The Truth Behind ‘healthy’ Cereal bars
Research by the consumer group Which? in 2012 found that most cereal bars are high in sugar and fat, making their healthy image a “myth”, according to the BBC and The Independent.Using a combination of their research and a bit of my own, I’ve found some of the best and worst cereal bars on our supermarket shelves.
The Nutri-Grain Elevenses bar contains nearly four teaspoons of sugar – more than in a small can of cola and 20% of the recommended daily allowance.
Eat Natural bars with hazelnuts, apricot & vanilla have more sugar than a two finger KitKat, which contains 10g. It’s also more calorific than a bag of Maltesers!! Maltesers are my favourite! I’d rather eat a bag of Maltesers, knowing they were bold, than eat an ‘eat natural’ bar thinking I was being so good!
Of the bars examined by Which?, the least healthy bar was the Tracker Roasted Nut bar, which was found to be high in sugar, fat and saturated fat. The main ingredient of this bar was sugar and it was 30% fat. The researchers acknowledge that a proportion of the fat content came from peanuts and hazelnuts, but point out that it also contained “harmful hydrogenated fats”.
Special K bars contain the equivalent of about two teaspoons of sugar. I’ve always thought they tasted too good to be true.. a lot of cereal bars with that yogurt coating seem to be high in sugar.
The healthiest bar was the Alpen Light Apple and Sultana – the only bar to have a “green light” for being low in fat, saturated fat and salt. It contained 0.7g of fat, 0.3g of saturated fat and 8.3g of sugar, and it also had the lowest calorie count, at 63.
The Alpen Fruit and Nut bar, the Naked Apple Pie and the Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix Fruit and Nut also made it into Which?’s “healthiest” category
If you’re trying to cut back on sugary foods and you’re not sure whether you’re favourite healthy snack is as healthy as you hope, my advice would be to google it or ask for help in a health store. Advertising and branding can be deceptive. When a product says ‘low fat’ on the front make sure to check the cheeky small print on the back about the sugar content too.
While looking for tasty & healthy treats I came across a range called ‘Natasha’s Living Food‘. In Natasha’s own words she explains it as –
“My range of Raw and Living foods are completely free of animal products, and chemically processed or pasteurised ingredients. I use fair-traded ingredients wherever available, and I also use organic. I NEVER use flour, dairy, wheat, eggs, meat or fish, which is great for people with these allergies. I do use nuts, and I love to use superfoods.”
My personal favourite snacks from Natasha are crunchy Kale, Love apple kisses and her cacao & coconut slice (amazing when you have a chocolate or sugar craving!) I get these in Bodyfirst Nutrition in Clontarf and it’s available in some Super Valu’s too.
This post made me think of the scene in Mean Girls where Kady convince’s Regina George to eat those ‘Kalteen bars’ by telling her they’re ‘super low fat’ when really they’re full of sugar & fat! haha! Anyway I hope you found this post interesting and informative!!