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Energy Bars: Healthy… or Not?

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May 2, 2011 by Amy Campbell

We’re fortunate in this country to have so many different types of food available to us. And thousands of new food products are introduced to every year. The downside of that is that many of these new foods aren’t always so healthful — candy, gum, snack foods, and beverages account for most of the newbies that show up in the supermarket.

Energy bars tend to fall into several different categories: high protein, moderate protein, high carbohydrate, meal replacement, weight loss, and even bars especially aimed at women. Names of bars that you may be familiar with include Balance, Clif, Luna, PowerBar, MET-Rx, Larabar, and Atkins Advantage. There are many more to choose from, as well. Some bars promote organic and all-natural ingredients.

The name and the packaging can be very deceiving, however. Some of these bars are not a whole lot different than a regular granola bar or even a candy bar that has been fortified with vitamins and minerals. If you check the ingredient list, you may be surprised to find that they contain various types of sugar (including high-fructose corn syrup) and saturated fat (from palm oil and partially hydrogenated oils). These are the same ingredients found in your average candy bar.

How to Choose an Energy Bar
On the plus side, energy bars can be useful. They’re easy, they’re portion-controlled, and some of them really can fill you up when you don’t have time to grab a meal. But, as with any food product, choose wisely.


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