Cashew & Ginger Spice KIND Bar: Too Good to be Food?
Nutritionist Keri Glassman investigates
"A sweet and spicy blend of cashews and ginger." I love sweet and I love spicy and I really love when they fall in love and get married — sounds like KIND’s new Cashew & Ginger Spice could be the latest addition to my on-the-go snack list. Not all bars are created equal, but they’re all easy to grab when you’re too busy to sit down and eat, which is why it’s important to take a close look at them. This KIND bar boasts "only 4g of sugar," "6g protein / 5g fiber," "All Natural / Non GMO," and "Gluten Free" all on the front package. Sounds perfect (and tasty), but let’s flip it over and take a peek at the back panel to see whether this KIND bar is Too Good to Be Food!
What’s in it: Cashews, almonds, peanuts, chicory root fiber, honey, non GMO glucose, crisp rice, ginger, sugar, spices, soy lecithin.
Cashews: I love that this bar’s name and ingredient list begin with the same word! Plus, the healthy fats in cashews (MUFAs and PUFAs) contribute to a healthy cholesterol profile.
Almonds: Another nut that we all know and love for its great taste and heart-healthy MUFAs. Great choice for the second ingredient in these bars — thumbs-up!
Peanuts: I’m nutty about this want-to-be nut. These tasty little guys are actually legumes that boast a multitude of health benefits. They’re a naturally occurring source of resveratrol (the antioxidant more known for being in wine), which may help to fight off cancer cells. And, like our first two nuts, they are also loaded with heart-healthy MUFAs.
Chicory root fiber: Aka inulin (a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by plants), is used as an additive to sneak in some fiber without you noticing! It also mimics the smooth mouthfeel of fat without the fat and calories. Double bonus!
Honey: This natural sweetener is the bee’s knees! Although it’s still a sugar, it retains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, adds moisture to food, and can be found in different flavors depending on its origin. And this bar only contains 4 grams of total sugar — pretty sweet deal!
Non-GMO glucose: GMO stands for genetically modified organisms, in which genes are artificially inserted into the DNA of food crops or animals. It’s definitely a plus that this is non-GMO glucose, but glucose is still just a simple monosaccharide... aka sugar. Again, I keep a close eye on these added sugars, but this bar only has 4 grams total.
Crisp rice: This refers to a method of cooking rice that leaves the grains with a crisp, airy texture giving the bar a little crunch but also chewiness.
Ginger: Not only does it add a delicious taste, but it has antioxidant properties that can help combat nasty free-radicals, which can cause health problems and induce aging.
Sugar: You already know how I feel about added sugar. But, at least it’s not one of the first ingredients and there is only 4 grams total.
Spices: I love using spices to add flavor to my foods, so I’m all for ‘em here!
Soy lecithin: Included for emulsification, increased protein content and texture. Without it, the bar would fall apart. Even though I don’t love additives, unless you have soy allergies, there is no need to worry about this ingredient.
The Bottom Line
The claims touted on the front of the package are no-nonsense. Yes, there is added sugar, but this KIND bar only contains 4 grams which is rather low compared to most bar options. And while it may seem a little higher in fat, the fat comes from healthy fats from real food — remember this bar is made up of mostly nuts. The 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein will also keep you uber-satisfied. The verdict? While it’s always best to have real food, like a handful of nuts, this Cashew & Ginger Spice KIND bar is a close alternative. With a million bars to choose from (many of which are candy bars hidden behind healthy-looking wrappers), this one is OK to reach for when you need that afternoon nosh. This bar is definitely not Too Good to Be Food!
Calories from fat: 130
Total fat: 14 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 15 milligrams
Potassium: 190 milligrams
Total carbohydrates: 16 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Sugars: 4 grams
Protein: 6 grams
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