FullBar: What It Is
The FullBar is not a diet, but a food product developed by Denver bariatric surgeon Michael Snyder, MD, to simulate the surgical approach to appetite satisfaction and weight loss. Like weight loss surgeries that physically reduce the size of your stomach, FullBars are designed to help you feel full so you eat less at meals.
Taking the edge off your appetite with a 150-180 calorie FullBar plus an 8-ounce glass of water helps you make better food choices, Snyder says. "It gives your brain a chance to register that your belly is somewhat full, so dieters can be more mindful of gauging their hunger and eating more healthfully," he says.
FullBars are pre-meal snacks made of high-fiber grains that swell up in your belly, and are not designed to serve as meal replacements. They do not contain any chemical appetite suppressers.
FullBars are available in six flavors, like cranberry almond and cocoa chip. Each contains 1 to 4.5 grams of fat, 4 to 5 gram of fiber and 5 to 7 grams protein. They cost about $1.30 per bar.
Snyder also sells AquaFull, a liquid version of the FullBar, and has recently launched a line of FullBites, savory snacks designed to replace higher- calorie snack foods.
FullBar: What You Can Eat
The FullBar web site makes no specific recommendations about what dieters should eat at mealtimes. The only advice is to eat a FullBar 30 minutes before your two largest meals of the day, along with 8 ounces of water.
"Eat real food -- plenty of healthy lean protein, high-fiber carbs, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, drink plenty of water, and cut out sugary drinks and refined carbs," Snyder suggests in an interview with WebMD (however, this information is not easily found on the FullBar web site).
Snyder adds that he would prefer dieters eat 5-6 small meals daily instead of the traditional three squares a day.
"So many people skip meals and fast throughout the day, then gorge themselves at dinner," he says. "But if you ate smaller meals, along with two FullBars, you would have much greater control over your impulses and food choices.
"Studies have shown that people who eat smaller meals throughout the day have improved blood sugar control, and, as a result, are better able to manage hunger and calorie intake." Research, however, has not proven the latter statement to be true.
The premise that you will lose weight on FullBars is based on the assumption that the foods you choose to eat will be healthy ones. For example, you'd be fooling yourself if you ate a FullBar and then cut out healthy foods, like vegetables, instead of higher-calorie items, like French fries.
FullBar: How It Works
Eating a FullBar twice a day is an easy, convenient way to lose weight, Snyder says. Once you drink the glass of water, the high-fiber puffed wheat swells in your belly, and, within half an hour, sends a signal of fullness to your brain.
"Not only will you be less hungry, but simply by taking the edge off of your appetite should help you be in control of your food choices," Snyder says. He adds that FullBars can be used to help you lose or maintain weight for a short period of time, or long-term.
It's worth noting that, if you are in touch with your hunger cues, the FullBar will likely help you eat less. But if you ignore the fullness signals, you could negate the effects of the FullBar – and even gain weight. Indeed, if you eat FullBars along with your regular meals, the bars could add up to 2,500 extra calories per week. (In a video on the FullBar web site, Snyder suggests you rate your hunger on a scale of 1-10.)
And what about fitness? Although exercise is not part of the FullBar weight loss approach, Snyder tells WebMD he recommends being physically active as much as you can be throughout the day.
FullBar: What the Experts Say
You can eat a FullBar to take the edge off your appetite -- or you can choose real foods, like a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, or low-fat yogurt with ground flaxseeds -- for about the same number of calories, says Jim White, RD, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association.
"Although this or any bar can be convenient, with a little planning, you can achieve the same effect by eating foods that are high in fiber [and] water, and low in calories and also cost less," White says.
Studies have shown that starting every meal with a large green salad or bowl of broth-based vegetable soup can help you eat less overall during the meal.
White offers more tips to help gauge hunger at meals:
- Don’t skip meals; this will help you avoid feelings of out-of-control hunger.
- Eat slowly and mindfully to become more aware of the feeling of fullness.
- Eat small, frequent meals to quell hunger throughout the day.
- Make sure all meals contain some lean protein, fiber, and a little healthy fat. This combination will keep you full longer.
- Be active every day.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and avoid hunger/thirst confusion.
There is nothing wrong with Full Bars as a pre-meal snack, although some are somewhat high in sugar. But White says he would rather dieters use the money they would have spent on FullBars for a gym membership instead.
He also says he would like to see an educational program built around the FullBars, to teach dieters how to use them as part of a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise.
FullBar: Food for Thought
The FullBar strategy is not really a new approach to weight loss. But it could be a convenient way to curb your appetite at home or on the road – as long as the bars really fill you up, and you cut your calories at mealtime.
Whether you use the FullBar or any other high-fiber, pre-meal filler, you'll still need to eat a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet and get regular physical activity if you want to lose weight.