We think that nutrition can and should be really simple. Humans developed over millions of years eating an overwhelmingly whole food, plant-based diet, and numerous studies show that approach remains the best for long-term health. Eating a wide variety of whole food plants can give you all the macro and most of the micro nutrients you need (the exceptions being vitamin D and B12). It’s tasty, and you don’t need to spend time counting macros or calories.
That approach doesn’t work or isn’t possible for everyone though. And potential quick fixes like low carb / high protein diets can be enticing.
Whatever your diet, however, there’s one thing that governments and health experts around the world all agree on – we should all try to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. Some say it should be at least ten portions, and most agree that veg should be prioritised over fruit. They contain a staggering array of beneficial nutrients, most of which we don’t fully understand. When we eat them in their whole food form, the nutrients work in harmony together and our bodies know how to get the best out of them. There’s simply no comparison between whole food veg and isolated nutrient supplements that claim to provide the same benefits (but rarely do).
So whilst it can be tempting to cut fruit and veg out of your diet for periods of time, and rely on supplements for micronutrients instead, we don’t know of any unbiased healthcare or nutrition professional that would suggest doing this.
How does all this relate to our bars?
Well if you’re diabetic or on a low-carb diet, you may be put off by them being high in carbs. But most of the carbs, and effectively all of the sugar, are from whole food plants. And it’s primarily veg, the food group we’re all advised to eat more of! Whole food carbs are completely different to refined ones and the free sugars found in fruit juices, pastes and purees. Whereas refined carbs and free sugars have been found to promote disease, whole food ones fight it (including diabetes). And people switching to whole food, plant-based diets that are high in carbs have been found to lose weight without having to count calories. We think that stigmatising carbs in general is misleading at best and dangerous at worst. Refined carbs and free sugars are generally bad, but whole food ones are probably the most important food that we can eat.
On a per 100g basis our bars are much higher in carbs and sugar than fresh veg, but that’s just because we use dried veg. As water is by far the largest part of most fruit and veg, all the other nutrients are highly concentrated when they’re dried.
Our bars are also significantly lower in sugar than fruit-based snacks. And these often use purees and juices rather than whole fruit, meaning that the sugar they contain is “free”, which can be very detrimental to health. Finally, our bars are much higher in fibre than most fruit-based snacks, further slowing the release of the natural sugars into our bloodstream, providing longer-lasting energy.
If you’re a regular protein bar person, the relatively low protein content of our bars might also put you off. We’re working on higher protein versions, but it’s important to know that most people already eat more than enough protein. The only macronutrient we don’t eat enough of is fibre, which is only found in plants. vedge bars are all naturally high in whole food fibre, containing at least 3g per bar.
So if protein bars and supplements are a key part of your diet, you should probably think about increasing your fibre intake too. And vedge makes that tastier and easier than ever.
To sum that all up, we think there’s a place for vedge bars in most diets. But we’d always encourage you to focus on eating as much fresh fruit and veg as possible.
Please read our blog posts here to find out more about the power of veg and whole foods.