Saturday, June 27 2015
Clients often ask me what is a healthy snack other than the “perfect snack “of fresh fruit and vegetables. My answer to them, it all depends. Are we asking about easy snacks of convenience or just healthy, nutritional snacks in general.
If we’re at home, we certainly have more snack options, for obvious reasons you have your refrigerator and pantry.
On the other hand, at work and in travel, they’re fewer options. To keep this brief, let’s look at one easy snack option, a nutrition bar. Still not all nutrition bars are created equal. Let’s look at what makes for a healthy snack bar.
I set the “bar” high. A healthy snack bar should have more than 3 grams of protein; more than 3 grams of fiber; most of the fats should be heart-healthy fats (unsaturated fats); and carbohydrates should be mostly whole grains with 10-20 grams of sugar. I’m not going to name specific brands, for that’s your job to read nutrition information.
However, I will point out the things you should avoid. You should avoid, like the plaque, such things as trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.
In understanding trans-fats, it’s pertinent to know that these fats are artificially produced and cause far more damage to your body than any other fat and they are often disguised as hydrogenated oils. Read the nutrition facts and the list of ingredients carefully. Read more: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trans-fat/CL00032
Another ingredient in all products not just snack bars that you should look for is the words “sucrose”, “fructose” and “high fructose” corn syrup. What exactly are these? They’re sweeteners. Sucrose, commonly called table sugar, is an organic compound composed of fructose and glucose. Sucrose is made from cane or beet sugar and can be powdered or granulated. Sucrose is considered empty calories providing only energy without nutritional value. Sucrose is metabolized in the liver and has a variety of beneficial and detrimental health effects.
Fructose, often called the fruit sugar, is a type of naturally occurring sugar found in many fruits, vegetables, and honey. Fructose is nearly twice as sweet as sucrose (table sugar) and can give a similar rise in blood sugar as sucrose. Fructose is commonly used in processed foods partly because it is less expensive to produce than sucrose and it takes less of it to produce the same level of sweetness. Fructose is often consumed in the form of high fructose corn syrup, which is fructose that has been combined with corn syrup and chemically treated to increase the concentration and sweetness of the fructose. High fructose corn syrup, a sweetener in its worst form, is found in many of our food and beverage products. Researchers have found evidence that indicates the consumption of fructose in the form of high fructose corn syrup contributes significantly to weight gain and possible insulin resistance.
So if you’re looking for healthy snack bars beware of the artificial “weight gaining” ingredients!! I will discuss in my next blog other healthy snack options as well as other detrimental ingredients to be aware of. Healthy snacking to you!