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HEALTH BARS: The healthier choice

by IT Desk
2 comments 4 minutes read

By: Tini Thangjam
In recent years, people around the world have become more health conscious and are wary of the food they eat. Moreover, they are opting for plant based diets rather than being heavy on the meats. Fortunately, many plant based products are now available in the market targeting the consumer’s health, one of which is health bars.Eating health bars has become a popular trend, as people are aiming for a healthy lifestyle.
These bars are munchable snacks which are compact with nutrients that help fulfil dietary needs. They mainly provide calories, carbs, proteins, fibres, sugars and fats. Plenty of them contain micronutrients, including: iron, vitamins, calcium, magnesium and some antioxidants, which are either already present in the ingredients or fortified during manufacturing. Probiotics are also added in some bars by fortification. Common ingredients used in manufacturing of health bars are whole grains, seeds, dried fruits and nuts which are usually paired with dark chocolate.
One of the key factors why people choose health bar is convenience. These days most people have busy schedules, finding time to prepare a nutritious meal everyday has become a challenge. Health bars provide a simple solution, as they are readily available and doesn’t need any preparation. Just grab one and snack on it anytime. It helps to curb hunger pangs and boost energy throughout the day. As health bars come in a wide range, every individual can find the most suitable kind of bar. It can range from simple cereal bars to protein bars targeted for high protein diet. Even, diabetic patients can consume certain types of health bar containing artificial sweeteners or no sweeteners.
Another advantage of health bar is their portability. They come in small light weight packages which are easy to carry around and perfect for office snacks, travel or any outdoor activities. They can be put into bags or carried around in our pockets. And all of them have a shelf life of at least 6 months which enables us to store them for a longer time without worrying about any spoilage.
As their nutritional compositions are displayed in the package it is easy to control the portion and keep track of the calorie intake and other nutrients. Their portions are conveniently small which aids in satisfying hunger without overeating. This helps people in their weight management.
In making a health bar the most important step is formulation of the bar. It is directly related to the combination of ingredients which is different for every product on the basis of what one wants to target. For example, if a protein bar is to be formulated, then seeds or whole grains high in protein should be used in the formulation. They are roasted prior to mixing with other ingredients. The next step is binding all the ingredients to create a stable shape. For this, binders are used, among which jaggery syrup is the most common. Others are honey, corn syrups, guar gum, gum arabic and many more. The binders are usually heated to acquire a sticky consistency, the temperature of heating differs with different binders.To the heated binder all the ingredients (like nuts or seeds) are added and mixed thoroughly. The mixture is then spread on bar making trays where they are subjected to rollers which flattens the mixture into sheets of equal thickness. They are then cut into bars of equal size and shape and immediately, sealed and packed.
Even though health bars are considered to be good for health, it is important to properly look at the ingredients and nutritional composition written at the back of the product. This is because some brands may use high levels of sugars and unhealthy fats and also include some additional additives like preservatives. So, one should check that the bars contain natural ingredients, healthy fats, low levels of sugar and no artificial additives; if present, should be in a limited amount.
In conclusion, incorporating health bars in one’s diet is convenient and a healthy option. But one should not rely entirely on health bars and forget to eat proper meals. It can be a great substitution for unhealthy fast-food snacks. Their convenience, portability and nutrient value have made them a popular choice for a healthier lifestyle. With proper selection of health bars, it can be a good addition to a balanced diet, nourishing and energizing individuals throughout the day.
(The writer has finished her Bachelors in Food Technology from College of Food Technology CAU Lamphel, Manipur)

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Zingya C Raman September 13, 2023 - 1:50 pm

A very insightful and informative article. I got to learn a lot of facts about health bars and the benefits they bring.

Zingya C Raman September 13, 2023 - 1:52 pm

A very insightful and informative article. I got to learn a lot of facts about health bars and the benefits they bring


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