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Healthy or Not? Nature Valley Bars

Posted Oct 27 2009 11:29am

The name Nature Valley automatically sells itself as a healthy food. You put together the words “nature” and “valley” and it sounds like something I want to eat automatically. On the wrapper you see “100 % Natural” and “Good Source of Whole Grains” which can basically trick your average person into thinking this is the health food of all health foods. Is it?

The Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey is the flavor that I chose to evaluate. Looking at the nutritional facts, there is really nothing that jumps out at me as good or bad.  It has 180 calories, which is okay for a snack. The bar contains 6g of fat, which in part comes from the nuts they use, 29g of carbs, which is a little high when only 2g are fiber and 4g of protein.

Based solely off the nutritional facts, I think the bar is good if you are in some sort of workout situation. It would be a good snack for mountain biking, hiking or surfing but would not be optimal for a long-distance marathon of “Friends” reruns.

Now for a look at the ingredients. The first thing on the list is whole grain rolled oats, which I give a plus. The peanut, almond and pecan flours are fine by me and can add some flavor and health benefits.

Coming in at second and third on the list is sugar and canola oil. I am definitely not a huge fan of sugar and have a good bit of skepticism toward canola oil.   You can also find brown sugar syrup, which is definitely a no-no when it comes to blood insulin.  If you are trying to get or maintain a positive body composition, you should avoid brown sugar syrup. Brown sugar is worse than regular sugar when it comes to how quickly your body breaks it down and stores it as fat.

Overall I got 4 good, 4 okay and 4 bad ingredients out of the Nature Valley bar. I am glad that it only has 12 ingredients (the rule of thumb is usually a max of 10) which means it isn’t loaded with too much garbage.

In summary I would give the Nature Valley bar a thumbs up if you are doing something or about to do something active. If you’re about to hit the gym or go for an outdoor workout, I will say go for it. Even in those circumstances there are better options, but this one is definitely acceptable. If you are just hanging around or looking for a snack at work, I would not advise the bar, although it wouldn’t be horrible.

Healthy or Not? Healthy Rating:  6 out of 10


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