Are gluten-free Lara Bars paleo? By the most-strict definition? If not, what is wrong and is it "OK"?
No, LARABARs don't grow on trees. Yes, LARABARs are paleo. They are made with fruit and nuts.
We don't eat them all of the time because we'd rather eat meat for protein/fat and veggies for carbs.
They are high in carbs. But being paleo doesn't mean you have to be LC, VLC or ZC (if that's even possible.)
Avoid the ones with peanut ingredients, don't eat 50 of them a day and remember to read food labels on packaged foods.
From my experience, MOST Larabars are paleo. They have been coming out with new flavors though that have some ingredents that are not paleo; i.e. peanuts (in the peanut butter bar) and chocolate (in the cookie dough flavor) but for the most part they are. They are very dense, but I like to break off a chunk of one during a 6 hour shift when I need the energy. They are also my go to on my long runs (im training for a marathon, and they are so much better than candy and "goos" that other runners use)
In my experience, avoiding excessive linoleic acid is one of the most beneficial things to be done in toward the goal of achieving health. Lara bars, because of the nuts, have a lot of linoleic acid.
Also when we dry fruit, the volume decrease tricks us into thinking we're eating a lot less sugar than we really are.
Certainly it's a fine snack or treat once in awhile but if a person has significant health issues needing attention, it may be best to avoid them completely.
I use the non-peanut varieties for fuel when I'm biking because they are easy to carry in my jersey than a whole piece of fruit and nuts and provide some instant glucose that I need to continue. Not a bad option for that.
By the most strict definition, unless you find a LaraBar tree, then no.
However, I think they are fairly harmless as long as you dont make them a staple. One for breakfast everyday seems like a ton of sugar all at once. One every now and then while on a hike, bike ride, or just as a treat seems fairly harmless.
My only assumption is that it's a high carb load in the form of fruit sugars from the dried dates, or other dried fruits. Otherwise the ingredients are just nuts or the like.
I'm a big fan of Larabar but like others have mentioned, you need to be careful as to which ones you select.
I'm constantly on the look out for paleo(ish) foods to snack on while I am out running. I made my own bars once just by dicing up some dates and mixing them with crushed almonds, cashews, and pecans. Roll them up in saranwrap and then freeze. Once chilled or frozen, just chop into bite or bar size.
Other options: Navitas sent me a couple packages of their new Power Snacks to try out and I absolutely loved them. They promote them as being vegan but I see nothing non-paleo about them and will be snacking on more of these in the future. Very mild on the sweetness level which appeals to me. Clif is sending me some of their ClifC bars in the mail soon to try out. These are similar to Larabar but with a higher sugar content I believe. Advertised for vegan athletes but the ingredients appear paleo which is why I am interested in trying them out.