Candy bars are popping up everywhere these days. Their names have been changed to fool the calorie challenged. They go by aliases such as granola bar, breakfast bar, and so on. The only clues you have are the words “bar” and “sugar.” Look closely at the ingredients in these little gems and you will find tasty items like chocolate chips, nuts, and caramel.
These new bars are actually candy bars. The imposters are disguised with packaging that boasts “90 calories,” “fat free” or “meal bar.” Some claim they offer “energy“ or “power.” I think that means you need special abilities to eat them as they can be awfully hard to chew. They certainly don’t make you want to exercise. After you eat one you want to take a nap. Because they are candy bars.
They appear where you least expect them, at the natural food store and in the breakfast aisle of your local grocer. Some have been spotted at the gym. Many are covered in chocolate or strawberry yogurt coating (frosting). Yes, the health food bar of the new millennium is really a candy bar.
The neo-candy bar has some redeeming qualities, though, such as nuts, sunflower seeds, honey, granola, and dried fruit. They contain just enough “nutritious” ingredients to look like they are good for you and not what they really are: Candy bars.
These confections should have a black-box warning on the side of the package: “Warning: Contents may cause fatness and acne.” They can be hazardous to your health if you eat a couple boxes. And they get stuck in your teeth for forever. I know, because I have eaten a couple boxes in one sitting, thinking they are good for you. They are not. They are candy bars.
The snack bar can be hazardous to your wardrobe. Your clothes start tearing and buttons pop when you eat too many because they are small and you are told they are healthy and will help you lose weight. They won’t help you, however, because you can’t eat just one or two… Because they are candy bars.
These portable and irresistible meal substitutes were created by cereal companies and diet gurus. They target us baby boomers who grew up on Baby Ruths, Milky Ways, Snickers, and Three Musketeers – real candy bars.
I theorize that they melted down these real candy bars, added a few grains, and reshaped them into logs. Size matters when it comes to calories. Anything can be 90 calories if you slice it small enough. They designed a marketing campaign based on the fear of fat grams. Voila! A middle-aged-friendly candy bar.
In the interest of science, I performed my own little study and compared the real candy with the “healthy” imposter. All bars examined were 90 to 100 calories. They all contained the requisite sugar and were therefore very tasty. However, the authentic candy bars were easier to chew. (The things one does in the name of science.) Fat and sugar content was slightly higher in the candy because it was covered in chocolate. Well, okay, the sugar was almost twice that of the “health” bars. But…BIG BUT HERE, (so to speak): The health food bars had 3 to 4 times the amount of sodium. My hypothesis is: These are all frickin’ CANDY BARS!!!
There are positives in these new bars. They taste good. They are considered “politically correct.” You can munch on them at a breakfast meeting or put them in your child’s lunch without getting arrested. Because they are not really candy bars.
I have had a love-hate relationship with these delicious imposters. At first I hated them because they are junk food dressed up as diet-friendly snacks. But I grew (and I did grow) to love them. They are candy bars that I can eat guilt free because they are good for me. It says so on the packaging. They are not candy bars. They are health food bars. I do believe, I do believe…