The Popular ‘Healthy’ Food Dietitians Say You Should Stop Having Because It Leads To Bloating And Weight Gain November 7, 2021 by JUSTINE SCHWARTZ

In this day and age, it can be difficult to make good health choices when so many of the foods on the grocery aisle are loaded with hidden sugars, chemicals and preservatives and other sneaky food content. You might think that you’re being healthy by grabbing a protein or granola bar for breakfast (rather than skipping–gasp!), but experts warn that this is the one “health” food that should be avoided at all costs, because of its harmful effects on the gut (among other processes of the body).

Protein And Granola Bars

Meal replacement, protein and other “health” bars can do more harm than good when it comes to the gut.

“I would keep people away from sugar alcohols that are contained in many diet foods and bars,” weight loss physician Dr. Craig Primack tells us.

“Most protein bars on the market have the nutrient quality of a candy bar with a higher price tag,” registered dietitian Trista Best agrees. Consumers should be aware of nutritional concerns associated with these bars, such as sugar and calories, before grabbing them for a meal replacement, quick meal or post-workout snack.

"As a general rule, the amount of sugar in a healthy protein bar should not be higher than the protein content," she explains. So, that means that when you are selecting a protein bar, you should look at the nutrient label and avoid any option that has more sugar than protein or carbohydrates. Simple enough, right?

"It is also good to look out for words like enriched or refined as these indicate poor nutrient value as well," she continues. Also, beware of any bars that contain more than 25 grams of protein. "Anything over this will be stored as fat and can also put the liver and kidneys under stress." Yikes!

Some bars contain granola, which health and wellness expert Dr. Matt Chalmers calls a "sugary mess."

"Granola is made with sugars and, oftentimes worse, with high fructose corn syrup," he warns. Even homemade granola can come with risks, he warns, as many of the granola cereals and cereal bars on shelves these days are "loaded with sugars that will inflame your stomach and create yeast issues that will create bloating." And that is NOT what we want!


Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at



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