If you live an active lifestyle like running every morning, engaging in endurance training or enjoy going at it in the gym. At some point, you may have enjoyed a snack bar or two, post-workout.
If I should ask, how much added-sugars do those snack bars contain? Would you have to get a hold of one of those energy bars or do a quick search online to find out all the ingredients listed on the label?
I am thinking you would have to. But, do those labels actually tell you which sugars are natural and which are sweeteners?
In this article, I would like to share with you what I have learned about additives. And, show you how you too can tell apart organic bars with added sweeteners. What are these additives?
Additives are chemicals added to food and drinks to improve colour, taste or to preserve them. When you buy an organic bar, no one expects it to contain chemicals. Even if it is to preserve the bar or improve its flavour and colour. You are opting for an organic food supplement. And so, only natural ingredients that make up the composition of the bar should be on the label.
1. How to check if your organic bar contains additives (artificial sweeteners)
There are so many bars out there, all with unique nutritional labels. Some, already following the FDA mandate on food manufacturers. Which says they have to separate natural sugars and supplementary sweeteners on their labels. While many others are yet to follow suit.
Going through all the labels on every bar out there can be time consuming and boring. And it makes little or no difference whether you are shopping online or in a physical store. Yet, it can be a lot easier if you know what to look out for when shopping for an all-natural organic bar. This Guide to reading nutritional labeling will be helpful in this case.
Here are a few tips to help you when scanning through a bunch of energy bars. This way you can find that all-natural organic energy bar to nourish your body and provide results you desire.
a) The nutritional label should contain only high quality organic natural ingredients. No artificial sugars.
b) All the ingredients on the nutritional tab must be all-natural, including the sugars.
c) If it is cheap and contains glucose, sucrose, syrup and chemical preservatives, it is better to avoid it.
d) The nutritional label of all-natural energy bars is simple and clear to see.
2. Difference between natural sugars and artificial sweeteners/preservatives (additives)
Sugars from fruits and vegetables (natural sugars) are better than additives. These are chemicals used in the processing and improving food and drinks.
Several studies available online, highlight the dangers of consuming foods infused with additives. Meanwhile, we consume natural sugars all together with all their organic properties. And they supply the body with all the nutrients it needs to produce clean energy.
3. Benefits of consuming organic bars without additives
First, let me talk a bit about why anyone would want to eat an organic bar. If you are conscious about eating healthy and making the right choice about what you put into your body. Nutrition becomes a topic of interest, and that is also true for many fitness enthusiasts.
Most packaged foods like energy bars and protein bars are easy for active people to get their hands on. For energy boost and to aid in muscle recovery. The problem here is that most of them contain so many additives that are harmful to our health in the long run.
With that said, here are a few benefits of consuming organic bars with no added sweeteners:
Eating an organic energy and protein bar when you are hungry or tired will give you a powerful energy boost. An all-natural energy bar digests easy, is chewable, is delicious, and leaves no after taste. They also contain fast-absorbing carbohydrates that help in compensating for exhaustion. Organic energy bars also help in increasing energy build up in your body and satiates hunger.
As I already mentioned, that they taste great. That is because of their composition of only plant-based ingredients and natural sugars. It does not feel too dry in the mouth and you can eat it at any time.
Made with athletes and endurance trainers in mind. When our body goes through stress after workouts and intense training, our immune defences lower. And, our body begins to struggle for energy from its reserves. Eating an organic energy bar at such a time helps in refiling our energy reserves. Also, our immune defences begin to come back to normal. We also get the nutrients our body needs in preparation for the next physical activity.
All these benefits you can enjoy from supplementing your diet with an organic energy bar. Although, you need to be sure that your bar is an all-natural product without additives. More on my recommended organic bar shortly. But, first, let us look at the adverse effects of added sweeteners and chemical preservatives on our body.
Also, these adverse contribute to slowing down your fitness goals.
Why additives are dangerous to your body and impede your fitness goals
Before I go ahead to list some of these adverse effects it is wise to mention that not all substances categorized as additives come with dangerous health risks (From research and studies by experts which one can find doing a bit of research online).
Although, avoiding additives is the best practice for your health, in the long. Yet, some of these substances come with an understanding of the risks no matter how minimal.
Some common additives found in packaged foods like snacks and energy bars:
i. Sodium Nitrite
A preservative that helps in preventing the growth of bacteria in food and adds a salty flavour to the taste. Studies carried out on the effects of Sodium Nitrite show some interesting facts. In the report of the study, Nitrite combines with amino acids under high heat to form Nitrosamine.
And, when an individual consumes Nitrosamine in high amounts, in this case, in food, it can lead to a higher chance of type 1 diabetes.
ii. Fructose Corn Syrup
A sweetener made from corn, rich in fructose, a class of simple sugar linked to weight gain and diabetes. High intake of fructose can cause a significant increase in belly fat and blood sugar level. Fructose has is also linked to a reduction in insulin sensitivity in the body.
iii. Artificial Flavouring
Chemicals used in substances to imitate the taste of ingredients not present in the food. Studies on animals show adverse effects on their cells, after eating huge amounts of artificial flavourings.
In any case, one may not be able to consume such a high amount of artificial flavouring in snacks or bars. Still, it is a best practice to stay away from food or edible products containing any artificial flavours. Instead, opt for all-natural and delicious organic energy bars with no artificial flavourings. No added sugars that slow down your fitness goals and put your body in jeopardy.