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What's Really In This: Larabar

Mar 1, 2011
If you peruse the energy bar section of your grocery store you will most likely encounter the lovely Larabar.  These tasty little bars come in nineteen flavors that include temptations such as Apple Pie, Carrot Cake, Ginger Snap, Peanut Butter Cookie, Chocolate Chip Brownie, Blueberry Muffin and Banana Bread.  What I really love about these bars, aside from their delightful taste, is their natural, wholesome ingredients.  Look at their label and you will not come across any unfamiliar words that you cannot pronounce.  Most of them are actually simply fruit and nuts. In addition, you will not find any fortification with synthetic vitamins and minerals.  

Take a look at what is in their Cherry Pie bar:
•    Dates- Nature's candy!  No refined sugars here.  Dates are full of fiber and supply minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium.  
•    Almonds- Providing protein and fiber, they also deliver good fats to support healthy cholesterol levels and a healthy heart.  Very good source of manganese and vitamin E.
•    Unsweetened Cherries- Bursting with antioxidants and a flavonoid called quercetin which has been studied for its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity.  Cherries are also a source of melatonin which is helpful for regulating your sleep-wake cycle.

Here is what is in their Key Lime Pie bar:
•    Dates- see Cherry Pie description.
•    Cashews-Just like any nut, cashews are super healthy for your heart and offer protein and high-quality fats.  Good source of minerals including copper and magnesium.
•    Almonds-see Cherry Pie description.
•    Unsweetened Coconut- One of the biggest nutrition myths out there is that coconuts are unhealthy due to their saturated fat.  This is simply untrue!  Coconuts contain fats called MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides).  These are easily metabolized and are used primarily as a source of energy versus being stored as fat.  When populations who consume high amounts of coconuts are researched, they have been found to actually have very low levels of heart disease.
•    Lime Juice Concentrate- Excellent source of vitamin C.  Like all fruits and vegetables, limes contain powerful antioxidants and flavonoids that have been associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases.

As if those flavors don't sound delicious enough, they also make Jocalat bars which all have a chocolate base.  These come in five flavors: Chocolate, Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Coffee, Chocolate Mint, and Chocolate Cherry.  If you need your chocolate fix these are just the thing to have on hand.  I cannot imagine a more luscious way to obtain the numerous health benefits of cocoa.  They are the perfect portion size for a reasonable snack or even as a healthy dessert after a meal.  

Larabars contain no added sugar except for their three bars that contain chocolate chips which contain cane sugar.  Is this a big deal?  I don't think so; it is a very small amount.  However if you are looking to avoid all sources of refined sugar they you can stick to their other flavors.  All of their bars are vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Bonus:  Go to their website:  www.larabar.com to get a coupon for one dollar off of two bars!

Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. For more information, please visit her website at RI Nutrition Housecalls.com.

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