target ratio for me across the whole of day, not per individual food item, but it’s excellent that this one item already hits the ratios pretty much on the nail.
The 23g of protein is a combination of whey protein concentrate and milk protein isolate (MPI). Whey protein concentrate is in fact the largest single ingredient of the bar – representing 17% of the weight of the bar – and is a variant of whey from which not all fat is removed. It’s a dairy product of course, as is the less commonly seen MPI, which forms the second largest ingredient. MPI is the dried substance once lactose and minerals are removed from skimmed (de-fatted) milk. I’m not a big fan of milk in its natural state, but I don’t have a problem with MPI. That 23g is a good chunk of the daily protein amount I’ve selected to help in my muscle-build and muscle-maintenance goals.
The 18.8g of carbs represent 36% of the calories, and a surprisingly large amount of that is sugar – 10.9g which provide 21% of the total calories. The sugars come from a few sources – including actual dark chocolate, which represents 14% of the 60g bar weight. It’s interesting to see real chocolate included, as many bars have synthetic choc-like substances as their coating and flavour. That’s not to say this is a fully additive-free product – for one thing, the degree of sweetness that makes it enjoyable to taste can’t come just from that chocolate – there’s several added sweeteners in there too which promote the sweet taste while adding fewer calories than extra sugar would.
I wondered what made this bar particularly identifiable as ‘Lean’ in its title. This would be the added ingredients which aren’t often found in bars of this type – such as caffeine and L-Carnitine. The caffeine content is quite high – at 125mg its not far off the amount you get in a large can of fizzy stimulant drink. The effects of caffeine are well known – increased focus, up-regulated heartbeat, and release of bodyfat to the bloodstream for use. The amino acid derivative L-Carnitine is less well known, but is seen by many as a bodyfat metabolizer over continued use; and the 2g provided in each bar is typical of the recommended daily dose in the supplement world.
So much for the ingredients and the nutrient numbers. When do I have a bar and why?
My daily diet includes a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack – the two smallest meals of my six meals a day – the others being a larger breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a post-workout protein and natural fast carb meal. And I like those two small snacks to be around 200-250 calories, with around 20-25g of protein. So these bars fit that perfectly. I usually have one of these bars, or something similar, for one of those two snacks per day. They are also my ‘emergency’ go-to snack food if I have an irresistible craving for breaking my daily calorie target of 2250.
MaxiNutrition recommend no more than two Promax Lean bars a day, and I agree with that. I like to keep my diet varied within my target numbers, so I wouldn’t exceed that anyway.
How do I think the product’s claims stack up with my own thoughts? On the box MaxiNutrition claims the product assists in lean muscle definition, energy metabolism and alertness. From my study of it, I reckon those are very fair claims – provided the bar is taken as part of diet that focusses on clean, healthy nutrition that maintains the macronutrient ratios along with undertaking significant resistance training and cardio-based exercise.
Thanks to the guys there – check out their full range on www.MaxiNutrition.com