Energy Bar Showdown

I eat a lot of energy bars.

They’re perfect to keep in my desk drawer, they’re quick, they’re calorie dense, and they’re easy to eat when I’m on the run (literally).

As with all food I buy, I have a price point and I prefer these to be all organic.

Since January I’ve come across quite a few different brands and I want to compare the ones I’ve eaten, both for value and taste.

One thing I’ve taken a look at lately is whether or not some type of syrup is the first ingredient.  Becca found a study that showed arsenic is present in brown rice syrup, as rice grows in water and the arsenic seeps in.  It has been linked to Clifbar products and other foods that use brown rice syrup.  Arsenic isn’t really something I want to mess with…

1.  Clif Bar

Price point: $1/bar
Favorite Flavor: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut
Calories: 250
Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro® (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour), Organic Rolled Oats, Soy White Chocolate (Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Cocoa Butter, Soy Flour, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), Organic Toasted Oats (Organic Oats, Organic Dried Cane Syrup), Organic Cane Syrup, ClifCrunch® (Organic Oat Fiber, Inulin [Chicory Extract], Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Bran, Psyllium), Macadamia Nuts, Organic Soy Butter (Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soybean Oil, Salt), Organic Macadamia Nuts, Organic Date Paste, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt.
Grams of Protein:  9 grams
Grams of Sugar: 21 grams
Bottom Line: Clif bars in general are very sweet to me.  Two things I don’t like is that there are a lot of ingredients, and there is a lot of sugar.  I do, however, like that clif bars are filling.  There is a decent amount of protein and fiber, but given other options, I would prefer a bar that has less sugar.

2.  Good ‘n Natural (FAVORITE)

Price point: $0.50/bar
Favorite Flavor: Cranberry Almond
Calories:  230
Ingredients: Gluten Free Rolled Oats, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Diced Soynuts, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Maple Syrup, Soy Protein Isolate, Dried Cranberries (Cranberries, Pineapple Syrup, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Oil), Dry Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Almonds, Chopped Walnuts, Dried Apples, Milled Flaxseeds, Chicory Root Fiber, Natural Flavors, Sesame Seeds, Brown Rice Flour, Vegetable Glycerin, Citric Acid, Soy Lecithin, Peanut Flour.
Grams of Protein: 10 grams
Grams of Sugar: 12 grams
Bottom Line:  These are my favorite of the ones listed.  They are not overwhelmingly sweet, they have more wholesome ingredients (or at least less of the offending ones), and they have more protein than clifbars.  The flavors don’t really taste like they are supposed to, though.  That’s my only qualm.  They’re delicious, but if you’re expecting chocolate, for instance, you may be disappointed.

3.  Kashi TLC

Price point: <$0.50/bar
Favorite Flavor: Trail Mix
Calories: 140
Ingredients: Rolled Whole Grain Blend (hard red wheat, oats, rye, tritcale, barley), roasted salted whole almonds, brown rice syrup, soy protein isolate, evaporated cane juice crystals, soy grits, chicory root fiber, raisins, sunflower seeds, evaporated cane juice syrup, cranberries, vegetable glycerin, corn flour, honey, rice starch, expeller pressed canola oil, oat fiber, evaporated salt, natural flavors, mollasses, kashi seven grain whole grains and sesame (flour, whole: oats, hard red wheat, rye, brown rice, triticale, barley, buckwheat, sesame seeds), sunflower oil, soy lecithin, peanut flour, whey protein isolate
Grams of Protein: 6 grams
Grams of Sugar: 6 grams
Bottom Line: There is less sugar in these than most, but they’re way less filling, too.  I also don’t like that there are some ingredients that aren’t natural- like vegetable glycerin.  These taste good, but if I’m going to spend the money I would prefer to get something a little bit more organic with more calories and protein.

4.  Nature’s Valley All Natural Granola Bars

Price point: <$0.50/bar
Favorite Flavor: Pecan Crunch
Calories: 190
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Brown Sugar Syrup, Pecan Pieces, Yellow Corn Flour, Soy Flour, Salt, Soy Lechitin, Baking Soda, Natural flavor
Grams of Protein: 4 grams
Grams of Sugar: 12 grams
Bottom Line: To me, these aren’t really worth it.  They’re not protein dense, they’re messy (the crumbs get everywhere!), and they’re not super filling.  I like that these have the fewest ingredients, but I don’t like that sugar is the second ingredient, followed by oil, followed by more sugar.  These are probably my least favorite on the list.

5.  Nature’s Path Organic Peanut Choco Sweet & Salty

Price point: <$0.50/bar
Favorite Flavor: Chocolate Peanut Butter
Calories: 150
Ingredients: Granola* (rolled oats*, evaporated cane juice*, soy oil*), tapioca syrup*, roasted peanuts*, chocolatey icing* (evaporated cane juice*, palm kernel oil* and/or cocoa butter*, cocoa*, natural flavor, soy lecithin*, sea salt, tapioca starch*), brown rice flour*, invert cane syrup*, peanut butter*, acacia gum*, sea salt, evaporated cane juice*, molasses*, tocopherols. (* means organic)
Grams of Protein: 3 grams
Grams of Sugar: 11 grams
Bottom Line: Eh.  These are okay, pretty run of the mill.  I’m not a fan of the fact the chocolate in these bars is called “chocolatey icing”.  That sounds very fake to me.  Again, these are good in a pinch but not my go-to.


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