Do Granola Bars Cause Inflammation?

The people of Livermore, CA, have access to some great local produce and stores packed with healthy foods, so you’d think it would be easy to eat the foods that can keep you fit. That’s not necessarily true. The food is available, but finding the right food can be quite confusing. You might eat certain food because you think it’s wholesome, like granola bars. You’d be wrong. They have a downside and it’s inflammation.

Inflammation is necessary for a healthy body, but you can get “too much of a good thing.”

Acute inflammation helps your body heal. It causes a fever that activates your body’s immune system and can destroy invading bacteria and viruses. It helps you stay healthy. However, chronic inflammation is the opposite side of the coin. Chronic inflammation can lead to serious conditions, such as stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes. The food you eat can increase chronic inflammation or fight it.

Food with added sugar can increase inflammation.

Granola bars fit that description. A healthy level of sugar intake is about 6 teaspoons per day, but the average diet in America has about 17 teaspoons a day. Granola bars fit that description. If you consume too much sugar at one time, it can lead to insulin resistance which causes chronic inflammation. Also, protein and fat combine with sugar in the blood, creating AGEs—Advanced Glycation End Products. They cause inflammation. A third way is that sugar makes the gut more permeable. That makes it easy for bacteria and inflammatory bits to enter the blood causing inflammation. Finally, sugar increases bad cholesterol—LDL—which ultimately leads to inflammation.

Commercial granola bars contain trans fats.

Trans fats can cause inflammation. There was a lot of talk about trans fats and most people believe they were removed or at least labeled on food products. That’s not always true. If a product contains less than half a gram, the government doesn’t require the company to list it on the label, even if it’s very close to half a gram. You have to look at the ingredients to find them. If the list contains partially hydrogenated oil, there are trans fats in it.

  • Granola bars also contain a high amount of omega 6. There’s a fine balance between omega-3 and omega-6. Too many omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation. Granola bars increase the imbalance.
  • Commercial granola bars contain high amounts of refined carbohydrates. Like sugar, they break down quickly and enter the bloodstream, spiking blood sugar levels. As your body struggles to remove the sugar, it stimulates inflammation.
  • The soft alternatives to granola bars with fruit in the center may be worse than granola bars, especially those with healthier ingredients. They’re high in sugar and increase blood glucose levels rapidly.
  • Not all granola bars are alike. Look for ones where the saturated level is lower than 20%. Find ones that have at least five grams of fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat. Identify the sugar. If it is from date paste or fruit, it’s okay.

For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness

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