What’s better than a delicious, whole grain-packed snack that you can easily eat on the go?
In the case of Nature Valley bars, it’s easy to think that you’re eating healthy and fueling your body with fiber and vitamins. Why not? These bars have always been advertised as healthy snacks, with their simple ingredient lists and light nutritional values on the side of the box. But are nature valley bars healthy?
Nature Valley bars contain more calories than most candy bars, but they also contain ingredients that aren’t even food! They are often high in sugar and may contain unhealthy ingredients like palm oil. Plus, the bars are often processed and lack the nutritional benefits of whole foods.
Find out why Nature Valley bars may not be as healthy as you think in this article.
Are Nature Valley Bars Healthy?
It’s easy to believe that an item marketed as healthy must be good for you, but that isn’t always the case. Nature Valley bars are among the most popular snack bars on the market, but they may not be as healthy as you think.
Although they are advertised as being 100% natural and delicious, there are actually numerous ingredients that would seem strange in any other food product. Let’s look at the reasons to avoid these bars.
|Nature Valley Bar||Calories||Fat||Saturated Fat||Sodium||Carbohydrates||Dietary Fiber||Sugars||Protein|
|Oats ‘n Honey Crunchy Granola Bar (2 bars)||190||7g||2.2g||140mg||29g||3g||6g||2g|
|Peanut Butter Crunchy Granola Bar (2 bars)||190||8g||2g||140mg||28g||3g||5g||3g|
|Sweet & Salty Nut Trail Mix Fruit & Nut Bar (2 bars)||150||5g||1g||110mg||25g||3g||6g||2g|
|Almond Butter Crunchy Granola Bar (2 bars)||180||7g||2g||140mg||27g||2g||5g||3g|
|Apple Cinnamon Crunchy Granola Bar (2 bars)||170||7g||2g||140mg||26g||3g||6g||2g|
|Honey Almond Dark Chocolate Trail Mix Fruit & Nut Bar (2 bars)||160||6g||1g||110mg||26g||3g||6g||2g|
High in sugar
While Nature Valley granola bars contain some healthy ingredients like whole grain oats and nuts, they also have a lot of sugar and processed ingredients. Sugar is often found in the form of brown rice syrup, honey, cane juice, corn syrup, chocolate, and fruit puree concentrate.
One bar contains nearly 6-12 grams of sugar, depending on the flavor of the bar. Their Fruit & Nut flavor bar range has comparatively less sugar (6-8 grams) than the Crunchy granola flavored bar range (10-12 grams).
Made From Processed Oil
While the ingredients in Nature Valley bars may be natural, the bars are made with processed oil. It means that the bars are high in unhealthy fats and calories. One of the main ingredients in Nature Valley bars is palm oil.
This oil is highly processed and refined, which means that it can be high in unhealthy saturated fats. Furthermore, some studies have shown that oils like palm oil may lead to higher cholesterol levels in people who eat a lot of it.
No Substantial Amount Of Fiber
Furthermore, Nature Valley bars have no protein or fiber content, making it difficult to control hunger and stabilize blood sugar levels. Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet and helps keep you feeling full after eating. It means you may not feel satisfied after eating one and could end up snacking more later on.
The highest fiber content is Nature Valley’s variety of XL protein bars, which is 7 grams.
High In Calories
Counting calories? Unfortunately, Nature Valley bars cannot be your best ‘snack’ friend.
Nature Valley bars are often marketed as a healthy snack option, but they can actually be quite high in calories. This is because they are often made with processed ingredients and added sugars.
The most popular flavor, the chewy peanut butter chocolate chip bar, has 210 calories per serving. If you eat two of these bars in one sitting, you’ve consumed 420 calories- the equivalent of a McDonald’s hamburger!
Related Article: Are Nutri Grain Bars Healthy? Expert Insights and Nutrition Analysis
Deconstructing the Ingredients
Nature Valley bars, marketed as a wholesome snack, often list a variety of ingredients on their packaging. Let’s break down these components to better understand what goes into these bars.
1. Common Ingredients and Their Purposes
- Whole Grain Oats: A key ingredient known for its complex carbohydrates and fiber content, providing sustained energy.
- Sugar: Frequently used as a sweetener, it enhances the taste but can contribute to high sugar content.
- Vegetable Oils (Canola or Palm Kernel): These oils add moisture and texture to the bars but may contain saturated fats.
- Rice Flour: Often used for texture and as a binding agent.
- Honey or Syrup: Natural sweeteners that also help bind the ingredients.
- Salt: Used for flavor enhancement and as a preservative.
- Baking Soda: A leavening agent that affects the texture of the bars.
- Natural Flavor: Typically derived from real foods but may be used in small amounts for added taste.
2. Additives, Preservatives, or Artificial Flavorings
Nature Valley bars typically do not contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. However, the “natural flavor” listed in the ingredients may raise questions about the specific sources.
3. Role of Sweeteners
Sweeteners like sugar, honey, or syrup are essential for enhancing the taste of Nature Valley bars. However, they also contribute to the sugar content, which can be a concern for those monitoring their sugar intake. The impact on the nutritional profile varies depending on the specific bar variety.
Is There Anything Good About Nature Valley Bars?
You might be wondering if your favorite brand of bars actually has something good stored in for you or not. Well, yes, nature valley bars have some good stuff in them. But will overweight people have bad sides eating them? Let’s see.
Contain Whole Grains
They contain oats in the form of whole grains. Oats are whole grain, and they’re packed with fiber and nutrients. Studies have shown that oats can help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and even reduce the risk of heart disease.
While Nature Valley bars have some redeeming qualities, such as being made with whole grains, they also contain a lot of sugar and unhealthy fats. These ingredients can cause weight gain and lead to more serious health problems like diabetes or heart disease.
Different types of nature valley bars have different nut varieties. Unless you are not allergic to nuts, you will get a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats from them. You may think the presence of nuts can help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Despite the presence of these healthy ingredients, a single Nature Valley bar contains an unusual amount of calories, added sugar, and other preservatives, which overtakes all these health benefits.
Who Should Avoid Nature Valley Bars
Consuming Nature Valley bars is not harmful to health as long as you eat in moderation (supposedly 1 or 2 bars a week). However, if you fall under this category of people, you should count on how you eat these ‘so-called’ nutritious bars.
People Trying To Eat Healthily
If you are on a healthy diet or working out to lose that extra kilo, Nature valley bars are not for you to snack on.
Nature Valley bars are high in sugar and calories, leading to weight gain. They also contain artificial ingredients and preservatives, which may be harmful to your health. If you’re trying to eat healthily, it’s best to avoid Nature Valley bars.
Vegans Should Avoid
If you are following a vegan lifestyle, you should avoid a certain range of Nature Valley bars.
All the flavors from the Sweet and Salty bars and protein bars range of Nature Valley contain milk; therefore, it is not for vegan diets.
But, nature valley has some options for you in a completely vegan-friendly range which is their Fruit & Nut bars range. Moreover, the Crunchy Granola bar range is somewhat vegan, except for some which contain honey; simply avoid that!
Healthy Alternatives of Nature Valley Bars
While Nature Valley bars may seem like a healthy snack option, they are actually quite high in sugar and calories. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, try one of these five options:
1. Cliff Bars
They have more protein and fiber than most nature valley bars. Clif Bars are a popular snack choice known for their higher protein and fiber content compared to most Nature Valley bars. Packed with nutritious ingredients, Clif Bars offer sustained energy and are a satisfying option for those seeking a more substantial and health-conscious snack. Get Clif Bar here.
2. Lara Bars
They have less sugar than most nature valley bars. Lara Bars are a great alternative to Nature Valley bars for those looking to reduce their sugar intake. These bars are known for their minimal ingredient lists, often consisting of just a few simple and natural components. With less sugar content, Lara Bars offer a wholesome and satisfying snack option for health-conscious individuals. Get LaraBar here.
3. KIND Bars
They are not only gluten-free but also vegan and non-GMO. They are made with all-natural ingredients, including nuts, seeds, fruit, and spices.
KIND Bars are a top choice for individuals seeking gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO snack options. Crafted from a blend of all-natural ingredients like nuts, seeds, fruits, and spices, KIND Bars offer a delicious and health-conscious choice for those with dietary preferences and concerns. Buy KIND from Here.
4. Fruit by the Foot
This healthier option has half the amount of sugar as most nature valley bars. Fruit by the Foot is a healthier alternative to Nature Valley bars, boasting just half the amount of sugar.
These fruity snacks provide a sweet and satisfying treat with reduced sugar content, making them a preferred choice for those looking to enjoy a delightful snack without excessive sugar intake. Get it from here.
5. Homemade Granola Bars
If you’re looking for a homemade alternative to Nature Valley bars, consider homemade granola bars or a simple fruit and nut mix.
These options will likely be lower in sugar and calories and higher in fiber and nutrients, and of course, the best option than any packaged so-called healthy bars.
Are nature valley bars good for weight loss?
While Nature Valley bars contain some healthy ingredients like whole grain and nuts, which might seem helpful in losing weight, they also contain a lot of sugar, calories, and other fattening ingredients. So, if you’re looking to lose weight, you may want to consider other options.
Are nature valley bars gluten-free?
Nature Valley has a whole range of gluten-free bars, where they specifically mention them as gluten-free. However, from that line, nature valley’s other bars are also made from non-glutinous whole grain oats. However, it is always better to read the labels to see if your preferred bars have gluten or not.
Are nature valley bars vegan?
Though Nature Valley markets itself as a health-conscious brand, not all of its products are vegan. In fact, some of its granola bars contain honey, an animal by-product. However, one of their bars- The Crunch and Fruit & Nut, is the most vegan-friendly of all as it seems not to contain any animal-derived ingredient like milk or honey.
Are nature valley bars dairy free?
Not all, but some of the nature valley bars are made for milk-free households. According to their ingredient labeling, the Nature Valley crunchy granola bars, Nature Valley oats & honey bars, and the Nature Valley Crunch and Fruit & Nut bars do not contain any dairy ingredients.
However, if you are completely lactose-intolerant, you may want to reassure yourself by reading the labels.
Are Nature Valley bars healthy? Its depend, while they often contain whole grains and nuts, providing essential nutrients and fiber, they can also be high in added sugars and unhealthy fats.
Nature Valley bars may not be what you’re putting into your body when you eat these supposedly nutritious snacks. Just because nature valley bars are labeled, natural doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. In fact, many natural foods are processed and high in sugar, fat, and calories.
As such, you should always read the label on the bars before eating it to ensure you get the most nutritious version. If possible, head to Nature Valley’s website for more in-depth info about your favorite bars.