Nutritionists Say Granola Bars Are Just Dressed Up Junk Food

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Granola bars, like many sweeties in disguise, are marketed as a health food or health snack on today’s market. And while there are certain nutrients to be gained from some ingredients in granola and other muesli bars and slices, these snacks are actually far less healthy than we are led to believe.

Why Is It Unhealthy?

Granola bars are a huge part of many people’s diets including children’s lunches. Because of the “healthy” ingredients within granola bars such as fruits, oats and even seeds and grains, we consume these bars under the assumption (or the self-denial) that these are healthy foods that are good for us.

The truth is, in fact, that there are huge amounts of hidden fats and sugars within granola that, if we actually knew about, we might think twice about consuming granola – or at least about consuming as much as we do. Statistics state that nearly 55% of American households have granola bars or snacks within them. The annual sales for granola products are over $7 billion.

Granola Is Just Like Unhealthy Cookies

We are consuming enormous amounts of daily calories in just one bar – in fact what we believe is the perfect ‘on-the-go-snack’ is actually slowing us down and may even be cancelling out any good, healthy work we are doing.

As medical director Yoni Freedhoff of Ottowa’s Bariatric Medical Institute says:”I think the public perception is that if there is the word granola in it that it’s healthy for you. There’s a lot of things that sound healthy but then tend to get stuck together with lots of sugar and lots of high-calorie fats.”

Granola in actual fact is much more similar to a cookie than to a health food. Granola bars tend to have an extremely high rate of high-fructose corn syrup, a dangerous ingredient in many candy bars and other unhealthy snacks. Corn syrup is linked to rising levels of weight gain, cholesterol levels and insulin resistance and is a dangerous hidden ingredient for those attempting to otherwise stave off unhealthy foods.

Homemade and Healthy Granola Bars

Often granola bars are unhealthy because of the way they are processed, or cooked. If you can try your own homemade granola recipes you can control the amount of sugars and fats that go in the recipe and therefore into your body. Using natural ingredients like agave syrup rather than sugar, goji berries rather than chocolate chips, will ensure you are giving your body nutrients without overdosing on the bad stuff.

We could always try alternative health on-the-go snacks such as:

  • Banana + Kale smoothie
  • Rice cakes with avocado
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Edamame
  • Whole grain protein bars

Some other great healthy options are these simple 5-ingredient health bar by Minimalist Baker or these Peanut Butter and Goji Berry granola bars by Love and Lemon.

Featured photo credit: What’s Gaby Cooking via whatsgabycooking.com

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