I couldn’t help but giggle the other day when a Fiber One commercial came on and the motto was “Fiber beyond recognition” because that’s exactly what it is — “fiber,” yes, but fiber that’s been extricated from its healthy vehicle and then slathered in corn syrup. Getting fiber from a Fiber One bar is about as healthy as getting fruit from Twizzlers. Food companies that market products containing ingredients that are healthy on their own (i.e. fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.), and bank on their addition, are called Functional Foods. According to a recent article in the The New York Times, “Sales of these foods and beverages totaled $37.3 billion in the United States in 2009, up from $28.2 billion in 2005, according to estimates from the Nutrition Business Journal, a market research firm” [here].
Let’s take a look at some of the goodies found in Fiber One products:
Oats and Chocolate Chewy Bar
Ingredients: chicory root extract, semisweet chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural flavor), whole grain oats, high maltose corn syrup, rice flour, barley flakes, sugar, canola oil, glycerin, matodextrin, honey, tricalcium phosphate, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, salt, nonfat milk, fructose, malt extract, cocoa processed with alkali, baking soda, caramel color, natural flavor.
Nutritional stats per bar: 140 calories, 4g fat, 95mg sodium, 29g carbs, 9g fiber, 10g sugars, 2g protein
Notes: “Chicory root extract” is the source of inulin, which is how the bar gets its 9g of fiber. Per Wikipedia, “Chicory root extract is a dietary supplement or food additive produced by mixing dried, ground chicory root with water, and removing the insoluble fraction by filtration and centrifugation” [source]. High maltose corn syrupis, some scientists assume, just as bad as high fructose corn syrup. Apparently, not much research has been done on it, since it’s relatively new to the scene, but it’s safe to assume it’s just another cheap sweetener added that can screw with your body. So, the chicory root extract is the cheap additive used to give the food its “functional” appeal (the fiber) and then the high maltose corn syrup, fructose, sugar, chocolate chips and salt, are the cheap additives used to make the food taste like a candy bar. Why bother? Eat a large apple and get 5.4g fiber without all the additives and crap. You’ll also get the added nutrients occurring naturally in the fruit. Have a hankering for a candy-bar-like item? Have a Papa Steve's No Junk Bar (or even just eat a couple dates themselves). Or, just eat a real freakin’ candy bar and don’t fool yourself. Ya know what I’m sayin’