Are you eating the correct granola or energy bar?
Granola and energy bars are supplemental bars that contain fat, carbohydrates, and proteins for a quick snack or energy. They can be effective in preventing your blood sugar from crashing, but no so much hunger. What's the difference between these two bars, and are they really healthy or just glorified candy bars in disguise? Let's compare and see which one is best for you?
A candy bar at 100g has 24g of fat-13g is saturated fat. 189mg of sodium. 63g carbohydrate and 47g of that is sugar. 7g of protein.
The ingredients are similar in granola and energy bars. The main ingredients are made from toasted or rolled oats, oat flakes, rice puffs, and rice crisps. They both use sugars, syrups, and different fruit pastes and gels to hold everything together to create a bar. The more perishable an ingredient is, the more natural it is.
However, make sure the appearance of an ingredient is not under the disguise of health. For example, organic brown rice syrup is a pretty and healthy name for an ingredient, but it also has a high glycemic index and has significant amounts of arsenic that raises health concerns. Also, just because something is organic does not mean you can eat more of it.
First of all, the main difference between a granola and an energy bar is their protein content. Granola bars have significantly lower protein, about 1-3g, whereas energy bars have anywhere between 9-20g.
The main sources of protein in granola bars are seeds, nuts, and grains. However, energy bars add proteins like whey, milk, soy, or eggs.
Look for Friendly Fats
Don't be afraid of fat because it is good for you and a necessity. However, focus on the source. If you see unsaturated fats on the label, they are good for you. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of unsaturated fats. You need not worry even if you see saturated fats as well. Just be careful and watch out for bars that contain high amounts of saturated fat. The AHA says don't consume more than 20g of saturated fat a day. A small bar high in saturated fat, needs to be considered based on individual needs for a healthy diet.
Sugar In Your Bars
The most important thing to look for in both bars is the sugar content. According to the AHA, men should not have more than 36g (9 teaspoons) and women no more than 25g (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day. This is one of the downfalls of granola and energy bars containing too much sugar and artificial sweeteners, and preservatives that can unfavorably affect your health. Check to see if the bar is made with honey or a natural syrup. This can be a better choice in sweeteners because it is not refined sugar.
Vitamins and Minerals
Many energy bars are fortified with vitamins and minerals, such as B, D, and E vitamins, potassium, calcium, zinc, and iron. Granola bars contain smaller amounts of vitamins and minerals.
You Need Energy
Both energy bars and granola bars will increase your caloric intake and will give your body energy. However, granola bars are lower in calories than energy bars. The calories in these bars don't appear to be bad, just not enough compared to what a meal will provide you. The small amount of calories in these bars will keep your stomach growling, leaving you hungry. Look for a bar that has a good source of fiber, protein, and fat to make you feel full.
How to Choose a Bar
Choosing a bar can be challenging because there are many trade-offs. One has high protein but too much sugar. One has low sugar or too much fat. The best way to choose a bar is to look at your diet. What do you need that can satisfy your nutrient balance each day that you don't consume much? For example, if you don't eat a lot of sugar in your day, then eat a higher sugar bar. If you don't eat too much-saturated fat, then eat a bar with high saturated fat.
When choosing a bar, the best place to start is the ingredient list. Look for bars that have simple ingredients rather than complicated ingredients like, carboxymethylcellulose gum.
Try to remember that these bars are not staples in your diet. They are just supplemental snacks. These bars should not replace meals nor your snacks. Use these bars as a convenience to prevent your energy from crashing, but don't let convenience make you lazy to avoid preparing and eating a real meal. The best way to maximize your energy is through preparation. Know your schedule and prepare your meals/nutrition to integrate with your schedule.