Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is Health Food Really Junk Food in Disguise?

Walk into any health food store, grocery store, or mass merchandiser store and you'll surely find a vast assortment of healthy nutritional bars somewhere in the store. They claim to pack a nutritional punch and give you the necessary nutrition and nutrients you need when you are on the go. But is it really that good for you? I say 'NO!' Especially if you stop to read the ingredients in some of these.
Now let's look at one of the more popular bars. A bar that is aimed mostly at women who are trying to eat healthy and trying to lose weight. The Slim Fast Bar. You don't have to go very far in the ingredients list to see that this bar is junk! The first ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup! Next was a special syrup, which is just a way to cover up that they put more sugar in it. Add in some partially hydrogenated oils which equals one thing-Trans Fats, and then just a bunch of artificial flavoring and sweeteners. Seriously, I would rather you ate a Snickers Bar. At least then you'll be getting peanuts, skim milk, and egg whites as well as the junk. And it will taste a lot better.
Then, of course, are the bogus claims by the manufacturers: 'The Slim Fast Plan cuts your calories and helps provide the nutrition you need to stay healthy while you lose weight and keep it off...' I'm sorry, nobody needs High Fructose Corn Syrup, Trans Fats, and Artificial Sweeteners in their diet. Period!
And this is just one company. I'm telling you right now, read the nutrition labels and ingredients list. Even if you think it is healthy, or it says it is healthy. 95% of Food and Supplement Companies have one thing in mind-To make more money! They will cut costs however they can, even if it means deceiving you and putting crap in their products.
So how do you tell what nutritional bars are good for you? Well here are some general guidelines to follow if you are looking for a Meal Replacement Bar or one for weight loss:
- Needs to have at least 175 calories. Anything less won't be enough calories to get you to your next meal.
- Should offer 4 grams of protein or more. Protein mixed with carbs and fat are better at filling you up and giving the satisfied feeling. Plus protein should be eaten every 2-4 hours regardless.
- Minimum of 3 grams of fiber. Fiber also has the tendency to make you feel full longer. You should be shooting for 24-36 grams daily. -Stay away from ingredients like High Fructose Corn Syrup, added sugar, partially hydrogenated oils (Trans Fats), and added artificial sweeteners.
- Limit saturated fats. No more than 4 grams per bar.
Hope this helps. Organic ingredients are also a big plus in a bar. Health food stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods offer some excellent choices. Some good bars out there are Lara bars, Prograde Cravers, Perfect 10, and Organic Food Bars.

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