What's the Deal: How do energy bars measure up?

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
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What's the Deal: How do energy bars measure up? Alicia Vitarelli reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on September 5, 2018.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Energy bars are easy to grab, and there are lots to choose from. But how do they stack up?

Consumer Reports' food experts looked at 33 popular energy bars - ranking everything from nutrition to taste.

In the 1960's, energy bars were created for astronauts to eat in outer space.

Back here on earth, energy bars fueled the jogging craze of the 70's, and continue as a fitness favorite today.

After all, they're portable, convenient, and help squash hunger. They're certainly marketed as being healthy, but are they legit?

Consumer Reports' food experts sampled 33 bars, 21 chocolate nut and 12 berry nut types looking at the flavor, ingredients and nutritional quality.

CR's most important finding: Many of these bars don't live up to the healthy marketing seen on the packaging.

Will eating this one 'save your life?' The name actually refers to food aid donations. The RxBar sounds like a prescription for health but there's nothing medicinal about it.

Consumer Reports Health Expert Ellen Klosz says, "The best way to choose a bar is to look for more real ingredients, like nuts, fruits, and grains rather than processed ingredients."

Here are CR's top choices for nutrition and taste:

In the berry category, Pure Organic Wild Blueberry Fruit and Nut Bar contain whole blueberries and nuts. This soft bar is sweet and tangy, and tastes of dates.

Testers found this one soft and dense. Larabar's blueberry bar also has cashew pieces throughout, with a slightly sour and sweet flavor.

CR recommendations in the chocolate energy bar category include an organic chocolate and peanut butter bar from Nature's Path. It's a sweet-tasting, moist bar with lots of coconut and chocolate chunks.

And Larabar Nut and Seed Crunchy Bar is crunchy, with finely chopped almonds and dark chocolate with a slight coconut flavor.

And watch for sugars. If you see agave or tapioca syrup, make sure they're towards the end of the ingredient list.


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