Confused about sugar? We hear a lot about the importance of reducing our sugar content, but the messages are mixed about exactly how to do that. Which sweeteners are good and which are bad? Which sugar sources are actually okay and how much is too much?
First things first - sizing up low sugar snacks and snack bars starts with the food packaging and marketing messages on labels. These are the first things people see at the grocery store, not the nutrition facts. Food labels can be misleading. Period. You need to be educated on how to read the nutritional facts and ingredients to size up the food properly. Companies use phrases like low sugar, sugar-free, no sugar added, and natural sugar on the front of their packages to entice buyers who may want to limit or eliminate sugar from their diets. Some of those phrases may suggest that these products are good for you, but that's not always true.
To determine how to decode the label, you need to understand the benchmarks you should be judging them against. You also need to understand what the ingredients actually are. So, let's start there. What is sugar? What are sugar substitutes? How much sugar is too much sugar in a day? We need to understand these factors to make an informed decision about a product’s sugar content when reading nutrition labels.
There are two types of sugar found in our food – naturally-occurring sugars and sugars that are added to foods. The American Heart Association defines them as such:
The American Heart Association has set some simple guidelines to follow for daily sugar intake. Many people try to limit sugar even more than this recommendation suggests.
Sugar substitutes, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols (which we breakdown a bit later) are dominating a lot of the low sugar conversation these days. Frankly, there's a lot to be confused about here. There are a few general rules on the additives or replacement sugars. In general,
It's always best to opt for foods with natural sugars versus foods with processed or added sugars, but foods with natural sugars should not be over-consumed either. Overconsumption of any type of sugar has been linked to several health issues including weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and an increase of heart disease. Artificial sweeteners offer the flavor of sweetness to foods without the calories of other added sugars.
Sugar alcohols have gained popularity recently, especially with the rise of the Keto diet. According to Healthline, sugar alcohols are popular low-calorie sweeteners but are not considered a sugar substitute. It is important to note that even though they are called 'sugar alcohols' there is no alcohol in them. Sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed by the body during the digestive process, which limits their impact on blood sugar and the body's calorie consumption. On average, it is recommended you stay below 30 grams of sugar alcohols a day.
More recently, erythritol has seemingly become labeled the 'best' sugar alcohol and for a good reason. According to Livestrong, "Erythritol is a sugar substitute that looks and tastes like sugar, yet has almost no calories. It is available in both granulated and powdered forms… In small amounts, erythritol is not supposed to cause digestive upset and diarrhea that other sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol are known to cause, because erythritol is a smaller molecule and 90 percent of erythritol is absorbed in the small intestine and excreted for the most part unchanged in urine." Other sugar alcohols found in food are Xylitol, Lactitol, Sorbitol, and Maltitol, as mentioned above. Erythritol also does not appear to have any impact on blood sugar, giving it a zero glycemic index.
In 2016 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new Nutrition Facts Label that companies will be required to comply with by 2020 (if they have more than $10 million in sales a year) and in 2021 (if they have less than $10 million in sales a year). Some companies have already adhered to the new request and have launched the label on their products. According to the FDA, this new label was designed and approved because of scientific research that directly links chronic diseases, like heart disease and obesity, to a person's diet. According to Business Insider, "Nutrition labels aren't currently required to differentiate between naturally occurring and added sugars in products. But by 2021, all food labels in the US will be redesigned to note added sugars, so you'll eventually be able to see how much white sugar, honey, caramel, corn syrup, and other sweeteners are mixed in."
One study showed that the average American is consuming around 3x the suggested amount of added sugar in a single day. Healthline has identified more than 11 health issues that arise from overeating sugar, including obesity and an increased risk of several chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. So a new, regulated, and more detailed nutritional label from the FDA could not come at a better time. We need it.
Now that we have a better understanding of what to look for, what to stay away from, and how much sugar to consume, we can properly size up how to choose a low sugar snack or low sugar snack bar. One thing to keep in mind when reading nutrition labels is to first look at the serving size and then the number of servings in the package. It's very easy to consume double the amount of any ingredient listed on the label if a package has two servings, you ate the entire package, and you didn't take the time to read it.
To consider a snack 'low sugar' or a snack bar 'low sugar,' you need to look first at the number of grams of sugar per serving. Remember, women should not have more than 37.5 grams of sugar in a day and men no more than 25 grams. If a snack or snack bar has 12 grams of sugar per serving, even if the whole package was a serving size, that snack or snack bar would be almost one-third of a woman's daily sugar intake and nearly half of a man's. Targeting snacks and snack bars that are less than 5 grams on average, per serving would be considered low sugar.
In addition to the actual sugar content, keep an eye on the sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners when sizing up the snacks and snack bars. Since sugar alcohols do have calories, you'll want to watch how much you're eating in a day, as those snacks may be high in fat and total calories. Besides, some sugar alcohols can lead to diarrhea, bloating, and cramping in some people so it’s important to note those regardless. And with the new FDA mandated nutrition label, it will be more accessible than ever before to find and identify the added sugars and artificial sweeteners in snacks and snack bars.
Fortunately, there are many more healthy low sugar snack options available today. Chocolate dipped Truth Bars, for example, have between 2 and 5 grams of sugar in each bar, making them a great low sugar bar option.
What are the key attributes of a Truth Bar?
Truth Bars are functional nutrition bars with many key attributes. They were the first bars with both prebiotics and probiotics; they are high in fiber (13-14g); low in sugar (4-5g); contain a full day's supply of Omega-3 from white chia seed (250mg); and are made from natural, real food ingredients with no fillers. They are gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO, soy-free and all 200 calories or less. Truth Bars contain premium, mostly organic ingredients such as organic extra virgin coconut in our coconut bars. Truth Bars come in both Vegan and Non-Vegan varieties. Best of all, Truth Bars continue to receive mostly five stars for great taste!
Questions About Prebiotics and Probiotics:
What is a probiotic?
Probiotics are good bacteria in your digestive system that help to keep your gut healthy and that make a beneficial contribution to your overall health.
What is a prebiotic?
Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that come mainly from certain plant foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Why is it important to have both prebiotics and probiotics together?
Prebiotics feed the probiotics to help them thrive and work longer in your body. When combining a nurturing base of prebiotics in the belly, with a good dose of probiotics, a garden of flora blossoms and fills the gut with a balanced, healthy microbiome.
How much probiotic is in each Truth Bar?
1 Billion CFU's.
What is the strain of probiotic used in Truth Bars?
Lactobacillus sporogenes (bacillus coagulans). It is a stable Lactic Acid forming probiotic that has extensive studies of gut healing effects ranging across gastrointestinal issues, bloating, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. This spore-producing bacteria remains dormant in the package and on grocery store shelves, but becomes activated once eaten. This hardy bacteria strain has a protective shell that helps it survive the acid and bile in your stomach so that it can reach your intestines unharmed. Once there, the low ph and moisture in your intestines allows it to activate and multiply rapidly. This is especially true when it has prebiotics there to feed it.
Questions about ingredients:
How are Truth Bars sweetened?
In order to achieve a balance between sweetness and low sugar, Truth Bars are sweetened by a combination of natural sweeteners and real food ingredients.
How many grams of sugar do Truth Bars have?
The number of grams of sugar ranges from 4 grams per bar in the Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bar to 5 grams per bar in the rest of the Truth Bar flavors.
Are Truth Bars Made With All-Natural Ingredients?
Yes. Truth Bars are made with 100% all-natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no artificial sweeteners, and no fillers. Truth Bar ingredients are also non-GMO.
Are Truth Bars Vegan?
Two Truth Bar flavors are vegan. Our Dark Chocolate Coconut and Chocolate Raspberry Coconut bars are both 100% Vegan. They're both rich in fiber and essential medium chain fatty acids that are easily digested, which makes them incredibly useful for a quick burst of energy.
Three of our Truth Bars are protein based (10g per bar) and non-vegan. Our Chocolate Almond Crunch, Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch bars feature a Non-Vegan blend of brown rice protein, whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate that supplies essential Amino Acids for a "complete" or "whole" source of protein.
Are Truth Bars 100% gluten free?
Yes. All Truth Bars are 100% gluten free.
Are Truth Bars soy free?
Yes. Though often found in chocolate, the specially formulated dark chocolate coating on all Truth Bars is completely free of soy. (the chocolate coating itself is also sugar free)
Are Truth Bars dairy and lactose free?
Truth Bar's vegan bars (Dark Chocolate Coconut and Chocolate Raspberry Coconut) are dairy and lactose free. Truth Bar's protein bars contain both Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate. These whey proteins contain a small percentage of lactose.
What about other allergens?
If you have allergies, please read the food ingredients on the label carefully or talk to your nutritionist, allergist, or doctor about what is best for you. Also note that though not every Truth Bar contains these ingredients, they are made on equipment shared with peanuts, tree nuts, soy and dairy.
Are Truth Bars kosher?
Yes. They are certified OU Kosher by the Orthodox Union.
What is the source of Omega-3's?
Truth Bars contain Omega-3s from white chia seed.
Do Truth Bars contain MCT (medium chain triglyceride) Oil?
MCT Oil can be found in four of our bars: Chocolate Raspberry Coconut, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Almond Crunch.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch contains no MCT oil.
Where can I find a full list of ingredients?
You can find a full list of ingredients on each bar’s label and product page on truthbar.com. The ingredients can be found by clicking the second tab on each product page.
Where can I find nutrition information?
Each bar’s nutrition facts can also be found on the product pages on truthbar.com. Just click the third tab.
You can also find information on the ingredient page on truthbar.com that outlines key ingredients and their benefits.
Truth Bars & Popular Diets:
Are Truth Bars Keto Friendly?
Keto diets are very low in carbs, high in fat, ideally higher in fiber, and have some balanced amount of protein. The strictest Keto diets require very low to almost no carbs. Truth Bars would not be ideal for the strictest keto diet. But if you are looking for a snack option for a basic or moderate keto diet, Truth Bar's Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch bar is a great choice -- high in fiber (13g), high in healthy fat (12g), moderate protein (10g) and relatively lower net carbs (6g).
How many Weight Watchers points does a Truth Bar have?
Truth Bars have approximately 8-9 points per bar.
Are Truth Bars Paleo Friendly?
Paleo diets in their strictest form include foods that hunter-gatherers would have eaten. This means no foods that were not available to them (like sugar, processed foods, artificial ingredients) and lots of fruits, grains and lean protein. Paleo diets also restrict grains, legumes and dairy. Truth Bars, while gluten-free and only containing real food ingredients, would not fit in the Paleo diet in its strictest form as they contain some sugar (4-5g).
What is the shelf life of Truth Bars?
Truth Bars have a shelf life of 12 months from the date of production. We make our bars in small batches, which should ensure that our retailer's shelves are stocked with fresh bars when rotated correctly.
Do Truth Bars need to be refrigerated?
No. This type of probiotic is not in a live state on the shelf, it is activated only after it's eaten. For this reason, Truth Bars do not need to be refrigerated.
Questions about buying Truth Bars
How do I find out if Truth Bars are sold in a store near me?
You can use the Store Locator on truthbar.com to search by zip code, city or state to find a store near you.
What if there aren't yet stores near me that carry Truth Bars?
First, you can talk to your grocery store or health food store's manager and ask them to stock Truth Bars in their store. They can contact us directly and we can help. Meanwhile, Truth Bars can be purchased on amazon.com/truthbar and truthbar.com.
What is your return policy?
100% satisfaction or your money back. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help.
Please let us know if you have a question that is not listed above.
Simply write to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to answer any questions!