The Sneaky Truth About Granola Bars

It's 3 p.m. and you're hungry. It's been awhile since lunch, and it will be an even longer while till dinner. Instead of reaching for the office candy bowl, you smartly decide to make the healthy choice, and unwrap a granola bar instead. Right? Not quite. Brace yourself for this one. Many granola bars have an equal amount of carbs, sugar, and calories to candy bars (per Healthline). 


Before we scare you off from your afternoon snack for good, it's important to note that the amount of calories, sugars and artificial ingredients vary within granola bar brands. So there are healthy options. Normally, granola bars are made with oats, dried fruit, and nuts. All amazingly healthy ingredients linked to helping control blood sugar and benefiting heart health. It's all those extra sneaky additions to the bar that are making us raise a skeptical eyebrow.

Follow the rule of 5

One of those extra additions is saturated fats. Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian warns us, "just watch out for bars that contain more than 20 percent daily value of saturated fat," she says (via Insider). A diet heavy in saturated fats is known to increase cholesterol levels, which encourages blockages to form in the arteries and heart (via Harvard Health). Palinski-Wade goes on to share a simple rule, "the rule of 5," she tells her clients to follow. She explains when trying to find a healthy granola bar, look for ones that have a minimum of five grams of fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat.


Other often added additions to granola bars include, artificial sweeteners, added sugars, preservatives, and vegetable oils (per Healthline). This is starting to sound more like a processed ingredient grenade then a healthy snack in our bags. But we understand why you would gravitate towards a granola bar for a snack. They're affordable, portable, and most often taste delicious. So go on and enjoy your afternoon snack, just be mindful of the ingredients listed on the packaging before you indulge.