Here’s a “good for you” snack, according to its manufacturer, Quaker Oats, a subsidiary of PepsiCo. Granola bars enjoy a health halo due to the fact that they are from “granola”. From the box:
Good source of calcium (10% of daily value per 40 grams). 0g Trans fat (See nutrition facts for saturated fat content). Great taste and Quaker goodness rolled into every bar. Quaker Chewy Granola Bars are made with the goodness of Quaker Oats.
Quaker Chewy Granola bars are now made without high fructose corn syrup.
With all these advantages, is this a product a healthful, wholesome snack or is it closer to a candy bar? We set out to discover…
What you need to know:
The chewy bars are not too big – less than 1 ounce (25 grams). Each is just 100 calories, contains 3 grams of fat, 0 trans fat (NOT REALLY – keep reading), and only 7 grams of sugar. That’s just over 2 teaspoons of sugar, compare with 4 teaspoons for a comparable sized Snickers bar. Despite the whole oats, only 1 gram of fiber in here.
Here’s the ingredient list (don’t you hate the capital letters – make it really hard to read):
GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWN SUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT], WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND COTONSEED OILS* WITH TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID ADDED TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL WITH NATURAL TOCOPHEROL ADDED TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, DRIED COCONUT, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRY MILK), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOA BUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), CORN SYRUP, CRISP RICE (RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, BARLEY MALT, SALT), INVERT SUGAR, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL*. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SORBITOL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, WATER, SOY LECITHIN, MOLASSES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID.
The company boasts no high fructose corn syrup, and indeed it does not appear in the list. But we do have 8 appearances of sugar in other forms here (all underlined). Plus one appearance of a sugar alcohol – sorbitol – less calories than sugar, with the added benefit of flatulence for some people. Trans-fat IS PRESENT, despite it being labeled as zero.Whenever you see partially hydrogenated oils, that means there is trans-fat in the product. The label disclaims:
*ADDS A DIETARILY INSIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TRANS FAT
But that’s like saying smoking just 2 cigarettes a day is insignificant.
Additional interesting ingredients include TBHQ and BHT, preservatives of dubious nature; natural and artificial flavors – which always leave a consumer wondering; and calcium carbonate, added to make the product a “good source of calcium”, and thus sexier to health conscious consumers.
In all, there are 43 (!) ingredients in this tiny, yet heavily processed snack bar. Good for you?
What to do at the supermarket:
Conclusion – If you want a candy bar, take a Twix or Snickers any day and enjoy the sinful bliss. If you want healthy – take a look at the less processed Lara bars and even Clif bars.