No added sugar?

Here at KOJA we’re all about bringing you low sugar snacks full of wholefoods that not only provide nutrients to sustain you but also taste amazing! What sets our Natural Peanut Butter bars apart from the rest is that we don’t use any dates or dried fruit, so that makes them so much lower in sugar than other natural bars out there. 

But, we regularly get asked, “Surely natural sugars from dates are healthier than refined sugars right!?” 

Here we’re going to answer that question in detail, as we think it’s really important to educate you so that you know how to make the healthier choice. 

So dates….

They might be a delicious wholefood, a source of fibre and potassium but did you know that dates are approximately 70% sugar? One medjool date can contain 16 grams of sugar - that’s the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar! 

Yes, dates contain marginally more nutrients than generic sugars, however they are still high in sugar themselves. Natural sugars are healthy in moderation, however consuming a protein bar or ball that has 5 dates hidden in it, is definitely not a good option for someone wanting sustained energy, or someone moderating their weight or for someone who is diabetic. The best source of natural sugars is whole fruits - they’re very hard to overeat and they contain many more nutrients than dates. 

Dried fruit has much higher concentrations of sugar than fresh fruit, which also means the sugar is absorbed much quicker into the bloodstream, resulting in a spike in our blood sugar levels. These rapid changes in our blood sugar levels can leave us feeling sluggish, fatigued and hungry. 

It can be easy to over-eat dried fruit as it is very sweet, it is also more energy dense than its fresh counterpart. For example, a teaspoon and a half of sultanas is the equivalent of one cup of fresh grapes. Before you know it, you’ve eaten 10 dried apricot halves which is the equivalent to nearly four small pieces of fruit!

So we’re not against dates as a wholefood snack, but we’re against hidden sugars. Dates are so often found hidden in health food and we’re over it!

What’s even more misleading is that the food packaging regulators in Australia, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, allow products using dates as the main ingredient to claim ‘no added sugar’. 

A product that states it has 'no added sugar' may still contain high quantities of naturally-occurring sugar. You would sensibly assume that a bar saying ‘no added sugar’ would mean ‘low sugar’ but unfortunately this is not accurate.

When deciding what to snack on, it should be low-sugar and contain healthy fats and protein to keep you satiated until your next meal. Things like apple slices with nut butter or a boiled egg are good options. Another option (of course!) is our KOJA Natural Peanut Butter Bars!

KOJA bars do not contain any dates, so our sugar content is less than 1 teaspoon per bar and that comes from a pinch of coconut sugar. That’s 75% less sugar than your average natural snack bar in the supermarket aisles. Our main wholefood ingredients like peanut butter and activated buckwheat will keep you feeling full for longer. They are also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and contain 13% natural protein per serve. 

Hopefully that helps to clear up the natural sugars debate. If you’ve got any questions we’d love to hear from you. Comment below or email us