In today’s society, people are constantly on the go. Slowing
down for something even as small as breakfast might leave someone
one pace behind, so it may not be a secret why health bars are such
“I think they are convenient ways to get a snack or meal for
someone on the move, but they’re not magic,” said Dawn Clifford, a
registered dietitian at Hartshorn Health Service. “It’s nothing
more than a granola bar that’s fortified with vitamins and
Health bar nutritional values vary greatly across brand names
“Generally, the not-so-great choices are low-carb bars,”
Clifford said. “Some good bars would be CLIF Bars.”
Clifford said people should be careful to supplement their diets
with health products, not replace a healthy diet with them.
“It’s a good compliment to a healthy diet, but it’s not meant to
replace that,” Clifford said.
While many people would like to eat healthy, time and
accessibility tend to limit their ability to do so. Clifford said
that one of her colleagues tried to no avail to find fruit in the
Lory Student Center.
“You can’t find a piece of fruit in the Lory Student Center,”
Health drinks can provide some benefit to endurance athletes,
but for the average person, water should be the beverage of
“Water is definitely the best choice for hydration after
exercise,” Clifford said of students who work out at the Student
Some believe they are cutting their calories by replacing soda
with Gatorade or similar health drinks. While this is generally
true, Clifford says they are not doing themselves any favors.
“Gatorade isn’t as high in calories as soda, but it’s not that
much less,” Clifford said. “Gatorade is still high in
A 20-fluid ounce Pepsi contains 100 calories, and a 20-fluid
ounce Fruit Punch Gatorade contains 50 calories.
Jessica Fisher, a sophomore business major, had lots of
experience with health foods during her high school sports
“We were always encouraged to drink Gatorade before softball,
volleyball and track meets,” Fisher said. “During tournaments we
had water and Gatorade. The combo of both helped us get through
Fisher said that while she believes the bars are beneficial to
some people, they should not replace a healthy meal.
“Sometimes people think (bars) can be taken for meals, but
they’re for people in a rush,” Fisher said. “If you have time for a
balanced meal, you should have that.”
CLIF Bar claims that if someone eats their bars one to two hours
prior to a workout or race, he or she will avoid the sugar high and
crash associated with refined ingredients and sweeteners.
“You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy a CLIF Bar, but with
the extra energy a CLIF Bar provides you may find it hard not to
be,” the CLIF Bar Web site said.
Garry Auld, associate professor in food science nutrition, said
that extra energy generally means sugar.
“These things can be beneficial for athletes, but they market
them towards the general public as if you’re a little bit active
you need these things,” Auld said. “When two-thirds of Americans
are overweight they don’t need extra calories.”