Nutritional Therapy - Granola Bars: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (2023)

Nutritional Therapy - Granola Bars: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1)

They can be a handy on-the-go snack, but granola bars aren't always as healthy as they seem, and many of them are loaded with sugar. If you're used to using a granola bar to stay active, it can easily contain the same amount of sugar as a candy bar and won't help your energy levels or waistline.

What should you look for in a muesli bar?

For a snack to be effective, it must contain adequate protein and fiber. This is a combination that keeps your blood sugar balanced by slowing the release of sugar into the blood, keeping you fuller longer and giving you sustained energy. The body burns high-sugar snacks very quickly, resulting in an energy crash and sugar or carbohydrate cravings that are characteristic of a drop in blood sugar.

Next time you decide to buy a granola bar, look carefully at the label: 4g of sugar equals 1 teaspoon so you can easily do the math. Some products contain 6 or more teaspoons of sugar! This isn't always refined sugar, so don't be fooled: Many brands use dates or other dried fruits to sweeten their bars, and while they're more nutritious than refined sugar, the effects on your blood sugar levels are the same. . . A date is 65% sugar, and a medium-sized date contains the equivalent of about 6 teaspoons of sugar, so it's definitely one to watch out for.

The higher the protein content of the bar, the longer it will last you, whether you're planning a trip to the gym or staying late at work. Anything over 8g of protein is likely to be an energy gainer and will help keep snacking at bay.

Foods high in complex carbohydrates like oats, nuts and seeds are also an essential part of a good granola bar. These contain good amounts of fiber, which the body breaks down more slowly than refined carbohydrates, which regulate the release of sugar into the blood.

In short, aim for a high protein and fiber to low sugar ratio and you have a winner.

Granola bar review

Here's my analysis of some of the most popular brands of granola bars so you can see how healthy and effective they are as a quick snack. I've tried to select fairly similar products from each brand so the comparisons are as meaningful as possible. Each product is rated with 5 points. The rating is based on both the product selected and the entire range, which gives you an idea of ​​how picky you need to be with each individual brand.

Take care - 4/5
Orangenkakao 60g

Kal – 251
Egg White – 16g
Phases – 3.5 g
Sugar – 15g

Despite the larger size, this organic bar is packed with protein, derived from a combination of cashews and a blend of pea, rice and hemp proteins. The texture is pleasantly smooth and the orange flavor adds pep. The downside is that the high date content makes for a fairly sugary offering, with the equivalent of about 4 teaspoons of sugar per bar. It would benefit from a little more fiber to neutralize all the sugar, but there's no question that any of the Body Me bars would maintain it well.

Special K - 1/5
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar - 45g
Calories - 180
Egg White – 12g
Phases – 5g
Zucker – 13g

Although this product is high in protein and fiber, it contains several forms of refined sugar, which is bad news for your blood sugar levels. The extensive list of ingredients and additives makes it a much more processed product than most others on this list. It might keep you active in the short term, but it's not particularly nutritious.

Lecker Her – 3/5
Cocoa and Almond 40g
Kal – 173
Egg White – 5g
Phases - 3g
Zucker – 13g

These little balls of protein are pretty dense and chewy, but they might not keep you going for as long as you think. Across the range, these balls tend to be lower in protein and fiber and higher in sugar than this particular product, with some containing the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of sugar due to the high dates and other dried fruit content. It is better to be selective with this brand if you want to get the best results.

Bare Bar – 2/5
Orange Cocoa 35g

Kal – 145
Egg White – 4g
Phases – 2.2 g
Sugar – 14g

If you're familiar with the smooth, sweet texture of a Nakd bar, you won't be surprised to learn that more than half the ingredients are dried fruit, so this is a fairly sugary option that you probably won't stick with. very long. However, they get an extra point for the lack of additives and for their simplicity, making them suitable for people avoiding dairy and gluten.

Hike – 2/5
Oat and Cocoa Protein Flapjack 50g

Kal – 227
Protein - 9 g
Phases – 2g
Sugar – 14g

This product is more of a chocolate-covered flapjack than a traditional granola bar, but despite the name, it contains gram for gram less protein than some of the products reviewed here. While Trek bars have the benefit of containing oats, which are an excellent source of slow-release complex carbohydrates, the variety is sweetened with added cane sugar rather than the intrinsic sugars found in fruit or nuts, so they're not as nutritious as they could be

Cadbury Brunch-Bar - 0/5
Peanut – 32g
Calories: 145
Egg White – 2.5g
Phases – 1.5 g
Sugar – 12g

With sugar listed as the second, third, and fourth ingredient and six times in total, this will never be the most nutritious option. The intense sugar rush creates a blood sugar spike followed by an energy crash that leaves you craving sugar or carbs. Despite the name, it honestly doesn't get much better than a candy bar.

Pulsina – 5/5
Orange Chocolate Chip Protein Boost 50 g

Kal – 224
Egg White – 12g
Phases – 5g
Zucker – 6g

These high-protein bars contain a blend of cashews with rice and pea protein. Although they are a bit dense, they definitely give you a big boost of energy and the orange oil flavor makes it very tasty. The high protein and fiber content and low sugar content make Pulsin's Protein Booster range a winner.

Valley of Nature 2/5
Peanut and Chocolate 40g

Kal – 198
Egg White – 10g
Phases – 5g
Zucker – 6g

While the protein-to-fiber-to-sugar ratio seems very positive, this bar has a long ingredient list that includes a number of additives, such as the artificial sweetener maltodextrin. This makes for a fairly crafted offering that is harder for your body to break down and absorb. Be selective with your selection as some Nature Valley bars have half the protein and twice the sugar as this one.

Eat Nature – 1/5
Darker chocolate with almonds and apricots

Kal – 194
Egg White – 4g
Phases - 3g
Sugar – 16g

Low in protein and fiber, and with the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar, this isn't a great option in terms of energy. The sugar content is consistently high throughout the range and the protein content varies between 2g and 9g depending on the product. Even the so-called "high-fiber version" is only 3.5g per bar, so read the label carefully if this is your granola bar of choice. These products are unlikely to keep you active for long.

Bounce Energy Ball – 5/5
Orange-Cocoa 42g

Calories - 180
Protein - 9 g
Phases – 2.5 g
Sugar – 11g

The beauty of Bounce Balls is that they don't use any dried fruit, so the sugar content is invariably slightly lower than other brands of granola bars. This product contains less protein than the rest of the range at around 12g per scoop, so you can be sure you're getting a good amount of protein from a combination of nuts and seeds, whichever you choose. Although the fiber content could be better, the high protein and low sugar ratio makes this a great way to balance blood sugar that will definitely keep you going.

Nutrigrain – 0/5
Oats and Chocolate Chips - 37g

Calories – 182g
Protein – 2g
Phases – 1g
Sugar – 17g

The wide distribution of this range in supermarkets makes it an easy on-the-go option when you're looking for a quick snack, but we'd recommend taking a little longer to find something better. Super high in sugar for such a small bar and with virtually no fiber and very little protein to neutralize the effects, these products will have you wanting more in no time.

9:Neun Riegel Super Seeds 3/5
Cocoa and Anacardo - 40g
Kal – 219
Protein - 9 g
Phases - 3g
Zucker – 13g

This isn't the best of the 9:Nine bar offerings, but still packs a decent amount of protein. Their Classic range gets an extra point for being lower in sugar than the breakfast range and using pumpkin and sunflower seeds, which provide a huge boost in omega-3s as well as protein. One of the classic bars is definitely worth considering if you're looking for a quick boost of energy.

Barra Jordans Frusli – 1/5
Raisins and hazelnuts -30g

Calories - 120
Protein – 2g
Phases – 1.5 g
Sugar – 10g

High in sugar, minimal in protein and fiber, consuming this Frusli bar won't get you very far in terms of energy, and chances are you'll feel the urge to eat again soon. Their Absolute Nut Bar is a more compelling offering, containing three times the protein and containing less sugar, but the rest of the range is disappointing.

There are more practical tips like this in my book,The right bite: smart food options for on the go. It's full of useful foodie information for the cafeteria, pub, takeaway and more.

Nutritional Therapy - Granola Bars: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (2)

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