Product Review

Nature’s Candy is the main ingredient in this widely available gut-friendly energy bar

Who said candy isn’t good for you? Cultivated for more than 6,000 years, people have called dates nature’s candy, but these fine fruits provide goodness as well as flavour. High in fibre, low on the glycemic index (35.5-47.2%),1 and full of antioxidants, dates are more than just health food; they’re high-quality food.

Referred to as a mine in itself, dates are rich in minerals including phosphorous, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium, but with a very low sodium and fat content. Dates are a good source of vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B7 (niacin). Very earth-friendly, the date palm is one of the greatest producers of food per hectare, and annual world date production is well over 3 million tons.2 A study conducted in 2005, in Saudi Arabia, showed dates have gastro-protective properties and researchers are now looking to extract compounds from dates for use in preventing or treating ulcers.3

We found a product called Lärabar® that uses dates as the main ingredient, along with a variety of other fruits and nuts for added flavour and nutrition. Created by Humm Foods Inc, these energy bars consist of only 100% whole food – blended fruit, nuts, and spices. They do not have any added sugars or sweeteners. Great for those on some restricted diets, these bars are raw and contain no gluten, sulphites, preservatives, fillers, colourings, soy, corn, dairy, or genetically modified products (some flavours contain peanuts). The bars are non-irradiated, vegan, and have the kosher parve certification.

Each Lärabar contains no more than 2-6 ingredients. They come in an array of delicious flavours, including Key Lime Pie, Ginger Snap, Banana Cookie, and Lemon Bar, just to name a few.

The GIS staff and volunteers taste-tested various bars and our responses were all positive. We agreed that the fruit-flavoured bars had genuine, natural tangy flavours. They’re soft and chewy and are definitely dessert-like. Our top three favourites were Lemon Bar, Cherry Pie, and Cashew Cookie; which is not surprising, since Cashew Cookie won the top honours as ‘Favourite Flavour of 2006’ along with the ‘Best Energy Bar’ in Canada at the alive Awards of Excellence at the Canadian Health Food Association’s annual conference and trade show in Toronto.4

Lärabar has created a direct-to-consumer program, just place an order and have Lärabars delivered right to your door. You can also find the bars, nationwide, at such stores as Mountain Equipment Co-op, Loblaw’s, Whole Foods, London Drugs, Shopper’s Drug Mart, Sobey’s, IGA, Save-On-Foods, Capers, Choices, and selected natural independent grocery stores. For a complete listing of locations, and to learn more about the direct-to-consumer program, visit or call 1-877-Larabar (1-877-527-2227).

Editor’s note: We don’t intend this product review as a GIS endorsement of these products, or as an advertisement. This article is providing information about a product that might meet some of your dietary requirements and restrictions. GIS purchased the products tested and did not receive any financial compensation.

First published in the Inside Tract® newsletter issue 163 – September/October 2007
Note: The GI Society has received no remuneration from Larabar® or its affiliates for this review.
1. Miller CJ, et al. The glycemic index of date/yoghurt mixed meals. Are dates ‘the candy that grows on trees’? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003;57:427-430.
2. Food And Agricultural Organization Of The United Nations, Date Palm Cultivation. Available at: Accessed Aug 23, 2007.
3. Al-Qarawi AA, et al. The ameliorative effect of dates on ethanol-induced gastric ulcers in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2005;98:313-317.
4. Alive Magazine Online. Alive Awards 2006 Winners Archives. Available at: Accessed Aug 23, 2007.