What Exactly are Nutrition/Energy Bars?
In today’s on-the-run society, where sitting down for a meal is sometimes an impossible luxury, the emergence of healthy bars may seem to be just what the doctor ordered. Though these pocket-sized bars once found favor primarily with serious athletes looking for a competitive edge, now anyone who feels the need for a nutritional boost may keep a few stashed in a purse or a briefcase.
In the current bar-wars environment, there are literally hundreds of these pre-wrapped and portable products competing for shelf space at gyms, health-food stores, and supermarkets! Though in India they are yet to make the grand entry! But then not all bars are created equal. There are high-carbohydrate bars, protein bars, energy bars, breakfast bars, brain-boosting bars, meal-replacement bars, diet bars women-only bars and the list goes on!
And with so much to choose from, consumers hungering for a quick nutritional fix whether they’re recreational athletes, workaholics tied to their desks, or over committed moms with barely a moment to spare – may feel dizzy from all the product overkill and heavily hyped claims.
Bar Facts Without a doubt, energy bars are great for people who race nonstop from morning till night. They are definitely convenient alternative for someone who would otherwise be reaching for a wada pav or chips or using the vending machines at the office for those sugared coffee and tea drinks!
What do they do?
- Provide convenient energy source and boost carbohydrate levels
- Provide athletes with sustained release of energy and help maintain blood sugar levels
- Postpones exercise-related fatigue
- Convenient post-exercise snack which will replenish glycogen stores
- Mid meal option which can help you avoid starving
What to look for?
- Sugar content, check for corn syrup and likes of it
- Ingredients, remember more the number of ingredients, more processed bar it will be
- Check calories and the purpose you will use it for
- Look for natural ingredients which can provide vitamins, minerals and fiber
- If you are watching weight or are diabetic, consult your doctor or nutritionist
HEALTH AND NUTRITION
GO FOR THE GRAINS
With the advent of carbohydrate-restricted diet, carbohydrates that get most often eliminated and heavily restricted are grains. That is unfortunate because wholesome grains are good source of carbs, fiber and vitamin. For Optimal health, choose whole grain whenever possible. These contain endosperm, germ and bran portion of the grain thereby retaining all desirable nutrients. Whole grains are packed with Vitamins, Minerals and Phytochemicals, which have powerful antioxidants, and disease fighting properties that cannot be obtained from refined or processed cereals.
STRATEGIES FOR BOOSTING IMMUNE SYSTEM
A strong immune system should result in fewer colds and other viruses and when you do get sick, it should enable you to make a quick recovery. Specific foods can strengthen your immune system and help prevent these breaks in your routine. Vitamin C has a widespread reputation as immune booster, so it has to be part of your daily diet in adequate amount. Consuming 3 servings of fresh fruits and 2 cups of cooked vegetable should provide ample amount of Vitamin C. Fruits and Vegetables also have hundreds of Phytochemicals that provide many preventive health benefits.
DO YOU REALLY NEED SUPPLEMENTS?
Before taking any supplement make sure that you understand what is behind the claims and recommendations. Can you derive the same benefit by adjusting your food intake? Try to find out if there are any negative effects of supplementation. Consider the cost of taking a supplement. Beware of the testimonials that manufacturers often use to entice customer to purchase a product and most important, do not forget to check the ingredients! That’s what matters the most..!
The term sugar is commonly used to refer to simple carbohydrate composed of single or double carbohydrate molecules. Glucose, fructose and Galactose are the single molecule carbs that serve as carbohydrate building blocks of our diet. Disaccharides are composed of two molecules and include sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (milk sugar). Depending on the food choices we make, the sugar in our diet is either added sugar or naturally occurring sugar, which is natural component of foods. Key to smart sugar consumption is choosing the healthy natural sugar and downplaying non-nutritive added sugars.