Granola bar – is it always a healthy snack?
With the advent of fashion for a healthy lifestyle, many products claiming to be “healthy” began to appear in stores.
One of these novelties is a variety of granola bars, on which you can also find an inscription like “Fitness”, “Wellness”, “Healthy snack” and so on. And, at the moment when there is no time for a full meal, while jogging, or when, simply, you want something sweet, many begin to prefer these, at first glance, harmless bars than high-calorie chocolates and buns.
It seems to be a good trend. But are granola bars really as useful as the manufacturers assure them?
Well, let’s figure it out together.
Granola bar – benefit or harm? Reading the composition
As a rule, the manufacturer assures us that the bar contains whole grains, dried fruits, berries, nuts and the like. Here, as they say, you can’t find fault: all this is, of course, healthy and delicious. As you know, dried fruits and berries are the main source of vitamins and flavor in bars of this kind. Whole grains, such as flax, oats, wheat, buckwheat and hemp seed, act as suppliers of protein, various trace elements (iron, magnesium, calcium, and so on), as well as fiber, which helps to cleanse the body and generally has a beneficial effect on the digestive system.
But are manufacturers limited to this only? What else can you see if you carefully read the composition written in small print?
Unfortunately, this ingredient is found most often, they manage to add it even to “fitness” bars. Often in the composition you can find molasses, molasses, maltodextrin or caramelized syrup, so, all this is also, basically, sugar. In addition, its source is the glaze, which can be covered with a bar. This is a mass of glucose, dextrose and maltose, so we get fast carbohydrates and extra calories.
Palm oil, which has long been recognized as harmful to the body, can still be found in too many products. Among them are the bars of some unscrupulous manufacturers.
Palm oil is cheap and helps products last longer, which is why it is so popular. But apart from the benefits for the manufacturer, it can hardly boast of any useful properties.
The fact is that this oil is rich in saturated fats, which are poorly processed by the body. In addition, during the production process, the fats in palm oil turn into so-called trans fats, which negatively affect the metabolic processes in our body, contribute to obesity and are harmful to the cardiovascular system. It has already been proven that even a small percentage of trans fats in the general diet is harmful to health.
Well, did you want to taste a bar with such a “butter” in the composition?
Unlike palm oil, butter does not have such a destructive effect on the body. However, as you know, of course, it contains up to 82.5% fat, and its calorie content is also quite high.
Of course, in a 40-gram bar, this figure will be much lower, but still, do we need extra fats and calories, especially since it is quite possible to do without them?
Here is another source of sugar that can be found in granola bars. The calorie content of condensed milk is 330 kcal per 100 grams, the fat content reaches 15%. But even this is not the main reason to avoid such products.
The fact is that, unfortunately, condensed milk is the product that is often falsified. And, if the manufacturer has purchased low-quality condensed milk, it may contain the same palm oil, and harmful dyes, and preservatives.
In fact, the product is not harmful. But those who prefer dietary nutrition try to exclude wheat flour. Unfortunately, even in the so-called Fitness bars, you can find this ingredient.
Dyes, flavorings and sweeteners, preservatives
Yes, as it is not unfortunate, there are many granola bars for snacking that contain dyes, preservatives, flavors and sweeteners and other substances that, in our opinion, are simply superfluous and may be allergens. Especially for kids. Even if there are no substances included in the list of prohibited substances among all of the above, why would you, a fan of a healthy lifestyle, use extra chemicals that occupy a place under the wrapper of a bar that could well be occupied with something useful instead?
Is it possible to eat such granola bars on a diet? Are such bars low in calories?
It turns out that they cannot be called dietary in any way. And if you look at how many calories such a granola bar contains, then you will see for yourself.
What should be a healthy bar?
What should be in the composition of a truly healthy bar?
First of all, these are whole grains, dried fruits, vegetables, berries and nuts. These components will provide your body with the necessary nutrients throughout the day, building material for cells and energy to continue your activity.
Cocoa powder and sea salt can be used as additives, but they are also used in very small quantities.
Which bars do we recommend paying attention to? There are brands that strictly adhere to the rule “in the composition – nothing superfluous, only useful”. We advise you to take a closer look at them!
So, having dealt with the composition, we can choose harmless alternatives with you – after all, you want delicious things on a diet. And delicious, it turns out, can be useful!
There are many different natural ingredients that provide not only satiety and benefits, but also a variety of interesting combinations of flavors. Among them are goji berries-physalis, coconut-granola, pumpkin seeds-almonds and others. The bars do not contain sugar, except for those with chocolate – but there is an insignificant amount of sugar there. Another positive quality of these bars is a very affordable price!
Read more about men’s health here ahealthyman.