Nutrition Bars are not always Nutritious: How to spot the difference by Karen Malkin, Board Certified Health and Nutrition Coach, gives us tips to identify healthy foods. The importance of looking at ingredient labels as well as food preservation is an easy way to spot healthy foods. Check out KMHC’s Transformation Superfood Bar.
Ask the Doctor segment: Dr. Cole gives his input on a variety of subjects: Tips for professional competitive video-gamers, how CrossFit may not be right for everyone, and the importance of stretching before and after workouts.
Q: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A NUTRITION BAR?
A: Look for recognizable real food ingredients. This includes food such as nuts, seeds, nut butters, quality protein, oats, whole grains, dried fruit, greens, chia, flaxseed, maca, spirulina, and goji berries.
Natural sweeteners are ideal. Look for bars sweetened with dried cherries or dates instead of sugar and artificial sweeteners which are whole foods and also add fiber.
Try to find bars high in protein and fiber and low in sugar. When a bar advertises “low in sugar,” you need to read the label and see how it is sweetened; for example, sugar alcohols such as erythritol and mannitol can be safe but wreak havoc on people’s digestive tract, especially mine!
Oats are a healthy, inexpensive filler which is why some bars sell for $1.99 and my Transformation Bar sells for over $4. You want a bar that’s nutrient-dense with healthy fats that will satiate you for hours. Look for a quality protein source from rice or pea protein, or grass-fed organic whey protein devoid of rBGH growth hormones.
I first check the refrigerated section for bars that are preserved for freshness. I don’t want to eat a bar with a 2-year shelf life! How can that be real food?
Q: WHAT SHOULD WE BE AVOIDING?
A: Avoid artificial sweeteners. This includes aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame K (or ace K). Stevia and monk fruit are a much safer non-caloric sweeteners.
Avoid isolated soy protein which is chemically processed and genetically engineered. Whole food forms of soy can be healthy, while isolated soy protein can cause gastric upset.
Whey from healthy cows are a great source of protein if you can tolerate the casein (the protein found in dairy). Generally speaking, it’s important to know your sources and buy organic or non-GMO whenever you can.