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I will be retiring Aaron’s Additions until a new round of healthy tools and quality blogs pop up. (In the last year alone 28,000 health blogs were created, but only a very small percentage had any staying power!) Instead I will be focusing on bringing you Aaron’s Awards – congratulating the food industry for their latest obesity-inducing shenanigans.
Recently, the low-carb folks over at Go Lower asked Mark’s Daily Apple to review their low-carbohydrate snack bars. Though I’m not a proponent of processed foods, no matter how healthy – and I emphasize that – I do think there ought to be wiggle room in everyone’s diet. Personally, I enjoy a light beer now and then, and my wife knows it’s never a good idea to keep genuine black licorice in the house (the real stuff, not those pitiful strands that don’t actually contain licorice).
I also think that if you’re trying to lose weight, or simply get better at managing your weight, things like shakes, snack bars and treats that help you do it sensibly can be a real benefit.
The big problem with most low-carb snacks is the dreaded “mockalate” factor. Usually, low-sugar snacks are low on fiber, high on chemicals and artificially-manufactured ingredients, and contain enough alcohol sugars to swell you up like a blimp. If you have ever eaten one too many servings of faux chocolate, you know what I’m talking about, Apples.
I’ll say it again: I’m no big fan of processed foods, even ostensibly healthy ones. Usually, they aren’t healthy at all – low sugar is far from synonymous with health. But I was surprisingly impressed by the Go Lower line. All of the flavors – more on that in a minute – contain visible whole ingredients. There are no artificial flavors, chemicals, or fillers of any kind. Period. The chocolate raspberry bar contains real raspberries. The nut bars look like something any backyard bird would gladly fly into a window for.
You MDA frequent flyers know I’m a huge fan of fiber, and that’s why I can endorse the low-GI Go Lower line. They have, “bar” none, the highest amount of fiber I’ve seen in so-called low-carb snacks (between 7 and 10 grams a bar, easily triple that of most breakfast cereal servings). They aren’t made with faux ingredients or fake sugars. The secret: Go Lower’s makers rely on oligofructose, a fiber-rich, non-GI impact insoluble fructose that doesn’t get digested by your upper G.I. Heard of inulin? This is similar, safe, and natural.
Honestly, I don’t really dig the taste, but to be fair, I’m just not a snack bar kind of guy. They do taste better than most of the other bars I’ve had the displeasure of chomping into.
Here’s what the gang thought:
Chocolate Creme Bar (120 calories)
Elliott: pretty good, but still has that not-quite-real flavor. A lot better than Power Bars, though.
Sara: I’m a die-hard dark chocolate dork. But this is edible.
Aaron: I like it. It’s sweet, but not that sickening fake sweet. There’s no bad aftertaste like you get with aspartame.
Raspberry Creme (116 calories)
Jen: okay, this is amazing! Seriously, you will love these. Really fruity and not too sweet.
Aaron: I agree, amazing flavor. And only 5 grams of sugar.
Casey: It’s got my vote. I think this is the best of them. The fruit is real and the chocolate isn’t chemical-tasting. It’s real cocoa – 47%.
Coconut Nut Bar (143 calories)
Elliott: I don’t taste the coconut. But I like strong flavors and sharp spices. If you like subtle flavoring, it’s pretty good. The one thing I’m not crazy about is the soy in these – that’s a processed ingredient I don’t recommend. But, in general, the ingredients are excellent – good fat, nuts, real chocolate, no sugar.
Sara: sorry, but this tastes like what I imagine licking the forest floor would be like. I am all for nuts, but this is really bland. I am impressed that every single one of these bars lists fiber as the first ingredient, though! That’s a big improvement over corn syrup, corn oil, or refined flours.
Aaron: I think it’s great! Really dense and satisfying. For only 143 calories, this is a really filling snack – and the fiber is incredibly high – about 10 grams! This easily beats any other snack bar or candy. Lots of good fat, fiber, and protein.
Raspberry Nut Bar (141 calories)
Jen: this is a lot better than the coconut, in my opinion. I love the mix of naturally salty seeds with the tartness of the raspberry. I think the raspberry-nut combination they have really works.
Sara: this is excellent. The linseeds, nuts and raspberries are a really satisfying, fresh combination. Awesome!
Casey: I like this. I’d buy them. Tastes like real food – like trail mix without all the salt and sugar.
Aaron: All the raspberry bars are really incredible. This proves there’s no reason why healthy can’t be tasty.
To see the detailed nutritional information, check out Go Lower’s site. My homeboy Jimmy Moore also enthusiastically reviewed these smart snack bars a while back, and you can check out his review, too. Thanks to Kevin and Hannah for letting us try out the Go Lower line! If you like the occasional snack bar, and you don’t want artificial ingredients and sugar, give Go Lower bars a try!
Technorati tags: Go Lower, bar, nuts, low carb, low sugar, glycemic index, chocolate
“Let’s share our health experiences. Together we can help others. Together we can help ourselves.” This is the motto and philosophy of the new social-networking website OrganizedWisdom.
OrganizedWisdom is user-generated advice, experience, insights, and knowledge compiled and sorted to help people track down answers to their health-related questions.
Looking for a way to get rid of a headache? Check out what other people do to relieve this annoying ailment. Do you have a personal account of how you handled sleep apnea, GERD, or some other condition? Share your experiences and help others on their path to recovery.
The people behind OrganizedWisdom know that, being human, we all have tales of illness, and that collaboration is a great way to help solve health problems. Join this community to help yourself and others collectively achieve health and well-being.
Google isn’t the only search engine on the world-wide-web. If you are looking for specific health-related information or technical articles on vitamins and supplements it makes sense to use a search engine that is optimized to provide health-specific results. Here are two websites that do just that.
Vitasearch.com provides scientific articles that cover the latest research in the field of nutrition. Visit the ‘Weekly Updates’ link for the most up-to-date findings on everything from vitamin D and folate to coenzyme Q10 and fish oils. Additionally, this website supplies interviews with some of the brilliant scientists behind all the research. Get their expert opinions on a variety of health topics. This site is simple, straightforward, and as long as you are willing to dig through sometimes technical journal article summaries, provides excellent content.
If you are looking for solid information about specific health conditions and ailments Healthline.com may be able to provide you with answers. This 2006 Webby Award winning site provides filtered search results that draw from over 170,000 health-related websites and thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. Healthline was developed in partnership with over 1,110 medical specialists to help bring consumers relevant search results. The site also offers cool features like Healthmaps, detailed illustrations and pictures, and quizzes to help assess physical conditions. Although a lot of the information seems to be focused on and sponsored by Big Pharma, this site still offers plenty of preventative tips and a wealth of quality advice (just be aware of the bias).
As we are always saying at Mark’s Daily Apple: be willing to be critical about everything you’ve assumed to be true about health and fitness, and take responsibility for your own health. In order to do this, it is important to stay on top of the latest research and findings. Between MDA and these resources you are sure to find the most up-to-date health information available.
As we have noted, there is a new trend in the world of training. No, it doesn’t involve some new fangled fitness contraption or hip new exercise program. In fact it doesn’t involve much physical activity at all. Use your head and you just might figure out what we mean. Yes, that’s right! This craze is all about training your brain.
Maintaining brain fitness through diet, exercise, and now mind-workouts has become one of the latest health movements. Nintendo’s video game Brain Age released early last year made the idea of boosting brain power through mental calisthenics widely popular. Since then brain gyms and brain health programs have been cropping up across the nation.
The notion of brain training simply takes the philosophy behind physical exercise and applies it to the mental realm. Hitting the gym can help build strength and endurance. Spending time focusing your mind on specific mental tasks should keep your mind sharp and agile. So goes the theory of brain training.
Proponents of brain training say that structured mental activity can be as good for your mind as physical activity is for the rest of your body.
But can you really train your brain to work better?
Although the science is still out on exactly which behaviors can effectively improve brain fitness there is evidence, and popular wisdom, that suggests that an active mind is a healthy mind.
With this in mind (pun intended) two websites aim to please those interested in improving cognition and brain power: Happy Neuron and My Brain Trainer. Both sites offer (for a fee) daily challenging exercises, games and other cerebral activities that are designed to stimulate your mind and improve your memory and ability to focus. These sites also highlight other mental capacities like reaction time, critical thinking skills, and visual and spatial perception. Additionally, they both give you the ability the track your progress over time to see if your mind really is becoming sharper.
In the near future expect to see a lot on the topic of brain health; specifically, ways to slow cognitive degeneration and improve mental skills.
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