When you think of a healthy snack or breakfast component, would it be a stretch to suggest that granola comes to mind? You can eat it as a trail mix, in wholesome-seeming cereal, as a supposedly healthy sweet treat with fruit and yoghurt, or in bar form, usually manufactured by a company with a natural-sounding name that makes you feel good.
But is granola really a health food?
It seems ludicrous, I know, but the truth is that granolaâat least todayâs incarnation of itâis more like a dessert than a breakfast or healthy snack. Iâm sorry to burst your bubble.
Once a Health Food…
It wasnât always this way, though. When nutrition advocate Dr. James Caleb Jackson developed granola, it was a healthy recipe. It featured dense, unsweetened bran nuggets that were rich in nutrients and fiber. It was a healthy snack or additive to breakfast cereal.
â¦Now Junk Food
But oh, how the times have changed! Todayâs commercial brandsâand even popular at-home recipesâare packed full of sugar, making them about as healthy as a donut, a slice of chocolate cake (with frosting), or a cup of ice cream. Put quite simply: granolaâwhether in bar, cereal, or sprinkle formâis not a health food. In fact, it can be very dangerous.
Added refined sugarâwhether itâs honey, high-fructose corn syrup, or table sugarâhas toxic effects on the body. It can lead to metabolic problems and promote weight gain, heart disease, liver and kidney problems, and type 2 diabetes.
This might be hard to believe with certain healthy-sounding brand names and the fact that granola bars are promoted as a healthy snack for people with healthy lifestyles…but they might actually be killing you.
How Much Sugar Is in Granola?
Just how much sugar is in a granola bar? While there is no standard amount and different bars have varying amounts, you can usually count on between 20 and 30 grams of sugar per bar or per cup of granola. A quick comparison may shock you:
- There are 26 grams of sugar in a slice of chocolate cake with icing
- A cup of ice cream has at least 28 grams of sugar
- A popular brandâs glazed donut has 10 grams of sugar
And, I know for sure youâd laugh in my face if I claimed that those were health foods. But looking at the added sugar content, they are actually healthier than some renditions of granola bars or cereals.
Choose Healthier Options
So, if youâre thinking that adding some granola to your cereal or yogurt is doing anything other than adding dangerous sugar, Iâm sorry to tell you it isnât. So, ditch the granola bars for fresh fruit, whole grains, or something that isnât candy wrapped up in a healthy-looking package!
Source for Todayâs Article:
OâConnor, A., âWhy Your Granola Is Really a Dessert,â The New York Times, August 30, 2016; http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/30/well/eat/why-your-granola-is-really-a-dessert.html?_r=0, last accessed September 6, 2016.