Are They Healthy?
When I was looking for articles to use for “What’s News in Science?” I wanted to do an article about nutrition and healthy living, since I base my life around staying healthy and eating “good” foods. I searched google.com for information about Nutrition articles and I came across a website called BellyBytes.com. At first it didn’t seem like a highly scholarly website, but the information on the site was truthful and interesting and the article about Nutrition bars caught my eye. The website claimed to be a “No Nonsense Nutrition Resource.”
I wanted to see if I could find another source that had more established credit, so I found an article in the Washington Post that talked about Nutrition bars as well and the debate on whether or not they were really as nutritious for you as they were claimed to be. However, the article in the Post praises nutrition bars for the most part in their ability to provide energy over long periods of time and the fact that they can indeed serve as a replacement for a meal. There are so many brands of nutrition bars as well as they come in all types of flavors and textures such as crunchy and granola, etc. This article spoke of how the flavor wins out and the health benefits to nutrition bars such as weight loss and body-building. I found this article at the following site: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn-content/article/2006/02/08/AR20060022800285.c
The article, “Nutrition Bars: Are They Really Nutritious?” talks of the debate about Nutrition bars and their healthiness. “Most nutrition bars on the market today are either mislabeled or contain less healthy nutrition than a McDonald’s Big Mac." An independent study done by www.ConsumerLab.com, found that 18 out of the 31 bars they sampled didn’t contain the level of ingredients the labels claimed and provided major misleading information about the carbohydrates in the bar. A lot of Nutrition bars contain more carbohydrates than listed because of the glycerin in the bar, but manufacturers decide to exclude glycerin on their bar labels. Glycerin is what keeps the bars moist, adds bulk, and provides the varying degrees of texture. There has been research done showing that glycerin may not be fully metabolized by the body. However, some manufacturers have responded to these health questions by providing bars low in fat and their labels containing all the ingredients within, such as Life Time Fitness producing their Fastfuel High Performance Protein Bars. I found this article on the following site: http://www.bellybytes.com/articles/bars.shtml
When you decide that you have to replace a meal with a nutrition bar, there are some guidelines you can follow to make sure you’re choosy healthy ones. First off, the protein content of the bar should be between 14-31 grams. The protein should also be a mix of two different types of protein, such as whey (caseinate or soy protein) and high-quality amino acids such as glutamine, carnitine, and arginine. These amino acids provide muscle repair, maintenance, and growth. The variety of proteins allows the body to carry out its metabolic functions. Secondly, the carbohydrate value should contain at least 3 grams of soluble fiber per bar. It is impossible to make a bar with no carbohydrates. Be aware the Nutrition bar will contain fats. This is what keeps the bars moist and provides the flavor. The fat content should be between 3-6 grams, 2-4 of which should be saturated fats. Search for a bar with 10-15% of the Daily Value for essential vitamins and minerals. The last, and most important criteria, is finding a bar that tastes good. If the taste is unpleasant, all the other criteria doesn’t matter because the bar will remain uneaten.
This information about nutrition bars matters to me because like I said earlier, for the last 4 years I have eaten healthy and made sure that I put good foods into my body and balance out my diet with exercise. Essentially, I am addicted to being in shape and being healthy because it makes me feel great. I feel amazing when my body is working and running properly from just the knowledge of the other options of what I could be eating. This information should be important to others because there are so many people that buy and consume nutrition bars on a daily basis. Sometimes it gets to the point where they replace meals with the bar because they don’t have time to eat a real meal. Since nutrition bars a big part of our culture and a common source on our daily eating regime, it is smart to know that some bars we put into our bodies are just as bad for us as a McDonald’s Big Mac. Which totally defeats the point of eating a nutrition bar anyways. The information appeared in these articles because more and more people are becoming concerned with diets, weight loss, healthy life styles, and determining what is good our bad for our bodies. We are analyzing what we eat and what kinds of food we consume. Our biggest obsession is staying fit and healthy and striving to reach our goals. I think that since this information is made more public, the people who truly care about their systems and bodies will keep these factors in mind the next time they go to eat a nutrition bar. They want to know what they are putting into their bodies, their temples.