It’s no secret there is a serious vitamin and mineral deficiency in the American diet. After years of experimentation, scientists may have come up with the ultimate nutrition bar to solve that problem. Developers of the CHORI Bar claim that it can reduce risk of such common ailments as heart disease, cognitive decline and diabetes.
The root cause of metabolic imbalance
Years of research convinced National Medal of Science winner Dr. Bruce N. Ames that an American diet woefully deficient in vitamins and minerals leads to metabolic imbalances that increase risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other diseases associated with aging.
In 2003, Ames and his colleagues at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute’s (CHORI) Nutrition & Metabolism Center set out to develop a cheap, low calorie food supplement that could restore metabolic balance. This month they unveiled the CHORI Bar, a fruit-based high fiber vitamin and mineral nutrition bar.
Can two bars a day keep the doctor away?
A report published online May 1 in the “Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology” describes the CHORI Bar prototype and presents results of a 2-week trial with 25 healthy adult volunteers.
Ames claims that the CHORI Bar restores optimal nutrition and bolsters antioxidant defenses with a number of ingredients that include soluble fibers and polyphenols lacking from the typical American diet. Participants in the study ate two bars a day for 2-weeks. Several positive metabolic changes were observed in that short period of time.
CHORI Bar beats drugs and supplements
Evidence from the study suggests that ingredients in the CHORI Bar act synergistically to produce benefits that would require much higher doses if taken as individual supplements. For example, it is very difficult to simultaneously raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels and lower levels of homocysteine, a substance related to early development of heart disease.
The CHORI Bar does both by combining nutrients in the Mediterranean diet with 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate, the most biologically active form of folate. For about half the U.S. population dealing with unhealthy homocysteine levels, eating a few CHORI bars a day could eliminate the need for heavy doses of folate supplements.
Another impressive achievement of the CHORI Bar was its ability to raise glutathione levels. Glutathione, which declines with age, is important for preventing oxidative stress. Some drugs and high doses of certain food supplements have raised glutathione levels in some studies, but the CHORI Bar did it in just two weeks.
No replacement for a healthy diet
Over the years, Ames’ creation progressed from almost inedible to what is now called a “tasty bar.” Researchers are working on more improvements that will expand the preventive benefits. Two additional bars have been developed with ingredients that favorably impact insulin resistance, inflammation, and LDL (bad) cholesterol. The CHORI team wants to combine attributes of all 3 bars in a single super nutrition bar.
The CHORI Bar is satiating and at about 110 calories per bar, may be helpful for weight loss programs. But rather than replace a healthy diet, Ames said he developed the CHORI Bar with the intent to help people transition to healthy eating habits by restoring optimal nutritional balance.