The incredible variety of “snack bars” (a generic term that includes so-called “protein” bars) out there today is truly staggering.
Despite the alluring hype and testimonials promulgated by manufacturers, low glycemic dieters need to be particularly cautious when choosing or using these products.
Why? Because even though there are a few marginally worthwhile choices available, just try to find one that is:
- Composed entirely of healthy ingredients
- Nutritionally balanced
- Truly low glycemic
- Good tasting
- Reasonably priced
Good luck…if you find one, let the rest of us know by commenting on this post (below)
Most of the bars pushed as “all natural” or “organic” are in fact crammed full of sugar, sugar alcohols, or (even worse) large doses of concentrated fructose in various guises. This includes those that are little more than a few bits of dried fruit and nuts crammed into a thick base of fructose-laden crushed dates.
Such bars may well be “organic” or “all natural”, but they nonetheless can still pack a wallop of a glycemic impact and leave you with other unpleasant side effects. You might as well eat a regular candy bar.
A Few Good Bars: Our Recommendations
Well OK – there are a couple of bars that don’t require a “Code Red”.
The only snack bars I have found acceptable are fairly recent additions to the field (2012 or later).
I actually like the taste of these, they seem to be composed of all good ingredients, are gluten-free, and contain no sugar, fructose, or sugar alcohols, and they can be had for around $2 per bar.
My recommendations are:
Simply Whey Bars – Available as of 2013, these come (as yet) in only 3 flavors, of which I have tried (and really like) only one (“Coconut”). The bars are lite and crunchy in texture (like “rice crispies” squares we used to make), and contain 15 g of protein and 170 calories per bar. They are sweetened with Lo-han.
Quest Bars – These are my 2nd choice. They are thick and chewy right out of the wrapper, but become much tastier and easier to chew if microwave-zapped for about 20-30 seconds on “low”. Quest bars have about 20g of protein, loads of fiber, and about 170 calories per bar. The only flavor I have tried in these that I like is “Chocolate Brownie”.
Bottom Line on Snack Bars?
Stay away from these products, or tread lightly except for occasional use (such as when traveling) or other situation in which no better options are available. Whole food natural snacks (e.g., some nuts and dried fruit) are generally far healthier, cheaper, and more satisfying.