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Weighing in on Energy Bars

While a previous post shared our editorial staff's opinions on the best energy and protein bars, we thought we'd get a little more scientific.  With so many bars now available, it's easy to find a few to like.  And while different situations, diets and tastes demand different bars, many of us rely upon the nutrition profile to make a selection. 

But just like with cereals, serving sizes (and calories) are not created equal.  For example, one cup of Kellogg's Low-Fat Granola (sans the raisins) has 375 calories as compared to one cup of Kashi's Heart to Heart which has 138.   BUT, the comparison isn't fair nor that meaningful unless you consider other factors such as weight.  The denser granola 1 cup weighs in at 98 grams versus the light weight Heart to Heart at 41 grams.  So calorie for calorie what does it mean?  Each granola gram packs 3.83 calories versus Kashi's 3.36.  It seems negligible, right?  Well, the answer depends upon you consumption objective.  If you've just completed a race or killer workout, the granola may be a better choice to get calories in fast.  With the Heart to Heart, you'd have to eat nearly 3x as much to get the same calories. 

Any hard core athlete will tell you, they get bored before they get full.  But for those who really enjoy the eating process, are counting calories and want that full feeling, Kashi is a clear winner.   The same logic can be applied to energy and protein bars.   Of course, the nutrition behind each calorie will differ across bars and will likely be important to the buying decision (e.g., protein, sugar, fiber, carbs, etc.).  But since most energy bars deliver a decent nutrition profile seeing how they stack up in a new way may help your buying decision.  You can apply this method to any nutrition category, not just calories.     DATA SORTED ACCORDING TO CALORIES  

Bar Calories Weight Calories To Weight Protein Fat Fiber Sugars Carbs
Tiger's Milk 140 35 4.00 7 5 2 14 18
Kashi Go Lean Crunchy (Chocolate Caramel) 150 45 3.33 8 3 6 14 28
Detour (small) (S'mores) 160 43 3.72 15 4 1 16 17
Genisoy Low-Carb (Chocolate Chip) 160 45 3.56 15 6 3 0 18
Luna Bar (Smores) 180 48 3.75 10 5 3 9 26
Balance Original (Cookies & Cream) 200 50 4.00 15 6 0 18 22
Zone Perfect (Strawberry Yogurt) 210 50 4.20 15 7 1 14 21
Lara Bar (Banana Cookies) 210 51 4.12 6 10 5 19 24
Perfect 10 Bliss (Apricot Bliss) 215 50 4.30 5 9 5 24 29
Atkin's Advantage (Smores) 220 60 3.67 17 9 11 5 27
Powerbar Triple Threat (Choc. Caramel Fusion) 230 55 4.18 10 8 4 15 30
PureFit (Chocolate Brownie) 230 58 3.97 18 6 2 17 27
Greens+ (Original) 240 59 4.07 10 8 5 23 32
Odwalla (Chocolate Chip Peanut) 250 62 4.03 8 7 4 14 38
Clif Bar (Chocolate Chip Peanut) 250 68 3.68 11 6 5 20 43
Promax Bar (Cookies & Cream) 290 75 3.87 20 6 1 29 38
Kashi Go Lean Original (Malt Chocolate Chip) 290 78 3.72 13 6 6 35 49
PowerBar Protein+ (Chocolate Crisp) 290 78 3.72 23 6 2 18 37
PN Odyssey (Caramel Nut) 300 80 3.75 30 9 1 29 30
Met-Rx Big 100 (Chocolate Graham Cracker) 360 100 3.60 24 4 2 26 55

DATA SORTED ACCORDING TO CALORIES/WEIGHT (same flavors as above)  

Bar Calories Weight Cal/Weight Protein Fat Fiber Sugars Carbs
Kashi Go Lean Crunchy 150 45 3.33 8 3 6 14 28
Genisoy Low-Carb 160 45 3.56 15 6 3 0 18
Met-Rx Big 100 360 100 3.60 24 4 2 26 55
Atkin's Advantage 220 60 3.67 17 9 11 5 27
Clif Bar 250 68 3.68 11 6 5 20 43
Kashi Go Lean Original 290 78 3.72 13 6 6 35 49
PowerBar Protein+ 290 78 3.72 23 6 2 18 37
Detour (small) 160 43 3.72 15 4 1 16 17
Luna Bar 180 48 3.75 10 5 3 9 26
PN Odyssey 300 80 3.75 30 9 1 29 30
Promax Bar 290 75 3.87 20 6 1 29 38
PureFit 230 58 3.97 18 6 2 17 27
Tiger's Milk 140 35 4.00 7 5 2 14 18
Balance Original 200 50 4.00 15 6 0 18 22
Odwalla 250 62 4.03 8 7 4 14 38
Greens+ 240 59 4.07 10 8 5 23 32
Lara Bar 210 51 4.12 6 10 5 19 24
Powerbar Triple Threat 230 55 4.18 10 8 4 15 30
Zone Perfect 210 50 4.20 15 7 1 14 21
Perfect 10 Bliss 215 50 4.30 5 9 5 24 29

Notes: 1.       Sugar grams include sugar alcohols 2.       Flavors matter.  Some bars differ among flavors!  For example the Lara Bar ranges in calories from 190 to 230 and in size from 45 to 51 grams.  3.       We added more bars than we covered in our other post for comparison purposes  Conclusion:  If you're picky about what you consume, comparing bars can be helpful.  If you would like our excel chart to sort by other criteria, let us know and we'll email it to you.   

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Comments

The kashi go-leans and the

The kashi go-leans and the luna bars are my absolute favorites! I have to hide them or the kids will devour them........unfortunately i cant afford to supply the whole family with a bar a day. These are a great snack halfway thru my workday

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