Energy bars, often referred to as nutrition bars, protein bars, health bars or snack bars, are a popular choice of snack amongst athletes to provide their bodies with fuel.
Although despite be branded as a healthy, energy-boosting and nutritious snacks, it is a sensible precaution to check what the ingredients are and what the nutritional value is an energy bar before you eat it to ensure that it is really as ‘healthy’ as it claims.
To help you know what to look out for in energy bars, below is a guide to finding the best energy bars and on what energy bars should contain to provide you with energy instead of lost calories.
Quality energy bars that are bursting with energy boosting goodness are packed with whole grains. Whole grains, such as oats, are a good source of carbohydrates which of course gives us energy, as well as fibre, which helps make us feel full for longer.
Many energy bars contain dried fruit and quite simply the more dried fruit an energy contains, the better. Being naturally sweet, dried fruit can help us regain energy and stave of tiredness. Fruit of course is also bursting with vitamins and minerals, and energy bars that contain a large amount of fruit, will contribute to our recommended five a day portions of fruit and veg.
Seeds and Nuts
As well as being an excellent source of fibre, both seeds and nuts contain high levels of “good fats” and calories. Calories and “good fats” are important if we want to maintain our energy levels and stay at peak performance whatever physical activity we may be doing.
Look out for sugar
Sugar may make things taste great and will act as a ‘temporary’ energy fix, but as sugar is associated with weight gain, providing temporary energy that is quickly followed by an energy slump and is generally considered to be bad for one’s health, energy bars with added sugar should be avoided. All the sugar found in energy bars should come from the fruit in them.
Look out for artificial ingredients
Energy bars that contain artificial ingredients, such as colouring, preservatives, sweeteners and flavours, should be avoided as they will not provide any nutritional value and will just weigh you down with wasted calories.
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