Are Kind Bars Healthy (Nutrition Pros and Cons)?
In this blog post, I’ll review the question of whether Kind Bars are healthy or not. Find out this product’s nutrition pros and cons and some better options for healthy snacks.
Kind Bars Facts
Kind Bars are snack bars known for emphasizing wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients. The company behind Kind Bars is KIND LLC, founded by Daniel Lubetzky in 2004.
The bars are available in various flavors and combinations, often made with ingredients like nuts, fruits, and whole grains. They are trans-fat free, mostly GMO and gluten-free, and contain 5 to 8g of added sugar.
KIND LLC designed Kind Bars to provide a convenient and nutritious on-the-go snack. The bars appeal to active people with dietary restrictions like gluten-free or vegan diets and to parents who want a healthier option for children than candy bars.
The Food & Drug Administration of the United States allows Kind Bars to use the term “healthy” on its packaging. This is a reversal of a warning letter the company was sent years prior regarding labels on Kind snacks.
Kind Bars are available in the following variations:
- Nut Bars
- Cereal Bars
- Breakfast Bars
- KIND Healthy Grains Bars
- Energy Bars
- Nut Butter Filled Snack Bars
- Simple Crunch Bars
- KIND Kids Bars
Each of the varieties of Kind Bars has a unique selection of flavor and ingredient combinations.
According to the nutrition label, the bars provide a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Kind Bars Ingredients
Common ingredients in Kind Bars include nuts like almonds and peanuts, dried fruits like cranberries or cherries, whole grains like brown rice, oats, and millet, and pseudograins like buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa.
Different flavors have variations in their ingredient lists and nutritional profiles. You should read the ingredient list of any version you purchase for the most up-to-date information and key ingredients.
The bars contain added sugars like cane sugar and glucose syrup; some variations have honey for added flavor.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ingredients in Kind Bars and what they mean for your health.
Chicory Root Fiber
Chicory root fiber is a prebiotic fiber extracted from the chicory plant’s root. It is rich in a natural vegetable fiber called inulin, a fructan with some health benefits, especially for gut health and blood sugar regulation.
The human body can’t digest inulin, so it acts as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial gut bacteria and boosting gut health. A healthy gut can reduce inflammation and improve mineral absorption.
Chicory root fiber is often used as a supplement, food additive, or coffee alternative because of its taste and color.
Consuming chicory root fiber is generally safe, but sensitive people may experience minor side effects in the gastrointestinal system, including bloating, gas, or belching.
Glucose syrup is a processed sweetener and thickener that is also added to manufactured food products to retain moisture. It is an additive widely used in commercial food production, mainly for candy, canned goods, premade baked goods, snack foods, beer, and fondant.
Glucose syrup is not generally considered a healthy food option since it’s a highly processed, concentrated source of sugar and calories. If you consume glucose syrup regularly (or products made with it), it can cause health problems like an increased risk of heart problems, high blood sugar, obesity, high blood pressure, and dental issues.
Amaranth is a pseudocereal, like buckwheat and quinoa. Although it is known as one of the ancient grains, it is not actually a grain.
You can use amaranth in whole form or ground up into flour. It’s an excellent product for people who follow a grain-free or gluten-free diet. In flour form, you can use it in baking, or you can make a porridge or soup with it.
Amaranth has many potential health benefits. It can help prevent and treat ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, celiac disease, and allergies. However, this pseudocereal also contains oxalic acid.
When consumed in significant quantities, over time, it may cause kidney stones in susceptible people.
Soy Protein Isolate (SPI)
Soy protein isolate is a highly processed protein. Although it is derived from soybeans, which are protein-dense plants, it may not be as healthy as it sounds. Most soy crops are genetically modified, so this product may not be for you if you keep GMOs from your diet.
Most soy products also contain phytoestrogens, which may disrupt hormones, especially when consumed excessively. Another potential health concern is that soy can adversely affect thyroid function in people with an iodine deficiency.
Seed Oils: Palm Kernel and Canola Oil
Kind Bars contain palm kernel and canola, a type of seed oil.
Research shows that seed oils can cause chronic inflammation, leading to various health problems, including obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune diseases. They are highly processed and mostly hydrogenated to boost shelf life.
Hydrogenation increases trans fats, which can raise bad cholesterol and cause further health problems.
Besides hydrogenation, some manufacturers use processes that involve toxic solvents and high temperatures to extract oils from seeds, and there is a risk that remnants of these toxins will be in the final product.
Kind Bars are convenient snacks for people on gluten-free or plant-based diets. Most of the variations are non-GMO and don’t contain trans fats.
These bars are also a good source of fiber. Many of the ingredients are real food ingredients that are not overly processed. Kind Bars do not have high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.
Although Kind Bars are convenient, they are an expensive snack with added sugars and some unhealthy ingredients. If you’re avoiding added sugar, this snack won’t be suitable.
Another potential con is that many of the variations contain allergens like tree nuts, peanuts, or soy.
Some variations contain palm kernel oil and canola oil, controversial ingredients that may not be sustainably sourced and have associated health risks.
Yes, most Kind Bars flavor variants contain 5 to 12 grams of total sugar and 3 to 8 grams of added sugar in the form of cane sugar and glucose syrup. Some flavor variants also contain honey for added sweetness and flavor, a healthier sweetener.
While the nutrition label on the Mango, Apple, and Chia flavor Kind Bars claims “no sugar added,” these bars still contain as much as 21 grams of sugar from the fruit ingredients and 31 grams of total carbohydrates.
Kind Bars has a range specifically for kids, and it is healthier than most regular candy bar options. However, that does not mean it’s the healthiest choice. While Kind Bar Kids bars only contain 5 grams of added sugar, it is still sugar, and the bars also contain other unhealthy ingredients like seed oils.
Instead of these bars, it’s best to give kids real food snacks like fresh fruits and nuts if they don’t have an allergy or intolerance.
Some Kind Bars flavor variants are vegan, but most bars are not vegan because they contain milk chocolate or honey.
Yes, many of the Kind Bars flavor variants contain peanuts or tree nuts, and they are processed in a facility that also processes nuts, tree nuts, sesame, and soy, so there is a risk of cross-contamination. Not all Kind Bars are gluten-free or suitable for vegans.
To make a homemade version of Kind bars, combine 1 cup of mixed whole nuts (such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts) and 1/2 cup of seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower) with 1/3 cup of honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a bowl. Spread the mixture into a prepared baking dish, bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes, then let it cool before cutting into bars. You could also mix in some protein powder before baking to add some protein to this nutrition bar.
More Snack Reviews and Healthy Snack Suggestions
Kind Bars are convenient and contain some healthy, real food ingredients. They are more nutritious than candy bars. However, these bars also contain some unhealthy, processed ingredients and added sugars. While many other commercial snacks contain more harmful ingredients than Kind Bars, these snacks are still not the healthiest choice.
Kind Bars are also expensive, which gives you an even better reason to make healthier homemade bars using real food ingredients. Or, choose fresh fruits and nuts instead.
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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with nearly 10 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.
Note: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations related to your individual situation.