Are Fiber One Bars Healthy?

Fiber One produces a variety of products, including bars, sweet treats, bites, cereals and bread products. These bars come in 14 different types. Although these products are typically low in calories and rich in fiber and protein, they contain a fair amount of added sugars.

Fiber one bars can be good for your diet in moderation. (Image: kasia2003/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

Fiber One bars can be a healthy part of a diet when consumed in moderation. While they are good sources of fiber, Fiber One bars also typically contain a large amount of added sugar.

Fiber in Fiber One Bars

Fiber One makes a range of products, all of which are focused on fiber content. Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is important for the health of your gastrointestinal system. The fiber in Fiber One bars comes from ingredients like chicory root, bran and oats. Given these different ingredients, Fiber One bars contain two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is broken down during the digestion process and may help regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol. Insoluble fiber isn't broken down; this type of fiber supports the digestion of other foods as it moves through your gut.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most adults need to consume between 22 and 34 grams of fiber each day. The exact amount of fiber you need is based on your sex and age. The Dietary Guidelines state that:

  • Women aged 51 and up should consume 22.4 grams of fiber each day.
  • Women aged 31 to 50 should consume 25.2 grams of fiber each day.
  • Women aged 19 to 30 should consume 28 grams of fiber each day.
  • Men aged 51 and up should also consume 28 grams of fiber each day.
  • Men aged 31 to 50 should consume 30.8 grams of fiber each day.
  • Men aged 19 to 30 should consume 33.6 grams of fiber each day.

However, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, most Americans consume only around 15 grams of fiber each day. Fiber isn't important only for the health of your gastrointestinal tract. Eating more fiber has been shown to help reduce the risk of conditions like heart disease, diverticulitis, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancer.

Given the importance of fiber, many Fiber One products can be considered to be healthy snack bars. However, you should still consume Fiber One bars in limited amounts given the other ingredients they contain.

Macronutrients in Fiber One Bars

Fiber One makes a variety of different bars, including:

  • Oats & Chocolate
  • Oats & Peanut Butter
  • Protein Nut: Sweet & Salty Roasted Nut
  • Protein Nut: Chocolate Pretzel Nut
  • Protein: Caramel Nut
  • Protein: Peanut Butter
  • Protein: Cookies & Crème
  • Protein: Coconut Almond
  • Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Layered Bar
  • Double Chocolate Almond Layered Bar
  • 90 Calorie: Chocolate
  • 90 Calorie: Chocolate Caramel & Pretzel
  • 90 Calorie: Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Mini Bars: Oats & Chocolate

Given their different ingredients, these bars all have slightly different nutritional values. However, the standard Oats & Chocolate bar has 140 calories and contains 2 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat (two of these grams are saturated fat) and 29 grams of carbohydrates. Nine grams of these carbohydrates come from dietary fiber, and 7 grams come from sugars.

In comparison, a lower calorie version, 90 Calorie Chocolate, has less fat, protein and carbohydrates. Each bar has 2 grams of fat, 1 gram which comes from saturated fat, and 1 gram of protein. It also has 17 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams which come from fiber and 5 grams which come from sugar.

Fiber One bars that are labeled as protein nut bars have different calories and macronutrients. For example, each Protein Nut Chocolate Pretzel Nut bar has 180 calories, 11 grams of fat (3 grams which come from saturated fat) and 10 grams of protein. Each bar also contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams which come from fiber and 5 grams which come from sugars.

Protein Fiber One bars (rather than Protein Nut) have fewer calories and macronutrients. Each Protein Coconut Almond bar has 140 calories, 6 grams of fat (4 grams are saturated fat), 6 grams of protein and 17 grams of carbohydrates (5 grams that come from fiber and 5 grams from sugar).

Are Fiber One Bars Healthy?

Regardless of the type of Fiber One bar, these products contain 5 grams or more of fiber. Some are also rich in protein, and most products have reasonably low amounts of saturated fat. These are all healthy aspects of any snack.

Most of the carbohydrates in Fiber One bars also come from healthy ingredients. However, the main downside to these bars is due to their sugar content. Some products, like the Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Layered Bar, have as much as 8 grams (32 calories) of sugar. This is quite a lot of added sugar, given that the Food and Drug Administration recommends consuming no more than 10 percent of your calories (200 calories, assuming a 2,000 calorie diet) from added sugars.

Regardless of their variation in macronutrients or calories, Fiber One bars typically contain at least 5 grams (20 calories) of sugar. There are natural sweeteners in Fiber One products as well as added sugars, most of which come from corn syrup.

Various studies, including a December 2015 review in the journal Nutrition Reviews and an April 2014 study in JAMA Internal Medicine have found that consumption of added sugars can negatively influence your diet and health, increasing the likelihood of problems like cardiovascular problems and diabetes.

Corn syrup is a particularly popular form of added sugar. A June 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that products with added corn syrup are associated with heart disease and related health problems.

Fiber One Versus Other Fiber

If Fiber One bars are your primary source of sugar, these products can certainly be considered healthy granola bars. However, natural sugars are still healthier than added sugars. This means that you should make sure you're consuming products like Fiber One in limited amounts due to their added sugar content.

While Fiber One bars can be healthy if you limit consumption, you'll need to get most of your daily fiber intake from other food products. The best sources of fiber come from plant-based products. Healthy sources of fiber include fruits, like:

  • Pears
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Figs
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Prunes

Healthy sources of fiber also include legumes, such as:

  • Navy beans
  • White beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Soybeans
  • Split peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Cowpeas
  • Pigeon peas

Healthy sources of fiber can also be vegetables, including:

  • Salad greens
  • Artichokes
  • Collard greens
  • Sweet potatoes

Remember that consuming the skins of fruits and vegetables — like apples, carrots and sweet potatoes — can particularly help in supporting a healthy fiber intake. Nuts and seeds are often rich in fiber too, but may also be rich in other macronutrients, like fat.

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