Protein and energy bars might seem like the higher road when you’re craving a mid-afternoon snack, but if you examine their nutrition labels, you often get just as many empty calories and grams of fat as you’d get from the candy you’re trying to avoid. We took a look at 25 of the most popular and widely available nutrition bars, and how their contents compare to the candy bars and candies we all love to eat – and hate to pay the consequences. Get this: They’re scarily similar.
Are we telling you to gorge on candy instead of eat energy bars? No. We suggest eating unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods that give you more bang for your carb (or fat, or calorie). For some extra (and terrifying) motivation, take a look at the candy equivalent of your favorite “healthy” boost:
A Tangy Tropical Fruit Smoothie PowerBar has more carbs than a Snickers.
Powerbar, Tangy Tropical Fruit Smoothie flavor:
25 g sugar
42 g carbohydrates
1 Snickers Bar: 34.5 g carbohydrates
A Nature’s Path Orange Chocolate Bar has about as many calories as an Almond Joy.
Nature’s Path Orange Chocolate Bar:
19 g of sugar
37 g of carbohydrates
1 Almond Joy bar (2 pieces): 235 calories
A Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar has as many carbs as 18 Hershey’s Kisses.
Quaker Chewy Granola Bar, Chocolate Chip:
7 g of sugar
18 g of carbohydrates
1 Hershey’s Kiss: 1 g carbohydrates x 18 Kisses = 18 g carbohydrates
A Kashi GoLean Malted Chocolate Crisp Bar has more carbs than a 3 Musketeers bar.
Kashi Malted Chocolate Crisp Bar:
35 g sugar
49 g carbohydrates
3 Musketeers Bar: 46 g carbohydrates
A ZonePerfect Chocolate Mint Bar has as many calories as a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar.
ZonePerfect Chocolate Mint Bar:
13 g sugar
21 g carbohydrates
1 Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar: 210 calories
An HerbaLife Lemon Protein Bar has more saturated fat than a bag of Skittles.
HerbaLife Lemon Protein Bar:
3.5 g saturated fat
1 bag of Skittles: 2.5 g saturated fat
A Slim Fast! Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bar has as many carbs as a Kit Kat.
Slim Fast! Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bar:
27 g carbohydrates
1 Kit Kat bar: 27.1 g carbohydrates
A SoyJoy Mango Coconut Bar has as much saturated fat as a Milky Way.
SoyJoy Mango Coconut Bar:
4 g saturated fat
11 g sugar
16 g carbs
1 Milky Way bar: 4 g saturated fat
An Atkins Advantage Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat Bar has the same amount of saturated fat as a Butterfinger.
Atkins Advantage Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat Bar:
6 g saturated fat
18 g carbohydrates
1 Butterfinger bar: 6 g saturated fat
A Kind Walnut and Date bar has as the same amount of carbs as a Baby Ruth.
Kind Walnut and Date Bar:
7 g fat
17 g sugar
22 g carbohydrates
1 Baby Ruth bar: 22 g carbohydrates
A Cliff Apricot Bar has as many calories as a Charleston Chew.
Clif Bar, Apricot:
21 g sugar
45 g carbohydrates
1 Charleston Chew: 230 calories
A Gnu Chocolate Brownie Bar has more calories than four marshmallow Peep bunnies.
Gnu Foods Chocolate Brownie Bar:
9 g sugar
32 g carbohydrates
4 Peeps Marshmallow bunnies: 130 calories
An Odwalla Mocha-Walla bar has more carbs than an Oh Henry!
Odwalla Mocha-Walla Bar
38 g carbohydrates
1 Oh Henry! bar: 37.3 g carbohydrates
A Luna Chocolate Peppermint Stick Bar has more carbs than a Pay Day.
Luna Bar, Chocolate Peppermint Stick:
28 g carbohydrates
1 Pay Day bar: 27 g carbohydrates
A Pure Protein S’mores Bar has more carbs than two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Pure Protein S’Mores Bar:
3.5 g saturated fat
20 g carbohydrates
1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: 9 g carbohydrates x 2 cups = 18 carbohydrates