Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's in YOUR Energy Bar?

Okay okay, it's nothing new for me to be ranting and raving about how you should forget about trying to figure out this diet or that diet or whether to go low carb or high protein or low fat and just EAT CLEAN and not worry about it.

And that's what I am doing today. Today my target is energy bars, which so many people think are good for them and use for fueling in races or post-workout and which I generally get all holier-than-thou over.  And since my race fuel conversation yesterday, energy bars have been on my mind. 

I really really really don't want to eat one.  I faced this same issue during the triathlon I did in the spring: those bars just are NOT healthy and eating them just makes me feel like I am undoing all of the goodness I do for myself all day!  Check the label of your favorite bar and look for these ingredients:

1. Palm Kernel Oil
2. Soy Lecithin
3. Calcium Caseinate
4. Canola Oil
5. Malitol
6. Tricalcium Phosphate
7. Sugar Alcohols
8. Calcium Carbonate

Then read this article on www.blisstree.com about why you should not eat them. 

I went ahead and looked up the ingredients of the two fueling products I mentioned yesterday: Shot Bloks by Clif and Gu by Gu Energy

Clif Shot Blok Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup Solids, Pectin, Citric Acid, Green Tea Extract, Colored With Black Carrot Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Organic Sunflower Oil, Carnauba Wax.

Lots of sugar, but that's understandable. 
 It's called a Shot Blok for a reason.



Gu Energy Gel Ingredients: MALTODEXTRIN (GLUCOSE POLYMERS), FILTERED WATER, FRUCTOSE, GU AMINO ACID BLEND (LEUCINE, VALINE, ISOLEUCINE, HISTIDINE), POTASSIUM AND SODIUM CITRATE, GU ANTIOXIDANT BLEND (NATURAL VITAMIN E AND VITAMIN C), SEA SALT, NATURAL VANILLA, CITRIC ACID, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, GU HERBAL BLEND [CHAMOMILE, COLA NUT (HAS CAFFEINE), GINGER], FUMARIC ACID, PECTIN

Yeah I won't be eating that.

And here are the ingredients for what I ate during the triathlon and will likely eat during the half-marathon:

Banana Ingredients: a banana

Apple Pie Lara Bar Ingredients: dates, almonds, apples, cinnamon, walnuts, raisins

They served me just fine last time, and if it ain't broke, why fix it?

Please, please, I am begging you here - PLEASE look at the ingredients of the "healthy" food you eat before you assume that if there is a picture of a person exercising on the package, it must be good for you.  Or, even better, skip the packaging altogether and stick to actual food that grew in the ground or walked the Earth. 
 
Thanks @LisaBorden on Twitter for the link to this article!  Please share it - spread the word about how to REALLY be healthy!
 
Good day!

4 comments:

E. Peterman said...

"Canola Oil: Causes problems with bowel movements. It’s actually close to mustard gas, and is highly toxic. Insects won’t touch this highly toxic cash crop, so neither should we." GULP.

The (not so) Reluctant Athlete said...

Yeah. If a bug won't eat it....I mean....bugs eat FECES.

Ellen said...

Please don't believe all of the hype that you read. Canola oil is from the rape plant (used to be called rape seed oil; name changed for obvious reasons).

Canola oil is not toxic and is not remotely related to mustard gas. Please see the debunking of these misconceptions here:

http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/canola.asp

and here:

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/blcanola3.htm

I often use organic canola oil at home for cooking because it has a high smoke point and neutral flavor. It's great for making stove-top popcorn.

The (not so) Reluctant Athlete said...

Good point Ellen. I can't believe I am quoting Dr. Phil, but every story is like a pancake - no matter how flat you make it there are always two sides!