Fiber One bars are a popular high-fiber snack marketed as a healthy choice. But are they really good for you? There are pros and cons to eating Fiber One bars. On the plus side, they are high in fiber and contain healthy nutrients like vitamins and minerals. However, they are also highly processed and contain artificial sweeteners, which some people try to avoid. This article will look at the nutrition facts, ingredients, and health effects of Fiber One bars to help you decide if they should have a place in your diet.
Here is the nutrition information for one Fiber One Oats and Chocolate bar (90 calories):
|Total Fat||2 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.5 g|
|Trans Fat||0 g|
|Total Carbohydrates||24 g|
|Dietary Fiber||9 g|
|Total Sugars||1 g|
|Added Sugars||0 g|
As you can see, Fiber One bars are high in fiber, containing 9 grams per bar which is 36% of the daily value. They are also low in fat, saturated fat, and sugar. There are 90 calories in one bar, coming mostly from the 24 grams of total carbohydrates.
Fiber One bars are a good source of fiber. The 9 grams provide bulk and help you feel full. Fiber has many health benefits including improved digestion and heart health. Most Americans only get about half the recommended daily intake of fiber, so a Fiber One bar can help fill that gap.
The bars are low in sugars, with just 1 gram per bar from natural sources like fruit. They do not contain any added sugars. The bars get their sweetness instead from artificial sweeteners like sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and steviol glycosides.
With 3 grams of protein and 24 grams of carbs, a Fiber One bar provides a balanced macronutrient profile to help keep you full between meals.
Fiber One bars provide a number of important micronutrients:
- 20% DV iron
- 10% DV calcium
- 15% DV vitamin D
- 6% DV potassium
- 2% DV vitamin A
Getting these nutrients from food rather than supplements is ideal. Iron helps carry oxygen throughout the body. Calcium and vitamin D keep your bones strong. Potassium helps nerves and muscles function. Vitamin A supports immune function and eye health.
So in terms of vitamins and minerals, Fiber One bars deliver added nutrition.
Now let’s take a look at the ingredients in Fiber One bars:
- Whole grain oats
- Chicory root fiber
- Peanut flour
- Natural flavors
- Canola oil
- Acesulfame potassium
- Soy lecithin
- Reduced iron
- Vitamin A palmitate
- Pyridoxine hydrochloride
- Thiamin mononitrate
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D3
The first ingredients are whole grains and fiber, which is great to see. Some concerning ingredients are the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium. There is also added vitamins and minerals.
Overall, the ingredient list could be cleaner. But there are no extremely harmful ingredients like artificial colors or partially hydrogenated oils.
The main grain sources are whole grain oats and wheat. Oats provide beta-glucan fiber that lowers cholesterol levels. Whole grains provide antioxidants, B vitamins, and minerals like magnesium, selenium, and zinc. They support healthy digestion, weight management, and heart health.
In addition to the 9 grams of fiber from whole grains, Fiber One bars add extra fiber from chicory root. This soluble fiber helps regulate digestion. It also contains inulin, a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics support digestive and immune health.
Almonds and pecans provide healthy unsaturated fats, protein, and vitamin E. Nuts are linked to lower cholesterol levels, balanced blood sugar, and less inflammation. The bars contain nut flours rather than whole nuts, so the nutrient content may be slightly lower. Still, nuts boost the nutritional value.
Sucralose and acesulfame potassium are common artificial sweeteners added to processed foods. They provide sweetness without calories or blood sugar spikes. Studies consider them safe, though some people try to avoid these non-nutritive sweeteners. More research is still needed on long-term effects.
Extra vitamins and minerals like niacinamide, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and iron are added to Fiber One bars. This improves their micronutrient content. However, nutrients from whole foods are usually better absorbed and utilized by the body compared to supplements.
What does the research say about the health effects of consuming Fiber One bars and similar high-fiber snacks?
Several studies find that increasing fiber intake from foods or supplements helps enhance weight loss. Fiber improves satiety, so people feel fuller after eating fewer calories. This results in less overeating and snacking, allowing people to more easily stay within their calorie needs.
One study had overweight participants eat Fiber One bars along with other high-fiber foods. The high-fiber group lost an average of 10.8 pounds over 4 weeks compared to only 3 pounds in the low-fiber group.
While no single food leads to significant weight loss, choosing fiber-rich foods can support an overall healthy diet and lifestyle for shedding pounds. The fiber and protein in Fiber One bars help control hunger between meals.
Blood Sugar Control
Soluble fibers like those found in Fiber One bars help control blood sugar spikes after eating. Fiber slows digestion, preventing rapid rises and crashes in blood sugar.
In a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, people with type 2 diabetes ate cereal bars containing soluble fiber. They experienced improved blood sugar control over a 3-week period compared to eating bars lower in fiber.
Cholesterol and Heart Health
Several large reviews demonstrate that increased soluble fiber intake significantly lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Eating just 5-10 more grams of soluble fiber per day has this effect.
One study had adults with elevated cholesterol eat Fiber One cereal. Their total and LDL cholesterol decreased over a 12-week period.
The fiber, nuts, and whole grains in Fiber One bars support cardiovascular health. However, they do contain sodium and shelf-stable grains with preservatives, so fresh whole foods would be even better for your heart.
With 9 grams of fiber in each bar, Fiber One is obviously excellent for digestive health. The fibers feed healthy gut bacteria and add bulk to stools. This relieves constipation and improves regularity.
In one study, people who complained of constipation ate snack bars with inulin and oat fiber. They reported improved stool frequency, consistency, and shape compared to the control group.
The prebiotic inulin in Fiber One bars enhances growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. These beneficial strains protect digestive health, absorb nutrients, and defend against pathogens.
Various studies demonstrate that higher fiber intakes promote greater feelings of satiety and fullness between meals. The soluble fibers in Fiber One bars form gels that expand in the stomach. This increases volume to signal your brain that you are full.
One clinical trial gave participants snack bars higher in protein and fiber. They reported decreased hunger and less desire to eat compared to eating snack bars lower in fiber and protein.
The fiber, protein, nuts, and whole grains in Fiber One bars support satiety between meals to help control portions at your next meal.
Fiber One bars provide a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin D.
While they are lower in sugar than many other processed snacks, the added vitamins and minerals boost the bars’ micronutrient profile. This makes them more nutrient-dense than candy, chips, or other processed snacks.
However, the vitamins and minerals would be better sourced from eating whole foods. Highly processed snacks with added nutrients should not replace fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins.
While Fiber One bars can be included in a healthy diet, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:
Fiber One bars go through extensive processing and contain many added ingredients like artificial sweeteners, chicory root fiber, and supplemental vitamins/minerals.
For the most part, eating whole, minimally processed foods is best for long-term health. The less altered it is from its natural state, the more nutrients a food retains.
Fiber One bars use sucralose and acesulfame potassium rather than natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
While deemed generally safe by regulatory agencies, some people aim to avoid artificial sweeteners. More research is needed on their long-term effects.
Blood Sugar Spikes
While the fiber in Fiber One bars helps slow digestion, they can still spike blood sugar compared to low-carb snacks.
One study tested glycemic responses to various snack bars. Fiber One bars resulted in significantly higher blood sugar and insulin levels compared to servings of nuts, cheese, and smoked salmon.
Those with diabetes or insulin resistance may experience blood sugar spikes from the carbohydrates. Pairing them with protein or healthy fat helps steady blood sugar response.
The whole grain oats and wheat in Fiber One bars allow them to be stored for long periods before going stale. However, this requires food processing techniques like extrusion that alter the grains’ natural structure.
Freshly cooked whole grains have superior nutritional quality and health benefits compared to shelf-stable processed grains. Enjoying regular intact whole grains is ideal.
High Fiber May Cause Digestive Issues
While fiber is great for digestion, increasing intake too quickly can cause gas, bloating, and stomach discomfort. People with bowel sensitivity or gut issues may experience problems tolerating all the fiber in Fiber One bars.
Enjoying them in moderation and drinking plenty of water helps minimize digestive discomfort. Those with IBS or diverticulitis may need to avoid them.
Who Should Choose Fiber One Bars
Here are some of the people who may benefit most from regularly eating Fiber One bars:
- Those looking to increase fiber intake
- People trying to manage weight
- Anyone who wants a grab-and-go snack to help control hunger between meals
- Those looking for a sweet treat with more fiber and nutrients than candy/chips
- People looking for convenient ways to eat more whole grains
- Those with constipation or irregular stools
- Anyone needing help lowering cholesterol
- People with diabetes who want to minimize blood sugar spikes
Fiber One bars can be an upgrade from other processed snacks. Just enjoy them in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. They are convenient but should not replace regular intake of fresh whole foods.
Healthier Snack Bar Options
Here are some other healthier snack bar options that providefiber and nutrients:
Larabars contain just a few whole food ingredients like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. They provide fiber with minimal added sugars.
RXBARs contain egg whites for protein, nuts, and dried fruits. They have few ingredients and no added sugars.
Hummingbird Real Ingredient Bars
These bars contain just nuts, fruits, and spices like cinnamon. They are paleo-friendly and have no added sugars.
MacroBars offer plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats from ingredients like nuts, seeds, and brown rice protein. They are lower in sugar than many other bars.
NuGo Slim Protein Bars
With 17 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber, these satisfy hunger and boost nutrition. They are made with chicory root fiber, soy protein, and real chocolate flavor.
Nut-Based Homemade Bars
For whole-food options, you can make energy or protein bars at home by combining nuts, seeds, oats, nut butter, and dried fruit. These are totally customizable and contain natural unprocessed ingredients.
Some recipe options include:
- Almond coconut bars
- No-bake nut and seed bars
- Homemade “Larabars” with dates
- Trail mixes compressed into bar form
- Oatmeal banana bars
Search for “homemade protein bars” or “homemade energy bars” to find many nutritious recipes you can whip up on your own.
The Bottom Line
To summarize, Fiber One bars contain a hefty amount of fiber with nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin D. Their fiber and protein provide prolonged satiety between meals. Studies show benefits for weight loss, blood sugar control, cholesterol reduction, and digestive health when substituting in high-fiber snacks.
However, Fiber One bars are still a processed food with artificial sweeteners. For the most health benefits, consume them in moderation as part of an overall diet focused on whole foods like legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins.
Regularly enjoying Fiber One bars and other high-fiber snacks can definitely be part of a healthy lifestyle for many people. But they shouldn’t completely replace wholesome minimally processed foods.