Are Special K Fruit Crisps Healthy?
The newest snack that Kellogg's has come out with are the Special K Fruit Crisps, which come in either Strawberry or Blueberry flavors. The Special K line of food is supposed to boast health and nutritional benefits with minimal calorie and fat intake. What they boast is in fact what they deliver, and it tastes good too might I add. What many people wonder however, is if this supposed "health" food is even any good? I mean, it still looks processed and seems to be full of sugar, how can it be any good? More than anything, this snack is just your average Pop-Tart shrunken in size and portion to be 100 calories. This leaves us with the question however, what are the exact health benefits of this, if any? Is this still just as bad for you as any other snack? In this article I will go over each of the nutritional values listed, comparisons to alternatives, and the over-all health value of this product.
Firstly, let's take a look at the Nutritional Values:
Nutrion Facts (Per 2 crisps)
Vitamin A and C
Calories:100 Calories for 2 crisps!? Doesn't seem bad at all actually. Now keep in mind, that each little pack comes with 2 crisps in it, so they expect you to eat 2 per serving, but its perfectly fine if you just want to eat 1 and save the other for later. Keep in mind also though, the each of the crisps is fairly small so often times when you really want to indulge even 2 falls short. Calorie-wise though these are perfect in terms of snacking, or if you want to add them on to your light breakfast or something. These really help out for those of you trying to eat 5 or 6 smaller meals a day as 100 calories is really nothing. Also, if you're craving something sweet, grabbing this is much better than a chocolate bar. Chocolate bars are about 250 calories, a whole 1.5x more than Fruit Crisps.
Fat: A non-issue really, 3g doesn't even dent your health or fitness goals. Remember, a certain amount of fat is required in your diet. The label suggests that the fruit crisps only have 3% of your daily limit in them, meaning even if you eat a whole box of fruit crisps you'd only be at 15% of your daily fat limit. Not too shabby right? I didn't list the breakdown up above, but of the fats is 1g of saturated fat (5% daily limit) and 0g of trans fat. If you want a snack whilst watching your fat, this is a keeper.
Cholesterol: Well nothing, there's 0 cholesterol. If the doctor has told you to watch your cholesterol, then by all means go for it! That's one thing you don't have to worry about here.
Sodium: Only 8mg of sodium per serving, which is about 3% of your daily limit. Again, not bad at all. Sodium again is something that is required for you, so a little bit is always needed. An amount such as this is perfectly healthy. If you compare this to a small bag of chips let's say, which would have upwards of 400mg of Sodium, which is 1/5 of your daily limit.
Side Note -> In case you were wondering though, excess sodium, along with heart problems, also leads to water retention. The more salt you eat, the more water your body retains and therefore makes you look fat. A side tip for that is to just drink more water. It sounds counter-productive, but if you drink more water your body won't feel the need to hold as much water.
Carbohydrates: 20g of carbs per serving. At first you might think, yikes! That's insane, but if you look beside it it's really only 7% of your daily recommended intake of carbs. Note I said recommended instead of limit, this is because you need carbs. Unless a doctor tells you so, you should not be going on a non-carb diet. A medium sized apple has about 20 grams of carbohydrates as well, so really in terms of carbs this isn't any worse than choosing a fruit snack. After all, these are advertised as fruit crisps right?
Fiber: One downside to this snack is that it has no fiber. Fiber aids in the digestion process and really eases out your gastronomic processes. In comparison to a fruit snack such as again, an apple, you really miss out on the benefits of fibers here. However, if the rest of your diet is sufficient in fiber, this shouldn't be much of an issue.
Sugars: The sugars in this aren't so bad either. Let's again compare to an apple, which would probably have double the amount of sugar in it. The difference though is that an apple is all natural sugars, whereas the Fruit Crisps probably have more refined sugars in them. For your weight loss goals that isn't really a problem though, but overall you should try to incorporate mote natural sugars in your diet than artificial sugars. If we compare this to your average chocolate or candy bar snack, it probably has around 1/3 of the sugar content.
Protein: I doubt most people would be eating this specifically for the protein content anyway, but it's in there. 1 small gram of protein per serving. I wouldn't be surprised if that was rounded up even, but hey, it's better than nothing right? Protein helps build and maintain your muscles. For the average person 1g is not nearly enough protein, so make sure you are getting more from your other meals. If you're a weightlifter, you need a lot more protein as well.
Other Nutrients: Nothing too major, but we get a lot of other small benefits with these Fruit Crisps as well. A little bit of iron, calcium, thiamine, and Folate. All of these are needed by your body for various purposes, and for such a small bar these are pretty sizable amounts. As a snack, this is a plus because you're not eating complete junk, there's some good in it as well! Most of the time everything else you eat is pretty packed with these nutrients anyway, but a small push like this doesn't hurt. Keep in mind though that this does not have any Vitamin A or C in it.
In a nutshell, these bars aren't half bad. If you're expecting to eat them for any real health benefits though, you're at a loss. A salad or bowl of fruit definitely has much more to offer as a snack. On the other hand, this is a fairly decent snack on the go or when you're just craving something to munch on. This is far healthier than your average chocolate or granola bar, or any other pack of fruit roll-ups and whatnot you may have at hand.
Taste-wise, these fruit crisps are comparable to Pop-tarts. They taste really good and don't have as much sugar added to them as Pop-tarts do. The main ingredients include What Flour, Sugar, Glycerin, and Fructose. The latter of which is simply just refined sugar. Again, ingredient-wise there isn't much in terms of natural flavors here. The fruit part include "apple power" and "strawberry puree concentrate." However, for your weight-loss goals natural vs. artificial, especially in terms of such a small serving, this shouldn't really be a problem.
In a nutshell, these are small snacks that aren't half bad for you, so if you eat in moderation and watch other aspects of your diet and exercise, go for it.