By Macy Daniela Martin
We’ve all been there. You’re in a rush with no time to make breakfast. The next best thing? Scarf down a “healthy” energy bar, right? Well, maybe not.
The bad thing about the seemingly healthy energy bars (Clif, Luna, Power Bar, we’re talkin’ to you) is the sugar content. The Cool Mint Chocolate Clif bar has 22 grams of sugar. Twenty-two. That’s almost your entire day’s allowance of added sugar, which according to the American Heart Association is 25 grams per day. In fact, the first ingredient in the Cool Mint Chocolate Clif bar is Organic Brown Rice Syrup — a fancy name for sugar. At this rate the Cool Mint Chocolate Clif bar can be likened to a York Peppermint Pattie, which has a close 25 grams of sugar. And it’s a candy bar. The same goes for PowerBar and Luna. A Chocolate PowerBar has 25 grams of sugar. Whoa! And Luna Lemon Zest (a personal fave flavor) has a smaller, yet still alarming 12 grams of sugar.
We’ve been conditioned as a society to pay attention to calories, and turn a blind eye to nutrition. All these energy bars have relatively low calories — all coming in at under 250 calories (which is seemingly great for a small meal or snack). But sugar is bad news, girls! It can contribute to weight gain, obesity and subsequent diabetes. It completely disrupts our body’s processes and messes with our energy levels. We’re not talking about natural sugars (like those from fruits and vegetables). We’re only talking about added sugars (like in processed foods).
Even though energy bars are marketed as a healthy choice, it’s important to dig deeper into the ingredients because, despite their healthy packaging, they are still processed. If you’re relatively inactive or not into cooking, relying on an energy bar seems like a better choice than the drive-thru. But if you don’t plan to workout like a maniac to burn that bar off, it’s counterproductive. We sometimes forget that Clif bars were actually designed for mountain climbers and hikers going on long treks in order to have a source of sustainable energy for such calorie burning adventures. We’re usually enjoying our Clif bar from our desk or the couch. (Bad!)
Here’s the thing: if you lead a healthy lifestyle, an energy bar or two won’t hurt you. Especially if you are somewhere with no healthy options (like the airport) — then go for a Clif bar. Just keep your activity level in mind. Burn that baby off!
Check out this recipe for a really healthy energy bar.