Grain bars are little bundles of surprise which come in handy as a quick snack or sometimes they even used as a meal substitute.
The element of surprise lays in the mixed ideas the general population shares.
Some think of them as healthy and high on energy while some think of them to be high on carbs and saturated fats.
Neither of the ideas can be disapproved of and therefore one should be aware of the ingredients of the granola bar.
Research proves that granola bars can increase satiety and help in weight loss without being used as a meal replacement.
This study was ideally designed to investigate the notion that those who consume peanuts or nuts on a regular basis are thinner than those who don’t.
What happened in the study?
Two parallel studies were conducted.
We shall focus on the second study as it is our area of interest.
Study 2 investigated the long term effect of peanuts (170kcal) on satiety and body mass of overweight individuals over a period of 8 weeks.
Grain bar was used as a control for comparison as it was proven that this grain bar (140kcal) has neutral effects on body mass.
Participants were asked to have either of the test foods 60 minutes prior to dinner meal for 8 weeks and follow up studies continued till 16 weeks.
What was the outcome?
At the end of 8 weeks decrease in body weight was significant in grain bar group compared to peanut group.
And at the end of 8 week follow up period reduction in body fat was greater in grain bar group than peanut group.
How did this occur?
Pre-meal ingestion of the grain bar enhanced satiety and elevated blood glucose levels.
Since the grain bar is rich in carbohydrates it causes increased fullness and reduces mealtime energy intake.
The hypothalamus senses blood glucose levels and adjusts food intake to maintain stable glucose levels.
Therefore when the levels are elevated, satiety is increased.
The grain bar brought about strong satiety effects that lasted 1.5 hrs after meal.
This reduced hunger and food intake even after meals. On the other hand peanuts brought about an increase in insulin but not in glucose concentrations and hence produced low satiety.
What does this mean?
According to the study, consuming a 40g grain bar (140kcal) 1 hour prior to evening meal can give you a feeling of fullness and reduce your meal intake.
This in turn can help you lose weight over a period of time.
The outcome of this study came as a surprise as previous studies report neutral effect of grain bar on body weight.
Few pointers to look out for while selecting a grain bar is that it should be rich in fibre and protein and low percentage of calories from sugar (30% or less).