Bar Exam: Does your energy bar pass the test?

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
Written by: Angela, Nutritionist

Whether you are headed to the gym after work or hitting the trail on the weekend, energy bars can be a convenient and quick fix to your hunger needs. Even the classic PB&J or nuts and fruit are great on-the-go ‘energy bars.’ But if you don’t have time to make a sandwich and you want the convenience of a boost of protein and vitamins, here’s what to look for – ideally – in any bar.

1.                   High fiber: at least 3 grams

2.                  High protein: at least 3 grams

3.                  No high fructose corn syrup

4.                  No trans fats or hydrogenated oils

5.                  200 calories for a snack and 400 calories for a meal replacement

You should look for something that keeps your blood sugar stable over time. This will give you sustained energy during your activity. After all, who wants an energy crash 45 minutes into a workout? This happens because many bars don’t contain adequate amounts of protein, healthy fat and fiber and are instead based on simple carbohydrates. The problem with this is simple: simple carbohydrates (juice or sugar based bars) digest and absorb more quickly than complex carbohydrates (in tact carbohydrates: fruits, vegetables and whole grains) because they have more fiber naturally present. Carbohydrates, both simple and complex, digest and absorb more quickly than protein and healthy fat. Instead of receiving sustained energy, your body will process the bar too quickly. This will result in a large peak and valley in your blood sugar levels; the valley, of course, being the crash.

Grab your bar and check the label. Does your energy bar pass the test? If not, look for one that does. Focus on bars made with organic, whole foods ingredients.

Categories: Whole Food Eating

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