Apr 12, 2019

RiteBite Max Protein Meal Replacement Bar Review

"Meal replacement" is the new buzzword these days. Meal replacement smoothies, meal replacement shakes, meal replacement soups etc. Breakfast bars and snack bars fall under this category too.

Recently, I spotted this "max protein replacement bar" from a brand called RiteBite in Namdharis supermarket. I can spend hours at Namdharis mainly because I find so many hip, junk-pretending-to-be-healthy products. 😉

The front side of the pack has all the right words to grab the attention of today's health conscious, time starved consumers.
Protein - 20 gm
Fiber - 5 gm
Vitamins - 21

But turn to the ingredients list and you'll know the real facts.

Protein Blend (soy nuggets, whey protein concentrate, soy concentrate, calcium caseinate),
Corn Syrup,
Edible Vegetable Oil,
Dietary fiber (wheat fiber, fructooligosaccharides)
Whole grain (rolled oats),
Almonds, Cashewnuts, Raisins, Cranberries
Yoghurt powder,
Invert syrup,
Emulsifying agents (INS 322, INS 471)
Edible Gum (INS 412)
Citric Acid
Added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids
Contains natural and nature identical flavors

  1. As you can see, various avatars of sugar are present - corn syrup, invert syrup, fructose etc. Each bar contains 11.4 gm of sugar (close to 3 tsp of sugar).
  2. The percentages of healthy ingredients like rolled oats, almonds, cashews, raisins, cranberries, flaxseeds etc are not mentioned. So I presume they are quite low.
  3. A pack containing ONE breakfast bar costs a whopping Rs.120. For the same price, we could easily buy more than a handful of nuts and dry fruits. Why eat a breakfast bar with unhealthy ingredients having a 9-month shelf life when you can eat a handful of nuts and dry fruits that are natural, containing proteins and healthy fats for the same price?
  4. Emulsifying agents - INS 322 (Soy Lecithins) and INS 471 (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (glycerol monostearate, glycerol distearate)) are being used. Soy lecithin being extracted from soy has a higher chance of being genetically modified. 
  5. Last but not the least, the source of protein is both from soy and dairy. These are my personal thoughts on these two ingredients.
    1. First let's focus on soy. More than 93% of soy planted in the United States is genetically modified. In India, only cotton is genetically modified as of now. Unless brands explicitly confirm that soy used is non-GMO or they mention that the source country of soy is India, I'm extremely skeptical of consuming soy products.
    2. As I had written in my earlier post, these are my thoughts on using dairy as a protein source. When milk is processed to form cheese, the remaining liquid is called whey. This liquid undergoes several processing steps and then dried to form a whey protein concentrate powder. Given that most commercial milk is adulterated and the cows raised in large-scale dairy farms are given antibiotics, growth hormones and what not, I don't consider "dairy products" procured from a commercial large-scale industry as a reliable nutrition source for protein (or calcium). I would urge all these protein supplement brands (that use whey protein isolate/concentrate as their protein source) to first prove that their supplements are free from antibiotics/growth hormones residues.
Even if you don't agree with me on the last point, I hope you would make a note of the sugar levels in such meal replacement bars that promise high protein. 

I believe we can get enough protein from plant-based sources, following a typical Indian balanced diet. I had compiled a list of plant-based protein sources, along with their protein values. Please do take a look.

If you still believe dairy to be the uber source of protein (and calcium), try to get organic milk that is free of antibiotics/growth hormones from a local dairy farm - the kind of milk that our grandparents used to procure.

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