In this blog post I am going to review a PROMAX protein bar from MaxiNutrition. Why this product? Why a protein bar? Weekend means some extra free time to do things that I enjoy, so after food shopping I went to my local Holland & Barrett (for those of you not in the UK here is their website) and got myself a snack, in this case a protein bar. Now it’s time to get serious, read on!
I decided to go with a MaxiNutrition product for this review, because it’s one of the GSK brands. Meaning, you can have high expectations: high-quality, purity-tested product with pharma-grade ingredients.
You will find a couple of logos on the Promax protein bar packaging:
- GSK – a big pharmaceutical company that owns MaxiNutrition – website
- Human Performance Lab – GSK-funded, it aims to accelerate our understanding of six core pillars of human performance: strength, stamina, cognition, hydration, metabolism and recovery – website
- WRU – Welsh Rugby Union, MaxiNutrition provides supplements for WRU and a number of other teams
- Informed Sport – a quality assurance programme for sports nutrition products, suppliers to the sports nutrition industry, and supplement manufacturing facilities. The programme certifies that all nutritional supplements and/or ingredients that bear the Informed-Sport logo have been tested for banned substances by the world class sports anti-doping lab, LGC – website
- England Rugby – as above, MaxiNutrition are official sports nutrition suppliers to England Rugby – website
Promax protein bar highlights
Now about the product itself. The key element as highlighted on the packaging is 21g of high-quality protein to help maintain and rebuild muscle. Next to this info you will also find a ‘High in Fibre‘ note.
The recommended consumption is up to two bars a day (one post-workout and one between meals) – eat more and you may experience some unwelcome laxative effects.
I don’t see why functional food like this would require high fibre content, but at least you’ve been warned. Two bars will give you 11.8g fibre (= 2 apples + 1 banana, or 3 cups of cooked oatmeal). William Lagakos, Ph.D. in his post on BuiltLean.com wrote this about the fibre content:
“If the protein bar contains fiber, think of it as an added bonus – especially if it’s one of the prebiotic super-fibers like inulin or galactooligosaccharides. The “net carbs” in the protein bar is the total carbs minus the grams of fiber. If the amount of net carbs is less than the grams of protein, that’s a positive sign.”
In our case that would be 17.9g carbohydrates minus 5.9g fibre. That’s 12g net carbohydrates, much less than the 21g of protein in this bar, so we got the positive sign here.
I bought a ‘Blueberry Smoothie’ flavour just to be shocked later on to realise that I wrote down “nice strawberry flavour” when I was taking notes for this blog post. To me it doesn’t taste like blueberries.
It does give you a hint of strawberries though – it’s a well-balanced flavor, which isn’t too strong as in some other products, but it leaves a bit of an aftertaste after a couple of bites. To add to this, the promax protein bar is a bit chewy, so your jaws will get a workout.
Maybe I’m blind, but I found it really difficult to find information about this bar online. I don’t know if it’s just a problem with rebranding or new creations, but the promax range shows a number of different bars with up to 30g of protein and different names listed e.g. ‘Formerly Maximuscle Promax Meal Bars’ or ‘Recover + rebuild’ listed on the front.
It would be good to see some consistency, because to me it sounds like 21-30g protein can essentially do whatever you want it to do. It’s a ‘meal’, it ‘sustains and rebuilds’ or it ‘recovers and rebuilds’. Anyway, my bar says ‘sustain + rebuild’.
Two bars a day will give you 420 kcals. Unless you are trying to get bigger this amount of kcals will most likely cover your allowance for snacks for the day (or maybe even one of your meals). At the same time, there’s no need for you to eat this product if you’re not concerned about your muscle growth.
As a post-workout snack it should do the job protecting your muscles and being an alternative to a protein shake (no scoops, and no hassle – just bite and chew – just remember it’s a bit chewy so your jaws get a workout too!).
The carbohydrate content is relatively low when compared to some other bars, but the way it affects your body will depend on the type of sugar used. Check out this article from Nutrition Express to learn more about different carbohydrate ratios in bars, and scroll down for ingredients list of the Promax protein bar.
Our bar with <30g of carbohydrates would qualify as a good option for muscle maintenance during a weight loss program or diet.
No two bars are the same, depending on your goals you should look for information about:
- Number of calories, which can range from 70-400 kcals per bar.
- Protein content, with some bars having >25g per bar and some <20g
- Carbohydrates content and fat content: is it a post-workout snack or not? Will sugars used give you upset stomach?
There’s plenty of bars on the market, so find the one that meets your goals.I will finish this part of the post here and if you have any questions or comments we could discuss it in the Comments section below.
This is what we’re all about – ingredients – why are they here? Full table of ingredients with some descriptions can be found below. Now let’s focus on some highlights. Remember the ‘2 bars max per day or you may run to the toilet’ warning that I mentioned in one of the paragraphs? Well, that’s thanks to a sweetener called maltitol used in the Promax protein bar.
Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, which is a sugar substitute. It has up to 90% of the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar), but it is only half as calorific and has a lesser effect on blood glucose (read: it has some advantages). However, it is also associated with stomach and abdominal pain in adults.
As other sugar alcohols it has some laxative qualities, with some maltitol-containing products linked to excessive internal gas and flatulence.
And by the way, that ‘strawberry flavour’ could be actually from strawberries, cause as you will see below this bar contains a number of fruits, including apples, blueberries, and strawberries.
Other ingredients: apple, apple puree, blackcurrant juice, blackberry puree, strawberry, raspberry, raspberry, wheat flour, skimmed milk yoghurt powder, water, rapeseed oil, purple carrot juice.
Red Planet Nutrition (RPN) Score
At Red Planet Nutrition we focus on three core elements: weight loss/maintenance, inflammation reduction, and fatigue /energy levels. All products receive a score, 1-10 (1 – bad, 5 – neutral, 10 – great) to see how well they perform in these categories.
On top of that we check how well they would do if taken on a cruise to Mars. We assume a max recommended dose (if stated) of a product to be consumed. Read this as: if I eat this product, will it make me feel better and keep my weight in a healthy range?
I would give the Promax bar a score of ‘5’ in the weight loss/maintenance category. Why? Well, two bars would give you around 420 kcals and you could get a bowl of pasta or another decent size meal for that. The risk here would be that you could potentially eat these two bars, and as they aren’t too big or filling you would still top up with meals and overeat.
The 21g protein per bar should help you feel full, but based on my experience the sweetness of the bar actually makes you hungry straight after you eat it, so again you could be at risk of overeating. Added fiber potentially helps, so we ended up at ‘5’.
I’m on the fence about this one. On one hand you will find plenty of info saying low protein = low energy and fatigue. On the other hand excess protein can affect your kidney function and cause liver problems. Let’s put it this way – you need protein, if you don’t get enough you can experience lack of energy. What can happen? I think Matt Frazier from No Meat Athlete summarised it pretty well in his article. Check it out.
Maltitol used in Promax bar could mess up your gut flora and shift the balance towards bad bacteria, leading to leaky gut syndrome and leaving you fatigued. Eva Cwynar, M.D. author of “The Fatigue Solution: Increase Your Energy in Eight Easy Steps” highligted the importance of healthy gut flora for fatigue reduction. You can read more about this in the Forbes article here.
I will leave the score at ‘5’ for now. Less? More? Let me know in Comments below!
It’s a ‘3’ for Promax supplement. Added maltitol could make inflammation worse. Brenna Thompson, MS, RD, LD in her article at Nutritional Weight and Wellness wrote that high blood sugar elevates insulin levels causing blood vessel constriction, narrowing blood vessels and keeping inflammation in the ‘ON’ mode.
Barry Sears, PhD in the article for Daily Burn discusses insulin, omega-6 fatty acids and refined carbohydrates. Eating more processed, refined carbohydrates could put you at increased risk of inflammation. On top of that, artificial sweeteners mess up your insulin regulation (it’s as sweet as sugar, so your body gets ready for it, but it doesn’t have the same impact as sugar, so your system gets confused).
Pedro Bastos in a reply to a question at The Paleo Diet made a point about implication of BSA protein in a range of diseases:
“Finally, if you have an auto-immune disease or allergy to Beta Lacto Globulin (protein that exists in bovine milk, but nonexistent in human milk) I would stay away from whey. Whey contains not only Beta Lacto Globulin, but also Bovine Serum Albumin.
Some peptides from this protein have structural homology with peptides from our own tissues, and BSA has been implicated in Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Type 1 Diabetes.”
In a current state I would give Promax a ‘7.5’ as a food for Mars. It has a long shelf file. It provides you with protein, which your body needs to keep muscles ‘alive’. It has fiber to keep your digestive system going.
The 420 kcals could work as a meal, as lack of gravity in space most likely means that your body needs less calories per day. Even the laxative effect of maltitol wouldn’t be too bad, you could potentially use promax to regulate your bowel movement.
What do you think about Promax bar as a food for Mars? Leave a comment below.
Where to buy:
- MaxiNutrition online shop – website
- MaxiNutrition amazon shop – website
- MaxiMuscle – website
- Holland and Barrett – website
- If you want your website/shop added here send us a message
- Milk protein isolate info:
- Collagen hydrolysate info:
- Whey protein info:
- Soya lecithin info:
- Fructooligosaccharide info:
- Inverted sugar syrup info:
- Maltitol info:
- Fructose syrup info:
- Rice meal info:
- Pectin info:
- Citric acid info:
- Sugar (sucrose) info:
- Anthocyanin info:
- Flavourings info: