The Truth About Nutrition Bars

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There is no greater danger to a dieter than being hungry and in a rush. If you haven’t planned ahead, it’s sometimes difficult to find a quick, nutritious snack that won’t be regretted later. When on the go, most of us want to reach for something tasty and easy like a nutrition bar, but the truth is, not all bars are created equal.

“Many nutrition bars are touted as meal replacements—high-protein, energy filled and nutritious. But, many bars can be high in fat and sugar and should not be consumed on a regular basis,” says Trishna Joshi, The Fresh Diet’s lead nutritionist. “Many people would actually be shocked to know that many nutrition bars can actually spike glucose in a similar way that candy bars do.”

So how do we know which bar to choose if we need to rely on a quick, portable snack? “Check for calories first,” says Joshi. “They can range anywhere from 170 calories to more than 400 calories. When watching your waistline, choose the lower-calorie option.” Next, check out the fiber. “The higher the fiber the better—about 3–5 grams would be great,” she says. “Also, try to stay under 5 grams of fat.” Finally, look for low sugar content.  

In a pinch, nutrition bars can keep you satisfied, but Joshi warns not to always rely on them. “Save bars for your last resort option and go for whole foods as often as possible. Opt for nuts, apples, carrots and dairy, to name a few. These will all give you the energy boost you are looking for,” she says. “It is always better to get your nutrients and calories from whole foods including fruits, vegetables, protein foods and whole grains.”

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