The Truth about Granola Bars
Its 3pm … you’ve hit a wall. You reach for a granola bar because you’re trying to be healthy. But that granola bar isn’t the nutritious option you think it is.
Most “convenient” snacks are packed full of sugar without us even realising. This is because manufacturers call sugar by lots of different names so that they can spread it out in the ingredients list.
For example, the first ingredient in a Tracker bar is glucose syrup but hidden sugars appear another three times in the short list as “sweetened condensed skimmed milk”, “sugar” & “humectant” (glycerol)¹.
There are lots of hidden sugars in “healthy” Clif bars too. How do you make “syrup” sound healthy? Well, you make it from “Organic Brown Rice”. It sounds healthier, but it’s still a syrup.
The sugar levels in lots of granola bars is startlingly high. Clif bars contain 5 teaspoons of sugar per bar², while Alpen bars³ contain 4 and Nature Valley4 bars contain 3.
Sugary bars can occasionally be useful – lots of sugar is great if you’re about to start a long cycle, and you need some on-the-go fuel. But if you’re eating them as a snack at your desk then you’re not burning off all that sugar, and so it’s stored as fat. Not good.
The other issue with sugar is that it doesn’t fill you up. It’s quickly broken down by the body so we get a sudden burst of energy. But once the sugar is gone our energy levels plummet, which actually makes you want to eat another bar. So all you wanted was a quick snack but you’ve now eaten two bars.
There’s not much in the way of nutritional benefits to redeem granola bars. They tend to consist of mostly carbs, but contain very little protein, fibre and healthy fats. These are actually the keys to keeping us feeling fuller for longer.
So next time you reach for that ‘healthy snack’, have a look at the label – check the ingredients list for hidden sugars. And choosing a snack with at least 3g of fibre or 6g of protein will help help you feel fuller for longer.
2. http://www.clifbar.com/products/clif-bar/clifbar/crunchy-peanut- butter#nutrition
Remember: 4g = a teaspoon of sugar