Before we go into the 3 protein bars you should avoid, it is paramount that we discuss the things you should look for in a Bar.
WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR IN A BAR
According to Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the healthiest bars have a calorie range of 150 to 250 calories.
The ingredient list includes mostly whole foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains and fruits.
“Avoid bars that have a laundry list of ingredients, which signals a highly processed food,” advises Melissa Rifkin, M.S., RD.
BALANCE BAR LEMON MERINGUE CRUNCH
Balance Bars are low in fiber and contain questionable ingredients like carrageenan and caramel color. The lengthy ingredients list is devoid of whole foods and reads like a chemistry exam.
For example, the first seven ingredients are soy protein nuggets, glucose syrup, protein blend, sugar, fractionated palm kernel and palm oil, fructose and invert sugar.
There are four types of sugar in the first few ingredients alone! Balance Bars contain carrageenan, a thickener made from seaweed, which has been linked to gut inflammation in animal and human cell studies.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration believes it is safe, people with inflammatory bowl disorders — or anyone concerned about its effect — may want to avoid it.
The bars also contain caramel color, a potential carcinogen, according to a 2015 study from Johns Hopkins University. The report cautioned that consuming large quantities of caramel color (popular in soda) could increase the risk of cancer.
THINKTHIN CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BAR
With 20 grams of protein and zero grams of sugar, thinkThin looks appealing; but think again. There are hardly any whole foods on the ingredients list (except a small amount of peanuts and sea salt), and there’s only one lonely gram of fiber. thinkThin also has 11 grams of sugar alcohol.
Sugar alcohols taste sweet, have fewer calories than sugar and don’t raise blood sugar as much as sugar. (Despite the name, they don’t actually contain any alcohol or sugar).
But they can cause GI distress like abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea when consumed in excess (above 20 grams per day), according to a 2014 study in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.
If you suffer from stomach problems, check food labels for sugar alcohols — the solution may be to cut back or eliminate them entirely.
GREEN SUPERFOOD ENERGY BARS ORIGINAL
Don’t be fooled by the buzzwords “green,” “superfood” and “energy.” The SuperFood bar has 25 grams of sugar, which make up nearly half of the total calories. And while it does contain an “Amazing Grass Green Superfood” mix of powders, teas, roots and produce that’s been processed enough to fit in the bar, you can get everything you need from wholesome fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and grains at your other meals and snacks.
In case you’re tempted by the four grams of fiber, it still isn’t enough to justify eating this sugary bar. You can easily get that in half a cup of raspberries, half a cup of oatmeal, an ounce of almonds, an orange, half an ounce of flaxseed or one baked sweet potato. A cup of cooked black beans has 15 grams. Just eat a healthier snack and have some raspberries for dessert that night.
The article was culled from an article that was originally written by CAROLINE KAUFMAN, MS, RDN, Published on Living Strong.