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Are Nutrition Bars Actually Nutritious?

It is important to realize that when it comes to losing weight, you must make a point of having complete, nutritious, preferably whole food, mini-meals every 3-4 hours to increase your metabolism naturally and maintain it throughout the day.  Mini-meals will keep your energy levels consistent without relying on the coffee pot and prevent blood sugar levels from fluctuating to extreme highs and lows making it easier for the body to shed unwanted pounds.

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Unfortunately, with busy schedules and hectic lifestyles, eating whole foods on a consistent basis throughout the day can be difficult at times, hence the endless selection of nutrition bars lining the shelves at the local health food store or grocery store.  But some of them have as much fat and calories as a candy bar. So, which one do you choose?  What should you look for on the label? 

Nutrition bars come in handy when you are stuck in traffic and need a quick meal or when meetings run longer than expected causing you to go way too long without food sending your blood sugar to the ground floor and your irritability to the top of the stairs.  Notice how you feel when you eat a whole food meal of grilled chicken or salmon with other vegetables in a salad tossed with a vinaigrette dressing verses a plate of spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread and a small side salad. 

You will have more energy with the balanced meal of whole foods verses the high carbohydrate meal that causes bloating, fatigue, irritability and weight gain.  You will burn more body fat as a result of the whole-food meal and feel energized without feeling hungry.  A whole-food meal isn't always feasible especially when you are stuck at the computer or in a meeting so here are some tips and suggestions for your next trip to the health food store:
  • Read the label and make sure the first ingredient is a whole food or protein source like non-genetically modified whole soy beans found in nutrition bars like "SoyJoy" which are full of fiber, low in fat, good for the heart and lower cholesterol naturally.  
  • Look for antioxidants. The "RegenerationUSA" bar an ORAC level of 7,800 units per bar.  The FDA recommends 3,000-5,000 per day.  
  • The nutrition bars made by Lee Labrada offer a huge selection of great-tasting bars featuring more whey protein than most for those interested in increasing their protein intake between meals.  The first ingredient listed is a good quality whey protein which helps release glucagon in the blood and liver allowing the muscles to burn body fat and give you energy.  

Keep in mind you need a moderate amount of protein, good fats and carbohydrates to burn body fat and it is difficult for the body to lose fat if your diet consists of mostly carbohydrates.  Get results from all your hard workouts and choose whole foods whenever possible however a good quality nutrition bar can really save the day.

Sherry L. Granader is a Sports Nutritionist, National Speaker and Spokesperson, Author of 2 healthy cookbooks, Writer, Ghost Writer, Nationally Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. She has shared the stage with such celebrities as Whoopi Goldberg, Suze Orman and the late Governor Ann Richards and served as the On-Air Nutritionist for QVC television in the United States and the UK. She has cooked for her favorite bodybuilder, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and his family, shared her nutrition expertise with Chuck Norris on the set of his movie "Sidekicks" and appeared on 8-time Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney's Championship Workouts on ESPN. Sherry hosted her own "Healthy Living" show on PBS for several years. For more information on Sherry, visit www.sgfit.com or write to Sherry at sgfit12@aol.com.


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