by Angela Leigh
With so many fad diets and nutritional supplements flooding our social media feeds on a continuous basis, picking a pre-made healthy snack can often result in a mental meltdown – especially if you are already tired and hungry while perusing the shelves of your local supermarket!
Unfortunately, many commercial products that claim to provide us with all the goodness and nutrients that we need, turn out to be packed full of artificial flavourings and sugars that can hinder progress without you even realising it when it comes to achieving health and weight loss goals. But luckily, there are a few diamonds in the rough – and during the course of this article we will be taking an in-depth look at Nakd snack bars and answering the pressing question that seems to be on everyone’s mind right now: Are Nakd bars healthy, or are they just another gimmick? We will also be reviewing their suitability for those with food intolerances and special dietary requirements.
Nakd Bars Ingredients
When it comes to eating healthy and losing weight, your number one priority should be ensuring that you are burning more calories than you are consuming each day, including being mindful that you are making the most out of your calorie allowance through eating quality, wholesome foods that won’t cause blood sugar levels to peak and then crash. This can result in decreased energy levels and poor concentration, but Nakd snack bars stand out from the crowd due to the fact that they are made from 100% natural ingredients in the form of raw fruits and nuts, with zero trace of added sugars or syrups. In a nutshell, they are good for you!
Nakd bars are all about natural flavouring and are perfectly crafted using dates and raisins to offer a sweet treat without all the nasties found in artificial sugars. They come in a wide range of traditional tasty flavors like Bakewell tart, carrot cake and blueberry muffin that will satisfy lingering cravings for desserts and best of all, there is no need to worry about feeling guilty afterwards as Nakd bars are a fabulously fruity snack only containing between 94 and 157 calories per bar, depending on your chosen flavour.
Nakd Bars Nutrition
Nutritional value is an important topic for any purportedly healthy snack, as this is what converts calories consumed into a useful energy source. If you want to lose weight, then staying away from empty calories is key to shedding fat and toning up.
As we already know, Nakd snack bars are made from a combination of fruits and nuts, which provide the body with powerful antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Some of the Nakd bars contain small amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids which are important for heart and skin health.
Depending on your preferred flavour of Nakd bar, nutritional values will differ slightly. For example, the delicious Carrot Cake-flavoured bars contain a higher amount of fibre and protein when compared with the luscious Cocoa Delight-flavoured bars, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other! It all comes down to personal preference and how meticulous you choose to be about your daily intake of proteins, fibre and carbohydrates.
If you are calorie counting, then it is also worth checking the label of each Nakd bar as some have a lower calorie count than others. The Oatie Banana Bread bar has just 94 Kcal, whereas the Ginger Bread-flavoured bar comes in at 157 Kcal.
If you want to up your intake of Omega 3s, choose the Coffee and Walnut flavour bar which contains 10% walnuts – the nut that has the highest Omega 3 content of them all, in comparison to some other nuts which only have a trace.
Many people wrongly assume that any kind of carbohydrates are “the devil” and while certain carbs can be bad for you, the carbs found in these healthy snack bars are good. Everything in moderation as the saying goes!
In general, you can expect to find around 50 grams of carbohydrates per 100g serving (and on average around 17.5g per 35g bar). These are ‘good’ carbs though which naturally occur in fruits and won’t give you a big blood sugar spike which could result in energy crash later on.
The good news is, the majority of Nakd bars are classified as having a low to medium glycemic index (GI), containing approximately 13g of sugar per bar (depending on the flavour). This type of sugar will be slowly digested, metabolised and absorbed by your body, giving you a steady flow of energy, just when you need it.
Because of this, one of the primary advantages that Nakd bars have over many other types of “healthy” store-bought snack bars is that they are suitable for diabetics, since they do not contain any added or refined sugars.
No review of the mighty Nakd bar would be complete without taking a quick look at the fibre content and why it’s important!
Simply put, higher quantities of fibre and protein in a healthy snack bar make for a healthier and more filling treat. This also means that your blood sugar levels will not spike after enjoying a Nakd bar.
Increased and longer-lasting energy is another reason that so many athletes swear by Nakd bars! Nakd has its outstanding Oatie range that is packed full of nutritious fibre that the body slowly breaks down throughout the day to provide that energy boost when the dreaded afternoon concentration crash sets in.
With all the hype surrounding fat and from one day to the next a new report being released informing us that the fat in food we thought was good is now actually bad – and vice versa – it’s hard to know what to believe. Luckily all of the Nakd bars contain only good fats that naturally occur in nuts.
Certain nuts are notorious for their combination of mono- and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 and 6 fats) but some nut varieties contain more saturated fat than others. For example, peanuts, but Nakd bars are conscious of this and rely on the nuts naturally lower in less healthy fats such as cashews, almonds, pecans and walnuts (again, dependent on flavour).
Nuts with high levels of these beneficial fats are an excellent way of contributing to keeping cholesterol levels in check, as well as maintaining optimal digestive system health. On average, you can expect to find around 8g of (good) fat in each bar, depending on which flavour you choose.
Nakd have really cracked the code when it comes to nutrition balance and each bar offers up a unique and scrumptious flavour, have an average calorie value per bar of around 120 Kcal.
If you consider the average well-balanced breakfast will contain around 400 Kcal, a well-balanced lunch around 600 Kcal and an evening meal around 500 Kcal, this brings the total along with teas, coffees, added milk, etc., to around 1700 Kcal per day. Adding in one or two Nakd bars would still keep you at, or below, the ideal calorie intake range for most men and women.
The lowest calorie Nakd bar option is the Banana Bread bar that has just 94 Kcal while on the other end of the spectrum are the decadent Pecan Pie and Ginger Bread flavours that contain up to 157 calories.
When eating balanced meals during the course of a day, the inclusion of a Nakd bar will not be considered high in calories and the value for your health from the nutrients with these powerhouse bars far outweighs the calorie count.
Vitamins and Minerals
Nakd bars are mainly made from fruits and nuts. That means that all of the rich antioxidants you find in red berries and oranges like vitamin C are conveniently packed into these tasty little bars to enjoy on the go.
Nakd bars are not processed using heat, so a small amount of vitamin C found within the fruit remains in the bars (depending on chosen flavour), along with powerful antioxidant vitamin E found in the nuts.
The chocolate-flavoured bars include raw cacao, which is rich in magnesium, zinc and iron (the latter is considered to be nature’s cure for insomnia).
Additional nutritional information
Are Nakd bars vegan?
We absolutely love and respect brands who care about animals and our eco system and all Nakd products are entirely free from dairy, eggs and other animal products, thereby deeming them suitable for vegans.
Are Nakd bars Paleo?
It is always worth checking the ingredients of the specific Nakd bar you are buying, as not all of their products would be considered completely Paleo diet-friendly. The Cocoa Coconut and Chocolate Orange bars are, but some of the others may not be.
Are Nakd bars gluten-free?
Not all Nakd bars are gluten-free, but some are as they are exclusively made from fruit and nuts. The Nakd Oatie range is made using gluten-free oats, so the Cocoa Twist bar is a delicious option to try if you are gluten intolerant.
Do Nakd bars contain soy?
The Protein Crunch Nakd bars do contain soybeans, as this is where they get their protein and crunchy texture. However, they are GMO-free and contain fewer phytoestrogens because the soy used in Nakd bars is in its most natural form. If you want to steer clear of soy entirely, simply choose a different bar from the ample range they currently offer, for example, the Berry Delight.
The health benefits of Nakd bars
Simply put, Nakd bars offer comparable health benefits to eating a handful of nuts and a couple of pieces of dried fruit. They are carefully crafted to offer a convenient way of enjoying a healthy snack on the move while offering a valuable balance of nutrients.
However, many will argue that nothing beats a fresh piece of fruit picked straight from a tree – presumably because all the enzymes and nutrients are still within the fruit, completely unprocessed and not subjected to temperature fluctuations during manufacturing and packaging. When purchasing and consuming fruit from large supermarket chains, however, typically by the time the fruit reaches the shelf ready for sale, at least (usually more than) 50% of the enzymes have been lost and especially if packaged in soft plastic, nutrients have leached from the fruit into the plastic itself.
Can Nakd bars help with weight loss?
Nakd bars are an effective snack choice if you are on a weight loss journey, as many of the bars count as one of your five-a-day (apart from the Cashew Cookie, Peanut Delight, Pecan Pie and Ginger Bread flavours).
Weight loss clubs such as Slimming World advocate Nakd bars as snacks due to their content of nothing but goodness. That said, they would only be a suitable addition to any weight loss plan when eaten in the recommended quantities within the plan you are following.
After reading the above Nakd bars review you should now understand the benefits of choosing Nakd healthy snack bars above another product that is being touted as a low-calorie, healthy foodstuff.
It is clear that Nakd is one of the few brands that actually keep their products as raw and natural as possible and the absence of added sugars or sweeteners is a huge bonus. So, are Nakd bars good for you? The answer is a firm “yes”! But it is always good to keep in mind that these healthy snack bars are not to be consumed as a replacement for balanced meals, but rather as a healthy and wholesome snack to fill the hunger gap when you feel you need it.
Angela has a keen interest in nutrition and all things vegan and vegetarian. Having been a vegetarian for over 20 years, she is always on the look-out for nutritious snacks to ensure a balanced and healthful diet. Angela studied Fitness and Nutrition through Intec College, Nutritional Therapy at ION (Institute of Optimum Nutrition) and certification with Solgar and Viridian supplements.