3 Things to Watch Out for When Buying Healthy Snack Bars
Health food snack bars may seem like a great idea, but unfortunately most “healthy” snack bars are anything but healthy. Here’s what to watch out for.
As we discussed on Monday, snack bars such as Healthy Warrior Chia Bars can be a great option to keep you satisfied and prevent you from succumbing to junk food cravings while you’re on the go. But unfortunately, many supposedly healthy snack bars are basically junk food in disguise. While they may masquerade as “healthy,” some of these imposters are anything but.
Here are a few warning signs to watch out for when buying healthy snack bars, so you can make sure that what you’re putting into your body is actually as good for you as you think it is.
One of the first things to look at when you are buying healthy snack bars is the sodium count. Remember that a high sodium intake can cause water retention which can lead to weight gain, bloating, and high blood pressure. Sodium can be present in preservatives as well as other ingredients, but natural, whole-foods bars shouldn’t contain a ton of sodium, so watch out for high sodium levels, and choose a different bar instead if it seems high to you.
Sugar content can actually be very high in certain healthy snack bars. The problem with this is most people don’t look at the sugar content. Keep in mind that some sugars are natural and come from the fruit contained in the snack bar. So, if you have a fruit bar versus a nut bar, then you will likely see more sugars. If you are buying a bar that is nut-based along with protein and oats then you probably want to consider it a warning sign when there is a very high amount of sugars. Consider this, one can of cola contains approximately 40 grams of sugar. If you are staying away from sugary drinks because of the sugar content, and the snack bar that is supposed to be healthy contains around the same amount, it is probably not a good sign.
Flavorings are a dead giveaway that your “healthy” snack bar isn’t exactly healthy. Ideally, a healthy snack bar should only have natural flavors and natural colors that come from the whole foods they contain. When there are additions like artificial flavorings it is a warning sign that what the label says is in the bar is not what may actually be there. For example, if you see something that is says it is made from apples but the flavoring is artificial strawberry, you should be concerned. Go with snack bars that are flavored only with real fruits or fruit juices instead.
Ideally, the best healthy snack bar of all is the one you make at home. You can control the ingredients, add only the options you want in the bars, and control the portion size. If you go this route, remember to buy only whole, or minimally processed ingredients to make your bars.
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