Product No Case: Fiber One 90 Calorie Bars

The purpose of the “Product No Case” blog postings are to share with you foods disguised as “healthy” but are truly not.  And General Mills Fiber One 90 Calorie Bars are a shining example.  They are packed full of fiber (a rather popular marketing ploy these days) in an attempt to look healthy.  Here’s what’s wrong with this picture.

  • Check out the ingredient list. Of the entire ingredients, the only remotely nutritious thing is the whole grain oats! The rest are highly processed fats, sugars, and flavoring agents.  
    • 90 calories. Who can get full on 90 calories?  A balanced snack that ties you over between meals ought to be more substantial.  My hunch is that most of us could eat a few of these and still not feel satisfied!
    • All processed sugar. The trouble with eating all carbohydrates (not to mention processed ones) is that they cause a sugar rush and are metabolized pretty quickly, leaving us feeling hungry and craving more.  If you want to eat a Fiber One bar, I’d recommend eating it with a slice of cheese if you don’t want to feel starving 20 minutes later.
    • Isolated fibers like chicory root boost the fiber content of foods but we have no research to show that this is beneficial for our health.  We know that a high fiber diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is associated with a lower risk of chronic disease.  But we have no clue whether that applies to highly processed snack foods pumped full of isolated fibers.
    DISCLAIMER: I am not opposed to eating things that are non-nutritious but tasty.  I would be the last to turn down a homemade chocolate chip cookie!  My purpose is to help you understand what is simply not healthy but being marketed as such.  The goal is to fill our diets with nutritious foods and enjoy the yummy but not particularly healthy foods in moderation.  And that can be tough to do when you are being tricked to believe that you are eating something nutritious, when it simply is not.  My hope is to give you a little clarity with these “No Case” postings.

    1 comment

    1. Thanks for this post. I completely agree that artificially loading up a granola bar with fiber is neither healthy nor tasty, and something else that bothers me is that these types of snacks and bars are so expensive compared with their less-enhanced counterparts. 100-calorie-packs are another example of this: while they do provide portion control, they can also be upwards of 10 times the cost of an equivalent snack product for a similar amount of refined carbohydrates that don’t taste very good. I really like this column–thank you!

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