HEALTH BARS.txt 
8702 

HEALTH BARS

Gabe Mirkin, M.D.

I am saddened by the number of people who think that health bars are 
healthful. I am disappointed that many parents put these health bars 
in their children's lunches because they think that health bars are 
more healthful than candy. 

 
An interesting report from Center for Science in the Pubic Interest 
evaluates health bars and finds that most flunk any reasonable 
definition of healthful. For a food to be healthful, it must be made 
from whole grains (not stripped down flour that has had vitamins, 
minerals, and phytochemicals removed), provide at least 2 grams of 
fiber (the average North American gets only 11 grams of fiber per 
day when he and she need at least 35 grams per day.), contain at 
most a gram of saturated fat (because it raises cholesterol in 
people who take in too many calories), and should certainly have 
fewer than 14 grams of sugar per serving. (Excessive intake of sugar 
causes a high rise in blood sugar in diabetics, that causes sugar to 
stick to cells and be converted to sorbitol, a poison that damages 
cells and shortens life.) 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest evaluated 86 health 
bars and found only 6 that could be called healthful. Among the best 
were Health Valley's Fruit Bars, Granola Bars, Bakes and Healthy 
Breakfast Bakes. They all had less than 11 grams of sugar in each 
bar, no saturated fat and fewer than 150 calories per bar. Barbara's 
Nature Choice Cereal Bars also did well.

Atkins Almond Brownie Diet advantage had more than 220 calories 
(too many) and 3 grams of saturated fat (more than an egg yolk), 
but on the good side, it has no sugar. Jenny Craig Oatmeal Raisin 
Diet Bar is anything but a diet bar. It contained more than 200 
calories (to much), and 22 grams of sugar (way too much).

A healthful bar should be made from whole grains, provide at least 
2 grams of fiber, contain at most a gram of saturated fat ), and 
should certainly have fewer than 14 grams of sugar per serving. 

Checked 5/3/07