Now the FDA earlier this year wrote a Cease and Desist to get KIND bars, a kind of granola bar, to stop marketing their honey-coated bars as “healthy” because they are high in fat and Saturated fat. KIND is not going down without a fight, however. They claim that the FDA’s view on fat and saturated fat is Outdated, because they exclude nuts and seeds in their assessment, which are seen as health foods.
Now KIND is right in this regard, nuts and seeds ARE health foods that are high in saturated fat and fat, but even if KIND is right, are their bars healthy?
Well, it really depends on how you define “healthy.” KIND bars are made with pretty good ingredients (aside from perhaps Honey) and they generally have a large amount of vitamins and minerals in them, with some bars having a large amount of Vitamin E, Manganese, Copper, and Magnesium. One of the issues I have is with their sugar, many of their bars have up to 15 grams of sugars for a single bar, which is far more than what the AHA would call safe levels. They recommend only 100 calories a day to come from added sugars, which is about 25 grams a day. However, in terms of sugar, science has shown that the inclusion of fiber significantly slows glucose intake when ingested with sugar.
My second issue comes from protein. The DRV for protein is about 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight, which is about 54 grams of protein a day for a 150 pound person. While many of their bars have 6 to 7 grams of protein per bar, some have as little as 3-4 grams, which if included in the added sugar, increases caloric consumption, which might make it harder for someone who is vegan, like me, to get ample protein. Although it usually has similar protein for a serving of almonds.
My main issue, however, is that bars such as these are NEVER filling. So someone with an eating disorder, such as myself, might eat about 3-5 of these in a single sitting, just because they are within arms reach and easier than getting up and cooking. That is the reason why I never stock up on granola bars… ever. And it doesn’t help that these bars can be as much as 200 Calories a bar, which eating more than one can give you more calories than a hamburger, and might still be less filling.
So is KIND bars healthy? Eh… healthier than most candy bars, and better than nothing, but it would probably be better to just eat a handful of mixed nuts and seeds.