The Story of Zing Bars
It all started innocently enough. As practicing nutritionists, we simply wanted to find a good nutrition bar we could recommend to our patients. But despite our best efforts, there just weren’t any on the market we really liked. If a particular bar was nutritionally balanced, it left something to be desired in the taste department. If it tasted good, it was low in protein and fiber, or full of artificial ingredients, unhealthy fats and empty calories.
Then we came up with a deliciously different idea.
We could create our own all-natural nutrition bar. Our take on the perfect snack. A bar with everything we wanted it to have, and nothing we didn’t. A healthy balance of carbs, protein and beneficial fats, but no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives. No trans fats, synthetic vitamins, or allergy-aggravating gluten, wheat or soy protein.
In short, a nutrition bar that everyone- including nutritionists and other healthcare professionals- could love. Zing! Now we hope that you love it too.
The Science of Zing
Created by Nutritionists
Zing is the only “Nutrition” bar created, owned and operated by nutritionists. The four founders of the company are registered dietitians, each with a master's degree in nutritional biochemistry and over 40 years of combined clinical experience. As Sandi puts it, “We created Zing Bars as a healthy snack for our patients. We needed a bar that would be satisfying and sustaining with well-balanced, all-natural ingredients. And if we actually expected patients to eat this bar, it had to be delicious.” Zing was created as a bar that's great for ages 1-101.
Excellent Source of Protein
Each Zing Bar contains between 10-13g protein, or 20%-24% of each bar. That’s the same proportion we counsel our patients to eat. Protein boosts metabolism, helps stabilize blood sugar and builds tissue. Too little and you don’t get these benefits; too much and you put extra burden on the kidneys and leach calcium from your bones. Zing provides high-quality protein in the amount your body needs.
Optimal Balance of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat
Each Zing Bar features a balance of high quality protein, fiber-rich carbs and heart healthy fats…all in an ideal ratio for sustained energy. Nutritionally balanced foods like Zing Bars transcend fad diets. For example, some nutrition bars minimize or eliminate entire macronutrient groups like carbohydrates or fat. Our bodies actually need these nutrients to function properly and they are best eaten together. Protein and fat slow the absorption of glucose (from carbs) into our bloodstream, providing for stabilized blood sugar, moods and energy throughout the day. Each Zing Bar contains at least 3g fiber, which further aids in blood sugar stabilization and promotes satiety.
We created a bar with the nutrients your body needs in amounts that nature intended. Zing Bars are a convenient addition to any meal plan that promotes long-lasting health, energy and vitality.
Gluten and Wheat-Free
All Zing Bars are wheat free & gluten free. Using the ELISA method, we routinely test each flavor for gluten (and the gliadin subfraction) at an independent laboratory. All Zing flavors test below 5ppm gliadin and 10 ppm gluten, which is the lowest amount detectible with current technology.
Wheat intolerance, gluten intolerance & celiac disease are some of the most common food intolerances in the US and Europe. Gluten grains include wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut and triticale.
Many informed individuals are increasingly interested in finding healthy wheat & gluten-free snacks. However, few prepared gluten-free foods taste good and most are of poor nutritional quality. Zing is turning the tide on this tasteless trend.
100% Natural, Quality Ingredients
All Zing Bars are made from hormone-free, antibiotic-free ingredients and contain nothing artificial. This means no high-fructose corn syrup and no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or chemical preservatives of any kind. A wholesome choice for adults and kids!
We have chosen not to use soy protein for a number of reasons.
1. To make protein isolate from soy beans requires extensive processing. There are many side effects to this processing, the worst of which is the formation of a toxic chemical called lysinoalanine and a carcinogen known as nitrite.[i]
2. In addition, the high heat required in the processing de-natures the protein to such an extent as to make it largely ineffective.[ii]
3. 91% of soy grown in America is genetically modified (GMO). GMO soy products alter the makeup of the plant seeds, can create unrecognizable proteins (leading to sensitivities), and may have destructive consequences on our agricultural landscape and food supply.[iii]
4. Soy is also loaded with many “anti-nutrients” like trypsin inhibiters that block protein digestion and phytic acid which blocks mineral absorption. Though these can be reduced during processing, not all can be removed and studies show that trypsin inhibiter content in soy protein isolate can vary as much as five fold.[iv]
5. Soy is a common food allergen. Many of our patients have an intolerance to soy protein, experiencing digestive upset, gas, eczema and skin irritation when eating soy. Of note, this intolerance can be created with an excess intake of soy products due to the factors mentioned above.
6. The benefit of soy protein is that it’s very inexpensive. We don’t feel the economic/health trade off is worth it.
As clinical nutritionists, we recommend fermented soy foods like miso, tempeh and natto. The fermentation process deactivates the trypsin inhibiters, converts minerals into a more absorbable form, and actually increases the amount of B vitamins. More importantly, fermentation creates substances that fight cancer, reduce cholesterol and inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis.
Each Zing Bar flavor has a nut butter base—almond, cashew or peanut. Nuts are high in monounsaturated fats which have numerous benefits. They reduce cholesterol and lower the risk for heart disease and stroke,[v] [vi] [vii] can reduce belly fat associated with heart disease,[viii] and can promote weight loss.
Unfortunately, many Bars on the market contain unhealthy trans fats (aka "partially hydrogenated" oils) which have been shown to increase cholesterol and contribute to heart disease. Even more Bars (including those sold at many health food stores) contain fractionated palm kernel oil, an ultra-saturated, highly processed, waxy fat that is difficult to digest and extracted with gasoline-like hydrocarbon solvents. Zing Bars do not contain any trans fats or fractionated palm kernel oils.
A note about saturated fat in Zing's Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor: this comes from both the peanuts and the chocolate. The predominant type of saturated fat in dark chocolate is stearic acid. Stearic acid has not been shown to raise cholesterol levels. In addition, dark chocolate's flavonoids may play a cardioprotective role via their antioxidant potential. Current evidence indicates that organic dark chocolate has a place in a heart healthy diet. The organic dark chocolate used in our Chocolate Peanut Butter Zing Bar is also Certified Free Trade…what could be better!
Low Glycemic Natural Sweeteners
The primary sweetener in Zing Bars is organic agave syrup. We chose this sweetener because it has the lowest glycemic index of all the natural sweeteners. The official tested glycemic index of the Agave salmiana in Zing Bars has a range of 29.4-38.8 (less than 50 is considered low glycemic). By comparison, honey and refined sugar have a glycemic index of 72-89. The agave in Zing Bars is certified organic & non-GMO and does not contain additives. Zing Bars do not contain any artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin or sucralose.
A Word About Agave
We’d like to take a moment and address the concerns raised about agave in recent months. As nutritionists, we have researched the agave issue thoroughly and have attempted to cut through the spin found in many anti-agave blogs. Here’s why we feel comfortable with the agave in the Zing Bars:
1. Most of the concern surrounding agave involves its fructose content. While it’s true that agave is high in fructose, it’s also sweeter than sugar, which means we use less sweetener overall. There are about 7 grams of fructose in a Zing Bar. By way of comparison, there is less fructose in a Zing Bar than in a medium sized apple, a small box of raisins or any serving of dried fruit.
2. Removing the agave from the Zing Bars would not make a fructose free product. Remember that there is fructose in fruit, such as the whole blueberries and whole cranberries we use. Also, cane sugar, (or sucrose) is comprised of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Other natural sweeteners like dates, raisins and honey contain even higher fructose levels than cane sugar. So fructose is ubiquitous in nature and well handled by the liver in reasonable amounts, such as what is found in a Zing Bar.
Some have suggested that we sweeten the Zing Bars only with fruit. If we we’re to use whole fruit exclusively, this would actually increase the fructose content. Fruit sugars are high in fructose, and paradoxically less sweet than agave. More importantly, we would need to use more of them to achieve the same mild level of sweetness, which in turn would increase the total sugars and calories.
3. Remember that in a Zing Bar, agave comes in a particular context: High protein, high fiber and healthy fats. This “macronutrient balance” helps to slow down the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrates, further lessening the workload on the liver as the sugars are absorbed very slowly into the bloodstream. There’s no magic here, any well rounded meal with reasonable portion sizes will accomplish the same principle.
Here’s where the problem lies: Fructose in large amounts, and in isolation can certainly raise triglycerides. The studies that show this are conducted as follows: Subjects drink 125-150g of a fructose-sweetened beverage (representing 25-35% of their daily caloric intake).[ix] This is a lot of fructose, 1700% more than found in a Zing Bar or balanced meal. These studies indeed raise alarm about fructose-sweetened beverages. However, there is not one study that shows the same effect when small or even moderate amounts of fructose are consumed in the context of a balanced meal. Interestingly, glucose containing beverages, consumed in similarly inappropriate amounts to fructose also lead to high triglycerides as well as blood sugar dysregulation and weight gain.[x],[xi]
The take home message here is that sweeteners should not be consumed in large quantities or in isolation, (like in soda or sweetened beverages).
In our opinion, the current backlash against agave is an over-compensation for overindulgence. Is agave a good product? Yes. Is agave suitable for limitless consumption? Of course not! And neither is any other natural sweetener.
Honey, maple syrup, agave, date paste, etc. should all be used in moderation. Unfortunately, the message of moderation does not sell many books or inspire many blogs!
Great for Kids
Zing Bars are 100% natural, which means absolutely nothing artificial is added. Many Bars on the market are fortified with synthetic vitamins & minerals, which can give the false impression that a food is healthy. There is growing concern that eating too many fortified foods may result in unhealthy nutrient levels – especially in children. We have opted to use real foods instead of synthetic nutrients.
We have also left out the refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup, so your kids won't bounce off the walls—as parents ourselves, this was a must. Enjoy the convenience of Zing Bars while on the go with the whole family!
Promotes Healthy Eating Habits
As nutritionists, we recommend “small frequent meals” in order to prevent excessive hunger and overeating. Snacks containing a balance of protein, healthy fats and fiber such as Zing Bars help to promote satiety, decrease the risk of overeating and keep metabolism primed. The result is consistent energy throughout the day, stable mood, and reduced cravings. An added benefit is weight loss for those desiring it. Zing Bars are most often used as a convenient afternoon snack between lunch and dinner or a quick breakfast on-the-go. Each Zing Bar contains 210 calories and 10-13 grams of protein.
Our Manufacturing Practices
Zing Bars are produced at a facility that holds current NSF(R) certifications for HACCP, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and "Best Industry Practices." In plain English, these practices ensure that the Zing Bars are made according to the highest level of food safety standards in the world. Furthermore, we routinely use a third party lab to test the bars for gluten. All Zing flavors test at or below 5ppm gliadin and 10ppm gluten, which is the lowest amount detectable with current technology. In addition, the dairy free Cranberry Orange and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavors are routinely tested for milk protein, and always come out at or below the lowest detectable amount. Let us know if you'd like to see copies of these laboratory tests.