KIND; they're the people behind the infamous KIND bars that we all know and love. Recently, they've done some research on their own products, and found out that KIND bars have 20% fewer calories than they initially thought that they did. Cool, right? Yeah... more details can be found down below.

What did the study show?

coffee, cereal
Jessica Mickelson

Well asides from the obvious that's in the intro and in the title, the study that KIND conducted showed that whole almonds and cashews contribute 19% and 16% less calories, respectively. Unlike all of its major competitors, which use a form of sugar or protein powder blend as the first ingredient, all of KIND’s nut bars lead with whole nuts, and 95% of the bars in its nut bar portfolio will be positively impacted by these findings. If you're wondering, KIND didn't reformulate their products or anything, so KIND bars will always have the same, nice taste to them that they've always had... calm down. 

Did you know that according to the NPD Group, calories are the second most checked item on a nutrition facts label, making the announcement of particular relevance as readers reset their diets in the New Year... interesting. According to Daniel Lubetzky, Founder and Executive Chairman of KIND, "KIND has always prioritized using and celebrating whole nuts as the main ingredient in our nutrition bar portfolio; this research indicates that nuts not only contain fewer digestible calories but are just as nutrient dense as they always have been with the same amount of protein, and essential healthy fats that contribute to heart health." So yes; KIND bars are still good for you, despite what you might've heard.

What else should be brought to light?

sweet, meat, cereal, chocolate
Alex Tom

When I spoke with KIND's in house Registered Dietitian, Stephanie Csaszar, here's what she had to say when I came in with questions:

Liz: I'm mostly wondering about how the calorie deficit impacts one's diet.

Stephanie: This new information about calories can help educate individuals on more accurate and reliable nutrition facts but will also mean different things to different people. This shouldn’t allow someone to use those calories you’re essentially “getting back” to overindulge on a treat but it can be a powerful takeaway for individuals who might not consume nuts regularly because of their higher caloric content. Nuts are an important food group and hopefully this empowers individuals to make more informed food choices that fit into their diet.

Liz: Also; how healthy are nuts really? We have all this talk about calories, but what's their punch in terms of protein and overall nutrition?

Stephanie: There is a significant body of literature showing that nuts are nutrient-dense (contain plant protein, essential fatty acids, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, etc.) and the consumption of nuts is associated with reduced risk for certain diseases, specifically heart disease. One example study on the prevalence of chronic disease and nut consumption here.

Liz: Will the sugars also be tested to see if they were miscalculated too? Just curious since my endocrinologist, RD and I have differing stances on sugar.

Stephanie: Dr. David Baer from the USDA can share more about his methodology but calories are a calculation we developed decades ago whereas the macros of a food (i.e. carbohydrates, which are sugars) are inherent in their makeup.

Liz: What about carbs in the bars; were carbs impacted too? My RD would rather me check carbs than calories because something could be low calorie but high in carbs.

Stephanie: The calories for nuts on our updated label only reflect the energy that individuals are digesting from them. The macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) are part of the biochemical makeup of the nut while the calories they provide are based on an outdated calculation. The USDA’s research revised this calculation to more accurately measure the calories in nuts, meaning the nutrients are still accurate and remain the same.

Huge thanks to KIND for letting me speak with their Registered Dietitian, and for spreading the news about their now lower calorie bars.