Are Granola Bars a Good Choice for a Healthy Snack?
What is your opinion on granola bars? I'm really trying to eat
healthy and want to include some snacks in my diet that I can eat
during the day when I get hungry. Are granola bars a smart choice
for a healthy snack?
answer to your question is that they CAN be a healthy or smart choice
but granola bars are a very tricky little food when it comes to
nutrition. Their popularity has grown exponentially in the last
decade. Much of this popularity has to do with the fact that as
a society, we are much busier than in times past so "on the
go" foods are much higher in demand. The market for these bars
has exploded with so many different products, that the label "granola
bar isn't really accurate to cover such a broad spectrum. Granola,
by definition, consists simply of rolled oats, honey (or some equivalent
sweetener), nuts and dried fruit. But of the hundreds of bars on
the market it's actually quite challenging to find some that consist
of granola. Marketing teams realize that there is only so many ways
to mix these basic foods and keep your interest so they began to
manufacture ingredients. And once you begin to manufacture ingredients,
the sky is the limit as to the amount of variation you can put into
the market place. With a little investigation, you will begin to
notice this market has 2 basic groups, the manufactured food group
and the natural food group.
Perhaps the best example in the manufactured group is the protein
bar. These bars are heavily marketed to those who are interested
in fitness and weight loss primarily because of the popularity of
high protein, low carbohydrate diets. The problem with developing
these super-protein bars is that protein, in its highest form, comes
from meat. Now it doesn't matter how organic, grass fed or free-range
that meat is, it's not going to taste very good stuffed inside of
a protein bar. So what is the solution? The solution is to manufacture
the protein. The funny thing is that manufactured protein also tastes
awful so there is a need to add innumerable other ingredients to
make it taste good. In fact, I have one of these protein bars in
my hand now and of its 37 total ingredients, only 1 (walnuts) can
I say is actually food. It has over 25 grams of protein, almost
no sugar and yet remarkably it tastes like banana nut bread! How
is this possible? The answer is chemistry.
There is an emerging niche within the snack bar market born of
disdain for this manufactured chemistry present in our modern day
food distribution. These snack bar companies are really part of
a bigger grassroots movement to return us to eating wholesome natural
foods. Many of these companies are producing fantastic tasting snack
bars with very few ingredients, all of which are natural. You will
notice that these bars are higher in natural sugar and lower in
protein because of these natural ingredients. The protein, fat and
carbohydrates in these products come from completely natural foods.
I also have one of these bars in my hand. All 5 of its ingredients:
banana, dates, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg are natural foods and
you know what, remarkably it tastes like banana nut bread. Well,
let's be honest, it's nowhere near as good as my mom's banana nut
bread but it sure has less calories!
One final note is to get into the habit, as with all packaged food,
the labels on whatever type of snack bar you decide to purchase.
You will find that many contain more sugar and calories than a traditional
candy bar with just more protein. The question then lies in whether
you want a more natural food source or a manufactured food source.
In my mind, that's not a very difficult question to answer.
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