Energy and protein bars are meant to provide a quick snack or meal replacement when you’re on the go. However, the question remains—how healthy are they? One quick way to decipher what’s in your energy bar is to look at the ingredient label for things like sugar substitutes, fillers, and emulsifiers that can mess with your blood sugar balance, cause gas and indigestion, and even pose a sneaky source of weight gain.
Let’s take a look at six less than appetizing ingredients in store-bought energy bars…
Sucralose is a common ingredient in energy and protein bars. But buyer beware—even the artificial sweet stuff might promise “zero calories” it causes blood sugar to spike dangerously high and often leads to carbohydrate binding to satisfy the need for what’s often considered sweet speed.
Look for sucralose on labels under its name as well as the brand name “Splenda.” Just know that the artificial sweetener has been found to several damaging biological effects—including a decrease in healthy gut bacteria, weight gain, disruption of a hormone produced to regulate glucose in the blood, and even contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to a study out of North Carolina State University, which was published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.