Granola Bars - Friend or Foe?
Granola bars are often listed as an awesome healthy option for those who are in a hurry or on the go. However, are they really a better choice?
There are a ton of bars out there with clever marketing plans that make the bar out to be super healthy, when in actuality, the bar is the furthest thing from healthy. This is where reading the ingredient list becomes super important! The ingredient list tells the whole story - all 10 kinds of sugar and all!
Most granola bars are grain based, meaning they contain gluten or a mixture of grains, and as we've discussed before, grains can be very detrimental to our gut, blood sugar, and brain function. They aren't the health food they've been out to be!
Plus, alongside of those grains are often multiple forms of sugar - real or artificial. Most manufacturers put multiple forms of sugar in these bars so that sugar isn't listed in the first 2-4 ingredients - the amount of sugar is instead spread out over 5+ types of sugar to make the percentage of each lower than it would have been by using one type of sugar.
Vegetable oils usually make an appearance too, and as I discussed last week, vegetable oils are one of the most harmful foods to our health. Any bar that contains any sort of vegetable oil is out on my list.
Most bars also contain isolated minerals and vitamins, both of which your body won't absorb or recognize in the same way as nutrients from real food.
Finally, most bars contain some sort of isolated protein source that usually isn't from a quality animal source, meaning it won't be a complete protein or a healing source of protein either!
Take a look at these two ingredient lists for common granola bars - pretty scary, right??
What bars make my do not eat list? Here's a small sampling:
Special K (one of the worst offenders on my list!)
Most protein bars
Meal replacement bars
Any bar with ingredients you can't pronounce
But - never fear, I do have a couple of brands of bars that I do like and recommend!
1. RX Bars
These bars are made with simple ingredients: egg whites, dates, and nuts. They can be found online, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Fresh Thyme, and HyVee.
Larabars are also made with super simple ingredients like dates and nuts. My favorite flavor is cashew cookie made with only dates and cashews! They are found in a ton of stores like Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Fresh Thyme, and HyVee as well as online.
3. Primal Kitchen Bars
There are a couple of different flavors of these bars, and they are made with collagen, a healing superfood! They are available mainly online.
4. Epic Bars
These bars are jerky-based, meaning they are sourced from high quality animal protein sources. They are found online and in stores at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Fresh Thyme, and HyVee.
I always have one of these bars in my purse for emergencies - they are real food based, easy, and delicious!