Celebrated for their wide array of flavors, healthy ingredients, and convenience, KIND bars are one of the most popular snack bars on the market. Moreover, they’re often touted for being a healthy snack. But how do KIND bars really stack up to other nutrition bars?
Here, we’re delving into everything you need to know about KIND bars, from their benefits to their downsides. And we’ll take a look at some of the best healthy energy bars on the market, so that you can determine the best meal replacement bar or the best bar to fill your afternoon snack craving.
What Is a KIND Bar?
As you likely know, KIND bars are a brand of snack bar, which are known for their nutritious and tasty ingredients, including nuts, fruits, dark chocolate, and honey. With flavors like Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, Cranberry Almond, and Almond & Coconut, there are flavors out there for everyone. KIND promotes the fact that they use real fruit and while nuts — as opposed to added, less fresh ingredients — which makes them a convenient and balanced way to satisfy your appetite throughout the day.
Created in 2004, KIND bars were inspired by a story founder Daniel Lubetzky heard from his father, a Holocaust survivor. Lubetzky’s father shared that while he was incarcerated at the Dachau Concentration Camp, a soldier threw him a potato — something Lubetzky’s father considered a small act of mercy that helped him survive. With this in mind, KIND’s founder aimed to build a company centered around kindness and spreading goodwill. Now, the not-only-for-profit company works to give back to communities that need support.
What Are the Supposed Benefits Associated with KIND Bars?
KIND bars contain several beneficial ingredients. Most varieties are composed of almonds, which are very healthy in moderation. Full of antioxidants that fight stress, inflammation, and illness in the body, almonds also contain essential nutrients, such as healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E.
These nutrients help regulate your blood sugar and blood pressure. Not to mention, they can help decrease your cholesterol levels. With this in mind, KIND bars’ reliance on almonds as a base ingredient makes them stand out from other nutrition bars on the market. As added bonuses, KIND bars also don’t contain any GMO (genetically modified organism) ingredients, which makes them more environmentally friendly. And, for folks with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, these gluten-free are a great, filling choice.
Are They Actually Healthy?
In 2015, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) criticized four KIND bar flavors for not living up to the “healthy” label on the packaging. The four flavors in question?
- Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut
- Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot
- Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein
- Fruit & Nut Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants
So, what was the issue here? The FDA noted that these bars did not have high enough antioxidant levels or low enough fat levels to be considered “healthy.”
“Nuts, key ingredients in many of our snacks and one of the things that make fans love our bars, contain nutritious fats that exceed the amount allowed under the FDA’s standard. There is an overwhelming body of scientific evidence supporting that nuts are wholesome and nutritious,” Joe Cohen, Senior Vice President of Communications at KIND, told Bustle. “This is similar to other foods that do not meet the standard for use of the term healthy, but are generally considered to be good for you like avocados, salmon and eggs.”
While KIND bars are a comparatively healthy choice, you’ll want to avoid eating too many. Like many other convenient foods, they’re high in sugar due to the fact that they’re composed of honey and fruits, which contain naturally occurring sugar. Again, not as sugar- and fat-filled as candy bars and junk food, but still something to consider. That is, added sugars provide a short burst of energy; this can harm blood sugar over time.
What Are Some KIND Bar Competitors?
If you’re a fan of KIND bars, you may want to be aware of some alternatives that boast similar nutritional benefits with lower levels of fat, sugar, and carbs. One stellar option? Rx Bars. These bars contain just a handful of ingredients, all of which are listed on the packaging. Made with egg whites and dates for sweetness, these bars boast 12 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per bar, and each bar is under 220 calories.
LÄRABAR is another popular and healthy option. Like KIND bars, LÄRABAR get many of their health benefits from nuts, including walnuts, almonds, and cashews. All of their bars contain no more than nine ingredients, so while some varieties boast a higher sugar content, the majority of the sugar tends to come from natural sources, such as dates and raw fruits. Moreover, they don’t draw on any artificial sweeteners either. But, if you’re looking for the best health-wise, avoid the LÄRABAR flavors that contain chocolate.
Finally, ALOHA protein bars are a healthy choice if you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet. These plant-based bars boast high levels of healthy fats, which stem from the brand’s use of nuts and pumpkin seeds. ALOHA also utilizes pea protein and brown rice to craft nutritious — yet delicious — snack bars that boast high levels of protein. Best of all, these bars are remarkable for what they don’t contain. That is, they’re low in carbs and so-called unhealthy fats.