As I was purchasing my ski ticket last week I picked up a Granola Bar from a bucket at the ticket office. On the Gondola ride up, I started reading the ingredients and began to wonder – are these things really good for you…. So, we did a little research!
The answer to the question is like most things – it depends! Granola Bars can be a healthy or smart choice but they are a very tricky little food when it comes to nutrition. Their popularity has grown exponentially in the last decade driving introductions of many new products. As the market for these bars has exploded the term “granola bar” is now being used to cover a large spectrum of bars. Granola consists simply of rolled oats, honey (or some equivalent sweetener), nuts and dried fruit. Many of bars on the market calling themselves Granola actually don’t have any granola.
The best example in of a non-granola bar is the protein bar. These bars are heavily marketed to those who are interested in fitness and weight loss primarily because of the popularity of high protein, low carbohydrate diets. The problem with developing these super-protein bars is that protein, in its highest form, comes from meat. Now it doesn’t matter how organic, grass-fed or free-range that meat is, it’s not going to taste very good stuffed inside of a protein bar.
What is the solution? The solution is to manufacture the protein using chemistry to make it taste good.
There is an emerging trend within the snack bar market born of disdain for this manufactured chemistry present in our modern-day food distribution. These snack bar companies are really part of a bigger grassroots movement to return us to eating wholesome natural foods. Many of these companies are producing fantastic tasting snack bars with very few ingredients, all of which are natural. You will notice that these bars are higher in natural sugar and lower in protein because of these natural ingredients. The protein, fat and carbohydrates in these products come from completely natural foods
The key is to read the label of whatever snack bar you decide to purchase. You will find that many contain more sugar and calories than a traditional candy bar with just more protein. The question then lies in whether you want a more natural food source or a manufactured food source. You decide!