24 February 2009

A healthy snack?

Just as they are, dry from the box, tasty, crunchy and sweetly satisfying, the new box of healthy (er, maybe?) snack treats on my desk contains Oatibix Bitesize Sultana & Apple.

But wait a minute, has the fat lass gone mad? These things are 381 cal per 100g! OK, they're not as bad as Mars bars but that's pretty high for a cereal.

The 550g box suggests that you'll get fifteen 36g servings from it. That must be an 'average breakfast bowlful' I guess. Bless them, someone out there in internet-land saved me a job (thanks 'foreveramber') and decided to see exactly how many of these little Oatibix 'bites' this equated to. She reckons ... are you ready for this ... that a 36g serving is just 17 of the little 'bite' thingies!

Well, by my calculations (picture fingers flying across calculator buttons) that makes each 'bite' 8.1 calories. A 'fair' sized snack amount seems to about five of them, maybe ten if it's a bad hunger day. So the calorific damage for an Oatibix snack attack is between 40 and 80 calories. Quite reasonable to be honest and, at the higher end, not a dissimilar value to your average apple.

But now for the down-side and, oh dear, they have a sweet outer coating. Thus the sugar content is very high at 19.4g per 100g. That's nearly one fifth sugar! Oh pooh. But hold on, this may scrape by as just about 'acceptable' since I'm not eating anything like that amount.

To make up for the sugary fright, they are high in fibre (with 10.1g per 100g) and this means they are, in theory, quite filling. They are fortified with the usual vitamins and minerals, and good old Weetabix have added in a 'prebiotic' for good measure which the company says "help boost friendly bacteria..." yawn!

Being oat-based, I suppose they will at least bring along some of the health benefits that I've mentioned in the past, oats being naturally low in fat, with nicely complex carbs and providing a good source of dietary fibre (with 55% soluble and 45% insoluble fibre, so helping to lower cholesterol and aid digestion). Oats are high in Vitamin B1, have a good balance of essential fatty acids and one of the best amino acid profiles of all grains. Per gram, oats contain a higher concentration of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, thiamin, folacin and Vitamin E than any other (un-fortified) whole grains, such as wheat, barley, corn or rice.

So, is my new snack a healthy one or not? Hmmm, they won't be as good as a bowl of porridge, but that's just not practical at work. The jury is still out, but they make a change from fruit (much as I love it), they taste good, seem to satisfy some snacky desires and, of course, are not as bad as hitting the biscuits or chocolate.


Anonymous said...

Dihydrogen monoxide's better: zero calories, full of chemicals (some of them must be good for you), filling, free,easily found etc., etc.

The Welsh variant's extremely tasty.

Anonymous said...

Definitely! You can even get it in a crunchy variety. Especially during winter.

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