In my continuing revisit to the Fiber One bars, I figured it’s easier to just list all the sugars in one post (about 5-6 depending on who’s counting). So…the next ingredient on the nutrient facts label is semisweet chocolate which is made with sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin and natural flavor. Soy is considered one of the major allergens by the FDA, hence the mentioning of it on the label.

On deck is corn syrup, which is essentially just another sugar (slightly more benign than HFCS), regular old sugar comes in at seventh position, honey has been removed, and in eleventh position is maltodextrin, (generally a thickener or preservative) and while not necessarily considered a sugar, it may have an adverse effect on your blood sugar. I can’t imagine there’s enough to have an appreciable effect though so I will table that deep dive for another time. Fructose (aka fruit sugar) comes in around ingredient 17 and barley malt extract at ingredient 18 (also an added sugar).

As part of the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s recommended to limit intake of calories from added sugars to less than 10 percent of total calories per day. That will vary given age, gender, etc. Added sugars according to the FDA “include sugars that are added during the processing of foods (such as sucrose or dextrose), foods packaged as sweeteners (such as table sugar), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. They do not include naturally occurring sugars that are found in milk, fruits, and vegetables. The Daily Value for added sugars is 50 grams per day based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet.” There are deadlines in place for manufacturers to make these changes to the label which you can see here.

The online “label” I have been referencing indicates 9 grams of sugar total, so that’s a little more than 2 teaspoons. BUT It appears though that this particular bar actually has a new recipe AND new nutrition information. If you look at the bottom of the screen shot, you can see the new bar boasting only 2 grams of sugar and a whopping 12 grams of fiber. Okay, I for one am utterly confused, but, I imagine technology hasn’t caught up to manufacturing? It’s not like I gave the bar much thought for 10 years or so…If you’d like to check out the new bar and its stats apparently you can find it at Sam’s Club. I am going to keep an eye out for what’s on the shelves as well, because like Velma I love a good mystery (and I also lose my glasses a lot.)

Despite this unexpected plot twist, I will persevere with the 10 years later comparison. BUT, I also am sworn to now review the newer, fiberier, less sugary version of said bar.

To be continued…

References (citation styles may vary, hyperlinks will guide you though)

https://www.menutail.com/blog/19/Is_Maltodextrin_Considered_An_Added_Sugar%3F

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Added Sugars on the New Nutrition Facts Label. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/added-sugars-new-nutrition-facts-label

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Industry Resources on the Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. Retrieved July 1, 2020, from https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/industry-resources-changes-nutrition-facts-label.

“Oats & Chocolate Chewy Bars • Fiber One.” Edited by Fiber One General Mills, Fiber One, 3 Mar. 2020, http://www.fiberone.com/products/chewy-bars-oats-and-chocolate/.est bet

brown nut lot

Yesterday I posted about the first ingredient in the Fiber One bar, chicory root extract. While I can go on and on about that one, and I will, I’ll save it for the finale.

So moving on, the second ingredient in the bar is “whole grain oats” formerly referred to as “rolled oats,” and ten years or so later takes the second spot on the ingredients list away from chocolate chips with confectioners shellac, which I’d say is kind of a good thing.

As far as ingredients go, I honestly did not think the whole grain oats topic was going to be very exciting, but lo and behold there’s always a little controversy if you are obsessed with food labeling and nutrition.

To review, ingredients are listed in in the order of their predominance in a product, this means there’s more chicory root extract by weight than anything else in the product. And presumably, the next largest amount of ingredient would be coming from the oats. Actual amounts of each ingredient are not available, but you can make an educated guess based on the serving size how much of a certain ingredient and/or nutrient you will be consuming. So, you can see below there are 9 grams of fiber per serving according to the nutrition facts label on the General Mills website.

In my research, I came across a document on a different part of the General Mills site: Healthcare Product Nutrition Guide. Most likely this document is for institutional food service departments that may (or may not) use federal funding of some sort (i.e. school lunch programs, adult day care, etc). On that lovely table, this product was looking even better, with a whopping 8 grams of whole grains per serving.

Last time I checked, chicory root extract was not a whole grain. Granted, it’s hard to keep up with all of the food labeling changes, but, seriously, it is not a whole grain. You can make me call it a dietary fiber, but not a whole grain!

It could just be an oversight, or it could be purposeful misrepresentation of the amount of whole grains to whatever audience uses that chart for calculating nutrition information in programs that are federally funded. I definitely don’t think it promotes this on the actual box to consumers. And if I have completely lost you, my point is that if it had 8 grams of whole grains, whole grain oats would be the first ingredient listed, not second…

fiber one bar

But, I digress. Whole grain oats are just that, whole grains. A grain in a form that includes the bran, germ and endosperm, You can check out a list of cool grains at the Whole Grains Council site. Additionally, while not directly related to this ingredient, General Mills has been making efforts to help farmers convert to regenerative farming. That’s got to be a good thing.

So, if you would like some whole grain oats you are probably better off having some oatmeal because given the size of this bar (40 grams), it’s actually not a great source of anything except possibly…SUGAR (coming up next)

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Whole oats photo by Mike on Pexels.com

Ingredients NOT found in a Fiber One bar

Ingredients NOT found in an Oats & Chocolate Fiber One bar

Fiber is my number one favorite geeky dietitian topic, and having recently been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, perhaps now more than ever it is important to me.

Looking back at the blog, it seems like my post on the Fiber One bars has been one of the most popular posts on my blog since I started it. I can’t believe that was 2009, but I thought it was worth a revisit and see if anything had changed.

For the record, I still have never tried the bar, but I can say it seems like patients and clients are definitely bringing it up less than they did 10 years ago, so perhaps popularity is waning? I’m sure the Kind bar has taken some of it’s market share and perhaps with good reason…

So anyway, here goes again. This time I plan to break it down into a few posts based on ingredient since there’s really a lot to say about each and every one, why not take our time?

1 serving of a Fiber One “Oats and Chocolate” bar is 40 g

140 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 9 g total sugar (a little more than 2 teaspoons), 2 g protein

(Only changes here are an increase in saturated fat by .5 gram, an increase in sodium by 10mg, and a decrease of sugar by 1 grams)

So, it still does seem to have  a good bit of fiber. But, where is the fiber coming from? The first ingredient is chicory root extract. Since, ingredients are required to be listed in the order of their predominance in a product, this means that there is more chicory root extract by weight, than anything else in the product.

So what is chicory root extract? Chicory root extract is also known as inulin. Inulin is known as a prebiotic, meaning it’s good for your digestive system.

There is still some question though as to whether inulin offers the same benefits as dietary fiber.

Dietary fiber is the kind we get naturally from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes etc. The health benefits of dietary fiber are promoting satiety, reducing cholesterol, improving bowel regularity and even promoting stable blood sugar levels.

The Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI) has requested that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans be updated to advise consumers to differentiate between the different types of fibers when choosing foods. This would mean on the food label you might see “X grams of processed fiber per serving.” You can access CSPI’s most recent commentary here: Can fiber help keep you regular?.

Additionally, the FDA recently released  The Declaration of Certain Isolated or Synthetic Non-Digestible Carbohydrates as Dietary Fiber on Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels: Guidance for Industry.

There was a very recent journal article “Effect of chicory inulin-type fructan–containing snack bars on the human gut microbiota in low dietary fiber consumers in a randomized crossover trial” that concluded in healthy adults, adding 3 or 7 g inulin-type fructans (ITF) to snack bars increased Bifidobacterium, a beneficial member of the gut microbial community. While that seems promising, you have to look at the source of the info, two of the authors actually work for General Mills, which is a bit of a red flag.

Stay tuned for the next ingredient, which is NOW called whole grain oats (formerly referred to as “rolled oats,” and ten years later takes the second spot on the ingredients list away from chocolate chips with confectioners shellac.)

How do you feel about inulin? Does it help or hurt your digestive system or have you not noticed an effect either way? Let me know in the comments section.

IMG_5940That is the question. Well, not really, but I need a loose recipe goal in mind sometimes, so that’s where I’m at today. Found myself hungry, but also motivated…Leftover whole wheat couscous at my disposal, which in all honesty is dry as sh*t. Had a pretty good set of veggies also, so when all else fails I’m going to make a salad. In this case, a grain salad, which is way more nutritionally complete than just some greens and tomatoes.

I didn’t feel like chopping so I threw every ingredient in the mini food processor separately, which made the salad nice and uniform.

Ingredients:

Whole Wheat Couscous (cooked) – 1 1/2 cups (? more/less)

1/2 red onion

1/2 an orange pepper

1 carrot

Handful of cherry tomatoes

Sunflower seeds

Dried Cranberries

For the dressing:

Red wine vinegar

Toasted sesame oil

Maille mustard

Mint, Chives

Berbere, Ras el Hanout

Method:

In a medium to large bowl, throw in your cooked couscous. Then add in each vegetable one at a time, incorporating them into the salad. Once everything is mixed, mix the dressing into the salad (Yes, I also made the dressing in the food processor). You can pulverize the seeds and berries or throw them in whole, it’s really your preference. I chose to use some chopped Romaine for the base of the salad, but you could use it as a side dish or on its own it’s pretty good and very satisfying.

IMG_5949

 

 

 

The less is more approach to kale...

The less is more approach to kale…

The influx of kale chips, quinoa chips and chia chips is kind of getting me depressed. All I can think to myself while I take them down off the shelf to look at the label is, “Just eat the flipping food! It’s not that bad actually.” Why does it have to be a chip?

Don’t get me wrong, I really like chips of all shapes, vegetables, legumes and sizes. But, it seems like food manufacturers get a little crazy with taking a hot “new” health food and pretty much turning it into a healthy junk food before anyone gets a chance to actually see if they liked the whole food in the first place.

I continue to buy kale despite it’s becoming a bit of a diva around town. I honestly really enjoy it in the easiest way possible, sauteed.

Ingredients:

1 10 ounce bag of pre-cut Kale

3 cloves garlic

2 tsp peanut oil

1/4 cup chopped cashews (optional)

1 tsp rice vinegar

Pinch of pyramid salt

Preparation:

  1. Heat a large pot until water beads up when thrown in the pot (sizzle)
  2. Add peanut oil and coat bottom of pan
  3. Add garlic and sautee for a minute or so until fragrant
  4. Add kale to pot in bunches, 1/3 at a time. Use tongs to keep turning the kale over making sure each bunch gets some coating with oil. Throw in a pinch of the pyramid salt and distribute evenly.
  5. Once all the kale is in the pot and evenly coated, turn the heat down to low and cover for about 5-7 minutes
  6. Taste the kale, make sure the texture is not too crunchy
  7. Add the rice vinegar and evenly coat
  8. Once kale is plated, add cashews for garnish

This preparation can make anywhere from 2-4 servings, I like a lot of kale so I split it in 2. One serving in this preparation packs:

Over 100% daily RDA for both Vitamins A & C

Not to mention tons of fiber, iron, copper. The list goes on and on. Guarantee you can’t get those kinds of statistics from a kale chip…

 

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 11.27.37 PM

Crunchy, a little salty and excellent

I LOVE hummus. It’s a staple in my house. I also love chickpeas in general, so when I came across these roasted chick peas in various flavors, I had to give it a go. Such a great idea to roast a chickpea and then add flavoring! I wish I had though of it. The nutrition stats are awesome, 5 grams of protein and fiber!!!

Packing 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, you can't go wrong!I have used them on top of salads, as part of a crunchy trail mix and as a late night snack.

Definitely check out the Thai Coconut Lemongrass, Sweet Cinnamon and Smoky Chili and Lime flavors. You won’t be disappointed!

photo 3

Feeling kinda uneasy after watching a lot of food porn at work today (don’t ask), so thought I would post my own version of food porn and also declare the hot new food trend of 2014 to be:

BRUSSELS SPROUTS!

Okay, so maybe I’m not he first person to declare this, but, I’ve seen this one coming for awhile now. Brussels Sprouts ARE THE NEW/OLD “IT” vegetable. (mark my flippin words)

Ingredients:

1 turn of peanut oil

Butter (optional)

1-2 crushed cloves of garlic

1 package of Brussels sprouts (ends cut off and cut in half)

Low sodium broth (< 300 mg per serving minimum!)

Himalayan Sea Salt (to taste)

Method:

  1. Preheat pan to medium high heat
  2. Pour one turn of peanut oil in the pan and allow to heat up to medium high heat (throw some H2O molecules in the pan to test for “hotness”),  simultaneously throw garlic smashed into pan (remove within a minute of cooking to prevent  spread of “bitter” flavor)
  3. Place Brussels sprouts cut-side down onto heated pan
  4. After halves are placed face down, pour a small amount of low sodium broth into pan, wait for “SIZZLE” and then lower heat and cover for 17 minutes over medium low heat.
  5. Sprinkle some Himalayan sea salt to taste over sprouts
  6. Enjoy!

Here’s the nutritional information for Brussels sprouts in case you are doubting the serious nutritional benefits from these MOFOs:

Brussels Sprouts Nutrient Extraaganza

Delicious snack or preworkout boost

I am always on the lookout for the next great energy/protein bar with as few ingredients as possible. I like bars with ingredients that my 9-year old would easily recognize and at least 3 grams of fiber (of the non-“franken” fiber type, i.e inulin, soluble corn fiber).

I found the Rise bar at Whole Foods, and I am so impressed by the flavor. With just about 7 ingredients per bar, and about 3 grams of fiber each, they are surprisingly moist and delicious and would make an awesome snack or pre-workout energy boost. As a bonus, they are also gluten free.

I have tried the Crunchy Cashew Almond, Crunchy Macadamia Pineapple, Apricot Goji and Blueberry Coconut. There are several other flavors I’ve yet to try, you can check them out on their website.

While these bars may not be quite substantial enough to replace an entire meal, they are definitely perfect to throw in your gym bag or purse as a sweet healthy snack throughout the day.

Black lentils provide a crunchy, high fiber base for sauteed portobellos

I have been waiting with bated breath to cook up this package of black lentils from Whole Foods. They are smaller than the average red or green lentil and look almost like caviar when they are cooked. I also had some “Ginormous” Portobello mushrooms and a lonely jalapeno that needed to be used.

Basically, I cut up 1/2 a Vidalia onion, 1/2 a jalapeno (no seeds) and 2 cloves of garlic. I sauteed these with some fresh herbs from my garden (chives, savory, thyme, basil) and olive oil for 3-4 minutes. I then added the thinly sliced portobello mushroom and allowed them to cook together for a few more minutes. A little balsamic, sherry and red wine vinegar at the last minute. A dash of salt to finish it off.

The black lentils can be cooked in around 20 minutes, but, I used the slow cooker because I wasn’t sure when I started what I would ultimately do with the lentils, I just knew I wanted to use them.

This type of lentil really keeps its crunchiness and would make a great base for a salad. Since I made an entire bag, which yields at least 11 servings dry, I plan to try the salad option next.

Each serving offers a whopping 9 grams of fiber and almost a days worth of folate.

High in fiber and satisfaction, low in salt and calories

The problem with most processed dips is that they pack a lot of salt into a small serving size. For example, Frito Lay Black Bean Dip has 200 mg sodium per 2 tablespoons and Desert Pepper Black Bean Dip has 300 mg for the same amount. I don’t know about you, but, I am not likely to stop at 2 tablespoons, so, I try to make my own whenever possible.

For this recipe, I started with a 1/2 bag of uncooked black beans (8 oz). The beans have no sodium whatsoever, so I am able to add my own salt and seasonings to taste. It does take some time to bring the beans to the desired consistency (follow package directions), but at less than $1.50 a bag, it’s well worth a little extra time. (I did set aside some of the black beans to make black bean burgers at another time)

In my Cuisinart, I combined the pre-cooked black beans, 1/2 an onion, several fresh herbs (especially cilantro), a turn of olive oil, juice of one lime, some cumin, garlic powder and smoked paprika.

I pulsed the mixture maybe 7-8 times. At that point, I tasted the dip, and while the texture was good, it clearly needed a bit of salt to bring the flavors together. I threw in a couple of dashes of salt, but, definitely no more than 1/8 teaspoon for the entire recipe.

According to my calculations, the recipe yields 12 servings of 2 tbsp each. Each serving is ~45 calories, 27 mg sodium. If you want to make this dip even lower in calorie, you could decrease the olive oil or omit it altogether.

What’s your favorite homemade dip to make this summer?