Here’s the Best Snack Bar Rated by Consumer Reports
Did you know that your snack bar packaged with healthy and appealing images of nuts and berries may have as many calories and as much fat as a Snickers Bar? Discover now what Consumer Reports has to say with their latest snack bar advice to help you watch your calories, and find out which snack bar received their best snack bar rating.
According to a heath update by Consumer Reports, snack bars that look healthy often are not. And in fact, some have about the same calories, fat, and sugar in every bite as a candy bar.
In a recent analysis by Consumer Reports, researchers found that some of the snack bars tested contained as much as 280 calories in a single bar. Those that fared better calorie-wise offered half as much.
Aside from calories, Consumer Reports also found that of the snack bars tested, total fat ranged between 4-14 grams; total sugar ranged between 1-22 grams; and, sodium levels ranged from 0 to 270 milligrams. Dietary guidelines recommend that the general populace should eat no more than 2,300 mg of salt (approximately 1 teaspoon) per day, while individuals with hypertension and middle-aged or older should limit intake to 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
But there’s more to consider than when it comes to choosing the best snack bar—that of protein content, which they found can be misleading. Although the snack bar may be labeled in large print stating that it contains 20 grams of protein, when you look at the smaller print you may find that the protein is actually a less wholesome type such as soy protein isolate or chicory root.
“It’s [soy protein isolate] a processed ingredient that manufacturers put in to boost the protein content. It’s better to get most of your protein from natural sources like nuts,” says Ellen Klosz, a nutritionist with Consumer Reports.
How to Choose a Snack Bar
So how do you determine if your snack is a nutritional dud? Consumer Reports offers the following 4 things to avoid when choosing a snack bar:
• Highly processed ingredients. Instead, make sure real foods are high on the list, such as oats, raisins, blueberries, nuts, dates, and dried cranberries.
• Sugars. In addition to processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup, look out for multiple listings of sugars—including honey or fruit concentrate—and artificial sweeteners, too.
• Added protein and fiber. Soy protein or chicory root listed as the first ingredient means that the manufacturer boosted protein and fiber with less wholesome ingredients.
• Lots of fat. Well less than half of the total fat in a bar should be the saturated kind. And avoid bars with partially hydrogenated oil. It signals trans-fat, which is linked to heart disease.
The Best Rated Snack Bar
The researchers at Consumer reports rated the “Kind Plus Cranberry Almond + antioxidants” snack bar as their top choice which has whole almonds, macadamia nuts and dried cranberries for only $1.25 a bar.
As a close to their update, Consumer Reports states that even the best snack bars aren’t good meal replacements, but if you’re tempted to grab a bar for an on-the-go breakfast or lunch you can turn it into a healthy meal just by adding a banana and a small container of low-fat plain yogurt for a less than 400 calorie meal. Or, you could easily turn that snack bar into a weight loss smoothie.
For more about healthy protein snacks, here are some healthy high-protein snack recommendations for losing weight.
Reference: Consumer Reports March 2105― “How to choose the best bars for a healthy snack”