Getting a Cholesterol Clue?
I've got elevated cholesterol levels, and the problem runs in my family. My father died of a heart attack, and so did his mother. The word "arteriosclerosis" has been in my vocabulary since I was a teenager.
Over the past few years, I've talked with my doctor about my borderline-high risk level -- as defined by the American Heart Association (last year it was 220 mg/dL) -- and we both know that a vigilant diet (for me that means minimal cheese and ice cream) and regular exercise at least 3 times a week brings my level closer to 200.
Although cheese is my weakness, I have long considered a daily regimen of cholesterol-lowering oatmeal every day, but that heart-healthy idea fizzled out quickly. I am always thinking about how I can amp up my soluble fiber intake to help sweep out the artery-clogging gunk that increases my risk of a heart attack.
The voice in my head is always there, but honestly, I am not keen to eat a bowl of oatmeal every day.
A few weeks ago, I heard from a woman named Vicki Gloor, whose son, Andy, developed a snack bar with cholesterol in mind. The story, Gloor says, begins when Andy, who was 28 at the time, went for a checkup in 1999, when his doctor recommended cholesterol-lowering statins. As it turned out, the whole family was at risk.
Rather than take the drugs, the Gloors got to work developing various food products. "We started out making a soy shake," Gloor says in an e-mail, "but it was a pain to make every day."
In 2004, the Gloors launched the Clue Bar, an oatmeal-based ready-to-eat snack bar. Sweetened with fruit juice and brown rice syrup, the bar comes in two flavors: Oatmeal Raisin and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.
In addition to the oats, the bar contains Omega-3-rich walnuts, bee pollen, and two kinds of algae -- chlorella and spirulina-- which the Club Bar folks argue have been studied for their cholesterol-lowering effects. (The chocolate chip version contains soy protein.)
Unlike some of the raw bars I bit into yesterday, the "greens" part of the Clue Bar is undetectable. Really what you're getting is a very oaty, mildly sweet cookie that has a wholesome texture.
Is it like eating a homemade oatmeal cookie? Not a chance. But can it work as on-the-run replacement for a bowl of oatmeal? It just might.
Better still, the Clue Bar folks are not suggesting that this is a magic potion with special cholesterol-lowering powers. It's one part of an equation, which includes regular exercise and cleaning up the rest of our diets.
I asked Gloor how the bar impacted her life. Over a period of three months, she says, "my cholesterol went from 278 to 175." But, in addition to the bars, "I stopped eating at McDonald's and walked three-five times a week for half an hour."
I appreciate how Gloor acknowledges that human effort is key to long-term success. "If I'm not vigilant," she writes, "and I start eating too much fat or not exercising, it [cholesterol level] will creep up to 200."
It's rare that I write about a specific product and single it out, but I've got to admit, I like the Clue Bar enough to do a three-month test run and see what happens to my cholesterol levels. Any one else game?
A few more notes: The Clue Bar contains oats and flour, which means a gluten-rich snack that is inappropriate for those with celiac disease. Bee pollen means this product is not vegan. Although some of the ingredients are listed as organic, the Clue Bar is not certified organic.
The bars are available primarily online. A box of 30 is $67.50, plus shipping. The price per bar is reduced with a three-month supply.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: meg | April 4, 2007 1:05 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 1:12 PM
Posted by: Meg | April 4, 2007 1:53 PM
Posted by: Jean | April 4, 2007 1:55 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 2:10 PM
Posted by: Richard | April 4, 2007 2:18 PM
Posted by: Jean | April 4, 2007 2:26 PM
Posted by: Steve | April 4, 2007 2:29 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 3:09 PM
Posted by: Steve | April 4, 2007 3:17 PM
Posted by: Harry | April 4, 2007 3:20 PM
Posted by: Washington, DC | April 4, 2007 3:22 PM
Posted by: Harry | April 4, 2007 3:47 PM
Posted by: JN | April 4, 2007 4:38 PM
Posted by: Chris | April 4, 2007 4:49 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 4:59 PM
Posted by: Little Red | April 4, 2007 5:04 PM
Posted by: csdiego | April 4, 2007 5:27 PM
Posted by: AB | April 4, 2007 5:53 PM
Posted by: Leslie | April 4, 2007 6:09 PM
Posted by: Gwen | April 4, 2007 6:09 PM
Posted by: Harry | April 4, 2007 6:35 PM
Posted by: Anon at 210 | April 4, 2007 6:42 PM
Posted by: Henry | April 4, 2007 6:59 PM
Posted by: DudleyDoWrite | April 4, 2007 7:24 PM
Posted by: Lucas | April 4, 2007 7:25 PM
Posted by: Gary Masters | April 4, 2007 7:32 PM
Posted by: Redman | April 4, 2007 7:44 PM
Posted by: ogden, utah | April 4, 2007 7:55 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | April 4, 2007 8:27 PM
Posted by: Henry | April 4, 2007 8:42 PM
Posted by: Little Red | April 4, 2007 10:30 PM
Posted by: ekh7q | April 5, 2007 10:41 AM
Posted by: colorado | April 5, 2007 1:06 PM
Posted by: DC Cubefarm | April 5, 2007 1:12 PM
Posted by: Reine de Saba | April 5, 2007 1:35 PM
Posted by: Harry | April 6, 2007 12:19 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.