As a population we are snacking more than ever before. There are so many choices available throughout Ireland including vegan, nut and even meat bars! It can be difficult to know if these are “healthy” or just chocolate bars in disguise. I have reviewed some of the most popular. See below!
Added Sugar- 5g
I love these! Real ingredients, high fiber and most importantly the protein content is from plants ie. nuts. We know nuts have a protective effect over heart health. I would definitely recommend these as a filling snack. Some of the flavours are higher in sugar due to chocolate bits and added honey. But overall a great very filling choice.
Added Sugar- 0g
Another favourite of mine. Yes there is natural sugar in these from the first ingredient-dates. However we know that dates have a low GI index of 42 so are not likely to increase blood sugars as much as table sugar. These taste really sweet and satisfying. Most varieties contain maximum of 5-6 ingredients.
Added Sugar- 11g
These bars are a little higher in carbohydrate. The third ingredient is added white sugar. They may be suitable for a more active person or someone training for an endurance event. I do not recommend these for the average office worker.
Added Sugar- 0g
These are AMAZING! Very few ingredients, no added sugar and 12g protein. They come in fun flavours and sure to keep you satisfied. Protein can have a “filling effect” on hunger levels.
Added Sugar- 3g?
These bars are everywhere in Ireland. I can understand why-they taste great and are very high in protein. The ingredients are not ideal for anyone with a sensitive stomach or athlete following a low fodmap diet. Maltilol is a sugar alcohol which can cause bloating and GI distress if consumed in excess. Sugar alcohol are organic compounds derived from real sugar. Sugar alcohols do not increase blood sugar as much as regular white sugar. We know research is inconsistent when it comes to non nutritive sweetners such as sugar alcohols. Some sugar alcohols even have health benefits. I also noticed they use palm fat which is actually high in saturated fat.
Conclusion: When it comes to snacking in general its always best to stick to a “plants and protein” approach. Vegetables and fruits have a very low calorie density. Protein helps keeps us full. In my opinion, no one food is ever bad. It may help to think about how and why you are using these bars. Are they preventing you from snacking on fruit or helping your avoid regular chocolate bars? When shopping for foods like these, remember that there is no one “magic food” or snack to help you meet your nutritional goals. Most of these snack bars are about 200kcals. For 200kcals you could have 1 apple+handful of almonds or 1 banana+ tablespoon nut butter. You may even save yourself some money too!