Pre-packaged snacks and tasty snack options are great for those who need quick fuel. These include energy bars, protein shakes, and sports drinks. Although these products may seem healthy, the marketing claims on food and drink packages could be misleading. These are the ingredients you should keep in mind when shopping for groceries.
An energy bar can be a quick snack that gives you the boost you need before, during, or after a workout. But, excessive consumption can cause serious health problems. Pay attention to the following ingredients:
- High-fructose corn sugar (HFCS).
It is made from corn syrup and is processed from corn. Consuming too much fructose can lead to:
- An increase in liver fat can lead to non-alcoholicfatty liver disease (NAFLD) or type 2 diabetes.
- Gout can worsen already existing inflammatory conditions like gout.
- Obesity and heart disease, as well as cancer, are all factors that contribute to obesity.
- Avoid HFCS if it is listed as one of the top ingredients on your energy bars’ ingredients list.
- Sugar alcohol
This is a low-calorie sweetener you may find in energy bars. Sugar alcohols can cause diarrhoea, gas, and bloating if consumed in excess.
FODMAPs refer to fermentable oligosaccharides (disaccharides), monosaccharides and monosaccharides. These are carbohydrates that cannot be digested well and cannot be absorbed well by the body. This can cause side effects in the gastrointestinal tract. Avoid foods and beverages containing FODMAPs such as sorbitol or mannitol if you are sensitive. Moderation is the key to avoiding them if you don’t have a history.
Many gym-goers love protein shakes because they can increase muscle recovery. These are the ingredients to remember:
- Artificial sweeteners
Sometimes, protein shakes can contain sweeteners like sucralose or acesulfame potassium. These sweeteners may be low in calories, but they can still be dangerous if consumed in large quantities.
Although studies have not yet shown how artificial sweeteners affect health over time, they have suggested that these low-calorie sweeteners may cause overconsumption to make up for the taste loss. Artificial sweeteners can sometimes be advertised as “low in sugar” so make sure to look out for these ingredients and drink them in moderation.
Protein powder manufacturers use this seaweed-derived ingredient to make thicker, creamier drinks. Carrageenan can cause side effects like inflammation, bloating and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Pilot studies of the effects of Carrageenan upon humans showed improvements in glucose tolerance and insulin signalling in pre-diabetes patients. We should monitor the intake of Carrageenan-containing products until more evidence is available.
These drinks are popular because they can replenish electrolytes, glucose and fluids lost during strenuous exercise and improve physical endurance. Some can even increase energy levels. Some ingredients can have harmful effects on your health if you consume them in large quantities. Let’s take a look at some:
Did you know that caffeine is found in sports drinks? Too much caffeine can cause insomnia, heart problems, elevated blood pressure, and even seizures. To protect your health, you should take it easy with these drinks. Avoid caffeine if you have sensitive reactions to its stimulant effects. Drinking caffeine if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome can cause diarrhoea.
These drinks are often high in sugar and can lead to a host of health problems, especially if consumed in large quantities, particularly if you don’t do a vigorous workout. Sugars not only add calories, but can also increase your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Before you buy a drink, compare their sugar contents.
Choose natural food alternatives over energy-boosting products
If you don’t want to spend a lot on such ingredients, consider natural alternatives. These are also portable and require minimal preparation. Bananas, raisins and figs are great alternatives to energy bars. Protein shake alternatives? Try eggs, tuna, and sardine. You can also opt for fresh juice, milk and smoothies instead of sports drinks. Dietitians recommend chocolate milk for its anti-inflammatory potential!
Consume in moderation
Although energy-boosting products can be convenient, it is important to remember that not all of them contain healthy ingredients if consumed in excess.
Consult a dietitian if you have concerns about your diet or want to create a healthy diet that fits your lifestyle.