Granola Bars: For years people have been told all about the healthy benefits of consuming granola bars after exercising or in place of foods that are unhealthy. Grabbing a delicious granola bar for all accounts appears to be a nutritious alternative to all those candies and sugar-filled energy drinks on the market.
In fact, take a look down the cereal aisle in your local supermarket and you will see several dozen varieties and brands of granola bars for sale. The problem, however, many of those boxes marked “natural” and “healthy” are not all they are cracked up to be.
Before you grab that colorful box of snacks, consider these reasons you should stop eating granola bars and opt for other alternatives.
Looking at the Ingredients
Too many people buy granola bars either based on a sale price or a colorful commercial about how tasty and nutritious these little bars might be. Although the wording on the package is telling you this is a good alternative to other snacks, the truth of the matter is many granola bars are in fact identical to cookies and candies, packed with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, it is important to look at the ingredients and choose carefully because many brands substitute natural ingredients for harmful ones. Testing conducted at the National Diabetes Foundation has shown that high corn syrup can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain, and the hydrogenated oils and MSG are linked to diabetes and obesity.
Forget About Convenience
Parents today are being pulled in seven directions at one time, having little time to prepare healthy meals for their kids or for themselves. It is so much more convenient to just rip open a box of granola bars, stuff them in the kid’s backpack or their own lunches, and tackle the day.
The world appears to be moving in fast-forward mode all the time, leaving very little time to sit and enjoy a healthy breakfast. With little access to food each day, people stuff themselves with these sugary granola bars to fill the void but wonder why they are tired and rundown more frequently.
Those spikes in sugar levels inevitably lead to huge crashes in the day, so the kids lose focus at school or homework time, the parents are too tired to cook meals, and everyone goes to bed feeling depleted. These sugary granola bars do nothing as far as adding nutritional value to your meals.
Misunderstanding the Packaging
The granola bar manufacturers have high-paid advertising executives on staff who understand that terminology has a lot to do with how consumers make purchases. A person is more likely to buy a box of granola bars that reads “natural’ or “healthy” without really understanding the meaning behind those words.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, in order for a package of granola bars to be considered healthy, it must contain 1 gram or less saturated fat per serving. The granola bar must not have 15 percent or more calories coming from saturated fat.
In order to get that distinction, the manufacturers will jam as much saturated fat as they can to be able to still claim they are selling healthy snacks. So according to the FDA, if a package has 3 grams of fat it can’t be labeled “healthy”, but because it adds some peanuts or coconuts, it can utilize the “natural” distinction instead.
The Dangers Hidden Within
So on the outside of the box, you see the granola bar bursting with fruit flavors, covered with coconut or peanuts, and packed with granola and bran that makes it irresistible. The main ingredient in most granola bars is sugar, and most packages will contain at least 24 grams of sugar to start.
One cube of sugar is 3 grams, so that box of healthy granola bars is equal to 8 cubes of pure sugar. Refined white sugars, according to the Diabetes Foundation, are partly responsible for a huge variety of health issues.
Rather than incorporate healthy sugars from raw honey, organic cane, and fruits, they substitute high fructose corn syrup because it simply makes the bars taste better. Read the list of ingredients carefully, the higher on the list you see some type of sugar, the more sugar in every bar.
The Ingredients to Avoid
Sugar should be the top ingredient to avoid because it can be added in a number of ways. Next down the list is partially hydrogenated oils, otherwise known as trans-fats. According to studies at Web-MD, these man-made fats have been linked to a number of dangerous health issues.
Artificial ingredients can be disguised under the names preservatives, flavors, colors, or sweeteners. If you do not recognize the ingredient, avoid those granola bars. Protein isolates like whey or soy in granola should be avoided because it is not natural food, it has undergone processing before being added to the granola.
Canola oil is usually 93 percent genetically engineered and has been banned in many counties because it is considered unsafe for human consumption. Steer clear of soy flour or yellow corn flour, these two are also genetically engineered. Always look for organic ingredients, including honey, which can often be stripped away of its nutrients and lead to serious health issues.
You might also like:
- 14 High Calorie Healthy Foods to Gain Weight
- 7 Reasons to Include Maple Syrup in Your Diet
- 10 Types of Fish You Should Avoid Eating
If these reasons you should stop eating granola bars have not convinced you, consider that the American Heart Association states excess salt in granola bars can lead to high blood pressure, increased risk of strokes, stomach cancer, and heart disease. Reading that information label on the side of the granola bar box can help you to make healthier buying decisions. Too many consumers are fooled into believing that they are eating healthy foods because the box has big bright letters reading “All Natural”.
If you can not recognize the ingredients on any product you feed your family, leave it on the shelves. Although some granola bars are produced with minerals and vitamins, they lose their effect because of all the sugars packed in the bar as well. When the manufacturers strip away beneficial ingredients like fiber and replace them with corn syrup and artificial flavoring to give the appearance they taste better, you run the risk of getting a whole laundry list of dangerous diseases as a result.