Recently, The New York Times published an article in regards to a survey they conducted of average Americans like you and me versus a panel of nutrition experts. The survey subject was simple: Which foods do you think are good for you? And which do you think are bad for you?
A lot of the results made sense. What foods do we both agree are healthy for us? Fruit, lean meat, nuts… And what foods do we both agree we should probably put down? Soda, French fries, ice cream… Right? Simple. No brainer.
And of course, it’s no surprise that there are just some foods that we’ve agreed to disagree on. Like frozen yogurt, Slimfast shakes, and the #1 offender: GRANOLA BARS
To quote the article, “No food elicited a greater difference of opinion between experts and the public than granola bars. About 70 percent of Americans called it healthy, but less than 30 percent of nutritionists did.”
“Why do nutrition experts deem granola bars to be unhealthy” you ask? Well, the answer is simple – SUGAR
So this got me thinking, what about the crop of new granola bars that have popped up over the past few years like LARABAR, Clif, and KIND? Surely Americans must have a hierarchy of what they believe in the granola bar world to be the healthiest versus the not so healthy (Quaker Chewy Bars maybe? Anyone? Anyone??). And are these so-called “healthier” options even that much better for you? .. Well! Time to find out!!!
* Quaker Chewy Bars can contain up to 1 gram of sugar alcohols listed on their nutrition labels. Sugar alcohols include: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. Sugar alcohols come from plant products such as fruits and berries. The carbohydrate in these plant products is altered through a chemical process and used to sweeten foods.
** Luna & Clif Bars contain 12-16 grams and 15-19 grams of “Other Carbohydrates” listed on their nutrition labels underneath “Total Carbohydrates” which refers mainly to complex carbohydrates, commonly called starches, OR the sweeteners mentioned above called sugar alcohols – xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol.
Note 1: I’m not taking into account the total weights of the bars (in grams) because typically a serving size is the entire bar – so I am comparing apples to apples (serving size to serving size/bar to bar).
Note 2: I’m not taking into account where the sugars come from – i.e. high fructose corn syrup, sugar, honey, fruit, etc..
So maybe next time before you snag that granola bar in a conference room, the office cafeteria, or at your local grocery store. Give it a quick flip over and glance at the nutrition facts. Not every bar is what meets the eye.
….. Just a little food for thought…..