Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Energy Bars

Energy bars, "nutritional" bars, granola bars, candy bars—sometimes it is hard/impossible to distinguish. However, there have been some positive trends: fewer ingredients, less processing of ingredients, some with organic ingredients, and less sugar. However, these bars are not a free ride in terms of calories, fat and sugars. The new bars are being sold on the end display across from the cheese.
Larabar bars are very popular, containing five or fewer raw ingredients. Their mantra is "Eat human food—it enlivens the soul." They have no added sweeteners, but, like most of the others in this list, dates are a primary ingredient. Calories, fat and sugars vary, but they all seem to have 5 gm of protein and under 15 gm of sugar.
Cliff’s Nectar bars contain few ingredients, all organic. Dark chocolate & walnut is tasty, with around 160 calories and under 20 gm of sugar.
ThinkOrganic! bars are all organic with raw ingredients, except for the chocolate.
Raw Indulgence bars are raw, gluten free, organic and kosher. The Heavenly Whole Food Brownie is sweetened with agave nectar and weighs in at 254 calories, 20 gm of sugars, 15 gm of fat, 6 gm of protein.
Alpsnack bars, from the Dr. Bronner peppermint soap family, may have more than 10 ingredients, but they are recognizable foods and are organic.
Cliff Luna bars were recently reformulated with 3 gm less sugar and one more gram of fiber.

Attempting to find and read ingredients & nutritional content is a real pain—the Kind fruit & nut bars are printed on a clear wrapping over the multicolored bar, making it impossible to see. Therefore you may not know that glucose & honey are added to these bars. The nutritional info for the Oskri sesame bars is for one of the three wafers included in the 1.9 oz package—so do the math.

Another surprise, Real Green, an organic fruit & veggies bar, contains a reasonable 160 calories, but does contain 30 gm of sugar. Real Green’s label says four servings of fruits & vegetables are contained in the single serving bar—not sure about that math.

The old standby, Tiger’s Milk protein-rich bar, has a long list of ingredients more familiar to a chemist than a gardener, with high fructose corn syrup leading the list.

And when you want something really tasty for the calories, there is a terrific selection of chocolate in Aisle 7A.

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