New to reading nutrition labels? Want some practice and pointers? Don’t know what to look for? In this series, we are giving a full breakdown of how to analyze a food’s nutrition label. Today? An Oskri Dark Chocolate Almond Bar.
Note: this is episode 8 in an ongoing series of label-reading practice
Each post increases in difficulty and builds off the previous
1. What Am I Eating?
The first step when reading a label is always to use your brain. Before doing any reading, it’s best to make a quick educated guess or a rough estimate of what you may find on the label.
Examples: Is it really salty? Might be high in sodium. Is it thick? Check for far. Is it chewy? Probably has fiber.
Making predictions like these will very quickly improve your reading skills, so you can reach a point down the road where you can estimate what’s in your food to a high degree of precision.
In this case, we are dealing with a bar. This can be tricky. Not as straightforward as things like cereal or soup. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t make an inference or two.
- It’s a nut bar. We can guess that almonds are the main ingredients, so let’s say it’s around 50% fat.
- It’s in a bar. This may seem obvious, or redundant. But think about it. If you mash together a bunch of almonds, even if you add some chocolate, it’s just gonna fall apart. We need something to hold it together. Whether that’s fiber, honey, or some sort of paste, we can’t count on almonds being the only big source of calories.
See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients
2. Check for Claims
Is there anything on the container meant to entice or warn consumers? Examples: “sugar-free,” “High in antioxidants,” or “A good source of magnesium.”
Based on these, even before reading, you can observe how it compares to other products or even other brands of the same food.
For this bar, we can find 3 claims:
- “Store in a cool, dry place”
- “Gluten Free”
The first one aside, we can deduct that this bar is geared toward those with certain dietary restrictions / preferences.
3. Read the Ingredient List
Now we look at the back of the package.
See also: What’s on the Nutrition Label?
- Rice crisp
- Rice flour
- Veg. oil
- Rice syrup
- Raisins paste
- Date paste
- Dark chocolate
- Pure chocolate
- Cocoa butter
- Soy "Food grade lecithin is a complex mixture of substances deri... More
Allergen Statement: Contains Almonds and Soy. Manufactured in a facility that process Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Seeds, and Dairy.
As we predicted, there needed to be something that holds the almonds together. They used sugars and fruit pastes.
If you are unfamiliar with soy lecithin it is a thickener / emulsifier.
4. Read the Label
- The bar is 53g and 230 calories.
As far as bars go, this is right in the middle calorie-wise.
- 11 grams of fat, 1.5 of which are saturated, and none or a negligible amount of which is trans fat
This would be coming from the almonds (and a little from the chocolate).
- There is no cholesterol, and 110mg of sodium.
As can be assumed, no cholesterol.
- There are 32g of carbs, 14 grams of which are sugar, and 2 of which are fiber
This may come as a shock. As mentioned earlier, they had to throw a bunch of stuff in with the almonds to make it stick together in a bar form. By weight, this chocolate almond bar has more sugar than fat.
- Lastly, there are 5g of protein, 25% of your daily Iron, 4% of the Vitamin A, 6% for Calcium, and 10% of the "Reference Daily Intake:" see post. for Vitamin C
See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?‘
5. The Verdict?
What do you think? This bar actually contributes a higher amount of Something we need in very small amounts to stay alive. The e... More than I expected. Although, I don’t recommend if looking for a nutty snack. The raisins, dates, sugar, and syrup they added contribute to carbs you may not be aware of. In my opinion, if you want nuts, just eat a handful of almonds, plain.
Thanks for reading!