This post is going to talk about my opinions on energy bars etc. I will go into a little detail on the pros/cons of each and let you make your own mind up.
The energy bar is going to make a great example for my purposes, because it is always marketed as being healthy. Specifically, I’ll be examining the Elevate Me! bars that seem to have gained in popularity lately.
There are multiple flavours of the bar. I will just use the nutritional information on their site for the strawberry apple pie because it’s the first on listed:
As you know I’m not a low-carb advocate. I am however against the use of food masquerading itself as something healthy when it really isn’t. Out of the 38 grams of sugar contained in this bar 29 grams of this are from sugar! That’s a total of 6 teaspoons of sugar. To put that into perpective, a Caramilk bar has only 23 grams of sugar. A can of coke has 27 grams of sugar.
Now please, don’t assume that I believe everyone should cut out sugar from their lives completely! However, when you see foods such as the Elevate Me! bar, with a beautiful arrangement of “fresh fruits” on their packaging, it’s almost comical. It’s the factor of convenience that makes these bar appealing.
Now granted, the bars do contain real fruit in them, so I’m sure a fair amount of the sugar comes from fructose. However, even when you read the ingredients, all the bars contain some form of juice or cane sugar, as well as vegetable oil. You can do much better than this.
If you are running a marathon, then by all means, I would go to town on energy bars and energy drinks. If you’re sitting in your office 8 hours per day and walk to the vending machine to eat one or two of these bar per day as a “snack” there’s a problem. If you are trying to lose weight and you are eating 2 of these per day, you spending ~500 Kcals per day on something that really isn’t going to do much for satiety.
You may notice a trend in my view on food through my writing. If you are trying to lose weight, please learn to cook! I can’t stress this enough. If you eat out even once a day on a regular basis, and don’t know what’s going into your mouth, you could easily be sabotaging your goals. Which is why it’s good to find a few places you like to eat and find out, or estimate how many calories are in these foods.
I’m going to be completely honest with you here. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, taking the easiest, most convenient route will get you nowhere. There is work that needs to be done, sacrifices that need to be made. The beautiful part of it though, is if you are lean you have a lot more wiggle space to eat crappier foods. You can still remain lean at the same time. However, you are always looking for the easy way out, you will not sustain your weight loss.