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October 27, 2020

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"Healthy" energy bars?

From the blog of Mary Pannabecker Steiner

Runners run races for many reasons, but what gets most of us through them is the promise of something edible at the finish line. Today's Run for the Turkeys 5K was no different, although in my case I was hoping most for plain old water. Mary Ann wanted coffee. I got water, she got coffee, and we both took a few of the "energy bars" laid out on the post-run table. True to form, though, neither of us ate them.

We did, however, read the ingredients. Eye roll. Double eye roll. Next to us, Abbie Fett, another Blufftonite, albeit a much younger one, was eyeing the ingredients of her own high protein, carb controlled bar that claims to "satisfy the nutritional needs" of athletes. Triple eye roll.

Okay, even the three of us -- nonprofessionals -- know that's all bunk. A crock. A pile of...well, you get the idea. As any nutrition-conscious layperson who has done any amount of research on what's good for the gut knows that while the protein blend may contain such healthy ingredients as soy and milk proteins, peanuts, nonfat mik and assorted vitamins, the rest of the stuff could easily counteract any good a body might derive from digesting one of these bars. Read on: malitol syrup, dextrin, malitol, maltodextrin, sucralose (various forms of sugar), fractionated palm kernal oil and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Red flags all over the place.

That set off a discussion of the various "energy" bars we've found to be acceptable. One, they should have a minimum of processed sugars. Two, the minimal amount of ingredients is preferable. Three, they must taste good.

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