Myths about Granola


Granola has a great, healthful reputation. However, I’ve been stunned by the nutrition labels on granola products that I have picked up at the store, and I haven’t bought any in over a year. I’ve decided to boil down why I reach for granola bars (the myths), and also why they haven’t crept into my diet (backed by research of course).

Myth #1: Granola is healthy

More than 95% of store-bought granola bars and cereals contain caloric sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup or sugar [1] and they are also often high in saturated fat. If you love granola, you can try this homemade version from Marvelous Girl instead – and always make sure to buy unsweetened dried fruits!

Granola bars have a higher glycemic load than white bread [2]! To substitute you could choose to eat whole-grain oat cereal or porridge, which have been found to have a much lower glycemic load and are great for your gut.[3]

Something else to keep in mind about granola bars is that they can lead to cavities. Granola bars that are soft and moist are three times more likely to lead to cavity formation than crispier and dryer alternatives.[4]

Myth #2: Granola products are environmentally friendly

Most granola bars and cereals are highly processed, and the ingredients are sourced from a diverse range of ecosystems and transported from around the world to reach our supermarkets. Additionally, granola products are often wrapped in single-serving packs. While this may help keep on track portion-wise, it creates a lot of excess packaging waste that is often composed mostly of plastics that cannot be recycled and end up clogging landfills.

Granola, just like cucumbers, does not live up to the healthy, green image it conjures. It’s often sugary, overly-processed, cavity-creating and wastefully packaged. Such research just furthers the fact that we all need to carefully read the official nutrition labels on every food we buy, instead of buying into myths manifested by decades of marketing.

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