Are Nutrition Bars Healthy For You?

Protein bars; energy bars, nutiriton bars; what's the difference. And which is good for what?

Not all are what they claim to be. What you think is good for you may do you harm, Dr. Bruce Hensel Reported.

At many health food stores, the drinks are said to be healthy and so are the snacks.

"The bars that we carry are very different, each one represents some different diet or lifestyle, whether it be a higher protein bar, a bar that has low fat in it, or a bar that has more carbs in it than protein in it,"  said store owner Kathy Turner

So what's best for a healthy boost?   "Don't expect the label to do the talking,"  Hensel reported. 

"Actually there are no labeling requirements, that people can call their bars whatever they like. So you can be called an energy bar, a nutrition bar, a protein bar," Dietician Sandi Kaplan said.

"Many of the other bars out there will have either too many carbohydrates or to be too high in protein or too low in fat and really don't work well as a snack option for people whether they are trying to lose weight or maintain weight," she added. 

Bars fortified with vitamins and minerals can have a metallic after taste.

Taste Tester Kate Schenk said, " I think nutrition bars taste synthetic, there's always a chemical after taste."

If you're worried about calories, you should know a well-balanced nutrition bar is about the same as a candy bar, roughly 200 calories.  And many of the bars have way too much refined sugar, according to Kaplan. 

"Best way to pick a nutrition bar is to look past the advertising on the label and go straight to the ingredients list, and look for natural ingredients. Flavorings, colorings, and preservatives can contribute to kids being either too energized or not energized enough, so check the label for that, too.  Also, protein is fine once in a while, but you need carbs and some fat to work out.  Too much protein can be dangerous for your heart and kidneys.  Read the ingreients; use pure protein once in a while; more often choose balanced bars with less than 100 calories each,"  Dr. Hensel reported.

For general information on healthy eating:

American dietetic association, http://www.Eatright.Org

Usda, http://www.Nutrition.Gov

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