Hangover-busting snack bar slashes alcohol absorption by half

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Sobar has been proven to be effective in reducing alcohol absorption. Pic: SoBar/GettyImages/shtonado
Sobar has been proven to be effective in reducing alcohol absorption. Pic: SoBar/GettyImages/shtonado

Related tags alcohol absorption Sobar Zeno Functional Foods Alco-Hold insoluble oat fibre

Zeno Functional Foods has launched SoBar, which has been demonstrated to be twice as effective in blocking alcohol absorption than other foods.

The patent-pending science behind SoBar’s alcohol reducing effects is based on physiology: enhancing alcohol inactivation through decreasing the stomach’s emptying rate. How slow the stomach empties is a key determinant of alcohol absorption, as alcohol is broken down by enzymes in the stomach lining.

The new bar contains a proprietary blend of milk protein and insoluble oat fibre – called Alco-Hold – formulated to keep alcohol in the stomach for longer, allowing it to be broken down more thoroughly.

All foods have the same effect to varying degrees, however, the peer-reviewed clinical trial – published in the Journal of medicinal Food – demonstrated the 210 calorie high protein bar could reduce alcohol absorption more effectively​ in a group of 21 healthy adults than 1) no food; 2) 210 calories of a snack mix; and 3) a full meal of 635 calories right before consuming two alcoholic drinks.

Although the research found the greatest reduction in blood alcohol concentration after eating the full meal (68%), on a per-calorie basis, SoBar outperformed the other groups by about two to one.

The average peak blood alcohol concentration measured over 90 minutes was reduced (compared to eating no food) by 50% with SoBar, compared to only 25% by the snack mix. 

However, the brand warns SoBar does not prevent all alcohol absorption and a drinker can still become intoxicated, and the bar will not sober them up.

Huge need

The novel hangover-busting bar was invented by a Stanford Medical Scientist Training Program graduate after drinking on an empty stomach at a wedding.

“After that experience, I thought that there was a huge need for a specialised, low calorie snack that could efficiently and effectively reduce alcohol absorption,”​ said Dr Joseph Fisher.

His California-based start-up – which targets product development for alcohol misuse and diabetes prevention – now plans to roll out SoBar in North America, before expanding to other geographies like Asia, Australia and the EU.

It is currently available online - in White Chocolate Almond, Honey Peanut and Caramel Macchiato - for an RRP of $30 per pack of 12.


Effect of a snack bar optimised to reduce alcohol bioavailability: A randomised controlled clinical trial in healthy individuals

Authors: Joseph M. Fisher, Thomas M.S. Wolever, Janice E. Campbell, et al

Journal of Medicinal Food, Published Online: 22 Nov 2019


The study was funded by Zeno and conducted by Inquis Clinical Research, an independent laboratory based in Toronto, Canada.

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