Creating the Essentials Bar: Science, Recipe & Ingredients
8 min read
What you'll LEARN:
- Why most protein bars are just candy bars in disguise.
- Why your energy bars shouldn't (always) be loaded with carbs.
- Why the Essentials Bar doesn't have a complete protein profile (and why that's a good thing).
- The fat that's a cheat code for boosting your brain function.
- How the Essentials Bar demolishes hunger with a little know extract commonly used by farmers in South India. (We're the only bar in the world that uses a unheard of seed extract.)
- Why our suppliers left us no choice BUT to provide 25% of your daily micronutrient needs.
Former NFL fullback — turned founder — shares why he believes this nutrition bar is the ultimate game changer.
There have been so many times where we were waiting for our flight at the airport, absolutely starving.
Sure… I could take out my shaker and the Essentials Shake — both of which are always in my backpack — and make myself a super nutritious shake. But for me, the clean up was always a major pain, especially in an airport bathroom.
I checked out countless snacks and bars — many of which claim to be healthy — but always have terrible ingredients. They’re filled with sugars, bad fats, fillers like maltodextrin, and synthetic vitamin mixes to “stat pad” their nutrition labels.
There is a very short list of bars that met our standards for nutrition, taste, and clean ingredients. But... they weren’t always accessible. And they still lacked the essential nutrients we depend on daily to keep us energized and healthy, which we usually get through our shakes.
So… what did I do?
I made one myself.
I wanted to create a protein bar that would keep me full in between meals without sugar alcohols, seed oils, and highly processed synthetic ingredients…inflammatory triggers that we’ve eliminated from our diet. I also wanted a more convenient way to fill in some of the essential nutrients that are difficult to get from food, especially while traveling and living a life on the go.
So, the plan was simple: create the healthiest bar with clean ingredients, no artificial sugars, fillers, or chemicals and taste delicious.
And that’s how we created the Essentials Bar!
We specifically designed the Essentials Bar to give you the full spectrum of essential nutrients you need. We used organic whole food nutrients, potent antioxidants, and health-boosting superfoods to make it the best nutrition bar on the market.
Now, if you’re used to your snack bars tasting like a candy bar then the Essentials Bar might not be for you, and that’s okay. It has a more subtle sweetness without stevia or sugar alcohols that allows the superfood ingredients to shine and deliver a more natural taste… exactly what we were going for.
Personally, sugar alcohols make my stomach turn and even stevia has a strange aftertaste to it. We’ve written about the problems with many commercial sweeteners and some healthier sugar alternatives in another blog post.
The simple takeaway is that most of us consume way too much sugar as it is so it didn’t make sense for us to add it to a product that is intended to enhance your health and improve metabolism. We thought this alone was pretty unique for a bar but there’s more to this story that we think you’ll enjoy.
Continue reading to find out more about the Essentials Bars and what makes them a powerful protein-packed snack for anyone serious about controlling hunger while upgrading health and nutrition.
Why We Didn’t Focus On The Macros (And You Shouldn’t Either)
When we created the Essentials Bar, our objective was to create the healthiest snack imaginable.
Now, you might think that the healthiest snack has a balanced mix of macronutrients right? A balanced ratio of carbs, fats, and protein?
This is where others go wrong.
The ratio of macros we eat depends on our health goals and level of activity throughout the day. If you’re trying to lose weight, then you’d increase protein and decrease carbs (or fat). This is to maintain muscle mass while losing fat. But most of us get more than enough carbohydrates from our food anyway. What we’re not getting is enough protein, fiber, and micronutrients.
So, we focused on protein, fats, and fiber instead of simple carbohydrates and sugars. Mainly for taste and satiety… but also to keep it low on the glycemic index and give you better blood sugar control.
But you might say, “Chris, doesn’t each Essentials bar have 23 grams of carbs in it?”
This is where fiber comes in.
High Fiber & Low Net Carbs
Fiber is essential for metabolic health and overall wellbeing.
One of the simplest ways to improve gut health is by eating more fiber. But many people struggle to reach this goal. Less than one in ten people in the US eat the recommended amount of fiber each day. And that’s mainly because people don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables (which is why we’ve stuffed the Essentials Bar with these nutrient powerhouses, but more on that later).
Consuming a diet high in fiber helps with satiety but also supports gut health and aids in digestion. Here’s what a study from University of California said regarding fiber:
A generous intake of dietary fiber reduces risk for developing the following diseases: coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal disorders.
Furthermore, increased consumption of dietary fiber improves serum lipid concentrations, lowers blood pressure, improves blood glucose control in diabetes, promotes regularity, aids in weight loss, and appears to improve immune function. (1)
With the Essentials Bars you can easily up your daily fiber intake and boost the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
The Essentials Bar is made with two different types of fiber:
● Soluble (fermentable) fiber, as well as
● Insoluble fiber
This combination of fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels, keep hunger at bay, and support digestion, immunity, and nutrient absorption by feeding the good bacteria in your gut.
Coming back to carbs.
The Essentials Bar has 23 grams of carbs but it also has 14 grams fiber. Which means it has only 9 grams of net carbs.
Compare that to ClifBar (38 grams net carbs), Huel Bar (36 grams net carbs) and RXBAR (21 grams net carbs). Only Kachava Bar and Huel Complete Bar come close with 6 grams and 10 grams of net carbs. But Huel Complete Bar uses an artificial sweetener — Erythritol. So, even that’s not the best option.
Now, let's move on to protein.
Plant Based Protein: Pea & Almond
A snack that’s high in protein was an absolute must for us when we were making the Essentials Bar. That’s because most of us aren’t getting high quality protein, nor are we getting enough protein.
If you’ve read our post on protein, you know that we recommend you eat at 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (that’s double the RDA). And achieving that can be difficult on a plant based diet.
So, we loaded up the Essentials Bar with high quality pea protein and almond protein.
I can hear you mumbling, “Why not the usual pea and rice protein combination?”
Maybe you weren't thinking that. But it’s pretty well known that we need to combine pea and rice protein to create a complete protein. Pea is a great source of protein but it lacks methionine which is supplied by the rice protein.
But we chose to go with pea and almond because the Essentials Bar is intended to be complementary to a healthy diet, which means you should already be getting protein from a diversified number of sources. The goal here isn’t to simply eat a dozen bars and call it a day. We want to give you a tasty high-protein high-fiber snack that will fill you up between meals while boosting your nutrient intake.
Now, let’s go to the final macro — fat.
High Quality Fat: MCT Oil & Organic Almond Butter
We used organic almond butter and MCT oil as our sources of fat.
The fats in coconut oil are what are known as medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs) and these are treated much like carbs, i.e. they provide an energy-rich, sustained fuel and are perfect for those of us with busy lifestyles.
MCT oil works almost like a cheat code for your brain (and body). Because it is one of the few sources of clean energy that we can use to improve energy production and boost metabolism. It goes straight to your liver to produce ketones - an alternative energy source that can be used by the brain and body more efficiently than carbohydrates.
We were very particular in choosing MCT from coconut oil instead of palm oil. Because coconut oil is better than palm oil in three things:
- Quality: Our source of coconut MCT oil simplifies the production process by using a more natural MCT oil the old-fashioned way — by using physical processes that don't require harmful solvents. This method of processing uses environmentally friendly practices and results in a healthier all-natural product.
- Efficacy: The most desirable MCTs are Caprylic (C8) and Capric (C10) acid. Although Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil are both rich food sources of MCTs, coconut oil still has the highest percentage of Caprylic and Capric Acid making up 15% of its fatty acids (more than double the amount from palm oil).
- Sustainability: Unlike palm oil, coconut oil is produced from coconuts that are grown on individual trees that do not require deforestation to plant or re-plant. Palm oil is one of the cheapest vegetable oils to produce, making it an attractive option for many manufacturers, but it comes with a dark-side. Mass deforestation and poor working conditions for laborers are just two of the many reasons why we chose the more expensive, yet more sustainable option.
Organic Almond Butter,
Soluble Tapioca Fiber,
Pea Protein, (80%)
Chicory Root Fiber,
Organic Sweetened Cacao Nibs (Cocoa Nibs, Coconut Palm Sugar),
MCT Oil (from Coconut),
Almond Protein Powder,
Organic Maca Root Powder,
Himalayan Pink Salt,
AimSlim® (Achyranthes Aspera Extract),
Fruit & Vegetable Blend (Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Sunflower Seed, Cranberry, Chlorella, Maitake Mushroom, Shiitake Mushroom),
Monk Fruit Extract
Essentials nutrition bars
Curb hunger and get complete nutrition on the go. Packed with protein, fiber and nutrients to boost metabolism and improve gut health.SHOP NOW
As you can see, We don’t use any artificial ingredients that can only be made in a lab. Everything is natural and clean — the way it should be.
But you might have two questions:
● What’s sunflower lecithin?
● And what exactly is AimSlim (Achyranthes Aspera Extract)?
Let’s answer those.
What Is Sunflower Lecithin?
Sunflower lecithin is created by extracting oil and gum from sunflower seeds. The oil is then processed through a cold press system, while the gum is dehydrated and used to produce sunflower lecithin.
All protein bars require some sort of a binding element to hold all the dry ingredients together. Most commercially sold snack bars will use vegetable and seed oils which provoke an inflammatory response in the body… not a healthy choice.
We opted for sunflower lecithin instead of refined vegetable oils because it is naturally rich in nutritive properties and essential fatty acids.
Unlike refined oils that create inflammation in the body, lecithin contains functional health benefits that assist the metabolic processes of the body and help move fat. One of the most important benefits of lecithin is its ability to convert to choline in the body — a powerful neurotransmitter that most of us don’t get nearly enough of through diet alone, especially vegans and plant-based eaters that avoid eggs.
Soy lecithin is a cheaper ingredient but it is problematic for a number of reasons:
1. Many people are allergic to soy.
2. Most soy is genetically modified.
3. Soy lecithin is often processed with chemicals.
Sunflower lecithin is the opposite. Most sunflower lecithin is organic, not genetically-modified, and does not contain any chemicals or genetically modified ingredients.
Our #1 priority was ensuring our bars are of the highest quality without compromising on taste or nutrition. We have chosen to use sunflower lecithin, which is more expensive, but guarantees pure ingredients that help to enhance health, not inhibit it.
And What Exactly Is AimSlim?
AimSlim™ is an all natural appetite suppressant. It is the water extracted from Achyranthes Aspera seed extract, and standardized for 20% saponins. (What are saponins? Saponins are naturally occurring compounds found in the cells of legume plants. They can reduce cholesterol, cancer risks, and blood glucose spikes.)
That’s too much science that we don’t really need to get in to. The gist of it is — Achyranthes Aspera seeds have been used by generations of farmers in South India. They mixed these seeds with a pudding called “kheer” for breakfast — which they ate before their long day on the farm. They believed that these seeds helped them stave off hunger, and keep working on the farm throughout the day before returning home for dinner.
So how does it work?
Scientists believe that there are two ways in which AimSlim can naturally suppress your appetite:
1. Satiety effect by Vagus Nerve stimulation:
These seeds have protein, fatty acids (like Oleic Acid and Linoleic Acid), and Saponins. These compounds, especially oleic acid (once converted to Oleoylethanolamide – OEA) can help stimulate the vagus nerve inside the GI tract to make you feel full.
2. Fat Reduction Action by Stimulation of Lipolysis:
OEA among other compounds might stimulate lipolysis (fat metabolism). Burning fat can provide sustained energy, which could be much more helpful in battling any appetite induced fatigue.
Is it safe?
Because the seeds of Achyranthes Aspera have been used for generations of farmers in South India in their food, it has withstood the test of time — which is why we added it to the Essentials Bar.
Toxicity studies on AImSlim show that it is safe up to 2000mg/kg body weight. So, an 80kg man (176 lb) can safely take 160g without any problems. The essentials bar has less than 500 mg of AimSlim, well within the safe limit. But even at this tiny dose, it still helps you feel full and more satisfied.
Finally, let’s not forget the fruit & vegetable blend.
Vitamins & Minerals
You can’t make the healthiest snack in the world without vitamins and minerals, can you?
We use an innovative organic whole food blend of vitamins and minerals that keeps the synergistic compounds of the food intact. Using whole food vitamins and minerals instead of synthetically derived nutrients does 2 things:
1. It ensures your body can utilize more of the nutrients it needs because they are delivered in the form it recognizes — real whole food. Once synthesized and isolated, vitamins lose their value.
2. Gives a boost of phytonutrients & antioxidants, only found in whole food fruits & vegetables. Phytonutrients are extremely important, as they are responsible for fine-tuning metabolism and supporting mitochondria health — regulating each cell and providing clean energy. Synthetic vitamins don’t do any of this.
Our blend of 21 essential micronutrients means you’re getting 25% of everything — all the micronutrients you need to feel your best and thrive! Unlike the Essential Shake which is meant to fill in the gaps in your diet, the bars have 25% of your daily needs.
Well… our supplier makes the fruit and vegetable blend to meet 100% of daily value of micronutrients. We thought 100% would be overkill, and put in a fourth of the amount. 😂
Plus, it makes the perfect pairing with our shakes to deliver the perfect combo of complete nutrition in under 500 calories. When used together, our Essentials Shakes and Bars provide an ideal solution for weight loss and calorically-restricted diets — where nutrient-density is the top priority for preserving lean muscle and shedding fat.
So unlike Huel, Soylent and other micronutrient bars that use synthetic vitamins, LyfeFuel’s Essential Bars are all natural with all the other enzymes and cofactors you’d get from real whole foods.
Summary — The Healthiest Bar Ever?
At least that’s what we’ve tried to do with the Essentials Bar.
● All natural real whole food ingredients (Certified Non GMO)
● High protein (pea and almond)
● Lots of soluble and insoluble fiber
● High quality MCTs from coconut oil
● Micronutrients (from our fruit and vegetable blend)
● Unique superfoods for added functional benefits & hunger control
…to create the healthiest bar we could. It’s gonna keep you full and give your body the essential nutrients it needs!
If you want to try it, you can check it out here.
- Anderson et al ‘Health benefits of dietary fiber,’ Nutrition Reviews, Vol 67, Issue 4 (2009) 188–205 <https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/67/4/188/1901012>
Disclaimer: The LYFE Fuel blog is for informational purposes only. The information does not serve as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. We kindly ask you not to ignore professional medical advice because of any information you’ve read on https://lyfefuel.com/. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician or appropriate health care expert.