Some of the different types of whole grain bars are made from good, wholesome ingredients while other bars may not be as healthy. Many people turn to food bars because they are appealing, easily accessible, and will likely remain fresh and ready to eat for weeks. When considering different types of bars, look for those that are high in fiber and list whole grain as the first ingredient. Whole grain bars that are lower in sugar or other natural sweeteners will likely provide the most healthful benefits. Other types of whole grain bars include organic and homemade varieties.
The most healthful type of whole grain bar is made from flour that contains the bran and germ parts of the whole grain. In processed or enriched flour, these beneficial nutrients as well as the fiber may have been removed during the milling process. Whole grain bars are those that have the word "whole" in front of the name of the grain, as in "whole wheat flour." The most healthy whole grain bars should list whole grain or whole wheat flour as the first ingredient. These bars are high in fiber and use the whole, unprocessed grain or kernel. All types of whole grains are naturally low in fat and provide a good source of complex carbohydrates which produce a longer lasting full feeling, helping to prevent overeating.
Some whole grain bars may be high in sugar or high fructose corn syrup. The more healthful granola or cereal bars will typically have less than 8 grams, or about 2 teaspoons of sugar. Even self-described healthy, whole grain bars may not be low in sugar. Read the nutrition label carefully to make sure sugar or high fructose corn syrup are not one of the main ingredients. High sugar content may also be present in granola or cereal bars that contain fruit or fruit filling.
The typical organic whole grain bar is manufactured to meet certain standards of processing. Typically monitored by government agencies, these standards include prohibiting the use of antibiotics, hormones, or synthetic pesticides in any of the ingredients. Organic foods including whole grain cereal or granola bars tend to be more healthful when made according to these standards.
One of the better types of whole grain bars are the kind made at home. Making whole grain bars at home allows the entire process to be controlled, making the nutritional content more certain. Health benefits of eating just one or two servings of whole grain foods each day may reduce the risk of many diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. A typical whole grain bar also contains antioxidants, which may help to lower LDL cholesterol levels.